The Masquerade was a cold dark place Wednesday night with only one show on the docket. As Heaven and Hell sat dark and quiet, something I have never personally seen, the music was blaring in Purgatory multiple bands treated the crowd with a selection of mighty fine tunes.
Aaron Lee Tasjan (ALT) puts on one hell of a show whether he is solo or as a part of a band and Wednesday night was no different. He tossed out a selection of classic tunes like “Streets of Galilee”, “Santa Monica and Vine” and “Ohio, My Dear” and mixed amongst them were a few new songs from an upcoming album and a choice cover. The new stuff sounded great especially “$66 Blues” based on a poor pay day from a performance and his rendition of “Dirty Angels” (Kevn Kinney) was incredible and he closed things out with “My Ex-Girlfriend (Is A Bad Lesbian On Drugs)” from his band the Madison Square Gardeners. In addition to his songwriting and performing acumen, ALT is a very personable individual. Interjecting stories and comments into and between tunes gets the crowd involved and he effortlessly does this. A lot of what he does reminded me of Todd Snider and Kevn Kinney. When the show ended the intimate crowd wanted nothing to do with leaving, bur Aaron had plans to head over to the Clermont Lounge and invited anyone that wanted to come along.
Hitting the stage before ALT was Joe Fletcher, sans his band the Wrong Reasons, the blue collar singer was all business as he rolled through a set list that included songs from past albums, some new stuff and a sweet tribute to Lou Reed. His gruff voice delivered songs loaded with lyrics about life, drinking and bad decisions. Songs such as “Ambulances”, “Say What You Will” and “Florence, Alabama” were sparse and bleak and oh so powerful. His ode to George Jones “Drunk and Single” kicked ass and as a treat he called on ALT to join him on stage for a tribute to Lou Reed with “I’m Waiting For The Man”. For just a man and a guitar, Fletcher’s set was quite powerful as he sunk his all into each and every song. This was my first chance to catch Joe live and I am glad I didn’t miss it.
Local singer Neil Cribbs was a part of the show also as 2/3 of his Rough Gentlemen trio treated the folks to a taste of his music. Neil has always been one of my favorite singer/songwriters and once again he put on a damn fine show. The duo rolled through tunes from Neil’s multiple albums delivering soulful music to the ice cold room. His guitar playing was crisp and the sounds Trey Lander was coaxing out of the bass ukulele were incredible. Cribbs plays all over Atlanta, so folks you need to get out and about and check out this guy's music.
A last minute addition to the line-up was Ohio rockers Erica Blinn & the Handsome Machine. They joined the show when their previously scheduled appearance was cancelled. This band flat out rocks. With an old school sound they deliver a guitar heavy attack sounding more like bands from the 70’s than most of what you have today. Their set was high octane as they rolled through a selection of original tunes. Glad they got added to the show.
When the music ended, the folks there were quite satisfied with the quality of music their ears had been treated too. Four bands took the stage and four good sets of music was the result. I highly suggest you check out all of their music and if you are given the chance catch them live.