with the Changelings

The Echo Lounge, Atlanta, GA • April 23,1999

The Echo Lounge was packed with the remnants of the living dead (aka the Atlanta Goth scene) to support the release of Malamerica , the first full-length CD by Atlanta’s Myssouri. Myssouri has been together for only a year and a half, but they have already captured the attention of many listeners thanks to frequent airplay on radio station Album 88. Although they want success for their first CD, this band is definitely not looking to crossover to STAR 94’s pop charts.

The Changelings opened the night setting the tone for the evening — dark. Ironically, Regina Morris’ beautiful and haunting voice was offset by her red, flowery dress. The only spot of color in this black-clad concert.

Myssouri took the stage, immediately grabbing hold of the audience with “No One’s Ark”. The Nick Cave influence was clear and evident. Singer Michael Bradley’s voice is low and somber enough to pass as his vocal twin. Then the band took a twist with “My Eye,” a very Western sounding piece. The Johnny Cash influence shows through.

The concert continued with songs that trudged slowly over a landscape of an America filled with dry bones, body parts and human decay. Lyrics carefully laced with Christian symbolism amongst the dead. A perfect formula for an Atlanta Gothic Festival.

The band took another turn with “Hey John,” an infectious upbeat tune that had people bopping in the audience. Even the most desolate looking members of the crowd had their feet moving and arms swinging.

Although the vocals were low, slow, and mournful, this band did make an obvious concentration to focus on the music. The instrumental breaks were as an important an element as the powerfully poetic lyrics.

Cris Jansen’s drums demanded to be heard. Greg Thum’s virtuoso guitar wailed the club with a sad, sad sound that magically fit Michael Bradley’s lyrics of a devastated American history. Hampton Ryan fills out the quartet belting out the bass lines. Joining the band on lap steel guitar was Ruben Kincaid guitarist Stacey Cargole.

Myssouri may be trying to move out of the Goth sound by injecting new influences into their music , but with lyrics like “I heard the song of a spiraling, burning bird. I saw a red road rising from the whistling bowels of a carrion horse. And all the wailing, shrieking throng that crawled along its harrowing course,” it’s going to be a long climb out of the dark abyss that is mall-America.

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