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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Faun and A Pan Flute plays the Benefit for 'Hot Young Female Cyclist'

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Atlanta is teeming with bands that push and pull at each other, all trying to improve upon their raw talents, while impressing their friends, and mostly their friendly competitors. I'm lucky enough to play in a few of these bands - Carnivores, Christ, Lord, Perfect High Fives Every Time - and the list of other bands that flip me out is ridiculously long as well: Babar, Red Sea, deadCAT, Ruination, Jack Preston, Frankie Broyles, everything Bradford Cox does, Adron, the Coat Hangers, Hello Ocho, Social Studies, Lily and the Tigers, Wow Bow and ... and and ...

Moving it's way through this Atlanta noise symphony is Faun and A Pan Flute, a magnetic wrecking ball of a band, smashin' and slicin' up all this goodness and grabbing onto its bits and pieces. Noises, melodies, beats. Everything that slides by goes crashing onto their practice room floor, bebopping down and around in a dancey, off beat cacophony. On top of the wrecking ball, swinging through all the madness is Suzanne Baker, a lone voice in a wilderness of dudes bashing, bleating, and noodling away. It's perfect chaos in Atlanta's canyon of psychedelic guitars, folk strumming, laptops, and hip-hop ragers, and they're working on best band in the city honors. There are ten members, at least, and they're insane.

I saw Faun and A Pan Flute before they were ear-meltingly good. Never bad, just more of a re-hash of their older bands. But instead of staying static, the group started tearing at the seams of their songs, stomping all over 4/4, yelling in all the wrong/right places, and getting weirder and weirder, writing songs that make you want to move. Drummers, percussionists, vocals, keys, and horns were added. Not blindly, stacking all these parts on top of each other, higher and higher like a drinking Jenga tower swaying in a bad party haze, tearing and twisting at each piece so it all fits together; a beautiful moving puzzle on stage.

The back and forth of the group's instruments is the culmination of an incredibly tight band, propelling Suzanne Baker, the group's one vocalist with a mic. She's a little lady singing breezily and barefoot dancing along. If you saw her in White Light Forest Choir (RIP) or the Back Pockets (maybe RIP?) you know she can sing, even if her voice was occasionally lost in the lunatic yelp of Britt Teusink or the "I'm The Mama Bear" howls of Emily Kempf. Within Faun, her voice has grown to rise above and hold together the tempest and the fray, perfectly matching and complementing both the band and her boundless stage energy.

I've seen them catch 600 Reptar fans off guard at the Goat Farm. Watched them make mommas shimmy their baby carriages at Artlantis. And witnessed them whip filled-to-capacity rooms at the Office and the Cottage into a frenzy, dancing in time signatures that nobody totally understands.

Your next chance to foxtrot in 7/8 is at a fundraiser show for our hometown's best sound guy's sweetheart, Jessica Su, this Thursday, November 29 at the Earl when they headline the Benefit for Hot Young Female Cyclist. CONFLICT OF INTEREST! I'm playing that show, too, but that's not why I wrote this. I wrote this 'cause we all need a band that make us smile from being at a great show - a band that gets us to knock around and improve our own bands as well.

Faun and a Pan Flute plays the Benefit for Hot Young Female Cyclist with Christ, Lord and Spirit Temple at the Earl on Thursday, November 29. $5. 8:30 p.m. 488 Flat Shoals Ave. 404-522-3950.

Billy Mitchell is a fella who, even after three years, still feels brand new to Georgia. He plays drums in the band Carnivores, and elsewhere around town - in basements, bars, fancy restaurants, and living room floors - and tries to experience all that Atlanta has to offer. He loves the friends he's met, the veggies he's grown, and the music he's played.

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