Ah, Labor Day Weekend. Here in Georgia, it's three days to relax and celebrate the impending End of the Heat. And what better way to do so than to head to The EARL to stand in the airconditioning while watching Brits sweat profusely. Those poor lads -- the 80+ degrees inside seemed cool to us, but they still seemed to wilt during the show...
We arrived in time to catch local opener Tentonic. I had seen
this act once before, opening for The Wedding Present, and i was impressed that they played well despite some obvious sound issues. Well tonight there were no sound issues: the band was clear and well mixed. Which worked really well for the slick, radio-friendly sound they are pursuing. This band seems to want to be The Verve, and they do it well. I was impressed with their set.
Tentonic wear scarves in the heat.
Tentonic enjoy playing.
One thing to note, apparently it was the "Birvday" (sic) of two of their fans, and these fans proceeded to get rather drunk, and some of them even danced on stage with the act. In general, Tentonic seem to have a lot of fans here in Atlanta, and their presence kick-started the evening rather nicely with a dose of silly fun.
Happy Birvday, indeed.
The next act took the stage as a four-piece with three guys and a woman in
a really bright red dress. They set up a lot of pedals, and she grabbed a guitar
and they tore into a set of hard rock. Their guitarist was a pleasure to watch,
but to be honest Ms. Carina Round had a slightly squealing voice. Well, her
voice wasn't squealing, but at certain times in certain songs, she would set
forth a teeth-rattling squeal. The first time she did that i thought, "Wow,
that's annoying!" Fortunately she did not do that too often.
Ms. Carina Round on red dress, guitar, and high-pitched squealing.
The music of the band was okay, and the overall effect (realized independently
by both Tracers and myself) is that Carina Round and her band are an indie
rock Pat Benatar. This is hard rock where the emphasis is on the oddly singing
and flailing around female guitarist, who really is just making normal hard
rock like a thousand other bands, only she does it in a dress, so some people
pay more attention. They weren't bad per se, but there really wasn't that much
to the band, and i found my attention wavering long before the end of their
40 minute set.
Carina Round's guitarist / synthesizer-ist.
As we stood around waiting for The Cinematics to set up, we were treated to an odd spectacle. The house music at The EARL was some sort of hip-hop, and the mostly white, largely drunk crowd seemed familiar with it. In fact, a break-dancing circle erupted in the middle of the room, with people clapping and cheering and sloshing their beers in the air as pudgy white guys in their late 20s tried to recreate steps they did in High School. It was, once again, silly fun.
The Cinematics took the stage promptly at midnight. They are your standard four-piece rock act, with the two guitarist/vocalists in skinny ties. One thing i did note is that, in the modern world where everyone has to have sequenced loops at some point in their performance, it falls onto the drummer to handle the laptop. Why is that? I notice this with a _lot_ of bands: drums and laptop go together.
The Cinematics in bass tuning, arms flailing action.
The Cinematics make a very contemporary Brtipop sound, which is to say they try their damnedest to sound like British acts from the 1980s. Not that i am complaining at all, really. I love the 80s and i am thoroughly enjoying the current revival, and The Cinematics are a welcome part of the scene. They pulled it off well, with chiming guitars, thudding bass and drums (i swear, at one point the rhythm section were channeling The Icicle Works!), and great vocals. The lead singer of the band really has a wonderful voice -- clear and rich, mostly in the mid-range but he was able to hit a few high notes.
Skinny ties are very cinematic.
Overall i found them really enjoyable. They seemed to have a decent fan-base too, so good for them. I understand that The Cinematics are a very young band. (I mean -- really young. As in, i was wondering if the lead guitarist was old enough to drink beer in this country!) However, they seem to have some potential. Keep your eye out for these kids. They know what they are doing.....