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  THE GLORIA RECORD w/ Her Space Holiday and The Ides Of Space  
  The Earl  
  East Atlanta, GA  
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I like going to shows: the need to go see bands play live is what prevents me from becoming a total hermit. Sometimes, i go see shows based purely on the recommendation of others. This show is a prime example: The Ides Of Space and Her Space Holiday both came highly recommend by many a fellow internet music obsessive. Plus, it gave me something to do on a Saturday. So off i sped to the poorly ventilated Earl....

I got to The Earl barely in time to grab a beer and find a spot to stand and see the stage before The Ides Of Space started up. Which was fine with me -- i hate it when i show up at 10:30 and have to kill half an hour standing around waiting for people to get organized.

Anyway, when Ides Of Space took the stage i was, well, shocked. I had heard that this band was young, but wow -- their parents let them come all the way over to America to play? They look like they belong in high school. Except for the keybaordist, who looks like somebody's older brother. Really, the band looks young. It made me feel like, well, like some old fogey whose mind is controlled by a small salt-water dwelling pore-bearing animal! Sigh.....

So yes, The Ides Of Space are painfully young. And multi-ethnic. When i had heard that they were Australian, i was expecting them all to have that sun-hardened look of Paul Hogan (you know, Cocodile Suburu-drivin' Dundee). Instead, the drummer and the bassist were Asian, and the rest of the band looked like poorly dressed indie rockers. Apparently the indie rock look is ubiquitous throughout the remnants of The British Empire. Strange that so many people should have so many bad haircuts.... Anyway, the Asian thing surprised me. It makes sense i suppose, since Australia is closer to Asia than the US is, but i still think of Australians as being either Aboriginie or white folk.

And let me tell you this: seeing an under-nourished looking Asian kid talk with an Australian accent is truly funny. I can't explain why, but i giggled everytime the bassist would speak between songs. It just seemed ... ridiculous? Really unexpected? I dunno, but there is some real humor there!

Okay, enough about that. Musically The Ides of Space were very fun. They create a loud wall of guitars with strong rhythm and interesting keyboard bits. The lyrics were barely heard above the sheer volume of the music. The rhythm section was very powerful: the drums and bass really provided a lovely backdrop for the sonic explorations of the two guitarists and the keyboardist.

In general they sounded like they stepped out of 1992, like they hung out with Ride or The Verve or something. The songs were not only guitar heavy, but they were also quite catchy. I like a lot of that early shoegazer music, but one thing many of those bands failed to do was blend a certain pop sensibility into their sonic fury. The Ides Of Space have completed that fusion -- their songs are loud and full-sounding, yet still catchy and hummable. I think that this reflects highly on their rhythm section.

If there was anything that i did not like about the show it was the vocals. Not that they were bad or anything, they were just ... well, generic. The vocalist sort of half-sings in that style trendy with indie kids these days. Most of the time, his voice was buried under the guitars. If that was intentional, it worked fine for me. However, well, the parts in their songs that i liked best were where the singer would step back from the microphone and focus fully on his guitar....

So what i didn't like about the voice, after all, is that it detracted from the guitarwork. That's a really minor complaint, i know. My overall verdict on The Ides Of Space is: go catch them if they come to your town. They were a lot of fun in concert.

The second act tonight was Her Space Holiday, the other band on the bill that i had heard of. This band consists of a nerdy looking scrawny guy in thick rimmed glasses, and an Asian girl. However, when they took off their sweaters i noticed that both are heavily tatooed, as if they are refugees from a hardcore punk band. This did not exactly blend with the gear they were setting up on stage: several keyboards, a laptop (a Sony VAIO, which breaks with the tradition of Mac laptops in electronica), an array of lighting fixtures, and a little mixing deck. The gear was electronica, the band looked punk. I was very curious to hear what they sounded like.

Their set started off with the laptop reading negative reviews of the band. Man, some of those German magazines give harsh reviews: the computer read one in which the reviewer urged the guy (who apparently is the entire studio band and is named Matt Bianchi, or something like that) to commit suicide so that "there would be more food for the rest of us to eat"! That is so harsh! And yet, it's funny. And yet, i am jealous that some German thought that up before me -- man, i can think of a few reviews where i could have used that line! Sigh....

Anyway, the computer was sort of the MC of the show. Between each song it would sarcastically point out how many more songs the crowd had to sit through. It also got the best line of the evening. At one point it said "Her Space Holiday are a hip-hop act. So raise you Palm Pilots in the air, and wave them like you just don't care." Of course, after that Her Space Holiday laid down their funkiest beat, as people self-consciously felt around for their PDAs.... The laptop added a real self-deprecating levity to the show.

And the show was great. Her Space Holiday make catchy synthpop. It was largely instrumental, but occasionally the two members would trade vocals. And sometimes Bianchi would add some low key guitarwork into the mix. All of the music was catchy and happy, and the pessimistic computer voice provided a nice contrast.

They were fun, and i would go see them again.

The headliner tonight was The Gloria Record, who i had never heard of. They took the stage around midnight, to a pretty full house. The Earl had apparently filled up while i was enjoying the two openers.

The Gloria Record are a guitar rock band from Austin, TX. Their music was, well, it was guitar rock from Austin, TX. The guitarists were doing some fairly interesting things, but the vocals were placed well in the front of the mix. That was a mistake in my opinion -- the vocalist has a sort of whiney high-pitched voice that was also a little flat. It really grated on my nerves, so i left after two songs, having gotten more than enough enjoyment out of the first two acts.

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