Another good week for music here in Atlanta, with sets by The Joy Formidable, The Helio Sequence, Father John Misty, Poliça, Vetiver, and even the formerly reclusive but now strangely regular Residents, with much in between and culminating in the two-day Atlanta Mess Around.
As always, please keep in mind that musicians and night-club proprietors lead complicated lives and I'm prone to errors, mistakes, typos, and fubars; it's advisable to confirm any of the information below on your own before making plans.
MONDAY, APRIL 25
NOFX, Direct Hit, Mean Jeans, Karbomb (The Tabernacle)
NOFX was formed in 1983 by vocalist/bassist Fat Mike and guitarist Eric Melvin and rose to popularity with their fifth studio album Punk in Drublic (1994). NOFX's mainstream success was buoyed by the growing interest in punk rock during the 1990s, and although they have never been signed to a major label, the group has sold over 8 million records worldwide, making them one of the most successful independent bands of all time. The NOFX sound utilizes elements of punk rock, skate punk, melodic hardcore, ska punk, and other music genres, and recent songs have focused on issues such as left-wing politics and anarchy, society, racism, sexism, homophobia, class inequalities, the use of drugs, media, and religion. Song lengths have ranged from under a minute, such as I Gotta Pee (0:32) to The Decline, which is 18:22.
Butch Trucks & The Freight Train Band, The Ries Brothers, The Bitteroots (Music Room at Smith's Olde Bar)
Drummer Butch Trucks is a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band along with Duane and Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, and fellow drummer Jai Johanny Johanson. The two drummers developed a rhythmic drive crucial to the band's sound, with Trucks providing a powerful conventional beat while the jazz-influenced Johanson adding a second layer of percussion and cymbal flourishes. Dickey Betts once said that when Butch came along, "he had that freight train, meat-and-potatoes kind of thing that set Jaimoe up perfectly. He had the power thing we needed."
Mishka Shubaly, Star Anna, Ben Trickey (The Earl)
New York-based singer, songwriter, and author Mishka Shubaly has earned a loyal following for his gritty autobiographical tales. Following a turbulent childhood, he began drinking and by the time he enrolled at Columbia University, he was a full-blown alcoholic and drug addict. After graduation, Shubaly hit the road, performing his songs in a gruff but expressive voice at indie venues around the country. In 2009, Shubaly finally got sober, and in 2011, he published an autobiographical essay called Shipwrecked. The piece became a surprise success, and Shubaly penned a handful of subsequent pieces based on his experiences that earned him a loyal following. While Shubaly's success online led to a book deal with Public Affairs Press for a memoir scheduled for publication this year, he didn't abandon his music, and in 2015, he released Coward's Path, his first album since giving up drugs and alcohol.
Mystikal, the debut album by New Orleans' rapper Mystikal, was released in 1995. Mystikal's funky flow style has been compared to legendary soul screamers Little Richard and James Brown, and Mystikal was nominated for a Grammy for Best Male Rap Solo Performance in 2003. However, that same year, he was sentenced to six years in prison on charges of sexual battery and extortion after pleading guilty to forcing his hairstylist to perform sex acts. While incarcerated, Mystikal was charged with two federal misdemeanor counts of failing to file tax returns for 1998 and 1999, but was allowed to serve the one-year federal sentence concurrent with his six-year state sentence. Mystikal was released in January 2010 after serving six full years, but in February 2012, he was arrested again following a dispute with his domestic partner and was later given a misdemeanor charge of domestic abuse battery. He was detained for nine days and then released on bail, but then was given a three-month jail sentence for violating the terms of his probation. He was released from jail in August 2012 and has since collaborated on songs with Mark Ronson and Stevie Stones, and earlier this year performed shows in Bahrain and Bulgaria.
Sadistic Ritual, Hell Cannon, Obsolescence (529)
Sadistic Ritual is an Atlanta thrash metal band for fans of old school thrash and death metal.
Hero The Band, Steve Cantrell (Vinyl)
Hero the Band are an alternative pop/rock band from Atlanta. Hip-hop artist Steve Cantrell is from Albany, Georgia.
