April 27, 2010

The Mess-Around

Filed under: Atlanta music — Frederick Noble @ 12:15 pm Share RSS

Sometimes at festivals like this it’s the side show bands that are more interesting. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the money on the rest of the night at The Earl. So I slipped out of work a little early to make the matinee show at 529.

First up, some random hardcore band, probably Ralph or maybe it was Bukkake Boys. It’s kind of a moot point because the first two bands sounded exactly alike and exactly like the same loud, fast, angry, almost monotone punk dozens of bands have been cranking out for 30 years.


Yeah, I know, this is a garage rock festival and rock’s many forms have been explored to their logical ends and ressurected and regurgitated ad infinitum, but remember when songs used to have melodies? Wasn’t that fun, boys and girls?

I had a beer in hand when some guy decided to start  a little mosh pit in the tiny confines of 529, a space no bigger than my living room. He trampled over a couple of short girls who were not in the mood, then knocked my beer over another girl, then finally pissed off one woman so much that she grabbed the little bastard by the throat and pushed him out the door. Eventually he made his way back in and settled down, but it set a precedent, a tone for the afternoon.

When the next act was more of the same – including losing another beer on another female patron to some thrashing fan – I took a break and headed next door to Chaz to get a bite. I’m a bit of a soul food snob and I hadn’t heard good things about the place but it was close and convenient. It was not, however, cheap. A fried chicken plate set me back $9. Not outrageous, but I was not impressed when the food showed up and the chicken was a little fillet.


Uh… huh? If you’re gonna serve it that way you might as well bring me a bun. It was pretty good and the sides were excellent, but I will probably spend the rest of my life comparing every soul food meal to the long lost Deacon Burton’s Grill.

I returned in time for The Gaye Blades featuring a Black Lip and Gentleman Jesse and other familiar faces. Musically, they were pretty good despite admitting, “We’re not a real band.” They had thrown this together in between legs of a Black Lips tour and shared a lot in common with that band’s jangly, punky sound.

Gaye Blades

Gaye BladesUnfortunately, they also shared Black Lips’ fans. I have avoided the last couple of Black Lips’ shows, and even shows of their friends such as King Khan, after too many annoying incidents with their fans. This time I had a beer can bounce off my head and had to dodge a To Go coffee cup, lost yet another beer (why I kept bringing them into the room I have no idea) and watched short girls get trampled yet again. On top of that, many of them either can’t afford or can’t figure out how to use soap. Yeah, I know, I’m old.

I was still undecided about paying for the rest of the night at The Earl but I stopped in and had a drink and was talked into it by random friends, just in time to catch Bad Sports from Denton, TX. They share more in common with The Ramones than just a haircut, tight jeans and slouching. There’s also a healhty dose of Ramones in their sound  – perhaps a bit too much, honestly, but when are you going to see that band play again?

Bad Sports

Bad Sports

Bad Sports

Bad SportsThey have more instrumental breaks with a greater variety of sound than The Ramones, however, and by the end of the set I was enjoying them so much I actually but their album, on vinyl, without even a code for mp3 downloads. It’s the first new record I’ve bought since I switched to CD’s then mp3′s. (Fortunately I have a USB turntable these days.)

Next up, local boys GG King doing sing-along punk with lots of “yeah yeah yeah” chanting. In fact, the entire rest of the night featured more “oohh oohh oohh” and “wah wah wah” than, well, a Sha Na Na show. It wasn’t so much about what they were saying as how they were saying it. Simple, fuzzy/jangly garage sounds to sing and dance to.

GG King

GG King

Cococoma came down from Chicago with some damn fine garage rock hooks vaguely reminiscent of Pavement or Sonic Youth or other noise-rock-influenced bands of the 90′s with a female voice in the back.


CococomaBands with the drummer as lead singer are a peculiar experience for me. It’s a little distracting, honestly. I know it’s supposed to be about the sound and not the presentation, but I’m seeing you on stage and I don’t like it when you’re way in the back, hidden by a drum kit. Fortunately, Cococoma made up for it with an energetic set of damn fine rock.


The Urinals took the stage with big smiles, playing some rather sparse punky tunes.

The Urinals

According to a Wiki page, they started in 1978 as a joke but then stuck with it and ended up playing with Black Flag and The Go Gos. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t interesting enough to hold my attention after a long evening of music.

Last up, Davila 666 from Puerto Rico. Other than the espanol, it was very familiar sounding. Black Lips, GG King, any local garage band could’ve been on stage had I not been looking at – what, 6? – brown-skinned boys belting out the tunes.

Davila 666

But it had been a long day so I admitted defeat and hit the road. I had other plans for the rest of the weekend and missed a plethora of bands I wanted to see, but most of the acts were local and/or bands I’d seen before, so for once I won’t complain about not being able to be in two or three places at once!

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