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  THE PLASTIC PLAN w/ Potomoc Accord and Chinaski  
  The Earl  
  East Atlanta, GA  
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The Plastic Plan were to be no more. That alone is enough to drag myself (and other minions) out of the house. Without relying on reverb or focusing on clever lyrics (hell, without lyrics at all), they were a band that offered something different to the Atlanta indie music scene. And after playing this one last show, they were going to disband. That's sort of saddening.

But before The Plastic Plan could play, there were two opening bands. Usually in Atlanta, opening bands play to half-empty rooms where people are more focused on chatting with their friends than listening to music. But the first band, Chinaski, were playing to a definite crowd, most of whom were apparently friends of this band. The kindest thing one can say about Chinaski is that some of their music is catchy at times. However, most of it comes across as the half-formed ideas of an emo-wannabe. Like all good emo, they mix it up with the time signatures and carry the melody on the bass. But with the extraneous changes in tempo and occasional guitar meltdown, the entire effect was one of an under-rehearsed garage group. Furthermore, the shortness of their set (although a relief for me) indicated a lack of material which suggest that perhaps this band wasn't ready for public . But luckily, they were gone in 25 minutes, and we were one step closer to the headliner.

I had never heard of the next band, Potomac Accord. Based on their name, and the slightly punked out crowd that had gathered in The Earl, I thought that perhaps they were some Fugazi-ed out D.C. act. But I was quite wrong, and pleasantly surprised. Instead, Potomac Accord are this somewhat mellow 3 piece from St. Louis. The main singer/songwriter (who alternated between playing piano and guitar) constructed melodies reminiscent of Eric Bachmann (in his more introspective moments). I'm not sure they belonged on this bill; their songs were a little slow and a little dark compared to the previous act. Yet they were impressive and, at times, they were quite beautiful. Overall, I enjoyed their set.

Finally, The Plastic Plan took the stage. Although I don't have any of their recordings, and I've only seen this band a couple of times, their songs were immediately familiar. With chirping and trilling on the keyboards and strong new wave basswork, the Plastic Plan constructs music that's equal parts Devo and The Jody Grind. This is all headed up by the precisely maniacal drumming of Colin English, formerly of the late lamented Toenut. After each song, the band would engage in a little playful banter with the crowd and then launch back into yet another catchy little electronic tune. Unlike some of the audience, I didn't dance, but that was because I was glancing back and forth between the three musicians, watching the incredible technically proficiency demonstrated by each one.

And perhaps that's my biggest complaint about The Plastic Plan. Yes, they are amazing musicians. Yes, their songs are incredibly crafted and constructed. Yes, everything moves along with accuracy and execution. But ultimately their songs have no soul -- there is nothing to grab you and pull you into the music so that the musicians themselves are irrelevant. It's something that many people wouldn't mind, but it's a small thing that nags at me whenever I watch The Plastic Plan.

Still, as I've said before, they were definitely one of the more original bands in Atlanta. They always put on an excellent show, and this last one was no exceptions. The Plastic Plan are no more, and they will be missed.

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