I live for those moments when some band, hammering away on stage, makes the rest of the universe seem irrelevant, as if what they are doing up there and the sounds they are making validates the rest of this sorry planet. Here are some examples from 2007, listed in chronological order, which appears to be my theme this year.
13 January: Mission of Burma
at The EARL
Wondering when they will change their name to "Mission of Myanmar", these guys still can rock your socks off. If you have the chance to see them, do.
16 February: An Epic at Best at The Drunken Unicorn
An Epic at Best are a currently-on-hiatus, piano-driven, post-rock act from Athens. Watching them hammer out Carolina, a song of soaring beauty, is something to see.
10 March: Stinking Lizaveta at Lenny's
I had not really heard of this instrumental three-piece, but they came on stage at Lenny's with crazy hair and rocked the heck out of the club. They are a phenomenal live act.
15 March: The Horrors at SXSW
For a completely random act that Tracers chose just based on their name, The Horrors were rollicking good fun. I bet these guys would go over very well at Lenny's!
17 March: My Latest Novel at SXSW
One of my favorite new bands for 2006, i was very grateful for the chance to see them. And they delivered, in spades. This was a set of amazing beauty, but i have to say that seeing them perform Sister Sneaker, Sister Soul was so lovely it sent chills up my spine, as Tracers would say. I wish they could make the trek from Scotland more often...
24 March: Say Hi to Your Mom at The EARL
Bands with names that seem like in-jokes don't often work so well. (Gringo Starr, anyone?) However, this band makes silly, catchy songs that you just can't help but dance to. I fell in love with the band when they played She Just Happens to Date the Prince of Darkness, and will now recommend them to everyone i know.
12 April: Parts and Labor at The EARL
After catching a few songs at SXSW in 2005, i have long sought to see a full set by this act. I finally caught them, and they are doing some interesting things. A lot of their music is noisy, but there is a certain catchiness to them that is engaging.
14 June: Maserati at The EARL
I had not heard their epic new album by this point, but Maserati walked on stage,
painfully late on a work night, as they always do, and filled The EARL with
waves of rhythm. Their new drummer is amazing to watch.
23 June: Beat the Devil and The Rosebuds
Beat the Devil were a welcome surprise, a strange band with a tiny Indian woman working a harmonium and belting out music almost like a soul singer. The Rosebuds, now grown to a full band and not a duo, really impressed as well. The disco of their latest record came across wonderfully on stage. This was a night of silly dancing, and was much welcomed.
21 June: Jupiter Watts at A Capella Books
I was intrigued when Jupiter Watts told me that they were going to put on "an ambient show" in the middle of the afternoon at a book store in Little Five Points. Well, they managed to pull this off wonderfully. Their normally catchy, mid-tempoed indie pop tunes were slowed down, and the store echoed with reverberations of guitar, keys, and voice. I wish they would record their songs this way. I would love to listen to this stuff over and over again.
13 July: Canada during Corndogorama at Lenny's
An unknown two-cello band played a set of post-rock that incorporated the playfulness of Tilly and the Wall. Brilliant!
14 July: Winter Sounds during Corndogorama at Lenny's
A local act that i wasn't too familiar with, Winter Sounds rocked the middle of the day crowd at Corndogorama. This set was truly intense.
3 August: Parade, The Yum Yum Tree, and Club Awesome at Lenny's
Three local acts put on wonderful sets. Shows like this are why i and stand in dark, smoky clubs watching locals pound away at their guitars. Every once in a while, everything clicks. Tonight, all three bands were on, and it was a fun night.
7 September: Lay Down Mains and All Night Drug Prowling Wolves during The Other Sound Festival at The EARL
Just to keep your sanity, occasionally you need to see a punk band and just bounce up and down (pogo in your head, everyone!) like a fool. Lay Down Mains brought mid-80s hardcore, while All Night Drug Prowling Wolves played a more-melodic, Social D version of punk. Great stuff.
8 September: Novelift during The Other Sound Festival at Lenny's
At first i was intrigued by this Nashvillain band's odd gear, but it was the aching beauty of their songs that grabbed me. I remember standing there, entranced, as they played. A wonderful band that needs to come back on tour, soon and often.
9 September: Tenth to the Moon during The Other Sound Festival at The 11:11 Teahouse
This wasn't the best concert-going night ever, but Tenth to the Moon brought the noise. They tore into a tight set of crazy, deeply-rhythmic, no wave, and terrified the crowd by running around covered in paint. It was mayhem, but it was enjoyable mayhem.
21 September: Mahogany at The Bowery Ballroom
I was in New York on vacation, and went to see a show with a bunch of friends. All four bands put on enjoyable sets (the others being Soundpool, Elika, and Ulrich Schnauss), but Mahogany stole the show. I have been a fan for years, but they are not a productive band, nor do they tour. Traveling to see them was really the only way i could catch them in concert. And they delivered, playing music off of their latest record with passion and precision.
11 October: The Octopus Project at The Drunken Unicorn
For a crazy electroclash band that features, on many songs, lead Theremin, The Octopus Project do a remarkable job. Another band that i will see every time i have the chance. They never disappoint.
19 October: Film School at The EARL
I loved Hideout, and was really glad to see that they pulled it off live remarkably well. The band seemed to be having a lot of fun too, which really made this show stand out.
26 October: Great Northern at The EARL
I reviewed this show and their record, but i cannot state enough how lovely they were in concert. I will jump at any chance to see this band perform again.
9 November: The Pipettes at Vinyl
I love old girl-band pop, and Tracers took me to this show for my birthday.
We saw The Pipettes at SXSW as well, but seeing them at Vinyl was really special.
This music is simply fun, and well done at that.
7 December: Charles Walker and the Dynamites at The EARL
Local concert promoter Alex Weiss has been encouraging me to see Mr. Walker for a few years now, and i finally did catch a show. If you like that old rhythm and blues, this is a must see. Mr. Walker is a wonderful, dynamic performer, and his band does that old type of music remarkably well. I look forward to the next time he comes around on tour.
15 December: The Happenstance at The EARL
This is a local tradition -- Atlanta-area musicians team up to form random, temporary bands, and work all day to put together a set of songs. Some of them are great, and some of them are okay. This year's Happenstance was worth it just to see the otherwise serious and somber Michael Bradley cover Stayin' Alive.