Half-brained history lesson 

The Swimming Pool Q's and the Brains

Old scenesters fondly remember that the Swimming Pool Q's and the Brains were contemporaries on the late '70s/early '80s Atlanta music landscape. Both of the quirky pop combos sprang from the fertile Brookhaven area that also served as home base to the Satellites and the Glenn Phillips Band. All of these acts went on to national acclaim, with the Brains signing to Mercury for two releases produced by Steve Lillywhite (U2, XTC) and the Q's recording for both A&M and Capitol.

As the '80s faded, the Brains drifted apart, with keyboardist/vocalist Tom Gray providing material for Cyndi Lauper and eventually forming the successful blues band Delta Moon. Meanwhile, the Q's continued to soldier on, releasing a string of well-received albums, with a new one tentatively titled Suddenly Not Yet in progress.

"On our last one [2003's Royal Academy Of Reality], we had several special guests, including Tom Gray," says sartorial singer/guitarist Jeff Calder. Last year, the Q's backed Gray on a version of "Money Changes Everything" at the Wax 'N' Facts anniversary show at the Variety Playhouse. "We'd talked about playing together for years it seems and [the Variety show] was great fun."

This Saturday night, music fans will get a dash of local music history as Gray joins original Brains' drummer Charles Wolf and the rest of the Q's, along with bassist J.E. Garnett, as they revisit the best of the Brains' catalog. "We're planning six songs with Tom, in the middle of the set," Calder promises. "It's old songs, new songs; just a gathering of old friends."

The Swimming Pool Q's and Tom Gray will appear at Club 29 on Sat., Jan. 27. Local '80s faves The Downtown Executives scheduled to open at 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.club29atl.com.

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