Event Reviews

The Mike Plume Band

with Chopper Johnson

Smith’s Olde Bar, Atlanta, GA • February 8, 2000

Smith’s Olde Bar. What a place to be on a Wednesday night. There were all of twenty people in the room, but the Mike Plume Band could’ve easily rocked 10,000. They opened with an acoustic song, and I was scared. Wasn’t in the mood to have my soul twisted. But boy oh boy, the things to come. Lead singer Mike Plume’s raspy powerhouse vocals, skilled guitar licks, and subtle harmonica make you remember what real music sounded like in the days of Dylan.

Pure, sharp harmonies exploded like hard liquor and honey in a boiling pot. Driving rhythms, ass shaking melodies, these guys make you feel like a desert fantasy; a big long convertible, a fast getaway from a bar room brawl or a liquor store hold up.

In between, there were a handful of acoustic ballads by Mike Plume that put the room in a trance and under a spell; thoughtful and soul stirring, going deep and fast to the heart of the matter.


Lead guitarist Dave Klym hails from territory where only the truly gifted are spawned. His guitar is a mere extension of a natural expertise, irreproachable and gut wrenchingly honest. His on-stage banter is eccentric and beautifully bizarre. Dave is a guitar legend waiting for fate to deal a well-deserved hand of aces. Anyone lucky enough to witness him now will be bragging to their kids 20 years from now that they saw him when. I know I will.

These guys play with unadulterated dedication, talent, and heart. Their showmanship is personable, non-assuming, and hilarious at times. Catch them while you can. If there is any justice left to be had in this business of music, the Mike Plume Band will be a force to contend with.

Imagine the song that would be play on a perfect day. Sun shining, full pack of smokes, and the hangover you expected never showed up. Your best friend is riding shotgun, nowhere to go or be, just driving. Well that song was written by opening act Chopper Johnson, an amazingly tight rock band with equally dynamic stage power. Their music kicks you in the ass like a steel-toed boot then consoles you when you scream foul.

Lead guitarist and front man Burke Carroll is a pro. His voice is a finely-tuned instrument that can take you to the hardest place in rock, or the coolest spot in the shade. His guitar playing lets your mind breathe but could easily cause heart palpitations.

Their songs are evenhanded, with hard hitting drums and perfectly woven bass lines, fearless and commanding. Drummer Gary Betzel and bass player Brent Beardan have no problem holding their own, and supply the precise amount of readiness, skill, and power needed to pull it all together. With a touch of Stevie Ray blues, and an edge of the Kinks, Chopper Johnson has covered all the bases.

I would highly recommend checking this band out if you get the chance. They simply rock.

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