Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Atlanta Mess-Around No. 5: A weekend of epic fun in review

Posted By on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Mess-Around dignitaries from the Clone Defects and the Zeros
  • Bobby Moore
  • Mess-Around dignitaries from the Clone Defects and the Zeros
The fifth Atlanta-Mess Around has come and gone, and although no single act stole the show this year, there was never a dull moment. With only three local bands playing, "I'll see them next week, so it's okay to stay on the patio and gossip," excuses were pretty much out the window, meaning that every set was a can't-miss event. Those who stuck it out for what, for many, is a drinking marathon, saw a variety of solid rock 'n' roll, ranging from the polished garage sound of the Ettes to the high-energy party vibe of Las Ardillas to a stellar solo set by one of today's premier songsmiths, Greg Cartwright. Granted, none of the acts seemed as appealing on paper as last year's co-headliners, the Zero Boys and the Carbonas, and the crowd, consisting of more local faces than in past years was somewhat tame. Any slight disappointments were out the window at key moments, like when the Zeros capped off their encore with an amazing cover of the Count Five's "Psychotic Reaction."

There was plenty to cover, but here are some cherry-picked highlights.

Anela and Joey open the festivities with Ghost Bikini.
  • Bobby Moore
  • Anela and Joey open the festivities with Ghost Bikini.

Ghost Bikini, one of the younger garage rock bands in town, opened the festival on Friday afternoon with a show at 529. Atlanta and the Mess-Around are both associated with neo garage rock, and when only cockroaches from other cities are left, they'll probably (wrongly) assume that everyone here borrows their sound from Black Lips. Ghost Bikini is one of the last gangs in town, though, aside from veteran acts that predate the recent garage boom - they're a solid unit, with singer Anela Terzic adding swirling Wurlitzer organ, harmonica, and soulful vocals, as evidenced by Friday's set.

Wild-eyed Vigilante

After solid sets by JP5 and Turf War, mixing album cuts with songs from their recent Converse Rubber Tracks session, early closers Los Vigilantes played a fun, no-frills rock 'n' roll set.

Las Ardillas, guaranteed to brighten your day
  • Bobby Moore
  • Las Ardillas, guaranteed to brighten your day

Wes, left, rocking a George Jones T-shirt.
  • Wes, left, rocking a George Jones t-shirt.

The night show at the Earl started with a bang as Las Ardillas added a modern take on timeless punk rock to the mix. The next two bands, Wax Idols and TV Ghost, are darker post-punk acts led, respectively, by recently wedded couple Hether Fortune and Tim Gick. Natural Child's expanded Family Band lineup followed, embracing Southern musical roots in an unintentional nod to the recently departed George Jones, who was blatantly honored by Wes' wardrobe choice. The Go followed, playing new material instead of earlier, better songs, but still put on a good show. Rounding out the night was the Zeros, knocking out all of their hits like it was 1977.

G.H.B.s Brannon Greene, singing and playing guitar in his loudest, fastest band to date.
  • Bobby Moore
  • G.H.B.'s Brannon Greene, singing and playing guitar in his loudest, fastest band to date.

At this point, Saturday night is a blur. Fortunately, most were in their right mind at 529 when G.H.B. knocked out one of the loudest, most frantic (no pun intended) sets played by longtime bandmates Mike Beavers and Brannon Greene. Cy Barkley, whose band includes Heavy Cream's Mimi Galbierz, is a balls-out, Killed By Death-style punk band that played one of the weekend's best sets. A third straight shot of punk rock came from New York's Foster Care, who brought a caravan of former Atlantans with them.

Hollywood capitalizing on the Duck Dynasty hype
  • Bobby Moore
  • Hollywood capitalizing on the 'Duck Dynasty' craze.

A Giant Dog: Swimsuit Edition

After Mean Jeans' tourmates Hollywood played a fun set of punk-inspired garage rock, A Giant Dog put on one of the weekend's best performances. Lead singer Sabrina, wearing nothing but a black and yellow bathing suit, was pure energy throughout, interacting with the audience and bringing both sass and substance to the stage. Afterwards, the polished and professional Ettes closed out the early show, rounding out what was arguably the best lineup of the weekend.

The nightcap started with two solid young garage bands, Apache Dropout and Ex-Cult, along with the always delightful, energetic pop punk sound of Mean Jeans. From there, it all turned into a drunken mess for those who stuck it out for the record collectors' dream trio of Parting Gifts, Clone Defects, and Dwight Twilley providing the soundtrack for those last few cheap beers or whiskey shots.

Greg Cartwright, 'The Godfather of Garage'

Come Sunday afternoon, broken bodies and empty wallets gathered for one last shindig, a more low-key acoustic affair starring Greg Cartwright. There's nothing quite like good acoustic music when all of your body but your ears needs a rest.

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