TUESDAY, APRIL 26
The Joy Formidable consists of Ritzy Bryan (lead vocals, guitar), Rhydian Dafydd (bass) and Matt Thomas (drums). Their "darkly joyous soft-loud racket" (The Guardian) draws heavily on shoegaze and noisy alt-rock. Formed in North Wales in 2007, the band later resettled in London. After releasing several singles, the group issued the mini-album A Balloon Called Moaning in early 2009. The Joy Formidable kicked off 2011 with the release of The Big Roar, their well-received, full-length studio debut. The band spent the following year writing its second record while on the road, and the resulting Wolf's Law, which was recorded in the small town of Casco, Maine, arrived in early 2013. The following year saw the band issuing a series of monthly, vinyl-only singles sung in their native Welsh, and in March of this year, they released their much-anticipated third studio album, Hitch. Openers The Helio Sequence are the eclectic and engaging indie pop duo of Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel from Portland, Oregon.
|Helio Sequence at Terminal West, January 19, 2013|
|The Joy Formidable at Park Tavern, September 6, 2015|
Chicago's Smashing Pumpkins (original members Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin included) are on an acoustic tour this year, with support from fellow ’90s-alternative great Liz Phair on her first proper tour since 2011. The Smashing Pumpkins were one of the biggest alternative bands of the '90s and deftly mixed guitar-heavy '70s arena rock with the sullen mope-rock of the '80s, and fellow Chicagoan Phair was the lo-fi figurehead for the indie singer/songwriter movement, whose confrontational and controversial subject matter proved very influential.
Argyle Goolsby & The Roving Midnight, The Casket Creatures (529)
Argyle Goolsby was the bassist/singer for Blitzkid, one of the leading exponents of the horror punk scene. Active from 1997 until 2012, Blitzkid released five studio albums, appeared on numerous compilations, and toured both nationally and internationally. In 2007, Goolsby also played bass and performed vocal duties for Gorgeous Frankenstein, a project headed by ex-Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, making him one of horror punk's more visible figures. In 2002, Goolsby also played bass for The Undead, the notable horror punk band featuring ex-Misfit Bobby Steele. Blitzkid's melodic approach to the horror punk genre was noted for its strong vocals, and Blitzkid was not sonically dissimilar to such non-horror punk peers as NOFX (see Monday night).
The Brevet, The Tin Man, Steve Everett (Vinyl)
By combining Americana rock, sweeping orchestral tracks, gang vocals, notable choruses and connective emotional lyrics, The Brevet passionately spills their hearts through cinematic sounds which has led to fans and critics labeling them as one of the first in the "Epic Americana" genre.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27
Lowbrow humor-driven mock-metal band that evolved from Los Angeles-based hair metal tribute band Metal Shop (later Metal Skool).
Delicate Steve is the brainchild of New Jersey-based experimental pop songwriter Steve Marion. Atlanta's Dot.s started as Ryan James' solo project and has since grown to a five-piece group combining acoustics, electronics and layered vocal harmonies, and their album Jellyfiss alternates complex rock songs with comedy sketches. Atlanta post-punk noise/soul outfit Shepherds is fronted by guitarist Jonathan Merenivitch (Janelle Monae, Del Venicci, Dog Bite, and probably more).
|Delicate Steve at The Earl, October 29, 2011|
|Dot.s at The Earl, September 12, 2014|
|Shepherds at Artlantis|
Laura Stevenson is a singer-songwriter based on Long Island and formerly a keyboard player for the musical collective Bomb the Music Industry!
Oryx and Crake, Black Linen, Grand Vapids (Eddie's Attic)
Oryx and Crake are a sextet fronted by the husband-and-wife duo of Ryan Peoples and Rebekah Goode-Peoples, and includes a cellist and a violinist in addition to the usual rock instrumentation. The band plays orchestral folk-pop in the manner of bands like Typhoon and The Family Crest, and although I find comparisons misleading, they've also been likened to Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens, and Lost in the Trees.
|Oryx & Crake at Thre Earl, September 12, 2015|
Coleman Hell, Ria Mae, Social (Vinyl)
McLovins, Little Raine Band (Aisle 5)
McLovins are a Connecticut-based jam band that played Aisle 5 back on January 30.
THURSDAY, APRIL 28
Santigold, DonMonique (The Tabernacle)
The stage name of singer/songwriter/producer Santi White, Santigold fuses punk, reggae, grime, and indie rock with electro. Originally dubbing herself Santogold, a nickname given to her by friends, her diverse musical background is reflected in acclaimed her albums and singles. Born in Philadelphia, White grew up listening to reggae, jazz, Fela Kuti and Nigerian music, soul legends like James Brown and Aretha Franklin, and punk and new wave acts such as Devo and Siouxsie and the Banshees. With a double major in music and African-American studies at Wesleyan University, she began her musical career in the '90s, working as an Epic Records A&R representative.
Lea Lea, Swim Lessons, Sad Fish, Loudermilk and Moon, Marshall James Kavanaugh (Mammal Gallery)
Lea Lea is an Atlanta-based experimental folktronica performer. Sad Fish plays Brazilian freak surf rock. Both bands played the Mammal Gallery back on March 23.
The New Mastersounds, Moon Hooch (Terminal West)
British quartet rooted in soul and funk, plus jazz sensibilities and chops fine-tuned for maximum danceability.
