Change Music Atlanta
Atlanta, GA • June 16-18, 2000
The first band up was Ted’s house band, Bitch. With Charlie Starr of Buffalo Nickel sitting in on vocals, they belted out a great set of hard and heavy southern rock, covering everything from AC/DC to KISS to Motörhead. This is the South, after all, and they paid homage to it like nobody’s business.
Up next was Dropsonic, a band that was great the first time I saw them months back, and seems to have gotten ever greater in the short time that’s passed. Lead singer Dan Dixon, dressed in jeans and a button down checkerboard shirt, face adorned with horn rimmed glasses, coupled with a boyish charm, leaves you completely unprepared for the rock attack that follows. His on stage presence is eccentric and raw, over the top and back down again. Drummer Brian Hunter hammered and pounded with heart and zest like the last man standing, adding to an already generous helping of rock and roll. It would be easy to call this college rock, but the punk influence of the Clash and solid way of Zeppelin that emanates in the undercurrents could easily blow most bands out of the water before they even got their feet wet.
Unfortunately, I made the mistake of leaving before their set was finished to check out Subsonics at the Echo Lounge. Bad, bad call. If you imagine the Cramps and Sex Pistols, minus every ounce of stage, lyrical, and musical talent, the result would be Subsonics. This band is a three part nightmare; a drummer that stands, mechanically drubbing out boring, forgettable, migraine inducing noise, a bass player that looks more like the poster child for JUST SAY NO to too much makeup and shiny plastic clothes, and a lead vocalist/guitarist that whines, howls, and plays barefoot for lack of anything more interesting to do. There songs are confusing and remarkably similar, and I think it was punk influenced, but couldn’t decipher because of the slow painful water torture drone of that damned drum beat. If you like your bands lo-cal, this is a band to catch – they are completely talent free.
The second night of the conference was great. Began again at 9 Lives with the Blacklight Posterboys. These guys are still putting on one of the funnest shows in town. Massive pop appeal with solid rock to back it, they give you the best of both worlds. Guitarist Mark Dannells is one of the best in the city, playing hard and heavy with a huge shot of charisma, and a chest-burning chaser of natural talent. The place was still shaking when I left for East Atlanta for the best nightcap of them all.
I have so many things to thank Frank Mullen for; after all it was he that introduced me to the wonderful world of Smithwick Machine. And once again, Frank, in all his Oz-like wisdom, steered me to a luscious slice of the hottest Humble Pie Heaven yet. The Delta 72 is an all-senses-assaulted band that lends you to the refreshing notion that Stoner Rock is alive and well and breathing sweet new life through lead vocalist/high jumper/and superman guitarist Gregg Foreman.
They rocked the Earl for an hour that didn’t last long enough, every song better than the last. I thought my head would explode from the sheer joy of seeing real rock and roll. The crowd screamed and cheered, loving every minute of it. This show gave me hope, because up until now, I honestly believed Smithwick Machine was the only band capable of pulling off such a thing. The Delta 72 is a knock you off your ass, sweep you off your feet, carry you home kicking and screaming because you want to ride one more time experience. Some bands have to grow on you, others become a part of your life, and due to the Delta 72, a big part of life just got a little bit better. ◼