March 12, 2012

Hip To Death, Summer People, Hotchacha, Gun Party

Filed under: Atlanta music — Frederick Noble @ 5:12 pm Share RSS

I knew as soon as I pulled up in front of The Cottage I knew the party was going to get shut down by The Man. I’d never heard of the venue until it popped up in the facebook feed of one of my favorite acts, Hotchacha from Ohio. I turned off Moreland onto Skyhaven Road and found the place a block down – a cute stone house in the midst of the residential neighborhood, too far south to really be called “East Atlanta,” too far east to be Grant Park. I trekked up the drive and paid $5 to find a tiny basement “studio” where the bands would be playing. A few people hung out in the back yard, passing aroud a 12 pack of PBR and taking turns on a rope swing. I sent a text to degenerate CD, who was on the way, and told him it was a BYOB affair.

Hip to DeathThe first band, Hip to Death,  crammed into the corner of the basement and cranked up. The room was no bigger than the average living room, with metal columns and a concrete support wall blocking off the view of the band from much of the room. (All total, I think about 5 people can get a good view of the show.) The low ceiling of exposed beams and crumbling plaster walls gave the whole place a punk rock and/or high school kegger kind of vibe. The “sound booth” was a tiny closet in the corner. According to their facebook profile, this is “East Atlanta’s most delicious Recording Studio and Venue.”

Hip To Death

Hip to DeathHip to Death’s songs have sparse, simple lyrics, often screamed (when there were lyrics at all), backed by agressive guitar, bass and drums. I thought for a moment they could’ve used a second guitar or something to fatten the sound but then again it works just fine lean and mean. They opted for some bare florescent fixtures on the floor for their light show, backed by a distracting TV showing VHS copies of big wave surfing and scientific experiments on dogs.

Hip to Death

Next up, Summer People from Bimmington, New York. I thought they sounded like a garage/punk version of Wall of Voodoo even before the lead singer banged out some bongo fury. The same sweeping, desperate vocals and funky, driving melodies. Highly recommended.

Summer People

Summer People

Summer People
Only a few songs into the set, the lead singer gashed open his finger on his cymbal and the blood flowed, painting his bongos pink.

Things got a little punkier when they switched leads.

Summer People

Then things got a little drunkier when degenerate CD passed around a bottle of bourbon.

Summer People

By the end of the party, the bottle was empty and members of Summer People were staggering as they loaded their gear.

Hotchacha have a different lineup every time I see ‘em. This time it was the usual lead singer and drummer with two new (to me) guitarists (who sometimes both played bass a la Spinal Tap’s Big Bottom.) Punky, energetic, strained to the point of breaking, beer and spit flying – fantastic, but challenging to photograph in a small, crowded room.

Hotchacha

Hotchacha

The party spilled out into the yard, growing ever louder. But the cops didn’t show up until a few songs into Gun Party’s set. I guess Dekalb County Popo aren’t fans of goth-influenced rock.

Gun Party

The band announced they’d have to cut the set short but played another 3-5 tunes, swinging from R&B-flavored pop from the female lead to driving rock from the male lead to punky stuff in the vein of X with the two sharing vocals.

Gun Party

The cops were very polite, likely in part due to Hotchacha’s lead singer being friendly with them. I followed one of the units out of the neighborhood, with a line of patrons behind me.

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