20 Miles

20 Miles

with Bob Log III

The Echo Lounge, Atlanta, GA • February 23, 2000

The place was packed for opening act Bob Log III, an ultra-bizarre Dr. Strange Bug. This act was a one-man band wearing a motorcycle helmet with a phone receiver glued to the visor as a microphone. An interesting display, for lack of anything remotely resembling true entertainment. Mr. Log III played fast, furious, and too long on several numbers that all sounded identically challenged. With a lead guitar and a kick drum, he made lots of noise, and the crowd cheered with delight. His intentions were lost on me, and to this day, I can’t figure out what the point of it was, if in fact there was one at all. The sad thing was, when our helmeted hero — whose face we never saw — stood up at the end of his set for the last hurrah, the place cleared out like there was a fire drill.

Bad call. The headlining band, 20 Miles, was great. A two piece band with a lead guitarist/vocalist and a drummer who laid down some of the rawest, ripping blues you’d hope to wander upon in a backroom bar in New Orleans. They got off to a slow start as a result of what seemed to be a sound problem, and the vocals were a little hard to discern. But by the third or fourth song, lead vocalist Judah Bauer’s voice had exploded with life; sweet, deep, and pure as fresh well water. With an amazing measure of tortured heart and controlled angst, he gave the same amount of heat to a handful of honky tonk numbers. Deep and heavy southern rhythms hit the bullseye on more than a few finely polished gems. I wouldn’t suggest this band to anyone who’s in search of liars or pop-appealers. While they haven’t neglected the toe tappers, they seem to be more interested in the resurrection of good, honest blues, plain and simple. If you’re up for the ride, these 20 Miles are well worth traveling and traveling again.

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