The Black Cadillacs came home Friday.
"Don't get us wrong, we love Nashville," lead singer Will Horton said to a sold out crowd of 700 fans. "But this is home."
Playing its first headlining show at the Bijou Theatre, The Black Cadillacs returned to Knoxville after a year of touring. The concert was opened by The Delta Saints, a five-member rock band from Nashville.
The two-hour show was preceded by an intimate sound check party for the first 50 fans who bought tickets to the concert.
"We always try to find ways that we can give back to the Knoxville community," Ari Solomon, manager of The Black Cadillacs, said. "Unfortunately we can't do a sound check party for all 700 people, but for the first 50 people we really wanted to say thank you."
The other 650 fans at the concert could purchase a special 7-inch record made available only in Knoxville.
"We've been out touring for so long that we haven't really had a chance to catch up with everyone," Horton said at the sound check party. "This gave us a chance to see fans face-to-face and thank them personally."
Lauren Green, who attended the sound check and the show, appreciated the opportunity to get to know the band better.
"It's special to get to see some of their new stuff first," Green said. "We love having the opportunity to hang out with them and relax and get to know them as people and not just some band up on stage."
Green has been attending The Black Cadillac's concerts since she saw them with her husband and two kids at Sundown at the City, a retired summer music series in Market Square, two years ago.
"We love the Knoxville local music scene and we love supporting local establishments," Green said. "My husband and I think it's a great chance for our kids to have fun and connect with the city."
Daryn, Green's 13-year-old son, is an avid fan of the band, claiming "Fade to Gray" as his favorite song.
Phillip Anderson, bass guitarist for The Black Cadillacs, admitted returning to Knoxville after so long came with its anxieties.
"We haven't played a show in town at all this year because we've been touring around every weekend," Anderson said. "There's a little pressure because it's our one show, our big to-do."
But the intimacy of the hometown crowd made for an energetic show.
"In Knoxville, we know our crowd and our crowd knows us," Anderson said. "Everyone likes to get wild and have a good time and make a lot of noise."
The lively crowd sang along to fan favorites like "Find My Own Way", "Something to Shake" and "Run, Run."
Fans drew close to the stage, with one eager fan throwing her black bra toward the band.
About half of the set list consisted of new material, like "Radio Silence" and "Truth," both of which are listed on the band's new 7-inch record.
For Anderson, the larger stage at the Bijou allotted the band more artistic freedom.
"Probably the most exciting thing about this show is the production," Anderson said. "We never get a chance to use a full stage so it's great to be able to find the lighting that we want, set up props and create the stage layout that we like."
Giving the band room to roam, the large stage was decorated with old television sets, which Horton jokingly declared were on sale.
"Honestly, we're our own biggest critics," Anderson said. "We're constantly writing, but we try to never play music we don't think is ready.
"Our fans are able to help us figure out what works and what doesn't, and they did that tonight."