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Living Rooms, The Balkans, The Carnivores

Text and photos by Frederick Noble

Degenerate JH shares his birthday with May Day, so we started the evening off at The Porter to satisfy his beer fetish. I'm still underwhelmed by the place, mostly because of the prices, but they do have an amazing selection of brews. Afterwards, we stepped out just in time for yet another storm and decided to leave the birthday revelers to party on while we headed south to East Atlanta Village and 529.

The opening act was on stage as we arrived. If my notes are correct, they call themselves Living Rooms. We soon dubbed them "Deerhunter Junior." They play the similar atmospheric unintelligible nearly monotone crap, almost entirely on synthesizers and noise machines, minus the chaos that makes Deerhunter almost tolerable. But they're kids, they have plenty of time to evolve.

529's LED lighting changes the mood of the room every few seconds. It makes for challenging photography for those of us who try to avoid using a flash. So pardon the pop-art color shifts of my pictures.

Next on stage, another batch of fresh faces, The Balkans, or maybe just "Balkans." They started out with precise, Oxford Collapse energetic rock, all with introspective Joy Division qualities - fine stuff.

Then they slowly degenerated into Sonic Youth noise and chaos, perfectly in synch with my rising blood alcohol level.

Band members traded instruments a couple of times and a couple of the guys were having so much fun they pushed backward off the stage into the crowd. This inspired some of the younger fans to attempt to get a mosh pit going. (529's auditorium is about the size of the average American living room, so people that don't want to partake in violence, however controlled, don't have much choice other than to flee the room.) The aforementioned energetic fan was joined by the lead "singer" of Living Rooms who proceeded to put an elbow directly into my ribs. The kid weighs all of 90 pounds but it's all bones and angles so it fucking hurt. My instincts kicked in and I gave the kid a little push. It was like kicking an empty Styrofoam cooler. The guy sailed through the air, onto the stage, through the mike stand into a heap against an amp. He was pulled to his feet by some helpful bystanders while staring at me in shock. I reached out my hand to apologize but the kid was still too stunned. Later he would purposefully bump into me at every opportunity and dance just a little too close. I just grinned, thinking to myself, "If I hadn't been you at age 19 I'd probably kick your ass right now." So if you're reading this, kid, I'm sorry I punted you like the Chihuahua you are. (And no, my review of your band isn't personal, I wrote it before The Balkans even went on.)

Speaking of, The Balkans are fantastic and I'm looking forward to seeing them again.

Next up, The Carnivores, celebrating their album release. We'd seen them before but tonight they were a bit sloppier, noisier, perhaps drunker. It didn't make them less fun, just less precise.

Energetic, sometimes danceable, punchy garage rock with (this night, at least) a fair amount of noise cluttering things up. Fun to watch too, all cute and clearly having a good time.

The set was disappointingly short. Either the band had done all the tunes they knew or 529 tends to start and end a bit earlier than other clubs around town. I suspect the latter, so if you're a late night owl you'd better get there sooner than later.

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