One of the great things about living in Atlanta is that several times a year you get to go to a show by Quiet Hounds. One of those several times was last night, when they played at their home stage in The Goat Farm.
The Quiet Hounds do a pretty good job of making each of their shows an event, mixing theatricality and other events into their shows. Last night's show was titled The Last Days of Snake Nation, a reference to the name formerly given to the Castleberry Hill neighborhood of Atlanta back when it was occupied by brothels and frequented by snake-oil salesmen and other characters of ill repute. The show started with a mock debate between a 19th Century reform-minded politician and one of those aforementioned snake-oil salesmen.
There were hand-out leaflets describing the two characters (Jonathan Norcross and Clark Stanley), their political parties (The Moral Party and the Free& Rowdy Party), and their positions. There was a booth purporting to sell snake oil, or at least glasses of wine. There were many characters walking around in 19th Century attire. All of these little flourishes helped elevate the show from just another indie rock performance to something a little more special.
Past Quiet Hounds performances have been titled An Ode To Lost Souls and focused on the Civil War's Andersonville POW camp, and Swans & Embers and focused on the reincarnation of Atlanta after Sherman's scorched-earth campaign. While I admire their interest in history and theater, I don't think the Hounds particularly need all these theatrical flourishes to make their shows interesting, so it's all the more unusual that they feel compelled to do so. In any event, the mock debate only lasted about 10 to 15 minutes before the music finally began.
Members of Quiet Hounds have played on albums for CeeLo Green, Gnarls Barkley, Washed Out, Asher Roth, and The Constellations. Last night, the band included a three-man horn section and an occasional guest second drummer, Julian Dorio of The Whigs.
Much of the set consisted of songs from The Quiet Hounds new album, The Wild Hunt.
They also included several favorites from past albums as well.
The theatrics resumed before the final song to bookend the performance.
Even though the Quiet Hounds were the only band on the bill last night, they played a nearly two-hour set (including the theatrics), making it a more than full night.
The Last Days of Snake Nation was a recipient of a Goat Farm Arts Center Arts Investment Package, a vehicle that funds, produces and presents experimental and innovative works that “pattern-break” and excite new thinking. The Goat Farm’s Review Board recognizes that consistent vanguard arts programming contributes to Atlanta’s global relevance.
Kudos to the Hounds, the Goat Farm, and the people of Atlanta for putting on, and coming out for, a fun night of music, theater, and history.