Monday, June 24, 2013

Mikal Cronin at The Earl, June 23, 2013

So now that Season Three of Game of Thrones is over, it's safe to go out to shows on Sunday nights again.  Case in point: last night, I went back to the redoubtable Earl to see Mikal Cronin perform.  Opening the evening's set was Atlanta band Del Venicci. 

We last saw Del Venicci just a couple of weeks ago at the Artlantis event in Druid Hills.  Although their Artlantis set was fine, last night's show was a much better performance, if for no other reason than the better amplification and other equipment at their disposal in the club as opposed to the front steps of a Baptist church.  Bonus points for the standing drummer.

Photos are posted over on the Flickr page.  Here's a video of Del Venicci produced by Elise Tippins of Featureless Ghost.

Shannon and the Clams, the next act, are touring with Mikal Cronin and currently have an LP on the CMJ Top 20.  

To say that this Oakland, California trio has a retro sound would be an understatement.  Having just blogged about the music of the 1950s, I found it interesting to listen to songs that weren't even informed by early Beatles, much less anything that came afterwards.  The band would not have sounded too out of place playing a sock hop in 1959 and even my Hound Dog-loving parents would not have been surprised by much of their set, although I will admit that the lyrics to I Don't Want to Be In A Cult No More would probably have bewildered them a little.

It would be easy to dismiss them as a novelty act, but the audience around me loved them, cheering and dancing to every song.  In fact, it looked like several of the younger crowd were there to see The Clams, and  were just hanging around afterwards for headliner Mikal Cronin.

Cronin wrapped up the evening with some glorious garage-pop songs full of catchy hooks.  Cronin  (background below) played 12-string rhythm guitar and included another fine guitarist (foreground) to handle the leads.  The band was completed by a bassist and a terrific female drummer.

Mikal Cronin's sound has been undergoing a sort of metamorphosis of late.  Songs on his latest album, MC II, have a more polished, pop sounds than the earlier, scruffier material like Apathy.  It was great to hear both sides of the performer last night.

To give you an idea of the energy level, at one point his guitarist simultaneously broke two strings on his guitar, and had to borrow a guitar from Shannon and The Clams to finish the set.

A subtle point, but one very much appreciated by this old man - even including one encore, Cronin wrapped up the evening before midnight.

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