Highlights From the Dark Horse Tavern

Atlantis Highlights From the Dark Horse Tavern

including Flair, Smithwick Machine, and Rev Seven

Atlanta, GA o August 9-12, 2000

The first band I caught at the Dark Horse Tavern the last night of the conference was Flair. Their lead singer started the set by doing shots, only then to break the shot glasses on stage, knocked over his own drummers cymbal mid song, and his antics with the microphone stand almost gave someone unfortunate enough to be stage center an undeserved concussion. All this mixed with the whiniest and worst of vocals, bad pop music confused with something I can only describe as fingernails to a chalkboard. They don’t deserve a first listen, a second chance, or a third reminder.

Up next was Smithwick Machine. They’ve changed their sound up a little, and some of the punk undertones have been replaced with some deep rock verb. Lead singer Sam Smithwick has completely come into his own, and in between hard and heavy guitar riffs along side superstar guitarist Johnny Fuller, Sam belted out some of the best rock and roll vocals to date. Hats off to bassist Jason Fondren. Playing as fervently as a guitarist, the color he painted on the Smithwick canvas was as bright a red as any eyes could take without going blind or bleeding.

Smithwick Machine doesn’t have far to travel, perfection is the next exit. If you’re up for the best rock and roll show out there, this band is not one to miss. You shouldn’t walk but run, beg for a ride or steal a car to catch this band.

Up next was Rev Seven, a bubblegum pop band who seems to be more interested in getting their vocalist on the cover of Tiger Beat than playing real music. Their set is riddled with sing alongs, but is completely absent of any structure. If pop is the road they’re taking, they may want to consider concentrating more on hooks, which were completely absent. The band itself was lost in the shadow of their front man’s over-the-top cheesiness, and they easily could have been mere hired players. At the end of the show when the crowd started to disperse, he even went so far as to start his own encore. I wish them luck if they ever plan on playing anywhere besides cover bars, because they’re sure going to need it.

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