Another note: We forgot to take the digital camera with us on Day 1, but we remembered for the other three days. Here you will see thumbnails of appropriate images. Click on each to view a larger image in a new window.
We skipped the first few acts tonight in order to get a good hot meal (it's important to get a good layer of food in the stomach when you are planning a long, beer-soaked weekend), but we walked in on the last two songs by Athenians Hopeforagoldensummer. I had seen this act before, and while not awful i wasn't that impressed either. When i had seen them before they were a kind of Indigo Girls-ish country/folk act, and i just don't get into that sort of stuff. The two songs i saw tonight, however, were much darker. They had a cellist sawing away creating a nice drone, a mournful accordion, and several husky female voices singing a mournful harmony. It was really lovely, and much darker and more apocalyptic than what i remember from the band, almost along the lines of a female voiced Black Heart Procession. I have to admit that i was impressed with what i saw tonight. I will have to keep an eye out for them.
On the side stage was one of the main acts we wanted to see tonight, local avant-garde electronica duo Black Love. They haven't played around in a long time, and it was good to see them. They are still a two-piece band ("Although," the singer/keyboardist announced after they were done, "we're looking for a competent drummer."), and i still really enjoy them. Tonight they started out with two dancier pop songs from off their previous releases (both reviewed here), both of which sounded vaguely like OMD. Then they played a few pieces which were more experimental in nature, including one in which the bassist used a wine bottle as a slide on his instrument. When they do this more experimental stuff, it really reminds me of Cabaret Voltaire. And, oddly enough, even the weirder pieces they played tonight had strong rhythms and were catchy. Very odd, but enjoyable.
After Black Love, local pop act Y.O.U. took the main stage. I have heard quite a bit of buzz about these boys, so was interested in finally catching on of their sets. And i can see why they have a buzz, even if i could care less. See, the band does a sort of Smithereens-ish hard rock that descends into jam band meandering and guitar heroics in the middle. Now that i think about it, the people who told me good things about Y.O.U. also like Dave Matthews and Widespread Panic. I don't really get into jam bands, and did not get into Y.O.U. I did note that they were trying to be political with a few tunes that had a vaguely leftist bent. However, every time they did one off these, the vocalist put on a harmonica on one of those neck stands. It's a simple equation, really, harmonica = Bob Dylan = political. Whatever. I was not impressed.
After Y.O.U. completed their rather generic set, an unknown band took the stage. By unknown, i mean a touring act on the bill that i had never heard of. They are called New Roman Times, and they are from Winter Park, Florida. Ah, people from the suburbs of the Kingdom of the Mouse. A very strange place, judging by the handful of other people i know from Winter Park. Anyway, this band consists of your standard rock 4-piece, and i noticed two exceptions as they were setting up. Firstly, both of the guitarists had a ton of pedals, and secondly, the bassist played through perhaps the largest bass amp i have ever seen. Seriously, it was like a Marshall stack over there on her end of the stage.
And, indeed, when New Roman Times played, you heard the bass. That was a good thing, really, since both of the guitarists played shoegazer-y style guitar textures, and the bass provided the melody. Live, New Roman Times fused post-punk catchy rhythms with shoegazer guitar noise in a way which, if you know anything about me from reading this site, takes my two favorite genres of music and merges them. They totally ruled in concert, and i stood there, entranced, swaying on my feet (from the guitar sound, not the beer, really!) and nodding my head. They put on an excellent performance, and impressed me so much that i immediately went to purchase their album from their merch guy. Great band, and i will definitely be on the lookout for them to come back to Atlanta.
What could possibly follow that? How about one of Atlanta's better rock bands, Hot Young Priest. This is a three-piece supergroup of long-term scenesters, and when they get up there on stage they rock out righteously. The songs are loud and fast, with Chris Jansen's powerful drumming, Daniel Winn's throbbing bass, and the deep blues guitar and loud voice of Mary Bryne. Really, they put on a great set tonight, as they tend to do.
Next there was an act on the side stage, local alt-country superstar Anna Kramer. Ms. Kramer is very short, and i could not see her through the crowd on the side stage at all. Oh well. I'm not the biggest alt.country fan, so i was content to grab a seat on the far wall and relax a bit, even if it did mean that i couldn't see the show at all. I've seen Ms. Kramer perform before, and while i admit she is a good guitarist, it's just not my thing. I grew up with Motown, not Johnny Cash, so this music means nothing to me. However, well, tonight Anna Kramer played with a full band, and instead of doing country tunes she played honky tonk. I guess that's a fine distinction, but what i mean is that she and the band tore through a lot of faster paced, harder tunes still in the general country vein. I admit that what i heard tonight was somewhat more to my liking that what i had heard from her in the past, and although people were really getting into it, it still wasn't the type of stuff i really like.
Anyway, continuing with tonight's theme of female-fronted bands, local popsters Luigi took the main stage next. I first saw Luigi a year ago at Corndogorama 2004, and since then they have become one of my favorite local bands. They make catchy, energetic rock with female vocals, and this gives them a vaguely Breeders-like feel. Tonight the band was obviously drunk, but they played very well. They also played mostly new material, and the speed of the songs combined with the guitar interplay really made some of the songs sound almost like Superchunk tunes, and that's an excellent thing in my book. Overall, another fine set from Luigi.
Next was another unknown act, The Oranges Band, which i had heard of but never actually listened to. Apparently they are a 4-piece standard US indie rock act from Baltimore. Their guitarist, who i stood in front of, played a beautiful old solid body Rickenbacker guitar with a frenzy that was frightening to behold. He was amazingly talented, as was the drummer, who beat the living tar out of his kit. In fact, the whole band was pretty good, obviously a slightly older, very professional act, and tonight they turned in a fun set of catchy fast-paced indie pop. I really enjoyed their set.
After The Oranges Band, locals The Close took the stage. The Close, when they are at their best, are a silly new wave dance band. And tonight the keyboards were lush, the bass was thudding, and the vocals were harmonious. The crowd was bouncing up and down, and The Close were really on. Apparently they have been on tour, and it shows in the tightness of their performance.
By this point it was getting late, however, we wanted to see one more act, The Selmanaires. This band does a sort of Gang of 4 damaged dance pop, all strong melodious bass, trebly guitar, and deep drumming. Tonight they also sang a bit, in a falsetto which reminded me of The Bee Gees. It was at this point in the evening that mayhem ensued, with drunk indie rockers dancing like fools to the catchy groove. What fun. However, it was very late, and The Selmanaires do seem to pretty much play the same set every time i see them, so we left about halfway through.
It was time to head out, to home, and much needed rest. After all, the first band we wanted to see on Saturday started at 12:30 , so we had to be back at The EARL, rested, showered, and ready, in about 12 hours. Dear lord.