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  SALOME'S WISH w/ Aphelion and Crybaby  
  The Echo Lounge  
  East Atlanta, GA  
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I am sure that it seems as if i am stalking the band Crybaby, what with the recent EP review, and another concert review about a month ago. But really -- it's just a coincidence. The band is new, and i am checking them out. After the terrible sound of that Contemporary show, i was hoping to see them in a venue with great sound. Recent sound difficulties at The Echo Lounge left me afraid that this would not be the night.

Fortunately, sound issues were not too much of a problem for this show. Whew, what a relief! And i must say that in the proper context Crybaby sound quite nice.

When we got to The Echo, an early summer thunderstorm was pounding East Atlanta, causing water to pour through a leak in the roof and disrupt the power supply to the stage. Only temporarily though -- CRybaby went on about 20 minutes behind schedule, but with full electricity. Crybaby started to play to around 30 or 40 people, which is not bad for a new band i suppose.

The first three songs of their set were marked by the voice being way too loud, then too low, then too loud again, as if the soundman was having trouble leveling it out. After the third song the voice settled down and Crybaby hit their stride -- leveling 2 new pop gems at the audience with quiet precision. (I say new because they are not on the EP.) After these songs, which seemed interesting and poppy, Crybaby played So I Do, Leave Me (during which the feedback built to a frenzy as guitars and bass went beserk -- quite nice and loud), and Kaleidoscopic Dreams. It was a well-balanced set of music that would be familiar to their fans as well as a showcase of new material. The new material sounded good live, which is not always the case with all bands.

I enjoyed their set. I wish the guitar had been miced louder (a standard comment of mine regarding this band it seems) but on the whole it sounded great. The voice of Ms. Sirmans was lovely as soon as the sound guy figured out what level it needed to be at. And live, the drummer and bassist really show their talent. I was especially impressed with the drumming this night -- it was clear, forceful, and precise.

After Crybaby, Aphelion took the stage. This band is, i suppose, a sort of local super-group. It features Chandler Rentz, the very-talented drummer in The Changelings, Renee Nelson of American Dream, Diana Obscura of Flash To Bang Time, and a violinist who looked kinda familiar but whom i couldn't place. I dunno -- that violinist might be in some other local goth band. Oh, and Damon Young (guitarist in The Changelings) was hanging around and also played on a few songs.

As this band was setting up the stage looked quite different than that of your normal rock show. Violin, Obscura on cello, Nelson on harp and keyboards and bass, Young with some amazing and expensive looking guitar that i could never get a good clear look at, and Rentz, whose kit is ... well it's a wierd drum kit. Cymbals are posted at angles you just don't normally see. It was like Aphelion were setting up to put on some sort of medieval concert.

Which is basically what happened, they being one of those "chamber music goth" bands that you see so often these days. The set fluctuated between very mellow string and harp numbers wherein the amazing Mr. Rentz would build great rhythm out of his floor toms, and slightly more active tunes with Nelson on bass. Obscura and Nelson shared the vocal duties. Obscura has a broader range and is an expressive singer, while Nelson's voice is more suited to the type of medieval music that the band does.

Now, i like this type of music, but after the "get down" rock of Crybaby, Aphelion seemed, well, too slow. Don't get me wrong -- i enjoyed their set, but it was at such a slower pace than the previous band that it really spoiled the mood.

Which is unfortunate because Salome's Wish are a loud active new wave synth pop band. Sandwiching a chamber goth act between the western jazz pop of Crybaby and the 80's retro pop of Salome's Wish was a poor scheduling choice. The energy of the evening was disrupted.

So i stayed and watched about two songs from Salome's Wish, as they filled The Echo with smoke from 2 smoke machines (isn't that second machine kinda redundant?) and flashed some disco-y lights into the sparse crowd. They were a solid four piece with good bass (the bassist was the standout based on the 2 songs i heard), guitar, keyboards / drum machine, and vocals.

The music seemed interesting -- good "get drunk and dance" type songs. However, it was late, i was tired, and after the mellowness of Aphelion i was ready for bed. So i went home, having a pretty good night, and noted that Salome's Wish is a band to see some other time.

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