Live Review

Monday, April 27, 2015

Mess-Around 2015 rivaled past years' quality and debauchery

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 10:32 AM

Pissed Jeans whipped a packed house into a frenzy during its first Atlanta appearance.
  • Bobby Moore
  • Pissed Jeans' first Atlanta appearance whipped a packed house into a frenzy.

Another Mess-Around is on the books, and the seventh edition of the annual garage and punk festival rivaled previous years' onstage talent and after hours debauchery. Though the fest is usually viewed as a garage-punk showcase, noise rockers and outside the box punk ruled the night Fri., April, 24, when Pissed Jeans plowed through a headlining set that will go down in Mess-Around lore as a true high mark. A different vibe was in the air Sat., April 25, when the sharp-dressed Flamin' Groovies schooled the packed crowd at the Earl with a rock 'n' roll history lesson. Out of town bands, happy to learn about Cookout's close proximity and late hours, and local punk and garage acts rounded out the lineup, setting the stage for the headliners and making the 529 matinees and Earl nightcaps a worthwhile way to spend a beautiful spring weekend.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Die Antwoord hypnotize the Tabernacle

Posted By on Mon, Apr 6, 2015 at 11:51 AM

  • Perry Julien

On March 25, South Africa's favorite rave-rap trio Die Antwoord brought its gritty, singularly bizarro world to the Tabernacle. It's been five years since Die Antwoord (Afrikaans for "the Answer") exploded onto the Internet based on the strength of its grim-yet-goofy videos. At first, it seemed the trio would blow up and soon be replaced by the next viral sensation. Yet here we are, five years later, and Die Antwoord is three albums deep into its career. And if the sold-out, absolutely ballistic crowd at the Tabernacle is any indication, these viral wunderweirdos have a long life ahead of them.

Die Antwoord's stage setup is barebones, but the trio transforms it into an arena-ready blowout. A large platform with steps on either side covers the stage, adorned with many of the demented squiggly drawings seen throughout the "Enter the Ninja" video. A large screen creates the backdrop where many of the songs' iconic videos are played in tandem with the songs. After waiting for an hour or so, the crowd freaks out when the shirtless, super-muscular DJ Hi-Tek emerges onto the stage.

Hi-Tek is a natural hype man. He gives the crowd what they want. Unfortunately, what the crowd wants kind of sucks. He starts with an ear-piercing sample of "DJ Hi-Tek is gonna fokk you in the ass," played ad nauseam until the crowd hits a fever pitch. It's not the profanity that's annoying, it's that his use of it is somehow seen as edgy or unique when it's just juvenile and uninspired. Thankfully, Die Antwoord's superstars Yolandi and Ninja hit the stage and the real show begins.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Atlanta invades Orlando's Total Punk Total Fuck Off II

Posted By on Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 10:57 AM

Wymyns Prysyn represented Atlanta on Friday night.
  • Bobby Moore
  • Wymyn's Prysyn played Friday night at Will's Pub.

Atlanta's current crop of punk bands, and its working partnership with the Orlando scene, was on full display last weekend (March 27-28) at Total Punk's Total Fuck Off II festival. Uniform, Slugga, Wymyn's Prysyn, and Predator performed and brought some friends along for the ride. Adding to the Atlanta presence was New York's Foster Care, featuring Josh Martin (Carbonas, Beat Beat Beat) on drums. The local contingent were able to see a who's who of gunk punk, ranging from Louisiana and Alabama based Gary Wrong Group to an unlikely appearance by New York garage legend Ned Hayden's Action Swingers.

The heavy Atlanta presence at the festival should come as no surprise, as the local punk scene has numerous ties to Orlando. Slugga, fronted by former Orlando resident Mark Bonner, was hand-delivered its new Total Punk single at the festival. In addition, Total Punk boss Rich Evans is often found around Atlanta, as Predator member and Scavenger of Death co-owner Ryan Bell records Evans' band Golden Pelicans in the basement of band mate and business partner, Greg King. Keep your eyes and ears peeled, as both Predator and Foster Care will have their next record issued by Total Punk later this year.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Death in June brings a legacy of unease to the Earl

Posted By on Thu, Nov 20, 2014 at 5:18 PM

Douglas P. of Death in June plays the maracas.
  • Kate Lamb
  • Douglas P. of Death in June plays the maracas.

