That kind of devotion is fleeting by nature -- fans marry and make babies, nights out become nights in, bands fall apart more often than not. Because anything can change and always does, part of falling for a band is knowing somewhere that it might be over any minute.
For Hollyfaith, who reunited at Smith's Olde Bar Saturday, it was over in the mid-'90s after a few releases and a record deal that went south. Band members have since moved on to what singer Rob Aldridge called "real lives." After that much time, you might doubt a band -- even once-beloved -- could still draw a crowd.
You'd be wrong. Saturday's sold-out lovefest testified to Hollyfaith's lasting power. Free from having anything to prove, the band used the one-time-only gig to revisit the time of their lives. Without the pressure of larger agendas, anything was free to happen. From the first, evil-dripping chords of The Beatles' "I Want You (She's So Heavy)," clearly all bets were off.
At the first sight of Aldridge, a woman in the front row said to her boyfriend, "Oh, he looks so much older." But as that crushingly powerful voice came out of Aldridge's mouth, she shut up. Sure, there were fewer inches to his once-dangling yellow hair -- and maybe a few more inches around his middle -- but there was no arguing with the star power that remains.
Aldridge on stage is a lightning rod -- wickedly exciting, magnetic, spooky -- some current seems to come down through him, rather than from him. A professional with his own snarky sexuality, Aldridge ran his hands over his chest and hips, focusing everyone on the raw energy rising into a frenzy in the room. In "Watching, Waiting, Turning," from 1993's Purr, the band sang, "Watching for the source/Waiting for the source/Turning to the source," but it was clear by then that the source had already been tapped.
The band was feeling it, too. No one could quit smiling, Aldridge least of all. Despite the time that had passed, it was evident bandmates David Franklin, Kevin Morrison and Jeff Warncke have all remained well-attuned to one another, getting off on both the remembered music and the inherent moment-ness of the moment.
Aldridge, whose real life now centers on his Decatur barbecue joint Rockin' Rob's, could not have been having a better time. "Wow, wow, wow," he said, laughing, bending again and again to squeeze the grasping female hands of the front row.
"Tell you what," he said. "It is really, really, really, really nice to see y'all again. And you know what else? We are really, really, really, really old. And we are not here to play these songs -- we're here to see our friends.
"Hey, how about this: How many people got babysitters tonight?" he continued. "We know you had to, you bastards. Now, how many of you have to be home in, what, 10 minutes? OK, now follow me here," he said. "Ten minutes? Fuck you!" The crowd gave it back to him, perfectly, as one.
Aldridge smirked. "Yeah," he said. "I still got it."
ooooohhhh, I'm so excited!! I can't wait to see them together!
come on man you know you got a bromance. you probably still rock that OutKast…
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