Posts Tagged ‘ The Masquerade ’

[LIVE REVIEW] O’Brother at The Masquerade, 1/6/12

O'Brother

I’ve got to come clean here and admit that I slept on O’Brother for way too long. They just didn’t seem like something I would be interested in. I had them pegged as an Alternative Press kind of a band, if that makes any sense at all. The kind of outlets that were covering them and last year’s tour with Thrice and La Dispute reinforced that totally unfounded perception. I didn’t even get around to listening to Garden Window (their full length debut) until my AMR compatriots Moe and Christina sang its praises in the roundtable. They were right, Garden Window is an incredible album, and nothing like what I had unfairly assumed their sound to be like.

The chugging sludge of Isis is probably the most obvious touchstone here, but the band changes gears constantly.  They can move from moody instrumental passages to stretches of aggressive, melodic rock without ever sounding indulgent or pandering. Everything makes sense. The album shoots for epic and gets there, the band’s ambition matched by their good taste (they borrow from the best) and a finely honed sense of build-and-release dynamics.

Garden Window‘s running time is even epic at 64 minutes, so it’s impressive that the band decided to play the album in its entirety at Friday night’s show at the Masquerade, which was scheduled to celebrate the album’s physical release. They managed to maintain the record’s intensity, with the album’s pacing translating well enough to the stage. Their strength as both a live and studio band is their ability to build deliberately toward cathartic peaks, and that was in full effect on set highlights like “Poison!” and “Cleanse Me,” both of which deliver heavy, anthemic climaxes after minutes of patiently sculpted atmosphere. The nuance of the record exists on-stage.

O’Brother chose excellent support for their hometown release show, too. Athens’ Manray got things started at 8:00 with their breakneck math-rock moves, which sounded a little more Drive Like Jehu-ish than usual (always a good thing). I don’t think I could ever get sick of seeing these guys play. Big Jesus was next, with a Weezer cover, a couple of new songs, and most of their self-released EP. The non-EP cuts were a little rough, but the arena-sludge riffs on “Ribs” and “Hairteeth” are pretty undeniable live. Nigredo was the final opener of the night, and they honestly threatened to steal the show. Their heavy take on post-rock can leap instantly from pin drop silence to a full-on blast, the kind of thing that leaves an audience with its collective jaw on the floor. They could seriously blow up once they get a record out there.

The night belonged to O’Brother, though. I’m glad to be disabused of my perceptions and now consider myself a fan. I hope they can cross further into more metal and indie circles, because they can definitely find an audience there.

[LIVE REVIEW] The Naked and Famous, The Chain Gang of 1974, and White Arrows at The Masquerade, 10/24/11

Review and Photos by Peterson Worrell

 

The Naked and Famous

I’m not one for shows at the Masquerade to be honest.  I’ve always found that Heaven is too big for my liking, while Hell often times gets far too crowded and has an odd layout.  That said, they do consistently draw quality bands and just about every show I’ve been to there, I’ve been pleased with.  The most recent show I saw there was no different.  I arrived at the venue a bit late and was surprised by the crowd that had already packed in front of the stage.  Admittedly, I’m used to getting to shows 30 minutes after the promoted time and still being early but this time I walked in about half way through the set of the first band, White Arrows.  After hearing about 2 songs by them, I really regretted missing the first half of their set.  White Arrows style is a bit hard to pin down; the best description I can give is a fusion of psych and tropical rock similar to local Atlanta artists Mermaids.  They manage to combine these genres into a pop like, danceable style that seemed to go over really well with the crowd.

While their style isn’t exactly new with the influx of electronic rock acts that have been coming out lately, they display solid skills and great energy on stage.  However, what I really liked most about the band was their down to Earth attitude.  I believe they mentioned that this was their first time in Atlanta and they actually took time in between their songs to have the house lights turned on so they could take a quick picture of the crowd to commemorate the occasion.  One of the best qualities in a band to me is the ability to have fun on stage and White Arrows definitely has this trait down.  Overall, while they’re not a ground breaking band, I definitely feel like they’re a band to check out, especially if you’re into the dance-rock scene.

