Monday, April 20, 2009

A marathon weekend for music in Atlanta

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2009 at 6:35 PM

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This Saturday turned out to be a monumental day for music in Atlanta.

I hit Record Store Day at Criminal Records around 10 a.m. and was lucky enough to score everything I wanted: Jesus Lizard 7-inch shower curtain pack, check. Slayer 7-inch, Tom Waits live at the Fox Theater 7-inch, Jay Reatard/Sonic Youth 7-inch, Sonic Youth/Beck 7-inch, reissue of the the first Bad Religion EP, reissue of Queen's first EP, a 180 gram LP reissue of Walk Among Us by the Misfits... check, check, check.

When it came time for the moment of truth the man at the cash register asked for two Benjamins to cover my purchases, but it was worth it. Record Store Day comes but once a year, and I had been saving money for weeks in preparation for this. And besides, judging by the high prices that I'm seeing many of these things fetch on e-Bay this morning I think I did the right thing... Just no more record shopping for like a month. Maybe two months.

After performances from Death on Two Wheels and Thy Mighty Contract, the hangover lingering from the All Night Drug Prowling Wolves' show the night before was catching up with me. After eating a life-replenishing burrito from a gigantic box of wrapped, silver burritos from El Myr that had surfaced in the store, it was time to take a nap before getting the party restarted for the screening of I'm Like This Everyday, Mitchell Powers' documentary film about Dalton, GA songwriter Peter Stubb, followed by the premiere of We Fun at the Atlanta Film Festival. The screening was sparsely attended, which could be attributed to several factors. The Dogwood Festival was going at Piedmont Park, which meant that barbarian hordes had descended upon the area and had taken up every parking space within a three mile radius. Record Store Day was still going strong and pulling big crowds, and across town at the Earl Customers, NOBUNNY and Gentleman Jesse were setting up to play. The people of Atlanta were spread very thinly across the city, but mostly I think the real party was at Record Store Day where a lot of folks were drinking during the daylight hours and buying records, thus taking the wind out of their sales for later in the evening and keeping them at home. Or maybe people just don't care about the movie...

After the screening of We Fun it was time to hightail it to East Atlanta to catch a free in-store from Peter Stubb. The crowd was about 20 deep, which felt pretty solid, considering the size of the store. Most of the people in attendance had driven down from the Dalton/Chattanooga area and kind of dominated the scene.

Stubb played an electric guitar and belted out raspy, folkie punk-strummed songs about his ex wife and oral sex and being institutionalized at Atlanta Medical Center, while deflecting a barrage of requests from the crowd. Several of Stubb's people from Dalton were sharing shoebox detail, out of which they were selling homemade dubbed cassettes of Stubb's songs with album titles like Ol' St. Nick, Cutting My Flesh and Worshiping Darlene and From Hell to Victory. Earlier Stubb explained to me that he had spent a few days with his son preparing the tapes to sell them the show for $2 apiece. Each one had a separate but very distinct cut out from a porno magazine of a phone sex line ad glued to the tape cover, which was almost as unsettling as the hot dog tattoo that now adorns Stubb's face.

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As soon as Stubb had left the building I ran across the street to catch NOBUNNY's show at the Earl. There was a good crowd in attendance, but again, on any other night this would have been sold out. NOBUNNY was totally on-point as he ripped through several new songs while throwing glitter in the air, dancing around in a pair of tye-dyed undies and brandishing that oh-so disturbing rabbit mask. The band absolutely tore it up on stage behind him in a show of short, fast rock and roll songs that came head with closing number "I Am A Girlfriend."

Crippled Black Phoenix was firing up down the street at 529 shortly after NOBUNNY wrapped up. The group filled the room with a swirling mass of resonance with eight musicians crammed onto the stage churning out a sound that was as hypnotic as it was gut-wrenching. CPB features members of Mogwai and God Speed You Black Emperor, so by design it is of a similarly atmospheric ilk. As such the sound they created was absolutely epic. It's no surprise that Geoff Barrow from Portishead tapped these guys to release their records via his Invada Records imprint. It was the last night of the group's tour across the states. It was the perfect soundtrack for the end of an epic day in Atlanta. Sadly, like everything else in town, attendance was low. Not sparse, but on any other night, it would have been a fight to get in the door.

(Record Store Day photo by Alan Friedman)

(NOBUNNY photo by Bryan Rackley)

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