August 31, 2011

Smoke That City, Shonali Bhowmik

Filed under: Atlanta music — Frederick Noble @ 1:57 pm Share RSS

It’s a rare show these days that can get me out on a Tuesday night, particularly the week leading up to Labor Day weekend. But I missed Shonali’s other act, Tigers and Monkeys, last time they came through town so I drank plenty of water, took some vitamins and headed for The Earl.

Smoke That City started early to a nearly empty room, probably in part due to the Tuesday night before Labor Day gig and because Hold Steady were at Variety Playhouse. So only a handful of us were there to catch a beautiful, melancholy set of almost Ennio Morricone tunes.

Smoke That City

Smoke That City

Smoke That CityThe lack of a vocalist this time put all the focus on the tunes, rather than any lyrics. There was some old stuff from the Smoke days, and some tunes that were either new or had so much improvisation as to be unrecognizable. Damn good stuff and I wish I had a recording of it.

We skipped Georgia Fireflies to feed our new addiction – Scrabble via smartphone – but hustled back just in time for Shonali’s set.

Shonali Bhowmik

I had avoided doing any advance research on her new material, 100 Oaks Revival, so it would be fresh to my ears but even still it had a familiar sound. Shonali’s voice and style were immediately recognizable. Her backing band wasn’t particularly noteworthy but did a fine job with the material.

Shonali Bhowmik

Shonali Bhowmik

Maybe they weren’t impressed with the meager Atlanta crowd. A few more folks had shown up but the room still felt empty. However, one old fan from way back danced around and professed his love for Shonali, adding some energy to the room.

Shonali Bhowmik

Shonali BhowmikFormer Ultrababyfat bandmate Michelle Dubois made a cameo, singing backup during a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams.

Some tunes were lighter, some were heavier, but they all had that 1990′s “alternative” sound Ultrababyfat did so well. Toward the end of the night they threw in a few new Tigers and Monkeys tunes which were on the harder end of the spectrum, a good way to finish off the set. I couldn’t stick around to see if there was an encore, due to the workaday life, so if you saw something we missed let us know!

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