Another Friday, another concert. I often think Friday concerts are the worst:
you've worked hard all week, you haven't gotten enough sleep, and *poof* you're
supposed to go out and drink and listen to music until the wee hours of the
morning. Now, I've got a fair amount of stamina, but too many weekends of this
will completely wear a person out. So, of course, when do Songs: Ohia play
Atlanta? On the Friday following one of the more hectic weeks of my life.
A somewhat quiet, melancholy performance and I'm supposed to be thrilled to be
out late when I'm sleep deprived?
But it's Songs: Ohia.
And I already have a slight fondness for one of the opening acts (The White
Lights) -- although I've never heard of the other. So, after loading up on way too
much coffee, we head down to the basement of the Eyedrum for yet another
First up were this new act: American Dream. I was somewhat apprehensive when I
saw that their instrumentation included a harp. My fears abated, however, when
they launched into a rambunctious, echoe-y set which reminded me of an unholy
union of the Palace Brothers and The Rock*a*teens. In other words, they fit
right into the Atlanta music scene -- a little too much tremolo, a whole lotta
reverb, and a singer whose grasp of key is tenuous. I really
liked them, and would want to see them again.
As their set ended, the next act -- The White Lights -- took the stage. I
first saw The White Lights at the beginning of the year, when they played a set
consisting almost entirely of Velvet Underground covers. With instruments
including a xylophone and a violin, they were amazingly cool. I've wanted to see
them again to see how they developed.
Unfortunately, as it turned out, they've started to write original material.
Now don't get me wrong -- the musicians who comprise The White Lights are first
rate, and they really know how to play 60s-esque garage rock. However, on this
night, the somewhat poor mix at the Eyedrum (which emphasized the drums and
vocals) combined with the rather derivative songs to seem...uh, how to put
it...atrocious. Scarily enough, as I was watching the White Lights, all I could think about was Malimus's words regarding the 8 track Gorilla: this is time of my life I will never get back.
So, thus far we have one good act and one bad one. We'll call the evening a
draw going into the headliner...and I'm not sure I should have come out.
And then, Songs: Ohia hit the stage. Or rather the man who is Songs: Ohia hit
the stage. And took my breath away. Singing sparse songs with the backing of a
single electric guitar, he brought the ambiance and style of Billy Bragg to his
set. It was stunning, and the crowd seemed to appreciate it, growing silent as
Jason Molina evoked the style of a MidWestern post-rock singer-songwriter and demonstrated an emotion that belied the stark setting. When he
ended, an hour later, I stood there and shook my head, wondering how I ever even
pondered missing this show.
It was a performance not to be missed, and certainly made it worth my while to
come out on a Friday night.