We left Nashville on track to hit Atlanta with plenty of spare time- that is, until we got stuck in an EPIC BRUTAL TRAFFIC JAM OF DEATH (I’m pretty sure nobody was seriously hurt so I don’t feel so bad saying that) just east of town.
We crept along for almost 2 hours before the road cleared. This complicated our arrival to Atlanta somewhat, but we still made time before load-in to stop at my mom’s house (I grew up in Atlanta) for a deee-licious meal of chicken braised in tomato sauce, along with the first fresh vegetables I’d eaten since Monday. PRIORITIES.
May 14, 2015: 529 (Atlanta) with Waste Layer, Bathroom/s and Zex
I was especially excited for this gig, because it was the first time I’d ever played a club show in my hometown (my old band the Jonx did play in a basement there once, and landed in the liner notes of the Black Lips’ Party at Rob’s House 7″ for our trouble!).
My brother Colin helped get this date together for us; his friend Ryan Fetter set up the show to accommodate us and Zex, on the road all the way from Ottawa! I demanded that Colin and Ryan’s band Waste Layer play, and they obliged with gusto.
Waste Layer have sort of a punky power violence thing going on, maybe a little like Spazz but less heavy.
Their singer, cutting quite the imposing figure, was performing his second and last show with the band. With him in the band, Colin and bassist Chris Van Etten were able to do a lot of call-and-response stuff, which was very effective at emphasizing their surprisingly hooky songs.
I’ve seen a couple of Colin’s previous bands, but I hadn’t seen him do anything heavy on guitar before. He really reminds me of Greg Ginn in the way he uses idiosyncratic technique and ideas to create something that’s unique but satisfyingly hard at the same time. Chris and Ryan are great too- I especially appreciated Ryan’s “two up top” configuration and beefy snare sound. Pick up their demo tape; it’s totally fucking killer.
We changed up our set from Nashville to start with “Dead” (it’s a good warmup) and cut Blackjaw, as Melissa was feeling under the weather.
A Ruined Oak
Welcome to the Adders’ Land
My parents were at the show, along with my friend Jeff, who used to play with me in a roots-rock band in college and now lives in Atlanta. And of course my brother. It’s not common for me to play in front of people I’ve known that long. Between that, the traffic jam, an ill band member, and the normal stress of being on the road, once we started playing I realized that, in addition to excitement, I was also experiencing a pretty fair amount of anxiety.
Failing to consult the setlist in detail, I started “Green Vial” second instead of “Ruined Oak,” which didn’t make things any better. But we made it through the set, and everyone seemed impressed enough. ANOTHER PERFECT SHOW.
Watching Bathroom/s, from Athens, Georgia, was a great way to blow off whatever steam was left, largely because to their frontman Jason, a madman with a mop of red hair who spent the set racing around the pit in circles, like some kind of punk rock rodeo clown.
Meanwhile, the band held things down with a power violence variant that was more orthodox than Waste Layer’s, but no less fun.
Watching these guys reminded me of seeing bands in high school, in a really good way. Hear their stuff on Bandcamp.
Zex closed out the night with a pitch-perfect take on ’70s UK punk.
I was particularly impressed with guitarist Jo Capitalicide, who threw down legit solos and tight stage moves.
Zex are in the midst of a 39-date U.S. tour that began on the heels of the sudden death of drummer Vassil Mester. Utmost respect to them for soldiering on after this tragic setback. Please show them some support- they’ll be in Nashville tonight and all over the country in coming weeks. See their tour dates on Facebook.
All in all, I don’t think I could have asked for a better show- thanks to Colin, Ryan, and the rest of Waste Layer, Bathroom/s (who also let us use their 8×10), Zex, Asha and everyone else at 529, and everyone who came to the show.
I somehow even ended up with a free Cinemechanica shirt, which will be repurposed as a gift for a certain guitar player in a certain Austin math-rock band named after an album by ANOTHER math-rock band who just happen to be from Atlanta. SCORE!
After the show we decamped back to my mom’s house where I made grilled cheese for Angela and Sam and we admired her kitchen. This morning we enjoyed BOTTOMLESS FREE COFFEE and the lush backyard:
Meanwhile, Grampa Jamie had a nice leisurely sit on the front porch- I think an hour and a half oughta do it.
My mom also has a lot of cool art
As in Nashville and so many comfortable places before, we were sad to leave- but the show must go on, and tonight it’s in Chapel Hill, NC at the Cave, with Suppressive Fire and The Hag! But first, MOAR TRAFFICS