December 20, 2010

Christmas Spectacular

Filed under: Atlanta music — Frederick Noble @ 2:53 pm Share RSS

The weekend before Christmas boasted more Christmas-themed shows than anyone could possibly attend. Add invites to several parties and a few non-Christmassy events I wanted to do – it’s all too much. In the end, I opted for a gathering of old friends Friday (old friends, close to home, cheap), and a couple of shows on Saturday.

Various posts for the Gill Henry Durant Christmas Spectacular said 5PM, so I arrived at 97 Estoria around 4 to get a bite. Fortunately, I brought a book and games because nothing got going until 7.30 at the earliest. By which time it was, perhaps literally but definitely metaphorically, freezing outside. Fortunately, they had a fire pit – complete with the stench of burning asphault – and a couple of those propane heat lamp things.


People clustered around the various heat sources, including spiked hot cider and cocoa, to enjoy opening act The Snowflakes, a ragtag group of familiar faces doing familiar tunes with Christmasfied lyrics and familiar rockin’ Christmas carols – a crowd favorite being Wham’s Last Christmas. It was methadone for us Yule Log junkies.


Gill Henry DurantGill MC’ed the affair, lounging in a sleigh set up next to the stage, occasionally posing for photos with kids.

Next on stage, Jingleman Jesse and His Bells, tossing in a few Christmas tunes into the usual Gentleman Jesse set and Christmasfying a few tunes on the fly.

In between acts, DJ Dookie Platters spun up funky Christmas tunes and other festive fare. Jingleman Jesse

Jingleman Jesse

Jingleman Jesse

Gill Henry DurantAfter a showing of a documentary about a Stone Mountain family that decorated their house TO THE EXTREME every year, Gill and company finally took the stage with a strange and often hilarious mix of hip hop, R&B and Christmas. Rap numbers about celebrating Christmas on the docks in Savannah (requiring bug spray) and the childhood dreams of Santa, all spit out so rapid-fire it’s impossible to hear everything over your own laughter.

Add to that backup dancers and choreographed numbers and you’ve got a heck of a show.

Gill Henry Durant

Gill Henry Durant

Gill Henry DurantA crowd favorite was a number about spending Christmas in the Fulton County Jail, likely charged with public indecency after urinating at a bus stop on Ponce.

Santa himself, sounding a bit drunk and disgruntled, made an appearance  – or was at least represented in the form of a transvestite Santa impersonator aided by voice-over.


Gill Henry DurantGill can hit the R&B moany groany emphasis moment dead-on, inspiring cheers and laughter from the throngs.

The dancers turned into helpful elves during a number that rattles off everything associated with Christmas, from snowflakes to angels to ham, by tossing the items into the crowd as Gill rattled them off.

Things wrapped up early at least by Atlanta live music standards, so I headed a few miles east to warm myself at The Earl.

WizardpalsI don’t know who Lyn Attwooll is but judging from his friends he’s someone I should know. The lineup of bands assembled for his benefit was a who’s who of East Atlanta Village, starting off with Wizardpals, including Mayor of East Atlanta Rick Dang.

As just a duo, Wizardpals impressed me. Rick and his pal (I’ve met him but the name escapes me – a little help?) did some fine tunes. But when backed up by a couple of other Earl regulars, things got a little fuzzy – and I’m not just talking about Paul’s beard.

Rather than listen to them struggle with classic rock covers, I hit the bar for some bone-warming bourbon.

Rent BoysNext on stage, The Rent Boys, a Tom Cheshire band that doesn’t play much these days, though contains a member or three from All Night Drug Prowling Wolves.
As a result, the sound is similar – Clash-influenced (and occasionally covered) tunes with a 70′s punk/pub-rock feel that make you want to sing along, even if you don’t know the lyrics. Fortunately, with almost any Tom Cheshire effort, there are rabid fans happy to form a chorus.
Rent Boys

Rent Boys

Rent Boys

Fiend Without A Face features Brent from Mastadon and other efforts, as well as a few other familiar faces – if you could see their faces. Because of their masks, Brent asked that the lights on stage be turned up so he could see. It made for some excellent photographs.

Fiend Without A Face

Fiend Without A FaceThey started out a bit timid and tame but a few tunes into it they switched into the manic mix of surf, hard rock and almost jazzy guitar, Brent’s fingers (and occasionally feet) flying.

Fiend Without A Face

Fiend Without A Face
Most of their tunes are instrumental, with occasional covers of songs you know with vocals made purposefully unintelligible. This isn’t about singing, or even any of the other instruments on stage – this is about guitar.

West End Motel is essentiall the Fiends but with faces and Tom Cheshire. More fine stuff, but I was too pooped to party further and split only a few songs into their set.

West End Motel

I hope everyone gets their holly jollies off this year. There may not be another Degenerate Press post until 2011, though I will continue posting Vegas Apocalypse this week and next.

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Say What?

1 Comment

  1. Rick Dang’s pal (and fellow EARL barstool fixture) is Ross.

    Comment by Steve Wise — December 31, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

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