I ran down to The Loft for what is referred to as “an industry event”. It was put together by a group called Badd Lemonade, which I wasn’t able to find much out about.
The evening featured a rapid-fire sampling of ten bands local to the Atlanta area. The bands playing included:
- Leaving Araby
- Kalvin Nova
- The Rein
- Fact Not Fiction
- The Love Willows
- Unusual Suspects
- The Honor Roll
- She Came From Above
- Fox Trot November
- The Pennies
- The Nerd Parade
- Auditioning Alice
I missed four of the acts, mostly due to my parking option not syncing well with the event. The staff at the parking deck were chatty and helpful, though. I’ve been to several shows at The Loft over the past couple of years, and it is a good, flexible space for various types of events.
The organizers of the event were ensconced in a roped-off area, and were all hurredly scribbling notes as each act started to play. The format allowed thirty minutes for each band to set up, sound check, play (most of them played about three songs) and then clear off, including equipment breakdown. After seeing a couple of rounds, the personalities of the bands began to shine through, and certain things started to become much more clear. Primary of these things was stage presence, including segue and mic banter. Only having a true ten-15 minute block performing, those small bits of space between songs are the only bits you have to drive home the connection with the crowd you have laid down with your instrumentation and delicately laid lyrics. I’m not certain if the Badd Lemonade people were actively judging for record and promo deals, or if anything was really at stake, but the crowd was full of die-hard fans and family of the bands for the most part.
Here are links I found for several of the bands. I have snapshots, and if you check out this page of unedited photos, you can see the progression of the quality of the pics as I fine-tuned the camera settings, finally getting it everything right for handling upshot stage lighting. I also dug up links for most of the bands in the list, so be sure to check them out if you live in or visit the Atlanta area.
The Love Willows Made an impression as they transformed the stage from mostly blacked out to a glamor-splashed, candy-striped high fashion scene. This band played well, and is highly memorable due to the incredible contrast in both visual and musical style from the rest of the bands playing. reminiscent of a Gwen Stefani show, the songs played were very upbeat and loaded with energy, and are ones you could listen to with the kids in the car. They even wrapped up with a song all about having an acute shoe fetish and being okay with that.
The Unusual Suspects have a sound that is very hook-laced and clean, with a careful eye on traditional production values and meter. The track “People, Pills, and Problems” will have you hooked in a single dose.
Athens-based The Honor Roll came in like a thunderstorm… This is the kind of storm where you just want to see how it goes down, a train wreck of hyperbole and angst that is beautiful in its references to our stalking of each other, as well as the social impact of your myspace telling on your fibs. They opened up with “Bedroom Politics”, storming and pacing the stage in barefoot pissed-offedness. And the bass player is kinda nuts, too.
She Came From Above delves into the screamo metal area, though the guitar riffs remind me of the early speedmetal riffs that Metallica and Megadeath popuarized.
Fact Not Fiction really made an impression on me. From Hartwell, GA (outside Athens, at the SC/GA border), their sound is someplace between post-punk, and rolls near the melodics of true indie rock. There is a definite Anglo influence, with well-read lyrics and a mock English accent, you almost get the gist, then they throw another twist in the next song that gives it more dimension. “Here at Hartmin” and “The Ballad of Jack and Amy” get the must-listen tag.
Foxtrot November was much more at ease as a band. They seemed to ruminate and relax as they played, and I think giving off this vibe made the band members seem older and more serious about the music than they were about being seen on the stage. The vocals –for whatever reason– remind me of Kenny Loggins. The general sound of the songs are very unique, but similar to Wilco, and maybe Coldplay. Definitely check out “What if We Don’t Carry On”.
The Pennies This was the last band I saw for the evening, and they got a lot of reaction from the crowd. The sound is solid rock with Irish-inspired female vocals that range between a delicate lullaby and a soul-bearing wail that wends its way to your primal foundation. If you like bands like Evanescence or Dido, you should hear them. Check out “Love Me” and “Shine Within Sadness” for sure.
The Nerd Parade. I had been looking forward to seeing these guys, but had to leave before they finished setting up. Maybe I’ll be able to catch them some other time.
Now that I’ve been sorting the night back out from memory, I’m thinking I should have been ensconced in a roped-off area scribbling notes, too….