The second band to take the stage was The Chain Gang of 1974.  The first thing I noticed about the band was the variety of different fashion styles on stage at the time ranging from the singer’s New Wave-esque look to the keyboardist’s semi-casual look, complete with blazer and slacks.  Once the band actually started to play, the New Wave similarities continued.  If I had to compare the band to another band that I’m familiar with, I’d have to say they sounded a bit like Tears for Fears.  The tracks they played sounded as if they could have come right out of the 80’s, which is actually a bit refreshing.  If you’re looking for an act that brings the retro feel of the 80’s together with stellar energy, The Chain Gang of 1974 is worth keeping an eye out for.

By the time the last band, The Naked and Famous, took the stage, the crowd was already wound up from the last two bands.  The energy level was already high, but The Naked and Famous seemed determined to take it over the top.  Two songs into their set and I found that the majority of the crowd was either dancing, shouting out lyrics, clapping which, from what I’ve seen, isn’t the easiest tasks to do nowadays.  Their ethereal, dream-pop like vocals matched up great with their electro-rock sound to make for a stellar combo.  My biggest regret of the night is not being able to stick around for their entire set.  Should any of these bands make their way to your city, I’d definitely recommend checking them out.

More photos after the jump.

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Live Review: Local Natives

Local Natives

In case you missed it yesterday, you can find my live review of this past weekend’s Local Natives show over at Dead Journalist.

A couple of random thoughts that had no real business making it into the review…

– It can be fairly shocking how many teenagers make it out to the larger, all ages shows at The Masquerade.  It makes me wonder how different age restrictions would have affected attendance at some of the lesser attended shows I’ve seen lately.  Would more than 30 people have shown up to The Earl for Screaming Females if they’d been able to get in?  How about Sharon Van Etten at 529?  Both were on weeknights, though, so maybe it wouldn’t have been much different.  Also, bar sales have got to be huge for both those places.  Both can probably afford off nights, attendance-wise, because there’s always going to be people drinking there, even if they’re not paying cover.

– If you only have 12 songs, and everyone knows you only have 12 songs, and you’re a headlining band that’s expected to play for around an hour, why do an encore break?  Seriously.  When Local Natives left the stage after 10 songs, it was obvious they were coming back out for two more, especially since they had yet to play “Sun Hands.”  There’s no way they’re leaving without playing that one, and everyone knows it.  The encore break had zero impact on my enjoyment of the show, but that’s kind of the point.  It just seemed…silly.

Plenty of good shows this week

No more monthly show calendars. Too many changes and omissions that I don’t notice until it’s too late. I might start doing weekly previews, or I might just put up a preview when there’s something I’m particularly excited about. There’s a lot going on this week, so I figured it was worth a post.

-529 has an promising bill tomorrow night. Popular locals Carnivores headline, with intriguing support in the form of Brooklyn’s Dinosaur Feathers and Raleigh’s Lonnie Walker. I had mixed feelings about the last Carnivores set I saw, but I generally like the band and know they’re capable of better. And the openers sweeten the deal considerably.

-There’s a couple of solid options on Thursday. King Congregation plays a free show at Star Bar, while Young Orchids play The Earl with support from Chattanooga’s Moonlight Bride. King Congregation is pretty raw, Moonlight Bride is polished.  Young Orchids are somewhere in between.  Make your decision accordingly.

-Friday’s best option is Thomas Function at Star Bar. They’re exactly the kind of punky, hooky, bullshit-free garage rock that sounds right at home on Star Bar’s stage.

-Saturday has the unbeatable lineup of JEFF the Brotherhood, The Coathangers, and Heavy Cream at 529 (WYMYNS PRYSYN plays, too, but I can’t vouch for them as I haven’t heard ’em). Batusis, featuring punk/proto-punk lifers Sylvain Sylvain (New York Dolls) and Cheetah Chrome (Dead Boys, Rocket From the Tombs), should be great at The Earl, too, but you can catch them at Criminal Records for free earlier that afternoon. Attention System plays a free in-store at Criminal on Saturday as well – they play at 4, Batusis at 5.

