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by Andrew Gilstrap

23 Mar 2009


This one was a nice surprise. We’d rolled in to Buffalo Billiards to close out the week with the much-talked about Black Joe Lewis, and ended up getting an opening set from Solange (Beyonce Knowles’ sister). Backed by a funky band and two backup singers, Solange delivered a highly enjoyable R&B/funk show that borrowed heavily from the girl groups of the ‘60s. With her backup singers dancing in unison behind her, Solange cut loose with a dancing style that was part Tina Turner, part Diana Ross, and part vintage Axl Rose. The set slowed down when she performed her MTV-successful modern soul ballad, but for the majority of the set, she was cutting loose (even jumping into the crowd at one point, much to the dismay of her numerous—and large—handlers). Hopefully, Solange won’t be talked into giving up this aspect of her career (although it’s obvious the better money is in slick new-fangled R&B).

 

 

by Andrew Gilstrap

23 Mar 2009


Former Flat Duo Jets frontman Dexter Romweber has the most played-to-hell guitar I’ve ever seen. The finish is worn off of practically every edge on the instrument, and the paint is bubbling up on the face from presumably countless hours of playing. It’s no surprise, because Romweber is a fiend on the guitar, recalling the glory days of giants like Gene Vincent, Dick Dale, and ‘60s border radio. Backed by his sister Sara Romweber (Let’s Active) flat-out swingin’ on drums, Romweber (in his own guitar-playing world, his back often to the crowd) delivered a solid set of soul-influenced ballads and guitar raveups.

 

by Andrew Gilstrap

23 Mar 2009


I’ll be honest: I can’t make up my mind about Ha Ha Tonka. Their high-points, such as “St. Nick on the Fourth in a Fervor”, are catchy, but many of their songs strike me as not quite living up to the band’s potential. Their set during the Bloodshot showcase struck me the same way, although it certainly had a full head of steam by the time things were done, beginning with their standout a cappella rendition of the traditional “Hangman”.  The band’s harmonies, when all four members are participating, are startling enough to make you think that they really underutilize this aspect of their music. It also came in handy on “St. Nick”, which had most of the crowd singing along.

 

 

by Andrew Gilstrap

23 Mar 2009


“I brought my PowerPoint presentation”, joked Earlimart’s Aaron Espinoza, as two screens displayed random images behind him. Billed as an Earlimart performance, the set was really just Espinoza with his guitar and some drum beats (“I usually have a band. I forgot to pack ‘em on the way out of town”, he explained). In the comfortable confines of the church, it was a well put together, well thought-out show, although it didn’t really connect with me, personally. One undeniable highlight, however, was his rendition of the rarely-played “Heaven Adores You”, which Espinoza wrote about the late Elliott Smith.  Given the setting, Espinoza said, it seemed appropriate.

 

 

by Andrew Gilstrap

23 Mar 2009


As part of the 40 Watt Club’s showcase of Georgia musicians, Dead Confederate set themselves apart from the indie and retro fare that dominated both stages. Dead Confederate sound (at least on this day) is a loud, tense Southern Gothic sludge punctuated only by keening slide guitar. The dynamics consist pretty much of a constant rise and fall rather than any clear peaks or valleys, and at times, this listener could have used a little more variety in the short set. Underlit by floorlights, lead singer Hardy Morris went for a spooky appearance that matched the music, sometimes resembling Kurt Cobain from the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video and at other times like the last person you’d want to meet in a dark alley.

 

 

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Fave Five: Alpine

// Sound Affects

"Australian sextet Alpine's newest album is a fantastic expansion of their joyous pop sound, but two members give us five records apiece that helped define their unique musical identities.

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