[image-1]The party was in full swing upstairs, couples twisting and twirling to the 1950s rockabilly sounds of Blair Carman and the Belleview Boys. With his cherry red button down, black-and-white wingtips, and slicked back hair, Carman did his best Jerry Lee Lewis, twangy tenor and key-pounding prowess far more spirited than you'd expect from his recordings. Aside from a dude in Betty Page Hawaiian shirt almost nailing me with his oversized can of Fosters, the last half of the set was a great time, esspecially when Carman closed it out with a fiery rendition of a Lewis cover, Whole Lotta Shakin Going On, playing with his feet and jumping on top of the piano to sing and boogie at the every end.
After two drinks and two stops, food became a priority, so we headed to vendorville and grabbed some generic burgers, fries and a Nathans hot dog to share. We scarfed down every crumb while taking a breather in the Spaghetti Warehouse courtyard and watching Trombone Shorty, who we saw play Jazz Fest last year, but who didnt really do it for us this time around. (Phils comment: I feel like were on the Lido deck.)
[image-2]Burger fuel got us to New World Brewery and Will Quinland. The place was more jammed that Id ever seen it, so hopped over to Orpheum and singer-songwriter David Dondero. We chatted with some cheerful underagers waiting outside, then joined the rapt pack of Dondero fans. It was just Dondero and his acoustic guitar and the crowd was drinking it up like it was fine wine, but I was a bit underwhelmed. I liked his smart lyrics, but didnt think he had the stage draw, that certain magnetism wielded by other singer-songwriters wield who do the solo-on-the-stage-just-me-and-my-guitar-thing. It was good, just not great.
Back to the Cantina and the last few songs of The Pack A.D. those chicks can RAWK then back to New World Brewery for the last, blistering 20 minutes of GreyMarket, a local alt rock duo that totally impressed the hell out of me. Two smartly-dressed guys -- Michael Gargiulo on drums, laptop and backup vocals, and Cave McCoy on lead vocals, guitar and pedals -- made more noise than Ive heard bands with twice the amount of members, and even had a quaint little light show going. The set was badass enough and they rocked my face off so thoroughly that I think I may have to invite them into the studio for a CL Sessions visit. At the very least, I know Im gonna have to check these guys out again soon. Cant wait.
[image-3]The last show of the night, The Visitations, was all I'd hoped for and more -- but all of 50 people were there to enjoy the geeked-out electro pop and folk-psychedelia from another of Athens' Elephant 6 offshoots. Guess it was a bit too experimental for the 'MNF crowd, especially with Bonerama on the big stage at the same time. Those folks missed out on something pretty fun and special. This particular incarnation of the Athens ensemble was a duo -- barefoot Davey Wrathgaber on acoustic guitar and vocals, Matt Bender on electric guitar and accordion, and between them, a upraised laptop to help make all the noise. The duo had much fun on stage despite playing to a near-empty venue, and ended the show in a wall of chaotic sound, Wrathgaber taking a running jump off stage towards the bar, his partner doing a little jig and closing things down. The show was over, just like that. To you folks who missed it, I say make sure to catch these guys next time they hit town. It was defintiely the treat of the night (not counting GreyMarket).
More pics by Phil:
First drink of the night.
Kinobe, from behind.
Entering the Cuban Club ballroom.
Blair Carman, conquerer of his piano.
Me, eating and tweeting in the courtyard.
GreyMarket, rocking out.
Marked as underagers.
The Visitations' Matt Bender on accordion.