The Whistles and Bells, Liza Anne (Vinyl)
The gospel-tinged indie folk solo vehicle of singer/songwriter and ex-Cadillac Sky frontman Bryan Simpson.
Banditos, Pony League, The Muckers (The Earl)
Rough but rollicking and deeply eclectic roots music sextet from Nashville by way of Alabama.
OBN IIIS, Illegal Drugs, Easy Magick, Bad Spell (529)
The rowdy and booze-soaked garage rock quartet from Austin OBN IIIs are named for their singer and frontman Orville Bateman Neeley III. OBN is a wildly entertaining madman, bellowing out the vocals, striking macho rock-star poses, and menacing the audience.
|OBN IIIs at Terminal West, November 2, 2013|
Roadkill Ghost Choir, Deep State, Thayer Sarrano (Aisle 5)
"Shoegaze americana" outfit Roadkill Ghost Choir has been playing Atlanta quite a bit lately, appearing at The Earl each of the past two weeks.
|Roadkill Ghost Choir at The Earl, August 9, 2013|
Glen Phillips (Eddie's Attic)
This is the first of a two-night stand by Glen Phillips, formerly of Toad The Wet Sprocket, not Glenn Phillips of the Glenn Phillips Band.
FRIDAY, APRIL 29
Father John Misty, Tess & Dave (The Tabernacle)
Father John Misty is ex-Fleet Foxes drummer Joshua Tillman's Harry Nilsson/Gram Parsons-loving alter ego. Father John's music paints languid, sadly beautiful portraits of love and life on the margins with the moody depth of Nick Drake and the country-influenced textures of Ryan Adams. and has cited the music of Nick Drake and Pete Seeger, and the writings of Flannery O'Connor, as key influences.
|Father John Misty at Terminal West, October 18, 2012|
The brainchild of the Minnesota producer Ryan Olson, Poliça is distinguished from dozens of contemporaries by the sore, emotive vocals of Channy Leaneagh. The band was early to the party; on their 2012 début, Give You the Ghost, they leaned heavily on the rhythms and vocal textures of R&B in art-rock experiments. They’re emblematic of the boundless music that comes from the Midwest, at once insulated from and insatiable for the more pronounced aesthetics of the East and West Coasts: as if to proudly boast their lack of regard for boundaries, the video for Wedding weaves together dash-cam footage and scenes of Henson-esque puppets warning children about police brutality, its score a haunting, twitchy anthem for insurrection that Leaneagh performs with grace.
|Polica at Bumbershoot. 2014|
Sevendust, Trivium, Like A Storm, Westfield Massacre (Center Stage)
Sevendust are an Atlanta metal quintet that blend bottom-heavy riffs and soulful, accessible melodies.
Atlanta Mess-Around 2016 (The Earl)
The first day will feature Wreckless Eric, Dinos Boys, Omni, Death Stuff, The Real Kids, Barreracudas, The Tough Shits, Death Index, MAMA, Thee Tsunamis
The Midnight Larks, Flying Faders, El Capitan & the Band with No Name, Antarcticats, DJ Dusty Booze (Star Community Bar)
Breathers, Paperhaus, Shampoo, Feast of Violet (Mammal Gallery)
The D.C. band Paperhaus, long purveyors of a DIY venue that went by the same name, make math rock that never feels cold. Their latest song Silent Speaking starts out with a precise, off-kilter beat that wouldn’t feel off on an In Rainbows track, then builds momentum to a big, hearty conclusion. Atlanta bands Breathers, Shampoo, and Feast of Violet share the bill.
Reuben's Bell, Prisca, Dreambrother (Vinyl)
Reuben's Bell is an Atlanta-based rock band which presents a strong sense of musicianship passed down from generations of fathers to sons. All band members come from a strong family of music, community, and tradition that continues to grow between each band member and the ever expanding RB family.
An*Ten*Nae, Mihkal, Live Animals, GemNeye (Aisle 5)
An*Ten*Nae is one of San Francisco’s most sought after DJs and live performers. He has taken the art of live remixing to new heights with his own customized setup that bends genres in ways seldom heard. This sound is called Acid Crunk, and there are no rules, no restraints in its quest for pure BASS devastation.
Glen Phillips (Eddie's Attic)
This is the second of the two-night stand by Glen Phillips, formerly of Toad The Wet Sprocket, not Glenn Phillips of the Glenn Phillips Band.
SATURDAY, APRIL 30
Snarky Puppy, Lucy Woodward (The Tabernacle)
Texas-based jam band centered around bassist Michael League that fuses jazz, funk, and rock.
