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

  SLEEP THERAPY w/ Tora Tora Tora, The Graboids, Locks, and The Subliminator  
  Cabbagetown, Atlanta, GA  
Reviewed by:
Performance Rating:
Sound Quality:
Overall Rating:

I'm not really sure when I first became aware of Stickfigure Records and Distribution. I seem to recall going to an intown warehouse probably 7 years ago and buying vinyl on a dreary Saturday afternoon in a room filled with teenagers. But either way, Stickfigure is something of an Atlanta institution and, to this end, they were responsible for the first three acts on this evening's bill. Rounding it out were two local bands who I was eager to see, so it looked like a worthwhile evening.

We got to Lenny's relatively early for a Saturday night, so I was a bit surprised to find the first act already on the stage. This was The Subliminator, who consisted of a single individual vocalizing over noisy loops and throbbing semi-ambient sounds. PostLibyan immediately classified the act as "aggressively weird", and I can't say that I disagree. The Subliminator recalled to me a more claustrophobic Butthole Surfers (in their later years), with a healthy dose of techno-noise to boot. Not really my sort of thing, but I think it was well done for the genre, such as it is.

After that, I wasn't sure what to expect from Locks, a duo from Chicago that was up next. They set up with one guy doing drums/keys/samples/vocals and the other doing guitar/keys/samples/vocals. Something of strange line-up, I thought, yet when they began to play I liked them. They certainly had a Chicago-esque sound, with a little bit of math/post-rock combining with a fairly strong melodic sensibility. Kinda cool, kinda of noisy, like a somewhat fractured Taking Pictures or a more acoustic Midstates. In other words, nicely appealing, and a band that I would like to hear more of.

Next up were The Graboids, a Virginia based band who again were unknown to me previously. Based on their name, I was thinking they would be punk/post-punk with lots of screaming vocals; instead I got instrumental drone with a nicely spacey sound. And it was quite well done. The Graboids successfully managed to create soundscapes that soared and echoed through Lenny's (I think the low ceiling helps!), using layers of distortion and pedals to create a distinct mood. I suspect these guys are relatively young from looking at them, but the music they create showed lots of skill and texture. And I don't think I was the only one who was impressed; PostLibyan enjoyed them enough to pick up an EP.

After The Graboids left the stage, the touring portion of the show was over. The next two bands, Tora Tora Tora and Sleep Therapy, are local Atlanta acts who I haven't seen in a good long time, so I was eager to see how they had fared. Tora Tora Tora was up first, and I have to say I enjoyed them every bit as much as I had the last time I saw a partial set by them. They play nice, early 80s influenced music that is both upbeat and danceable. I know that other people have compared them to Joy Division, but I'm not hearing it (outside of the basswork). Instead, their music is more open and generally lighter than that; if any thing I think Tora Tora Tora is a less angular brother to Atlanta band Snowden, who they compliment nicely in a sound sense. Either way, they are a lot of fun, and watching the crowd bounce and dance around me, I think the patrons of Lenny's would agree.

The final band of the evening were Sleep Therapy. They are a good, young band, who I saw numerous times in late 2005. Then due to some work changes on my part, and a tendency to play weeknights on theirs, I had not seem them in probably 6 or so months. When they took the stage, though, it was clear that Sleep Therapy has become a tighter and more cohesive unit in this intervening time. The guitar interplay has become a little tighter and more intricate, while the basswork has become more a little more dominant. I still hear the soaring vocals of John Lally and his lovely tremoloed guitar, but it less central to the proceedings than it had been in the past. This is a good thing. All in all, I really like Sleep Therapy's indie pop with a nice side helping of shoegaze, and I'm glad that their collective voice has become overall stronger.

So, in the end, the combination of Stickfigure Records and local artists did not serve us badly. While The Subliminator was a bit on the odd side, the other two touring bands, despite their wildly varying sounds, were quite good. And it was truly nice to hear a couple of local bands which had improved from their already impressive starting points.

Related Links:

Label Site:
Sleep Therapy:
Tora Tora Tora on MySpace:
Locks on MySpace:  
The Subliminator:


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