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  CATFIGHT! w/ Chocolate Kiss and Sharks And Minnows  
  The Earl  
  East Atlanta, GA  
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After the holiday rush and the visiting of numerous relatives, I always enjoy getting back to my normal life: going out to local bars and seeing bands in a relaxed environment. It's how I choose to spend my time, and when I get away from it (as I did during most of December), I find myself longing for the usual. So I'm guess I'm lucky that the weekend following Christmas, The Earl offered up exactly the show for which I was looking.

Over the past year, I've seen the opening band, Sharks And Minnows, numerous times. I've found their sets consistently enjoyable and solid; their most recent album, from what I hear through the Minion grapevine, is quite catchy. However, I've found that when a band has finished one recording, they usually go through a period of adjustment as they write new songs and figure out how to perform them. Sharks And Minnows are no exception to this rule, which was reflected in the set.

On this particular evening, they really focused on several new songs. These had a lot of potential, but seemed a little rough around the edges. In particular, the songs dragged and didn't exhibit Sharks And Minnows' usual energy. However, when the band launched into some of its older stuff, they quickly recovered. This leads me to conclude that the band as a whole hasn't entirely figured out the structure of its new material, which could account for the slight air of hesitancy around their set. Still, by the next time I see them, I suspect they'll have everything back together again and they'll be their usual happy punky selves.

I've only seen the next band, Chocolate Kiss, once before. I rather liked their brand of emo punk at that time, and I looked forward to seeing them again. However, on this night, I can truthfully state that this band did absolutely nothing for me. Yeah, at times they'd start off with a catchy jangly riff, but then it would quickly go all angular, with an overwhelming bass line, and the front man would start shimmying around like a dressed down Rod Stewart. Therefore, I spent the vast majority of the time wondering if the lead singer was going to put his eye out with the mic stand (which is extremely distracting). I don't know whether their sound was off, or they weren't having a great night, but by the middle of the set, I was ready for them to be done. I suppose I'd like to see them again to see which of the two shows are more representative of Chocolate Kiss, but I have to admit that it won't be anytime soon.

Finally, it was time for the last band: Catfight! When I've seen them in the past, I always enjoyed their shows. However, after a few days, I'll forget about them until I happen onto another one of their concerts. In general, I find that they're a band that I like in measured increments: if I see them too often, I find the similarity of their shows boring. But when it's been a while, I have great fun.

Anyway it's been quite a long time since I've seen Catfight!; in fact they have a new drummer. I wouldn't have thought that this would bring about a great change in the band (the previous drummer was quite good); however, this new woman really adds a New York punk sound (ala The Ramones) to Catfight's general 60s garage punk music. It was really nice to hear some of their older songs (such as Syphilis or Conquest) performed with a new edge; likewise, it was also nice to hear some new material, although it easily could have placed on either of the band's previous two recordings.

Still they were loud, rocking, and enjoyable, with many jokes about bassist Katy Graves's pregnant condition, and a gift swap to boot.

Overall, I think the evening was a success, even if the bands weren't as together as I might hope. Probably they were recovering from the holidays in the same way I was, or maybe they were just looking forward to the New Year. Either way, by the end, I felt like I was back to normal, doing what I normally do, and glad to get the mayhem of December behind me.

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