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Friday I hit Echo Lounge early to catch the opening act, The X-Impossibles. We'd skipped their set last week so I was glad to catch them. The usual heavy/hard/slightly punky stuff with marvelous lead guitar. Unfortunately the mixing was off for most of the set, drowning out the vocals. But the band worked hard for the small, early crowd.
The Evils followed, the lead singer with his head shaved and eye liner reminding me of Rob Halford, former lead singer of Judas Priest. The image wasn't the only thing reminding me Priest - the loud, fast, dark and heavy metallic sound shared a lot in common with just about any band of that genre. It's straight up heavy metal, so if you haven't gotten your fix lately The Evils can stave of the DT's. The crowd, which had grown substantially, enjoyed it.
But frankly I have to try hard to remember either opening act's set. The memory was nearly blown away by the headliner, Nashville Pussy. There is no act I'd rather see at Chastain Park. I can just see the wine-drinking candelabra-lighting picnicking yuppies fleeing the park in terror while the neighbors call for a SWAT unit. In this fantasy of mine a police van shows up and instead of a horde of police in riot gear it's GWAR wading through the fleeing masses, spraying fake blood and laughing demonically.
But I doubt you're reading this to hear me rant about Chastain Park. Back to the Echo Lounge, where during my fantasy The Evils' equipment has all been cleared off and the stage is set for the headliner.
Ruyter Suys came out in a pair of skin tight red leather pants looking like a Valkyrie with a guitar for a sword. Tracy Almazan picked up the bass and took her place in the corner with a little sneer. In the back Jeremy Thompson sat behind a drum kit that is entirely hidden due to Echo's horrible backlighting. Blaine Cartright came out and whipped off his hat, his shoulder-length black hair already plastered down with sweat, his bald spot gleaming as he stepped up to take the mike and growled out a few words before they unleashed an avalanche of rock. Big, huge, granite boulders of rock with polished edges and sharp spikes. Bone crushing rock with veins of southeastern heavy metals. Basically a redneck Motorhead with a pair of absolutely luscious women on bass and guitar. And as much as I enjoy watching a girl whip off her shirt then grind her red leather covered crotch against the monitor a few feet from my face, it's really all about the music.
Even when Blaine walked over and poured half a bottle of beer down Ruyter's cleavage then she proceeded to deep throat the bottle, you couldn't help but listen to the guitar solo she played that wickedly matched her movements.
And even when both she and Tracy stepped up on the speakers at the edge of the stage to do high kicks, you couldn't help but be blown away by Blaine's thundering vocals.
And on and on it went. Just when you thought they couldn't produce more energy and the song had to be the grand finale, the next one would stomp the previous down, ascending to another pinnacle.
By the time it was over the crowd was stunned. I turned asked a degenerate when his band was gonna put on a show like that.
He paused while I laughed, then added "If I knew how, we would."
We both shook our heads, deafened and battered after such a performance, and wandered on to the Star Bar, just in time for Greasepaint's final song. The clowns were crooning out odd versions of vaguely familiar tunes, the monkey girls were doing the money dance, and the crowd seemed to be a mix of amused and bemused. But then it was all over and only the regulars lurked around after. I chatted with the usual crowd then shuffled home sometime after 3.
We got this from Catfight! regarding last episode:
"Thanks for the kind words! Our new drummer's name is Susanne, though. Barb
is the bass player for Lust and Susanne is the guitar player. So close!"
Sunday it was the monthly Mondo Movie at Starlight Drive In. I'm proud to say the Thunderbird finally got there! I was hoping to get there early enough for a spot on the front row but by 8 the Mondo lot was already filling so I had to settle for a spot on the edge of the second row where a few guys came over to admire the machine. She still needs a bit of work - she's got a tapping valve, kinda stinks, and needs some AC/heat work, but she runs on a daily basis and I get comments like this:
"Can I touch it?" - a girl in the parking lot at Echo Lounge.
"You wanna trade?" - a policeman in his cop car on North Ave.
"Wow. You shouldn't be driving that thing, it's a classic!" - parking lot attendant at work.
"Why don't you get something newer with a few miles on it, you know, reliable?" - my stepfather. (If my stepfather doesn't approve it must be good. He has a tough time understanding the idea that some things are just a joy to own/do and are worth a little extra money/time/effort even if the utility/convenience/cost isn't as great as other, less enjoyable options.)
This month's Mondo Movie kicked off with She Freak, the tale of a woman determined to get out of her small town dead end job. When the carnival comes to town she jumps on the bandwagon, or in the back of the hired help's wagon, and eventually marries the manager of the freak show. It's dull, with lots of footage of the carnival setting up and taking down tents. No, I mean LOTS. At least half the film is the same tent being put up and taken down. But at least it had a plot, some dialogue and a climax, a vast improvement over Two Lane Blacktop.
Last episode generated a response on the Bully home page:
This begged a response from yours truly so here we go:
> "Who said that "The Other Band" had an exclusive right to Elvis in Atlanta? If you want to know why he's not playing ask him, and whatever he tells you, ask someone else for the truth. I assure you they will be vastly different and only one is telling the real story.