Boris plays the Masquerade on Sunday. Russian Circles open. Boris is probably one of my 2 or 3 favorite active bands, so I’m kind of cranky that I’ll be out of town for this one. If you’re in town and have even a passing interest in either heavy or experimental music, you have no excuse for missing this.

live review: Heartless Bastards @ The Masquerade, 7/6/10 (setlist)

First, some bitching about the Masquerade. That small side road next to the venue is closed for construction, so for the moment the only nearby parking is that big lot off of North. Whoever owns that lot (is it the Masquerade?) decided that last night would be a good time to charge $5 for parking. Since it was the only option available, we pretty much had to pay it. Then, once we were inside, we went up to the bar and ordered two PBRs. I thought I heard the bartender say “5 dollars,” so I paid accordingly. She just stared at my money with an “are you fucking kidding me?” look. Apparently she had said “9 dollars.” Clearly it was ridiculous that I would assume a goddamn 16oz can of Pabst would be cheaper than that. Never mind how much it costs at The Earl or 529 or any actual bar that I choose to patronize when I’m not at shows. The price is a rip off, but it’s the attitude that really annoys.

So, with that out of the way, the music: Heartless Bastards were great.

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Murder by Death @ the Masquerade on 4/20 + Setlist

Since when does the Masq charge $4.50 for PBRs? Good thing I brought a flask filled with bourbon to make it through the night. I especially needed the bourbon to make it through the Linfinity. Each band member had a different look – the violinist looked prim and proper, the lead singer a beach bum bastard child of Luke Wilson and Matthew McConaughey, some metrosexual vintage hipster playing second guitar, a bassist that looked like they pulled him out of a sports bar, and a garage band drummer. You’d think that with all these different looks, they might be memorable. I can’t recall anything about their music because it was so generic; I only remember the violinist trying to start a mosh pit in the middle of a MBD slow song later on. It’s always classy to try to fuck up the mood of another band’s show, I guess.

The second band was far and away better. I had never heard of Ha Ha Tonka, but they had a down-home country sound that really helped set the mood for the entire show. They did a couple of covers, one being “Black Betty” and the other “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”, both of which were damn good. I’ve never heard them before but I will surely buy their album. They said that they’ve never been to Atlanta before – but they’ll be back. The audience as a whole really got into the show.

And finally, the headliner. If you’ve never been to a Murder by Death show, buy a ticket for the next time they’re in town. They have one of the best stage presences of any band I’ve ever seen. Adam has a deep, gravelly, Johnny Cash-esque voice. His lyrics are poignant and there’s a common thread through most of their songs – whiskey, mortality, the devil, trying to avoid the law, and a lot of drinking. Sara was a show-stopper as usual; my friend that accompanied me said he couldn’t take his eyes off her. She is always way into the show, it’s intense to watch. And my suspicions were confirmed! She and Adam have set a date for this summer (nothalffull lost the bet, he said they weren’t even dating). Their chemistry on stage is pretty obvious. Anyway, the live performances really changed my mind about some songs I was iffy about on the album, namely White Noise and The Day. I guess I hadn’t gotten into the later songs quite as much. I really wish they had played “As Long as There is Whiskey”, but they have so many good songs in their repertoire now that they really can’t play everything any more. I quite missed “The Desert is on Fire” and any sort of love for the album Like the Exorcist, but More Breakdancing. The encore was pretty sweet. I loved the cover of “Baby Shot Me Down” – the song most famous for being in Kill Bill. MBD needs to cover every song Quentin Tarantino has ever used in a movie (“Comin’ Home” was used in the previews for Inglourious Basterds). Overall, the show had a great energy. I have a hard time comparing this MBD show to any of the other 4 that I’ve been to because all of them have been outstanding. I love the new songs and think that they fit in perfectly with their shows.

Continue to see the setlist

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Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Screaming Females, Gentleman Jesse @ The Masquerade, Atlanta, GA, 4/4/2010 (setlists)

Should have gotten this up sooner.  Some reviews, pictures, and setlists for all three bands below.

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