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  MIRA w/ The Changelings and Tourmalin  
  The Echo Lounge  
  East Atlanta, GA  
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I've heard really great things about Mira from several people, so i was pleased when i saw that they were (finally) making the trek to Atlanta from Florida. Playing with The Changelings and Tourmlain was icing on the cake. Let's just say that i was really looking forward to this concert.

Tourmalin were already on stage when i arrived at 10:30. They had just started though, so i got to spend about 40 minutes sitting and listening to them play. I think that they sounded clearer than the last time i saw them, although that has more to do with The Echo than with them. At any rate -- they again played a nicely pleasant set. Lead vocalist Emily Hayne's rich voice is nicely complemented by the guitarist's Robin Guthrie-esque mellow wall of chorus playing, and the bassist's ponderous riffs.

My only complaints are, again, drumming coming from the laptop (which i personally just don't get), and the fact that there is a long gap between each song while they load in the next drum track. These pauses wouldn't be so awful, except that during the breaks the band all stares akwardly at the floor or each other and does not even acknowledge the crowd. It makes them seem shy and uncertain. However, when they are playing they seem confident and happy.

So i dunno. I really enjoyed their set, but i still think that having an actual drummer would help by eliminating some of those pauses and would also give their sound a richer feel. But that is a minor complaint really, because when they were playing it sounded great.

After Tourmalin left the stage, there was a whopping great intermission while The Changelings set up, decorated the stage with christmas lights, then sound checked. The wait was kind of annoying....

And, when they started to play, the sound wasn't even right! It must have been three or four songs into their set before i even heard the guitar. And the vocalist kept jumping and slapping her hands over her ears as if in pain at the sound of the drums and/or keyboards. And the keys were LOUD -- way too loud. They dominated the set.

As to the music, it was okay. Not the best Changelings set that i have seen, but in all fairness the vocalist mentioned their new album several times, and i got the feeling that this show was designed to work out live versions of some of those songs.

It really dragged in the middle, to be honest. But then the vocalist announced. "We have to pay Sid Barret royalties for this" and they went into a spirited and funny cover of See Emily Play. It really picked the mood up after several slower (newer) songs. The crowd danced and sang along -- it was silly fun. The Changelings then ended with a nice older drone-oriented piece that gave each band member a brief solo. I was struck by how talented each member is as they riffed off while the rest of the band droned. Really well done.

The Changelings set was the longest that night, and it seemed to drag a bit in the middle, but it ended on a real up note. I gathered that most people were there to see The Changelings, seeing as The Echo cleared out after their set.

Which is a shame, because it meant that most people missed Mira's short but lovely set! There was another long wait while Mira were sound-checked in. During this time period i noticed something very odd about the band: the women (voice and bass) are massively tall, while the men (guitar, guitar, and drums) are quite short. This disparity only makes the females seem even taller -- as if they are two giants on the stage surrounded by their dwarven minions. It was a very odd thing to see -- the little male guitarist having a hard time on his tip-toes reaching for the vocalist's microphone to say something!

It was after 1 AM before Mira started to play. For them, the sound check was worth it because they sounded great right from the start. Basically, Mira are a guitar rock band with lots of distortion. Shoegazer, if you want to use that term.

The guitars were a thick syrupy mix, and over that were laid nice thudding bass riffs and high-pitched girl vocals. I enjoy that sort of stuff, but i know that some people would have been annoyed at the high voice of the vocalist. However, the bass playing was quite nice, as was the guitar work.

I was not really too familiar with their music before tonight, but i thoroughly enjoyed what i heard. I was saddenned that they only played for about 50 minutes. Then again, it was after 2 AM when they finished....

At any rate i will now be on the lookout for this band. A really well done set that could have been even better had it been longer, louder, and earlier! If you like distorted guitars and female voice, check them out as they tour the East Coast later in the summer.

So on the whole, a good night. Three bands with a few akward moments, but also a lot of good music. All three bands are worth checking out if you have the chance.

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