As i pulled up to park at the venue, some heavy metal band playing outside in the neighborhood introduced the song they were about to play as "Jesus Was a Faggot". And then proceeded to scream and thrash at their instruments. I have no idea what these people looked like, but they were a little loud.
You see, this was also the Saturday of The East Atlanta Strut, a sort of street festival. I have been to The Strut in years past, and it can be a fun time. They had no one interesting on the music lineup this year, so i skipped the day part of the event and just showed up at The EARL for the evening show. I don’t think this show was really associated with The Strut at all. Just a coincidence then.
Anyway, despite the crowd in the front of the bar and on the street, the main music room of The EARL was empty when i arrived. I easily found Inspector Jason, who was the only non-musician non-employee standing about. We stood chatting for about 10 minutes, during which people steadily came into the club. And then, at 10:20, Twin Tigers took the stage.
This was my second time seeing this band, the first being at this year's Corndog-o-rama. Apparently i did not see the regular lineup of the band at that event, as the tiny female drummer was gone, replaced tonight with the bands regular drummer. Oh well.
They proceeded to play a short , yet sweet set. I am not too familiar with their catalog, as of yet, but from where i was standing i could see the setlist that sat on the floor between vocalist/guitarist Matthew and bassist Aimee. So it may seem as if i know what i am talking about here.
Matthew sings for Twin Tigers.
The first two songs were noisy poptunes. In fact, i had just seen Mogwai five days before this show, and Twin Tigers were easily much louder than Mogwai. Granted, i was only 3 feet from Twin Tigers, while i was about 60 feet from Mogwai's amp stacks… Anyway, these were loud fast tunes heavy on the distortion.
On track three, though, something seemed to gel. I am not sure if things got turned down just a hair or if i had adjusted to the volume, but on the third song i heard waves of melody through the noise. Suddenly, on a song called No Tomorrow, they sounded like The Chameleons. It was all wobbly bass, clipped vocals, echoed guitar, and plodding drum. Nicely done.
Twin Tigers, A Storm In Athens.
They followed this up with a tune that i was unable to read the name of, but which really sounded like an outtake from A Storm In Heaven. This was Verve-ish-ness of the highest order, in which the bass drove the melody along, while the two guitars whirred and danced in layers of distortion.
The next tune was called New New on the setlist, and this really sounded like an Echo and the Bunnymen tune. Matthew was singing from the lower end of his range, and he can really carry a tune when he tries. Meanwhile the guitars were lightly echoed, and the rhythm section really thundered along.
And then, just to make everything right, Twin Tigers ended with an actual cover. They did The Forest (which i happen to know is Inspector Jason's all-time favorite song), and they did it well. Aimee really captured the bass riff, and the two guitarists tried their best to replicate both Robert Smith and Lol Tolhurst. It was a good cover, and you can tell that the band was having fun playing it.
I'm running towards nothing, again and again and again ...
Overall, i was impressed. Twin Tigers have some talent, and hopefully we will be hearing more from these Athenians.
After Twin Tigers loaded out, The EARL continued to fill up. In fact, it got rather packed as the next band set up. And set up. And tweaked their gear. And set up some more. And, seemingly, stood around doing nothing. At one point someone in the crowd near me yelled, "Play some music already!", but this did not influence the band. They continued to wait for some unseen signal, and then they finally started to play.
The band was called Wax Fang, and they were from Louisville. The band was a three-piece power trio, and they had a fog machine. And let's face it, fog machines are pretty cool.
Their music, however, was not cool. Imagine if Ben Folds Five decided to become a Rush tribute band, and they tried to play complex Canadian Prog Metal, while still being poppy and kind of quirky. That is Wax Fang for you -- quirky prog with vaguely catchy rhythms. Oh, and every song followed the same formula: a little sampler bit, then a section where the whole band plays and the guitarist sings, then a long instrumental jam to end the song. Lather, rinse, repeat. Every song was like that…
Wax Fang prog it up.
I got bored rather quickly, and Wax Fang seemed to play forever! The really only played for about 45 minutes, but as Einstein demonstrated in his theory of general relatively, seeing a dull band play is the equivalent of travelling near the speed of light, and time seems to slow down… Curse Wax Fang's crappy music and their relativistic time distortion!
Eventually they cleared out, and Dead Confederate took the stage. Dead Confederate are a band from Athens who got a lot of hype at this year's South by SouthWest. I was unable to catch them there (i blame the power outage at the Light Bar!), but i did later download an excellent performance wherein Dead Confederate played an entire set of Sonic Youth covers. (The set is available on Southern Shelter if you are interested.) They even did a good job with The Diamond Sea, a song which seems hard to me because it lasts about three years… Anyway, i was curious to see them live.
Dead Confederate dressed largely in white for this performance.
The band is a five-piece ensemble with two guitarists and a keyboardist. They played on a darkened stage that was lit only from lights on the ground, which made it really hard to get photos, but did make the whole event seem kind of otherworldly.
What the Dead Confederate performance looked like from the middle of the crowd.
And they played brilliantly. Dead Confederate are a classic shoegaze band, with layers of distorted guitar. There were elements of Adorable, The Chameleons, Verve, and My Bloody Valentine all prominently featured. The echo positively dripped off of the ceiling. The voice was kind of buried in the mix and in general seemed kind of mopey and subdued. The rhythms were powerful -- their drummer really pounded his kit. I must complain that the keyboards were lost in the mix, but that often happens with live performances.
Dead Confederate thrashed around a good bit.
I thought it was great, and even though some of the numbers in the middle of their 50 minute set seemed to drag (especially the longish jam that they did…), on the whole they held my interest. I was glad to see so many people at The EARL really getting in to it. Maybe Atlanta/Athens is finally on the verge of having a real shoegazer scene! (We are about 15 years behind everyone else, so i guess that's right…) Well, i for one could not be happier.
Dead Confederate had a funky logo on their drum.
Dead Confederate were excellent, and i heartily endorse their live show. If you are a fan of old shoegaze, go check these boys from Athens out. You will not be disappointed.