Monday, August 15, 2011

Tunesday with George: Musical Tour

Welcome Back, Georgia Theater!
This week has been a bit of a musical journey extravaganza for me, worthy of a Tunesday special. It began with my first two return trips to the new and improved Georgia Theatre, then I was off to Boulder, CO for the annual AAA Radio Conference, back east Saturday for a show at Smith's Olde Bar in Atl, and finally culminating with a third trip to the Georgia Theatre. (note these bands below represent only about half of what I saw this week, but were the ones I deemed worth mentioning)

Monday 8/8 -- Athens, GA -- Georgia Theatre

Aquarium Rescue Unit: although this was a reunion show for Aquarium Rescue unit, featuring Col. Bruce Hampton, Jimmy Herring, and Oteil Burbridge...for me it was just about going back to Theatre for the first time. The new tricked out venue is VERY top notch, I'd recommend making a trip as soon as possible. The musical highlight of the night was definitely a rockin' version of the Howlin' Wolf classic "Smokestack Lightning."

Tuesday 8/9 -- Athens, GA -- Georgia Theatre

Reptar: This young Athens band, recently signed to Vagrant Records, seems poised to break soon. Their show is energetic and incredibly fun.....think of them as a mix of MGMT, Vampire Weekend, and Talking Heads.

J Roddy Walston & The Business: Plain and simple, these guys are one of my favorite bands in the country to see live right now. They bring a flavor of good old fashioned, in-your-face, shake-your-ass rock n' roll that just can't be ignored. J Roddy is an entertainer to the max on-stage, harkening images of Jerry Lee Lewis or Little Richard on the piano.
Wednesday 8/10 -- Boulder, CO -- Fox Theatre

Blackie & The Rodeo Kings (outside): These guys put on a very enjoyable set outside the Fox Theatre, absolutely masterful guitar work. And even more intriguing, their new album Kings & Queens features all duets with female singers, including the likes of Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris and Rosanne Cash.
Thursday 8/11 -- Boulder, CO -- St. Julien Hotel & Fox Theatre

Yuna (St. Julien Hotel): This sweet-voiced Malaysian songstress was a nice surprise, and a great way to start off the morning at the conference.
Lissie (Fox Theatre, outside): Another one-namer, this all-American girl and her band currently hail from California, via the Mid-West. Something about Lissie makes her seem like she's just one of your super-talented friends on-stage...or at least a friend of a friend. I'm not sure if she's destined to be a household name or not, but I'm definitely rooting for her. I'd have to say, though, that the most impressive thing about her show is the fact that her rhythm section consists of one guy, who at the same time plays bass + half of a drum kit (kick, snare and high-hat, all with his feet).

Friday 8/12 -- Boulder, CO -- Fox Theatre

Trombone Shorty: Funky, soulful, fun. Is there a better combination? Like most people, I first heard of Trombone Shorty from the brilliant HBO series Tremé. I bought his 2010 album Backatown with modest expectations, but it quickly became one of my favorite albums of last year. This youngster is a star...if you ain't into it, get into it.

Jeff Bridges: The Dude decided to parlay the success of Crazy Heart into a follow-up full length album, produced by T-Bone (actually the second full-length album of Bridges' career, including 2000's Be Here Soon). His band is top-notch for the live show, and the album itself features guest vocals from my homeboys Benji Hughes and Ryan Bingham, along with Sam Phillips, Rosanne Cash and others...

Fitz & The Tantrums: Well worth the hype, and then some. Fitz, aka Michael Fitzpatrick, may end up being this generations' David Byrne. And his Tantrums are nearly as formidable as the Tom Tom Club. If these guys aren't on your radar yet, you're too late...prepare to be blown away.

Saturday 8/13 -- Atlanta, GA -- Smith's Olde Bar

Ponderosa: My flight from Colorado didn't land until about 10pm, so sadly I missed Thomas Hardy's opening set. But I did arrive in time to see my boys Ponderosa kill it in front of an enthusiastic packed house...possibly the best Ponderosa show I've seen to date.

Sunday 8/14 -- Athens, GA -- Georgia Theatre

Gillian Welch: Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings are nothing short of musical soul-mates. They fit together so well, that over the years it seems that their two voices have almost become one super voice....the only duo I've ever seen that comes close to their chemistry is Buddy Miller and Patty Griffin. Sunday night Gillian and Dave brought their signature salt-of-the-earth, bluegrass-tinged country soul to a sold out crowd at the Georgia Theatre, and proceeded to melt the room for approximately two hours. Gillian Welch's new album The Harrow & The Harvest is a must have, and for that matter so is the Dave Rawlings Machine album that came out a couple years ago (one of my favorites of the last half-decade).

Some pictures of the Theater restored to glory after last year's fire:
All pictures stolen from Yancey Kenna (thanks, Yance!)

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