Ah, Eyedrum. It had been a while since i had
visited this place, so i was wondering what type of art i would
be getting this time around. You see, Eyedrum is an art gallery
that occasionally has music. I think they tend to have a lot
of improv jazz type of stuff, and, since i am not so into that
i am not at the gallery too often. However, Eyedrum also provides
very nice performance space for ambient/drone artists, so they
always drag me out for these types of things.
The art tonight was ... textilely. There were little things that had been sewn together in interesting patterns, including some odd dolls that looked like they had been used in A Nightmare Before Christmas, some jewelry made out of knitted copper wire, and many tapestries. It was interesting. Not bad actually.
The Eyedrum website implied that music would begin at 9, which
is when The Minions showed up. In keeping with Atlanta tradition,
the venue kept us standing around for an hour. Envie, the first
act, didn't go on until 10:10. Sheesh!
Envie are one of my favorite local bands, and not just because they have interesting instrumentation (two keyboards, bass, guitar, harp, and drums), but also because they manage to make music that is catchy and epic at the same time. Their songs have a lot of depth to them, probably because of the complex instrumentation as well as because of the high level of musicianship. Let me put it this way -- no one bothers to drag a harp out in public with them unless they know what they are doing. Those things are heavy and expensive...
This was the first Envie show in months. The band has been taking some time off to work (what, they don't make enough money playing in dives across town?) and do some recording. The recording has me very excited, as their songs sound wonderful and need to be preserved before the band gets totally sick of them.
Tonight they started with Spare Change, a nice song that builds to a high level of intensity. Early on, there were sound problems. Specifically, the bass was very loud and the guitar was undermixed. The sound guy worked at the problem furiously, and got the guitar turned up for the cacophanous bridge of this tune. It sounded really nice, all loud and distorted, with all of the instruments hammering away.
The bass stayed very loud for the remainder of the set, and i actually kind of liked it. It gave them a slightly different sound, but it wasn't bad. The guitarwork really shined tonight. After the mixing issues were fixed, it sounded nice and spacey, which is only appropriate considering who they were opening for. The guitar was especially nice on a song that the vocalist introduced as being Something Like the Sun. This song began with a long wandering intro of ambient guitar and piano.
Overall, Envie played a fun energetic set. The small crowd at Eyedrum really seemed to enjoy them. Their set has been refined and perfected, and it shows. However, just to keep it interesting for the band, Envie played a few new tunes tonight, ending with a new piece that doesn't even have vocals yet, but which really rocks in a way that reminds me of The Sea & Cake combined with Joe Jackson style keyboards. Nice.
We only had a short wait between Envie and Lanterna, which
was good considering the length of our previous wait. Lanterna
performed as a two-piece tonight. Apparently Henry Frayne decided
he needed another guitarist to flesh out his "heavily effected
guitar played to a drum loop" sound. Actually, this was a pretty
good move. The other guitarist added just a tad of excitement
and variety to the guitar sounds. One thing i will say though:
Mr. Frayne, if you are going to expand your lineup, consider
hiring a drummer. The drum loops that the two of them played
to were not anything too wierd, and having a real drummer do
those parts would have greatly increased the power of the performance.
Then again, i have a thing against drum loops/drum machines
that just do what someone could easily play...
Lanterna started with The Passage, the epic masterpiece off of the first album, then segued straight into the West Side Highway off of the most recent Lanterna album, Sands. I just adore both of those songs, so it was great to hear them live. The performance actually did justice to both of them, too. Lanterna played quite a few more songs off of Sands, but i am not sure of the titles of the other tunes. I only recognized that one for sure. Still, it was a great set. Very enjoyable, but no real suprises -- it sounded a lot like how Lanterna sound on album. Still, if you like that type of upbeat guitar ambience, it was great to see and hear live.
Lanterna, obviously non-Atlantans, ended the regular set just before midnight. The crowd cheered, and they came back on for an encore, apologizing that it was so late. Little do they know that in most of the clubs in Atlanta the headliner had yet to take the stage at that hour...
Both of the bands tonight put on enjoyable sets, and it was good to be at the relatively quiet Eyedrum. Well, i guess that Eyedrum might have lacked all of the chatting scenesters that infest other shows, but it also lacked air conditioning. Ugh. That made it pretty uncomfortable for a July evening.
Still, even with the encore and dropping other minions off at home, i was in bed by 1 PM that evening. Which is really good in Atlanta. Overall, i had a fun night.