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  BLACK HEART PROCESION w/ Shannon Wright  
  The Eyedrum  
  Atlanta, GA  
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This was my first ever excursion to The Eyedrum, which claims to be an Art Gallery and not a Concert Venue. And yet, the basement is set up as a crude sort of concert hall. There is a "stage" (raised about 6 inches above the ground) located at one end, and a "bar" located at the other. Instead of a real sound system, they have a couple of amps on poles that almost, but not quite, stick out above the crowd. Apparently, this place normally features whacky "out there" music, so i figure that it is not crowded too often and so the weakness of the sound system is not usually a problem.

Well, on this particular night some fool had booked Don Caballero, a math-rock band with no small following, as the headliners here. The place was packed. Apparently, instead of stamping your hand the door man was writing a number on your hand so that they could keep track of the number of guests. I was number 220. Wow -- that's a lot of people for a basement with a 7 foot ceiling span! Anyway, the point is this -- i could NOT see the stage at all (i can only assume, from the sort of sounds the people in front were making, that bands actually performed). I could not hear too well either, at least at first, but i'll get into that in a bit.

Okay, one last thing about the venue before i move on -- instead of paying a $12 cover charge, i had to make a $12 donation to get in. Instead of paying $2 for a Budweiser, i had to make a $2 donation to get my beer! I mean, PLEASE people, let's not hide our true capitalist nature behind some charade! I guess what is going on is this -- The Eyedrum is a "non-profit" organization, so they can't charge me anything, but they can demand a donation... Anyway, i found this whole charade demeaning. I have no illusions about my place as a consumer in a capitalist society. They should not have illusions about their role as supplier in a capitalist society. Okay -- enough ranting for now!

Anyway, i got to the Eyedrum in time to catch the last 2 or 3 songs by local singer-songwriter Shannon Wright. Normally, i find her tolerable -- ocasional good songs, but mostly just there. Tonight, well, i dunno what was up, but she was really getting into producing feedback with her acoustic guitar! It got almost noisy there for a minute. I dunno -- it was angry and different for her, and i found that i liked it.

The Black Heart Procession went on (presumably of course, since i could see nothing) about 15 minutes after Shannon Wright finished. At first, the crowd was noisy and i had to strain to hear. Their music was light and extremely beautiful (better than they sound on album even). The organs and guitars and basses and drums (i wonder, how many people were on stage?) all blended together to create a sad tale of life in the desert. I just stood there, leaning against a pole, and let the music wash over me. I daydreamed of coyotes, and old indian ruins, and running from that no-good woman that done left me and kept the ranch! Sigh....

In time, the entire club grew more quiet, as the bulk of people just stood and listened. It was like most people were afraid to disrupt the images that hung in the air. It was really quite nice....

And then Don Caballero interrupted and messed it up for me. Well, not the whole band, but the drummer. You see, i was standing on stage right, and this drummer guy had his gear stacked over there. About halfway through the BHP set, he decided that he needed to begin assembling cymbal stands, etc. However, it was excessively dark and crowded, so he did not have an easy time of it. He slammed completed cymbal stands down on several feet. He knocked things into people. He swore loudly at the dark and disturbed those of us trying to enjoy the show.

Then he dropped his double kick pedal on my foot (leaving a nasty bruise) and i decided to leave my nice safe pole and stand in the middle of the crowd away from this angry jerk. As soon as i did that, i once again lost myself in the simple beauty of BHP's music. The soaring guitars were really nice from the middle of the crowd!

So anyway, that was my experience -- a venue that really doesn't need to be crowded, not seeing the stage at all, angry Don Caballero drummer (i didn't even stay to see them), and the excessively beautiful music of Black Heart Procession.

I can honestly say this -- if Black Heart Procession play near you, run don't walk to hear them. Stay out of the way when Don Caballero are trying to set up though....

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