Menu | Rating System | Guest Book | Archived Reviews:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

  The Star Bar  
  Littel 5 Points, Atlanta, GA  
Reviewed by:
Performance Rating:
Sound Quality:
Overall Rating:

The music portion of the Atlanta-based Atlantis Music Conference provides showcases for unknown and/or unsigned bands. In the past, I haven't been too interested in attending any of these events, mainly because I haven't cared for the bands playing. However, this year, other Minions and I thought some of the lineups looked good and were worth checking out.

Unfortunately, the two most promising showcases occurred on the same night at two different venues. So, in the interest of seeing the most bands, some Minions went off to The Masquerade while I wandered down to The Star Bar. And, despite the intervention of a very heavy thunderstorm, I got to the venue just about the time the first band, Team Emu, began to play.

From the first, I liked the three piece Team Emu. At times, they sounded like a mid-90s punk band such as Green Day; on other songs, they ran a bit closer to punkabilly in the vein of the late, lamented Blue Flame Combo, and on still other songs, the guitar and bass played off each other in a way that sounded vaguely like a post-punk band. Sure, one of the songs was a little on the cutesy side, with its chorus of "We got spirit, yes we do…" And occasionally it seemed like the drummer played the same drumbeat over and over again. Yet, on the whole, they seemed like a good band, and I'd definitely like to see them again in the future.

After a short break (which meant that The Star Bar was running on time!), The Shut Ups' band leader Don Condescending walked up to his keyboard in pajamas and began to play a very accurate representation of an 80s power ballad. Shortly thereafter, the other four members of the band came on stage - also in pajamas - and started through a short set of slightly wry, off beat, new wave influenced music. While the music itself was a ton of fun and induced the crowd to dance, the clear focal point of the set was Don Condescending himself, who mugged for the audience, posed for the crowd, and generally proved that not only is he a good musician, he's also a particularly charismatic showman. Still, the highlight of their oh-too-brief set was the final, non-vocal number: a rock/disco version of Beethoven's Fifth.

Next up were Bishop Don, an apparently Atlanta-based trio of whom I've never heard. For me, this was the hardest band to classify, although that's mainly due to a lack of knowledge on my part. Although I liked their bass-heavy sound, I couldn't quite place the influence. At times, their music had a vaguely pop-ska feel, like early popular No Doubt, albeit with male vocals. At other times, they seemed like more of a jangly southern rock band. And still at other times, I thought I could catch a whiff of a mid-90s alternative band, like Stone Temple Pilots. Yet, truly, the crowd really seemed to get into their music. It struck me that perhaps, of all of the bands I'd seen in the evening, Bishop Don were the most commercially viable.

After Bishop Don came Hot Young Priest, the only band of the evening which I've seen multiple times. From my vantage point, I could see that they were playing their usual tight, rocked out set. However, on this evening, I was more focused on the sound mix, and I have to say I found it somewhat wanting. Previously when I've seen Hot Young Priest, the sound has balanced out the heavier bass and drums with the guitar and the higher-pitched vocals. This time around, even though I watched the soundguy turn up the low end, the vocals and cymbals overwhelmed everything. In retrospect, I suspect that, with a low ceiling and a metal background, the stage at the Star Bar indirectly amplifies the treble of every band which plays on it. Therefore, it's hard to maintain a balanced sound, which is so critical to the ebb and flow Hot Young Priest's music.

By the time Hot Young Priest finished, the Star Bar was still running on time, and the last band, Bitch, was ready to set up. Or so I thought. Instead, it turned out that one member was missing in action, and I was left to stand around for about an hour while that person was rounded up. And as I continued to wait, the growing lateness of the evening started to dawn on me, and I began to notice my exhaustion. So, when Bitch finally took the stage, I made it through only a couple of their songs (including a blisteringly fun version of Blitzkrieg Bop) before I had to go home. I was disappointed because I'd heard great things about them, and I'd like to see them again at some point.

All in all, even for a showcase it seemed like a bit of an odd lineup. However, all of the bands that I saw had something going for them. Team Emu had the energy while The Shut Ups had the showmanship. Bishop Don had the accessibility while Hot Young Priest had the music. And Bitch? Well, based on my limited experience, Bitch had the silliness (in a good way). Not too bad for a line up that varied so widely in their musical interpretation of "rock music."

Related Links:

EvilSponge has reviewed It Hurts to be Seen, The Shuit-ups debut album.
Also, on this same evening, PostLibyan and Sparklehonkey took in the goth and rap-metal showcases at The Masquerade. No, really.


Return to the top of this page. | Return to the Concert Review menu.