It's been a while since i've been to a show. The combination of old age (oh, and stay off my lawn, while i'm at it), a demanding day job, late band start times, and a lack of touring bands i am interested in has made me stay home a lot. Oh well. I guess that live reviews have become something of a rarity here at EvilSponge, and will continue to be so.
So, a Sunday night. I have to be at the office at 8 AM, but bars are required to be closed at midnight in Atlanta, because Jesus doesn't want you drinking all night that one day of the week, or something like that. Okay, i think i can do this.
Doors were at 8. We got there around 8:40, and there were about 4 people standing around in the back room of The EARL. At about 9 the first band went on, local four-piece Small Reactions.
This band looked young, but they really knew what they were doing. Their music had a certain precision to it, a proggishness to the rhythm section. But the guitars and vocals were distorted and loud and chaotic. Tracers said it reminded her slightly of Deerhunter. I guess that Bradford and Co. are an influence on the latest round of local acts. Well, Small Reactions take that starting point, make it their own, and make it interesting.
I thought that there was a little bit of The Liverhearts in there as well, at least in some of the guitarwork. Either way, pretty cool. An auspicious opener.
The next act was trio Eternal Summers from Richmond, VA. The band seemed to be right up my alley: female guitarist/singer with a TON of effects pedals and accompanied by a rhythm section.
Except, well, her voice is kind of whiny. And sure, she could play guitar, but everything seemed a little derivative, the band sounding like Echo and the Bunnymen, Stratford 4, Lush, Slowdive, etc. all on different songs.
It is as if nothing they did jelled and seemed uniquely theirs. Oh well.
Finally, just after 10:30 (!!) The Pains of Being Pure at Heart came onstage. I had heard that there was a lineup change and i thought that would mean the drummer (who also has an act called The Depreciation Guild) had moved on. Instead, the keyboardist / female vocalist has changed out. Peggy Wang is gone, replaced by a tall platinum blonde girl. Huh. Strange to think that Peggy is gone...
At any rate, the band sounded great! We saw them on tour for their album Belong, and they sounded awful. But, now that i think about it, what was wrong about that show was that Wang and lead singer Kip Berman were not harmonizing. I wonder if that has something to do with the lineup change... Hmmm.
Well, the band tonight was tight. They played for about 45 minutes, hitting such classics as This Love is Fucking Right, Come Saturday, and of course, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. They had a pretty good crowd too, and people danced (Some square dancing even went on) and bounced along happily. When they are together, The Pains OBPAH can be a great band. I think it helped that they played a lot of early stuff and not so much off of Belong, which, let's face it, was a collection of looser, less-focused tunes.
And we were out of there by 11:30. Not bad at all. It still led to a Monday of being a little tired at the office, but it was worth it.