Slam Bitch? No way. They have worked harder on this Elvis Tribute then "The Other Band" ever worked at it. You've been listening to the same Elvis songs for the last 5 or 6 years thinking that was all there was to it. There were plenty of others (musicians, singers, songwriters ... people) who respected and loved Elvis as much as the next guy and because of some fucked up personification of Elvis that everyone felt "The Other Band" had, you worship them like Christ.
Things change. This is for the better."
I agree that things change. It's necessary, whether it's for the better or not, particularly in art. But I didn't say change was bad. I didn't say "the other band" should have exclusive rights to Elvis Death Day. Nor did I slam Bitch. In fact, what I said was "I'm not saying change is bad, I ain't even seen Bitch yet, but goddamn that Kingsized show was awesome every year."
(I don't mind being quoted in an argument, but get it all out there.)
And I DO worship Kingsized like Christ - but then I'm an atheist and merely find the life and tales of Christ inspiring and moving. So I don't really worship either Christ or Kingsized, but I do find them both a heck of a lot of fun.
"Jesus is just alright with me" the song says.
Apparently a lot of other folks agree with me on both Christ and Kingsized. The church of rock that is the Star Bar was filled to capacity every time Kingsized got up on the pulpit for good reason. I'm interested to see what Bitch and others might do with this night, but I'll miss the rituals of the last many years. So be it.
But back to your argument:
>"Elvis was Rock-n-Roll. Rock-n-Roll was about pissing off your parents and getting people agitated. Not some lethargic, old peoples, my watch stopped in '77, I really liked it when he gives out scarves to the audience, kind of attitude.
Remember, if your over 30 you don't understand Rock-n-Roll.
If it pisses you off, it must be good.
Rock isn't dead, You Are.
(Just for the record, I'm over 30)
And, it's all about having fun anyway, did you forget?"
Make your mind up - is rock about pissing people off, or having fun? Or are you incapable of separating the two?
I'm sick to death of people saying "If it pisses off anyone over 30 it must be good." Bullshit. Mediocrity pisses me off. A lack of talent pisses me off. Brittany Spears pisses me off. But I wouldn't dare say she must be good, except maybe as a fuck.
This whole "it should piss your parents off" mentality needs to die. Sure, Elvis pissed off conservative parents. Then hippie music. Then punk. Metal has been in there several times, then rap, then rap metal - but in the drive to piss off the parents artists have finally approached the point where it's not about the art, which coincidentally pisses off parents, but solely about pissing off the parents, letting the art take a back seat. Elvis didn't shake those hips to scare mom, he shook those hips because he FELT it. Did Brittany wear the little school girl outfit and prance around like a stripper because she felt like a whore? How much of Eminem's anger is really angry? How much Marlyn Manson satanic posing is actually just posture? This is all about style over substance. "Let's be controversial to sell records, it's worked in rock for almost 50 years so it'll work this year!"
Sure, it works. Teens are looking for something to piss off parents, it's an instinct driven by hormone fuel that can't be denied. But just because I think it sucks, and I happen to be over 30, doesn't mean it DOESN'T.
But let's get back to the topic that started this diatribe in the first place, the death of rock in Atlanta.
I did my best to point out its cyclical nature and the fact that there are still gems out there, but finding something worth watching any night of the week is getting tough. Half the venues in town don't even have live music for the first half the week these days. Why, because all us over 30 people are pissed off due to all the good stuff in the clubs?
There's just not as incredible a supply of good stuff to go see as there was 2 years ago, a streak that Atlanta enjoyed since before I moved here in '89 - a fine run.
But merely the fact that after I made this claim I only got ONE opposing opinion says something.
At least I HOPE it's just a cyclical downturn. But I must say I have a fear that my generation is the last one to appreciate live music played in person by people holding their own instruments. I fear my generation is too, married, having kids, jobs, etc. to be galavanting around at a club at midnight on a Wednesday waiting for the first act to go on stage.
"I used to rock and roll every night. Then it was every other night. Now I'm lucky if I find half a hour a week in which to get funky."
I fear that the younger and upcoming generations consider "live" music to be a guy with a stack of records and two turntables. While I have respect for the DJ art and culture, I fear what it may be doing to the live music art and culture.
But hey, if I'm scared of it, it must be good, right?
So, Bully, get a couple of turntables and throw away your guitar and maybe I'll learn to fear you. THEN, since I'm scared and pissed off, you'll be good, right? Until then I'll keep on rockin' and hope that the Atlanta music scene turns around before I turn away, as so many others have.
Atlanta was, for over a decade, one of the best places to catch a talented act any night of the week.
But things change - for better or worse.
Postscript: I ran into Mr. Bully the other night and discussed this with him briefly and he said something like "Yeah, a friend of mine was bitching me out about that response and telling me I said the same thing three months ago..." So even the sole dissenting voice apparently has mixed feelings on the issue, at best. Anyone else got an opinion, or are you also too busy to speak up, much less go out and support the scene?
Yeah, that's what I thought...
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