July 25, 2011

Blacktop Rockets, Dex Romwebber Duo, The Booze, Bohannons

Filed under: Atlanta music — Frederick Noble @ 3:19 pm Share RSS

I haven’t been to a lot of shows lately. I’ve been out of town, out of the country, busy, etc. There have been plenty of shows I wanted to be at, but such is life. So Saturday I returned to The Star Bar to find old friends and new bartenders. Weird. I have been gone for a bit!

BohannonsThe lineup was a mix of old and new (to me, at least) as well. First up, The Bohannons from Chattanooga. Very 70′s-arena-Southern-rock influenced without sounding too much like Skynyrd or any of the other variants. Good stuff. I’d see them again.

Bohannons

Bohannons
Next up, The Booze.

The BoozeI know some of you locals like this act but, as many times as I’ve tried, I still can’t get into them. Yeah, they have some good 60′s garage rock/pop tunes but it’s one thing to be influenced by a group and another to dress and dance exactly like the Rolling Stones circa 1965. C’mon, guys, just throw in the towel and put together a tribute band or get your own damn style.

The Booze
The Booze

The Booze
I would’ve slunk downstairs after three or four songs except that I’d heard a rumor that Rick Dang was going to perform a tune with them so I stuck it out through the entire set.
Rick Dang
Rick was called up and shifted the mood from upbeat British Invasion to a meloncholy ballad on slide guitar, backed by the Booze lead singer and acoustic guitar while the other band members lounged love-in style at the edge of the stage.

The Booze

Rick is pulling up stakes and moving to Tallahassee in a couple of weeks. He booked bands at Dottie’s back when that place actually mattered and performed in bands such as Dang Dang Dang. But you probably recognize him from his perch at the bar at The Earl.

The Booze wrapped up their set back in their tributary fashion, giving me the chance to go to the patio and socialize.

Next on stage, Dex Romwebber Duo. Flat Duo Jets did their first recording back in 1985 so I shouldn’t be surprised to see Dexter sporting a bit of salt n pepper. Now he looks like the elder statesman for sounds such as White Stripes and Black Keys, rather than just sounding like it. Well, at least when he’s facing the crowd. From my spot, much of the show looked like this:

Dex Romwebber Duo

Eventually he turned to the mike and the fans, switching from rockabilly/surf flavored instrumentals to weepy tunes about dark nights and lost love.

Dex Romwebber Duo

Dex Romwebber DuoThat’s not to say that they’re all torch songs. Some are more barn-burners. A glance around the room revealed many of Atlanta’s guitar geeks absolutely agape.

But no amount of gymnastics on the strings can take away from the theme of the lyrics, or even the tone of the tunes. Dex sings of tragedy and heartache in greater portions than other feelings. I always come away moved, but rarely happy.

Dex Romwebber Duo

Dex Romwebber DuoOver a rather long set, they performed mostly older tunes, despite their new record, Is That You In the Blue?, getting critical acclaim. (It’s available tomorrow.)

 When they left the stage a lot of the crowd left the bar. Which was unfortunate for all involved, as Blacktop Rockets dovetail perfectly with Dex Romwebber Duo. A few old timers and curious newbies stuck around for a little pick-me-up after the bring-me-down of Dex.

Blacktop Rockets more than provided.

Blacktop Rockets

Blacktop RocketsSmooth rockabilly without much of the psycho edge, more for swingin’ and swayin’ than thrashin’. Not that they can’t pick up the pace!

Blacktop Rockets

I stuck it out until after 1.30 before admitting that I needed rest. Remember when shows used to go until nearly 4AM? What the hell were we thinking? Remember when I used to review 2-3 shows a week? How the hell did I afford it? And how the heck did I survive it?

Christ, I’m getting old.

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