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  THE ROCK*A*TEENS w/ Tom Collins, Empire State, The Plastic Plan, and Ocelot  
  The Echo Lounge  
  East Atlanta, GA  
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So local band the Purkinje Shift were supposed to play this set. They didn't cause the drummer's going away to grad school. Now that's a cancellation to set a pall over the entire evening. And anyway, I'd seen all but one of the bands multiple times, so in some ways this was just a matter of supporting the local bands. Nothing to get excited about; nothing to make me want to write a review (at the very least).

As I expected, Ocelot were a solid opener -- angular math rock by kids influenced by too much Jawbox and too little Tortoise. Nothing worth seeking out, although I suppose their album might be a little stronger than their performances. And, in their defense, their performances are becoming somewhat more solid.

Next up: the Plastic Plan. I keep hearing really good things about them. But they have a reputation of being a schtick band. And the people I know who really like them have a thing for other schtick bands, so I was somewhat wary. But as it turns out, they were actually rather good. No make that: they were surprisingly good.

Despite the skinny ties and scifi synthesizer, and even without the new wave behind them, they wound tightly phrased bass melodies over cheesy keyboard with a slightly maniacal drummer leading the way. Woof. Energetic and bouncy -- the way good math rock should be (and not this stand around and jam out to complex rhythms crap). Very Impressive and highly recommended.

Afterwards, Empire State (who had the most positive write up coming in) set up. They have this instrument which I really want. No seriously -- whenever I see Empire State play, they have this toy sitting up front and I spend their entire set going, "When are they going to play it? I can't wait for them to play it...." So I really can't focus on their musical abilities, only on this metallic whirling thing-y.

But as far as I could tell, they played rather well on Saturday. I was distracted enough by their music (which seems like catchy indie pop, with a bit of Elephant 6 weirdness thrown in) that I only thought about the thing-y only once or twice. Per Song.

We retreated to the lounge for the Tom Collins -- the local Led Zeppelin rip off. I've seen Fran (the lead singer) play solo shows and I rather liked his songs. But the Tom Collins as a band do nothing for me, except per chance giving me the opportunity to play "So where did they rip this off from?"

Admittedly, they sounded better than I remembered. And admittedly, it seemed that the Conference Crowd really got into them. But they still were just filler material (and reminded me of the loss of the Purkinje Shift. *sigh*)

Finally, at a little after 1 AM, The Rock*A*Teens played. And they played very very well with only minimal screw ups....which is amazing considering the number of new songs they did play. But despite the sheer energy and charm of their set, they seemed a little overwrought on their final song -- which included other Atlanta musicians on backup and a host of people in the front row holding up sparklers.

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