Death in June played the Earl Nov. 17. Pyramid Club opened and Miro Snejdr, Herr Lounge Corps, played a few songs on the piano after that. It was Death In June's first time coming back to Georgia in 17 years. A few people were there that saw them 17 years ago, and Douglas took requests from the “old fogies” in the crowd. The group played more than 30 songs including “All Pigs Must Die,” “She Said Destroy,” “Peaceful Snow,” “Runes And Men,” and “Heaven Street” in a greatest hits set that lasted well over an hour.

More photos after the break.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Electric Sons lit up the Tabernacle

Posted By on Thu, Oct 30, 2014 at 10:37 AM

  • Photographer Ashley Cline

Three years together, and with two EPs under their belt, Atlanta boys the Electric Sons took to the Tabernacle's stage Oct. 24 to open for Capital Cities. Vocalist/guitarist Andrew Miller warmly addressed the audience after crushing their first song of the night, the tom-tom and handclap-heavy "Breakaway," saying the experience was "one of the biggest honors of my life."

The quartet lined up close to the stage's lip in crisp, mostly black attire (Electric Sons, if you care to share what black clothing laundry detergent you use, please email me), gracious grins across their mugs. Miller lost his hoodie and gained a Sharpie-scrawled acoustic guitar to kick off "Carry On," a real group sing-along number. Multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Benjamin Richards, Electric Sons' other principal performer, scooted a chevron-printed drum closer to thwap a driving beat, joining drummer Jason Monseur. Surging synths washed over the expanding, enchanted crowd — Chris Ziegler's steady bass acting as an anchor so the group didn’t float away.

The Sons pounded on, arranging delicate keys and vocal layers to craft a quilted dance floor. If any of the four members were nervous that evening, it certainly didn't show. Miller, especially, played his role well — a solid frontman composed of equal parts hometown pride and expertly sculpted pomade.

Five songs into their set, "Revolutionist" conjured more clapping among wild Rufio-esque beats. Almost no free space existed on the floor at this point. Fellow audience members chose their own adventure — some grooving their hips, others finding someone to make out with. A few folks discreetly pulled out vaporizers, and at least one couple eased a small child wearing noise-cancelling headphones onto their shoulders for a better view.

"Daydreamer," a heart-melting cut from their 2012 self-titled EP, set them up to finish with the explosive single "Breathing Electricity." Miller shouted, "Atlanta, make some fucking noise!" before leaping into it. The sound was so enormous and inclusive, for just a moment, the former Baptist church became an open, sun-filled, and completely packed festival scene.

The Sons coasted in for a smooth landing at the end of "Breathing Electricity." There was no sputtering as the dudes bid adieu and left the audience thirsty for more. It's evident the Electric Sons are due for more attention in bigger arenas and from a more expansive fan base. It's not a matter of if, but when.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sharon Van Etten, Tiny Ruins, the Earl, Oct. 20th, 2014

Posted By on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Tiny Ruins. What’s left after a disaster so small it could be mistaken for cute. Little earthquakes produce tiny ruins. An oxy-moron on the aftermath of life, love, and everything else. Tiny Ruins is a tiny trio from Auckland, New Zealand, but the bassist and drummer, sometimes imperceptible while in play, are there in full service to the singer/songwriter/guitarist/story-teller, Hollie Fullbrook, the most perfect folkie name ever. Soft featured, younger-looking than her young age (29), with brown hair past her shoulders, Fullbrook is excruciatingly polite, soft-spoken and thankful throughout the set. Each song is introduced with a brief plot description or inspiration, followed by the title. Each song features a deftly and delicately played acoustic guitar.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Paul McCartney at Philips Arena

Posted By on Sat, Oct 18, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Paul McCartney at Philips Arena.

Check a gallery of more images from Paul McCartney's Oct. 15 show at Philips Arena.

It’s hard to imagine a 20th century musician with more memorable melodies lodged in the collective consciousness than Paul McCartney, and this couldn’t have been more elaborately illustrated than at his Oct. 15 performance at Philips Arena on his “Out There” Tour. Over two and a half hours and 39 songs, Sir Paul took the sold out crowd on a voyage through his immense catalog from early Beatles singles to choice tracks from New. The range of sentiment spread from playful (“All Together Now,” “Obla-di Obla-da”) to classic psychedelia (“Paperback Writer,” “Lovely Rita”), piano ballads (“The Long and Winding Road,” “Let It Be”), gorgeous love songs, (“Maybe I’m Amazed”) deep cuts (“I’ve Just Seen A Face”), and orchestral rock ’n’ roll bombast (“Live and Let Die”).