Vetiver, Book Club (Vinyl)
California's Vetiver are folk-rockers whose sound is heavily influenced by late-'60s/early-'70s hippie-folk troubadours. When Vetiver released their first album in 2004, they were commonly lumped into the freak folk movement alongside the likes of Joanna Newsom and Six Organs of Admittance, thanks to leader Andy Cabic's friendship with scene founder Devendra Banhart. In addition to Banhart's musical contributions to Vetiver's first two albums, Cabic co-wrote Banhart's breakout song At the Hop, which appeared on 2004's Rejoicing in the Hands. Banhart paid tribute to his friend's band in the song When the Sun Shone on Vetiver. However, the band's roots encompassing the U.K. shoegazer scene and the mid-'90s D.I.Y. indie rock scene. Atlanta's Book Club is the indie, country, melodramatic popular song project of Atlanta's Robbie Horlick.
|Vetiver at Bumbershoot, 2011|
|Book Club at The Earl, January 31, 2013|
Random Rab, Cloudchord (Terminal West)
Ashland, Oregon's Random Rab emerged from the West Coast electronic music scene, offering a powerful and unique contribution to sonic exploration. Often referred to as "The Master of Emotion" his music is patently beautiful and melodic. With diverse influences ranging from trip-hop, classical and Arabic to bass driven compositions, his songs are considered anthemic and timeless.
Atlanta Mess-Around 2016 (The Earl)
The second day will feature Buck Biloxi and the Fucks, Golden Pelicans, Slugga, Uniform (ATL), Menthol, Enoch Ramone & The Ebola Boys, The Gizmos, Hank Wood & The Hammerheads, Predator, Nervosas, Negative Scanner, Nurse
From Indian Lakes (Aisle 5)
From Indian Lakes is the experimental indie rock brainchild of California based multi-instrumentalist Joey Vannucchi. He began writing songs in a small mountain community just outside Yosemite National Park and later enlisted the help of friends to perform his material. Vannucchi continues to evolve the project's sound into music that blurs the boundaries of genres like indie, post-rock and alternative.
Blis, Bear Girl, FS, Fox Wound (The Drunken Unicorn)
Because you have to list at least one show per week at the Unicorn. It's like a rule or something.
SUNDAY, MAY 1
The Residents (Variety Playhouse)
This legendary San Francisco band is an enigma—for years, its members’ identities have been shrouded in mystery, their heads covered by giant eyeball masks adorned with top hats. The veil has been lifted somewhat with the release of a documentary, The Theory of Obscurity, which features extensive interviews with representatives from the Cryptic Corporation, the group’s public persona, who some suspect are the actual Residents. They detail the vast terrain—the history of American music, Eskimo culture, the Bible—that the group has explored in performance-art-tinged shows since moving to California from Shreveport, Louisiana, in the early nineteen-seventies. Concluding the celebration of their 40th anniversary, The Residents have announced Shadowland, Part 3 of the Randy, Chuck & Bob Trilogy. Aspiring to examine life in reverse, the trilogy began in 2010 with The Talking Light, a study of ghosts and death; reflecting on love and sex, the group continued with their Wonder of Weird tour in 2013; and finally with Shadowland, Randy, Chuck & Bob will focus on the beginning of life – birth. As with Parts 1 & 2 of the trilogy, Part 3 will feature music from The Residents’ extensive catalog interspersed with short videos about birth, rebirth, reincarnation and NDEs (near death experiences). Get there early for a screening of Theory Of Obscurity.
Enter Shikari, Hands Like Houses, The White Noise, Renacer (Heaven at The Masquerade)
Enter Shikari are an English post-hardcore band known for its dynamic live show and D.I.Y. business sense.
Bear Mountain, Young Empires (Vinyl)
Vancouver-based indie-electronic band makes atmospheric, lightly experimental, R&B-influenced dance music.
John Brown's Body, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra (Terminal West)
Named in honor of the legendary abolitionist, reggae unit John Brown's Body was led by singer/guitarist Kevin Kinsella, a longtime fan of Caribbean music who formed the group Tribulations while attending college in Boston in 1989. Striving for a more organic roots reggae sound, Kinsella founded John Brown's Body in 1995 .
Kawehi, Lucis Flux (Aisle 5)
Hawaiian independent artist Kawehi (kuh-veh-hee) is known across the nation for her live shows as a one-woman band, creating intricate loops via beatboxing, a guitar, a midi keyboard and Ableton Live. She is known for her opinionated songwriting, centering her music messages around social issues and injustices. Kawehi's videos and songs have been featured on CBS News Most Viral Videos, Vimeo, Booooooom!, Sony Music, Huffington Post, Esquire, Spin, Elle, Maxim, People, Devour, Gizmodo, etc.