Elliot James & the Snakes
Smith’s Olde Bar, Atlanta, GA • July 30, 2000
Roi J. Tamkin
Sunday night in Atlanta (July 30th), there was thunder and lightning and a flash flood. Then there was the storm outside Smith’s Olde Bar. James Jones, ex-axeman for the Pleasantdales and now touring with the Marvelous 3, put together a little side project to play out some songs that were destined to be written.
The Snakes are Mark Green on bass, Nick Volpe on guitar, Rob Hammersmith on drums, and the lovely Lauren Betty on back-up vocals and tambourine. The five on stage look like a rough and tumble band about to play some of the rawest, loudest, most indecent rock and roll ever heard in the Southeast. But looks are deceiving. JJ’s vocals are smooth and delicious to hear. The band performed a tight set, and the musicians complemented each other well. The songs were structured with many quick instrumental breaks designed to showcase JJ’s talent of ringing out notes on his sunburst Telecaster. But the show was not all about JJ. Mark and Nick shared on lead vocals for a couple of songs, but spent most of the set a step back from JJ allowing him to roam on stage playing his guitar.
They opened with a lively number, then cooled things down with a slower follow-up piece. They played original tunes such as “Century” and “Today,” and two Pleasantdales songs, including “Last One For You.” The band gained strength as they played, with JJ boldly playing his guitar between his legs at one point. They closed the set by bringing up another guitarist, allowing Nick to close on vocals.
Although a side project, JJ definitely wants to continue playing with the Snakes. So in between dates with the Marvelous 3, keep a watch out for Elliot James, and don’t let the Snakes bite ya!