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Thundercat and Flying Lotus take over the Tabernacle

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Thundercat zoning out in bass heaven - PAUL DEMERRITT
  • Paul DeMerritt
  • Thundercat zoning out in bass heaven

Towering over a swarming crowd, sporting a jacket fit for Freddie Mercury, and wielding his bass like a six-stringed Excalibur, Thundercat yells, "We're home!"

Performing at the Tabernacle on Sat., Oct. 11, both Flying Lotus (affectionally referred to as FlyLo) and touring companion/label mate Thundercat are nearly on the opposite side of home. Both artists hail from Los Angeles, where Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label has etched out a thriving scene for experimental rappers, beatmakers, and musicians. FlyLo manages to find comfort in all three.

Thundercat, on the other hand, is a musician to the bone. That fact is evident within the first few minutes of the ex-Suicidal Tendencies bassist's onslaught of soulful shredding and hypnotic chord changes. Thundercat's style finds an affinity with the breakneck jazz fusion of bass deities like Jaco Pastorius and Stanley Clarke. Even attaining the technical prowess necessary to rip off such legends is a feat in itself, but Thundercat's brand of virtuoso playing sets a new standard for what is possible on the bass and beyond.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Vampire Weekend gets regal at the Fox

Posted By on Tue, May 6, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Vampire Weekend balance on a tricky tightrope in the world of independent music. The group shamelessly wears its Ivy League upbringing for all to see, and it embraces high-status Baroque influences with numerous harpsichord breakdowns. Yet it still manages to be one of the most skilled examples of synthesizing Afrobeat influences without sounding like a watered down King Sunny Ade.

The group's last album, Modern Vampires of the City, topped multiple year-end lists, but somehow Vampire Weekend still gets plastered as poster children of passive cultural appropriation, "avatars of bourgeois lameness," according to the New Yorker. Frontman Ezra Koening couldn't seem to care less. And neither did the screaming masses that packed out the Fox Theatre on May 5.

The NYC-bred foursome performed in probably the most bourgeois fashion imaginable, underneath four gigantic hanging Renaissance-style columns and in front of a Victorian floral background. Yet somewhere in the group's elegant aesthetic lies a subversive lining, first evidenced by its blue collar garage-punk touring buddies, Jacuzzi Boys.

These Miami-born rockers were a truly confusing pick as the group shares next to no similarities with VW, but like true hypemen, it managed to raise the formally dressed audience out of their seats and into a dancing fervor. Its Iggy Pop-wannabee style was captivating as openers, but it's hard to imagine the band sustaining interest through its own full-length set. The problem is that instead of wearing influences on its sleeve, Jacuzzi Boys wears them like a straightjacket, cutting off any chances of breaking free from the typical dive-bar rock idiom that's been pounded into the ground. At least it did a faithful job of filling out its role by bringing all the raucous energy expected of a three-piece rock band.

Roughly a half-hour after the Jacuzzi Boys exited (presumably into its backstage jacuzzis?) Vampire Weekend finally took the stage, but not before at least three mistaken bouts of applause for the forlorn sound guys.

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Arcade Fire lights up Aaron's Amphitheatre

Posted By on Sat, May 3, 2014 at 1:25 PM

THE REFLEKTORS: Bobbleheaded Arcade Fire impostors danced among the crowd.
  • Paul DeMerritt
  • THE REFLEKTORS: Bobbleheaded Arcade Fire impostors danced among the crowd.

Born in the first wave of volatile blog hype, Arcade Fire may have found fame overnight but the group has kept its presence vital with every album. The latest tour finds the Canadian-bred indie giant taking on its most ambitious spectacle yet.

The Butler Brothers and the always-enchanting Regine Chassagne have carved out a reputation for unfettered live energy that has remained consistent from the first intimate bedroom performances to the stadiums and amphitheaters that have become its stomping grounds. The group graced Aaron's Amphitheater on May 2, as part the latest stop of an expansive world tour.

Despite the near-universal acclaim for its latest album, Reflektor, the set appealed to the nostalgia of its most chantable fan favorites, largely avoiding the lesser known gems of its discography. The group established its infectious energy immediately with the dance-friendly "Reflektor," a track coated in producer James Murphy's expert fingerprints. Lead singer Win Butler beamed with liveliness. His enthusiasm guided the crowd's energy, like playing a massive game of Simon Says.

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