Perfect Strange

Perfect Strange

The Riviera, Atlanta, GA • September 21, 2000

I still haven’t decided if I like the Riviera or not. This new club sports a large stage, three well-stocked bars, a lounge, and a wicked disco ball. The promoter has some kind of connection to radio station 96 Rock, and Thursday nights are called “Stage 96” in honor of that link. This Thursday night, I went out see Perfect Strange, a new band based in Atlanta that’s getting its act together to take on the world.

Previously playing bars as Scout, the band decided on a name change after some personnel changes, including the acquisition of drummer Mike Delp from Tampa and bassist Jamie Roop, who played briefly with the band Eden. Singer and guitarist Robin Leigh had originally staked out her career going solo, and put out a CD produced by Kristen Hall and featuring the rhythm section of Lift. Scout was formed with guitarist Scott Jegen, but now, new members mean a new attitude.

The stage was decorated with candles as the band tried to give the show a coffeehouse feel. But as soon as the dance floor lights were pointed at the musicians, the brick wall was highlighted, giving the look of four escapees spotlighted by a police helicopter in a back alley.

The band opened with a trio of pop songs with Robin on acoustic guitar and Scott tearing up the electric guitar. Scott plays guitar with such a physical intensity that at times it appears he forgets he’s playing before an audience as he paces around (and sometimes off) the stage. “Talking About the Weather” from Robin’s solo release was a bouncy number that led to some slower, soulful songs bringing variety to the set. “Love’s A Dog,” which brought back the upbeat pop melodies, was dedicated to the bass player for his fourth wedding anniversary.

The performance went back and forth between numbers with catchy hooks to tearful songs of woe. Robin’s raspy voice excelled at delivering both the pop and the ballads. The band played with energy and with lots of interplay between the members. It’s evident from the personal songwriting that Robin is the powerhouse behind the quartet, and she has the drive and ambition to make this band succeed beyond Decatur and Atlanta.

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