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  THE HIGH STRUNG w/ The Everyothers and Hot Young Priest  
  The Echo Lounge  
  East Atlanta, GA  
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In both my end of the year list for 2003 as well as my review for their album These Are Good Times, I mentioned that I think The High Strung are one of the better live bands I've seen recently. However, I've never really reviewed their concerts before. Furthermore, the last time they came through Atlanta, I missed seeing them and hearing the new material the band had promised. So despite the fact it was a Wednesday night, and I had to work the next day, I headed off to The Echo Lounge with the need to write a review in mind.

The first opening band was Hot Young Priest, a new Atlanta group comprised of former members of other bands such as Shamgod and Crybaby. They are a relatively new band who have played out a lot recently, but this was my first time to see them. Although I wasn't sure what to make of their overall sound, it is clear that the three members of the band know what they are doing, and can create individually interesting musical lines. In particular drummer Chris Jensen impressed me. I had seen him play in other bands, but I had forgotten until this night what a strong and competent rock drummer he is. I suspect as this band matures and plays out more, their music will begin jell as a band, instead of just being three musicians playing together.

After a short sound check, the middle band, New York's The Everyothers, took the stage. This four-piece band's music ranged across the board from somewhat mellow almost acoustic rock to more glam-like rock. In my opinion, the harder sounding music sounded the best and was better suited to the loudness and mix of the venue. In fact, I liked the more glam-oriented stuff that I suspected the only thing missing from their set was a cover of Trash (by The New York Dolls).

Finally, at a somewhat late hour, The Hugh Strung came on. As I mentioned above, I hadn't seen them in concert in some 4 or 5 months, so I wasn't sure what mix of new and old material they would play. At first they stuck to my favorite songs off These are Good Times, including Throwaway and Show A Sign of Life. Yet I noticed that near constant touring has refined the band's approach to this music. In previous concerts, the band plowed through their songs at a breakneck speed, hardly pausing to catch their breath. Each song would build and build until everything reached an almost fevered pitch that seemed hard for the band as a whole to sustain. In contrast, these days the band paces themselves better, so that their (and the audience's) energy level was kept high throughout the hour long set.

Furthermore, when they moved on to play their newer songs, it appeared that the various members of the band have learned to be more collaborative in their approach to song construction than they used to be. For instance, at times, you could see bassist Chad Stocker play his almost melodic lines in harmony to the lead guitar work of Josh Malerman. Likewise, although drummer Derek Berk set the fast-paced beat he always does, he paid attention to the other members to see what the music called for next. The overall effect of the increased interaction is to make The High String's newer songs more catchy and well-constructed in a way that lends itself to repeated listening (and the thought that the songs would make an excellent recording).

All in all, at the end of the night, I remained impressed by the growth of The High Strung, and I look forward to their future concerts as well as their next album. And, although the other bands' performances didn't measure up to The High Strung's standard, I suspect that difference was due more to the differences in the number of concerts played as opposed to anything lacking in the music.

Related Links:

These Are Good Times, the debut LP by The High Strung.


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