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  The Masquerade  
  Poncey-Highland, Atlanta, GA  
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I had been looking forward to seeing New York's Field Mouse live for over a month, since they announced that their first tour would come through Atlanta I just donít get to see enough dreampop in a live setting, dammit. Someone do something about that. I am looking at you, Atlanta Concert Promoters....

We got to The Masquerade a little before 9 PM, and walked in to Field Mouse already mid-song!

Apparently they started a little early. Man, those Masquerade people really move the shows along. But apparently Christian rock act Reliant K was playing upstairs, so maybe they wanted to clear out the Purgatory level of the club early.

Then again, at the same time, there was a rave happening next door. The room was saturated with fog and green lasers, yelling fans, and throbbing music from 1998. What. In. Hell? Actually, that is the HELL level of the club... So tonight Hell was cheesy rave music with an elaborate laser show. I wonder who the artist was?

Well, no matter. The point is that everything seemed to move along a little quickly and it was noisy in the venue i was trying to watch bands in. This was a problem for the two acts I saw, both of whom are a little quiet.

Field Mouse are a four-piece band. I honestly had no idea. The lead singer and driving force of the band is a very young brunette named Rachel Browne who seemed a little too awkward on stage.

Oh, she was fine when she was playing, but see seemed too self-conscious when she had to banter with the crowd while the guitarist tuned. It was ... cringe-inducing. She needs to do something, like maybe not talk to the crowd, or maybe take some kind of public speaking class to get better at telling stories, or take a standup class to learn some jokes... I dunno, but that was the worst part of the show.

And if you think about it, a show where the worst part is some awkward between song banter is actually a pretty damned good show.

Ms. Browne rounds out her band with a heavily tattooed bassist who really seemed to know what she was doing. In fact, it looked like all of the band, drummer included, were taking musical queues from the bassist. The drummer was good, but nothing he did seemed all that special. The lead guitarist was really good, an older guy (well, i guess anyone would look "older" when onstage with Ms. Browne -- he was probably younger than me, but several years older than her!) with a compact but well-utilized effects pedal. The band gave him the entire right third of the stage, as he swayed around when he played.

They played You Guys Are Gonna Wake Up My Mom, which sounded really good in the echoing Purgatory level of the club. They also played a cover of the theme from Twin Peaks, which works well with their instrumentation and her voice. I am not totally sure what else they played, but it was enjoyable. They really are a solid band making fun, dreamy music.

Afterwards, i went to the merch booth to talk to Ms. Browne. She seemed amicable and chatty in person, which makes her between song awkwardness all the more strange. Then again, as i told her about my review of her first single, she seemed to get really self-conscious again. Oh well. I am sure she will work it out in time.

So it was really cool to see them. I do like the band, and am curious where she goes as she progresses as a musician.

We had a short intermission then Laura Stevenson took the stage.

Her promo people had just sent me her latest record, Wheel, which is a mellow blend of just her voice, some light guitar, and some strings. But as i sat there watching her play with a full band i thought, "Wait, we have received a promo of this artist before." And we had. And i reviewed her album Sit Resist here a few years ago. Ugh. My memory must really be going since i had completely forgotten that fact before hearing her in concert. I think she played something off of that record early in the set, just to jog the memory of an old reviewer like me...

So, yes -- at this show i saw two bands whose recorded work i had reviewed. And i liked them both, even if i thought i would be hearing something i was unfamilar with.

Live Ms. Stevenson and her group do a fast paced folk music, a little rocking, but not too much. They have an accordionist, which was a nice accompaniment to the music.

I liked what she was doing live Ė blending folk with a little more rock than on the record. And she does have a lovely voice with just a hint of natural waver to it.

However, since the Cans do not play with as much distortion as Field Mouse, the throbbing rave beat from Hell kind of overpowered things a bit. And that was a damned shame. I bet if i could have heard what they were doing on its own, I would have really liked them.

As it was, this was a decent show, overall.

Related Links:

Venue Website:
Field Mouse:
Also on EvilSponge:
   7": You Guys Are Gonna Wake Up My Mom b/w Happy
Laura Stevenson:
Also on EvilSponge:
   Album: Sit Resist


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