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  ATLANTIC w/ The Eskimos and The Fairburn Royals  
  The Star Bar  
  Litle Five Points, Altanta , GA  
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In EvilSponge land, Iím the go-to person when it comes to Athens bands. Iím not exactly sure how this happened, but these days when we hear about an Athens band, the rest of The Minions tend to turn to me and ask, ďHave you heard of them? What do you think?Ē Therefore, shortly before this show, PostLibyan sent me an email about The Fairburn Royals and asked that very same question.

Unfortunately I didnít have an answer for him. Yeah Iíd heard of The Fairburn Royals, and they were high on my master list of bands to see. But Iíd never seen them live. However, I had seen The Eskimos and liked them very much (which is what I pointed out to PostLibyan). So based on my limited knowledge, and my general liking for bands from Athens, we wandered off to The Star Bar on a Thursday night.

When we got there, The Fairburn Royals were already on the stage. Although written reviews compare their recording to bands ranging from Sonic Youth to Wilco to Pavement to Nerf Herder, my first impression was that they reminded me most of a band like Poster Children. I think this is because of the very punk-esque drumming combined with lead singer Matt Lisleís somewhat high-pitched, yet forceful vocals. Furthermore, the guitarwork had that crunchy slightly New Wave feel that Poster Children used to great effect on albums like Junior Citizen. Yet this comparison isnít appropriate for some of their other songs, most particularly the ironically twee Be my Punk Rock Friend, which began with the line ďI like punk rock/ I hate punk rockersĒ and had the jangly feel of another Midwest band, Wolfie. The only complaint I had about their set was that The Fairburn Royals didnít have much stage presence; however this is likely a reflection of the fact that they are a relatively young band who are still working out the kinks of their live show. Nevertheless, I really liked their music, and Iím looking forwards to seeing The Fairburn Royals again.

Afterwards, The Eskimos came out to play. When Iíd seen them before in concert, they were a four piece (guitar/guitar/bass drums); however, on this evening they added a keyboardist and the bassist was a different person. Still, this hasnít changed the underlying basis of their sound, which combines the bounce of Small Faces with the guitarwork of a band like T.Rex. Perhaps the most compelling part of their music is the insane catchiness of their melodies and lyrics, which get stuck in your brain to the exclusion of all else. This catchiness is particular evident during the songs of Drew Sinclair, which strongly demonstrate the 60s psychedelic pop edge. Conversely, during the songs of other songwriter Dave Weiglein, the 70s prog influences dominate. The major problem (such as it was) with their set on the evening was the sound mix, which had the vocals way up front and the guitars positively quiet. Iím not sure how this happened (or if it was deliberate), but obviously thatís not an issue the band has control over. As a live act, The Eskimos continue to impress me. I think each time Iíve seen them, theyíve continued to get better, filling out their sound without become overly busy or pretentious.

Finally, after a small break, Atlantic took the stage. I was not familiar with this band at all; in fact, I hadnít even heard of them prior to this evening. However, based on my reading, it seems that they are considered a solid punk act from Atlanta. After a couple of songs, it became apparent that they were a marginally interesting emo-esque type act fronted by a man with an uncanny vocal resemblance to White Trash Heroes-era Eric Bachmann. This isnít an unappealing mix; nevertheless after the excitement and novelty of the first two bands, they were somewhat anti-climatic. And with the late hour (and a slight cold to boot), I only lasted a few more songs before deciding to call it a night.

Overall it was a quite fun evening. The Fairburn Royals were a very pleasant surprise, while I was quite pleased to show off The Eskimos to other members of the EvilSponge crew (who found them equally enjoyable). And although Atlantic didnít strike me as different or unique, their version of punk rock can be very appealing at times.

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