I headed from my friend Andi’s pleasant apartment in East Atlanta to Flat Shoals for Thai before the show on a beautiful and surprisingly cool (for Atlanta) summer evening, so we walked around as long as possible, or so we thought. After they let us in, there was a long delay, which turned out to be because the The Dirty Projectors were still en route from Baton Rouge. Finally, Altas Sound opened the show with a five song set that surprised mainly because angel-voiced Bradford Cox (Deerhunter) added a band (three Selmanaires) two days before and they managed to crunch out a fine country-laced set, departing from Bradford’s more electronic Atlas Sound peregrinations. Listen to their set here. We both liked the effort, which I likened to country Radiohead and she compared to early Travis, if that tells you anything. These are definitely worth downloading, even if the band isn’t as polished as it will be by the time they tour in support of the forthcoming Logos EP. Bradford played with the confidence and panache of a salsa champion and the band couldn’t help but follow his lead, even if there was a misstep here and there. Continue reading
I packed my cross-eyed Hyundai full of people who like good music and we headed to enjoy the sun and sand at Jacksonville Beach and some decent Mexican food before the show at Freebird’s (owned by a former member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, so shout it all you want). It’s an interesting venue, two floors with an atrium, a full bar on either floor, so we headed upstairs to get a good view of the stage. Continue reading
“I’m like a fucking race horse.”
–Tom Waits, Jacksonville
Tom Waits’ tours are fairly infrequent, so when I heard he was headed to Jacksonville two hours away from my house, I splurged. Jacksonville? Why Jacksonville? It’s not really the red dirt, bluesy part of the south Waits wanted to see. Jacksonville is South Beach’s conservative opposite, militarized vanilla beach Florida, which tolerates the small, local counterculture because it’s essentially irrelevant. Jacksonville is by some definitions lovely, but it’s not, well, cool. When, early in the concert, Waits mused about why he’d never been to this attractive city beside a sparkling river and the Atlantic Ocean, he said his friends had always told him, “You’re not old enough.” I don’t know whether he’s finally old enough now or if the prospect of hauling the tour bus and three semis ten hours south and back north was too much for his pocketbook or his carbon footprint, but he arrived with a copious supply of merchandise–including vinyls, a chapbook in which he interviews himself, and t-shirts with pictures of oil stains he thought were cool–as well as a sweet stage set that could evoke alley-cat twilight austerity, late-night honkytonk, or red-devil cartoon hell.
photo by T. Loper
We drove to D.C. on a whim, twelve hours each way on 95, for Califone‘s show at the Rock and Roll Hotel. Highway barbecue, coffee, a night in South Carolina where “Deluxe” still describes cheap motels. Slither on HBO. North to President Inn (‘s not included) on New York Avenue near the arboretum. Capital Dome: I bare my ass to it in the window, more than they deserve, and Amy and I head out. The neighborhood is depressed, restaurants all closed or takeout Chinese or ff chain. We eat shrimp lo mein and fried rice and walk to the club.