with the Donnas and Catfight
Echo Lounge, Atlanta • July 18, 1999
This was the night that the lights went out in Georgia. As hot as two rats humping in a wool sock, and with lightning storms hanging in the air, it should have been clear that the gig was cursed. Moved to the Echo Lounge when the original venue went out of business, things got strange early on when the lights went out before Catfight took the stage. Apparently, trees were down due to the storm, causing outages across the neighborhood; the lights were quickly restored and the show went on.
Catfight played a fine and spunky set, capped off by “New Rose” by the Damned — one of the greatest songs ever written. Especially played the way Catfight played it — like the Ronettes on speed.
Delta 72 rolled up just in time to unload and take the stage, minus their drummer’s left arm. It wasn’t actually missing, but it was in a sling, cracked the night before in a tragic mosh pit mishap. His snare drum head was splattered in blood; nevertheless, they set up and played.
They literally wore their influences on their sleeves, with a Goat’s Head Soup -era Rolling Stones T-shirt; and Stones, Pink Floyd, and Who riffs played during a quickie on-the-job sound check. They played a monstrous and energetic, but abbreviated set of R&B fueled rock, complete with James Brown splits and funky chicken shuffling by the lead guitarist.
The drummer actually did an amazing job — it was obvious he was missing a little something (and the Def Leppard jokes were flying), but they pulled it off. Then, just after announcing their last song, the power went out again. Like some weird rock version of The Fugitive , the one-armed man slipped from the building when the lights went out, and was never seen again.
And, to make a long, hot story short, the power never returned; instead of rocking down the house with their neo-Runaways, ’90s-teen-movie-soundtrack rock, The Donnas came out to bring the bad news personally to the fans who had waited patiently in the foggy heat. Most people seemed understanding, and no one I saw left mad. I guess it was better than hanging an innocent man…