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Whale Fall, Barreracudas, The Soulphonics & Ruby Velle, Judi Chicago
The Star Bar

Text and photos by Frederick Noble

I needed a cup o' Joe from Carroll St. Cafe to get me motivated to get out Friday night. Ah, what the heck - throw in a shot of rum to sweeten the mix. The mix of stimulants and depressants, that is...


Then a couple of bowls of chili and a 420, courtesy of Encyclomedia's chili cook off, for more fuel.

By which point I was finally fully functional. Off to The Star Bar where a certain local publication was celebrating their anniversary with a free show including a couple of favorites and a couple of new bands with familiar faces. In the latter category, Whale Fall, with members of Ultrababyfat, Catfight!, and Silent Kids. There was less Catfight! in the sound than the more artful sounds of Silent Kids or Ultrababyfat - the softer end of rock with pop hooks.

Barreracudas also feature familiar faces, more from the garage/punk end of the spectrum of Atlanta's music scene - The Hiss, some of the Men from Gentlemen Jesse, etc. No surprise - it's punky garage rock, and damn good.

Meanwhile, the lonely booking agent quietly slaves away backstage, planning the next show...

I'd seen The Soulphonics & Ruby Velle once or twice before but it had been outdoor festivals or early and I'd enjoyed them but they hadn't really got a hold on me. But in the confines of The Star Bar with a crowd that bounced along the show was fantastic. The band warmed up the crowd a bit, in traditional R&B style.

Then out comes Ruby, all, what, 110lbs of her? Big shoes and a big smile.

But most importantly, that big voice.

They did a long set of originals, then tossed in covers by the likes of James Brown and Otis Redding. Despite the stoic figures appearing in the background of these shots, most of the crowd couldn't stop moving, including Ruby herself. A damn fine show (and a damn fine woman.)

Headliners Judi Chicago set up their heaps of gear, then handed out glowsticks and beach balls and other glowing objects until the room oozed with chemical light, making for some interesting photos.

I'd say, "One of these days I'll stand still at a Judi Chicago show and use flash and actually get some decent pictures." But I know that'll never happen. Their electropunk grooves are just too damn infectious. Of all the bands that night, I took the fewest photos of Judi Chicago because I was too busy dancing around.

Heck of a good show, and I'm glad there were actually people there to see it. Seems like lately every show I expect to be crowded has been half empty. Support your local arts, people!

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