November 29, 2010

Wolves & Jackals, All Night Drug Prowling Wolves, Coathangers

Filed under: Atlanta music — Frederick Noble @ 4:13 pm Share RSS

I got a new camera a few weeks back and I’m still figuring out how to use it at shows, thus the particularly dark images here. Don’t worry, I’ll get back to the blurry mess you’re used to if you’re a long-time reader!

I hadn’t seen any local music in a few weeks so last weekend I made it a marathon, kicking off with Wolves & Jackals at The Earl. I recognized the lead singer – Lamar? – from a couple of other local bands, though I remember him on drums in those acts. He shouted, “Come on, motherfuckers!” to the handful of people in the room for the opening act, then lead the band into a bludgeon of metal tunes.

Wolves & Jackals

Frankly, this isn’t my thing. I enjoy the occasional metal, though my tastes lean toward the lighter end of that narrow spectrum. One fellow degenerate didn’t make it through their first song. My date and I only made it through two before returning to the front room and socializing with Earl regulars and old friends.

When the floorboards out front stopped vibrating, we knew the opening act was finished so we slunk back into the room for All Night Drug Prowling Wolves.

Tom Cheshire put a few beers and drinks on the edge of the stage for his enjoyment during the set, just before the band cranked up.

All Night Drug Prowling Wolves

I’m not sure he, the band, or I were good and drunk enough to get the most out of their music at the start of the set, but slowly everything seemed to gel. It’s music to sing along to, be it about joy or heartbreak – both common themes in Tom’s lyrics.

All Night Drug Prowling Wolves

Their Myspace page says,

Sounds Like Tom Waits, Woody Allen, Frankie Stubbs & Shane MacGowan

I don’t disagree, particularly on the Shane MacGowan part. Throw in a large portion of Clash and you’ve just about got it.

All Night Drug Prowling Wolves

All Night Drug Prowling Wolves

My only complaint is that they could use some new material. This is a band a few of us see regularly, so while it’s nice to sing along it would also be nice to expand the catalog and mix things up a bit.

Speaking of mixing, I’d like you to pause a moment and remember our dear, departed Curt Wells. No, he’s not dead, he just moved. But if you’re at The Earl and wondering why you can’t quite hear the lyrics over the guitars or why the high end is so screachy, when previous shows the place had the best sound in town, Curt may take some of the credit. I had seen bands that I thought I absolutely hated at other venues, then caught them again – sometimes the same week – at The Earl with Curt at the soundboard and suddenly fallen in love with the acts.

Alas, Curt is no longer with us (at The Earl) and the Coathangers’ set seemed to suffer as a result. I will admit it may have been the most difficult set to mix, as the band seemed intent on producing racket far more chaotic than their usual stuff – all shrieks and wails, followed by the members swapping or changing instruments. I certainly wouldn’t want to have tried to make something coherent out of what was coming through the amps! But maybe the sound guy just couldn’t see the board to mix it properly, since he had the lights so damn dim all night.

Coathangers

Lighting and mixing aside, the set was more punk-oriented than any I’ve seen them do. Rather than almost-danceable pop hooks, we got noise. And rather than screaching intermingled with slinky, seductive vocals, we got screamed at.

Coathangers

I’ll be the first to admit a little screaming is a good thing but it works better as punctuation rather than the bulk of the content. Also, I support anyone’s right to let it out now and then, and let it out they did.

Coathangers

There were a few new tunes in there – I think. It was hard to tell amidst all the lunacy. Maybe they were the old tunes done new ways, or maybe the mix was just that far off. Suffice to say, I wasn’t the only one shaking my head with a mix of confusion and amusement as we made our way out of the bar!

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