There was a hell of a lot going on in Atlanta Friday night. In addition to the Braves game there seemed to be a different band playing in all corners of the metro area. It is nights like this that can make planning your evening quite difficult. Fortunately for the folks with half a brain in their skulls they knew to choose Great Peacock at Smith’s Olde Bar.
Great Peacock (GP) returned to Atlanta with a mess of tunes in tow, some old some new but all brilliant. Their music reverberated off the walls filling listener’s ears with those sweet vocal harmonies we have all come to love with the band elevating the songs to an entirely higher plane. Blount Floyd and Andrew Nelson must be inside each other’s heads because I cannot think of any other way they can develop such a perfect cohesive relationship. They sing, play guitar and meander around the stage never once stepping on each other’s toes. On this occasion Clay Houle (Tedo Stone) sat in on lead guitar and his bad ass playing was the yin to the sweet pedal steel yang of Dan Fernandez. Hopefully there will be more of this collaboration in the future. Songs like “Desert Lark”, “Take Me To The Mountain” and “Family Home” from their debut EP is what fans wanted to hear, but the new tracks stole the show giving patrons something to yearn for. Offering up everything that is good about their music is the song “Tennessee” and it has become the anchor of their live sets. It is a heartfelt tune and Friday night you could see that in the performance. With an incredible night of music behind them they closed the night with a treat, Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart”. Giving the song the trademark GP harmonies even the Boss would’ve enjoyed this version.
Before GP took the stage a couple of local bands dished out tunes to get the folks in attendance warmed up and ready.
The piano-centric Cute Boots offered up a set that was high-octane and had the crowd moving. Songs about kudzu, retired baseball players and being wrong littered the air while lead singer/piano player Gus Fernandez squirmed around on his stool as if someone had given him a hot foot. The bands banter with the crowd added to the intimacy of the set and I was impressed with how they kept their cool when the gaggle of women entered the room trying to speak over the band about god knows what. (Note to Atlanta music goers, if talking is more important than listening to the music you need to step outside out of respect for the band and the people that are there to listen to music.) Their sound was upbeat with a southern flavor and reminded me of early Ben Folds. I suggest you check these dudes out.
Beginning the evening was the country flavored folk styling of Book Club. Their sound was relaxed and unimposing which is what made it so inviting. The complimenting vocals between Robbie Horlick and Rachel Buckley conjured thoughts of John Prine and Iris Dement. The sweet harmonies, smooth melodies and relaxed rhythms gently made their ways through listener’s ears inviting everyone there into their musical world. The set was loaded with songs from their upcoming album teasing folks with something they cannot have yet. I wish they could have played a bit longer because when the set was finished I definitely wanted to hear more from this Atlanta band.
Friday night, Great Peacock showed Atlanta what good music is all about. These guys are exploding out of the South poised to take their music to wider audience. Each time I see them live it is even more impressive than the last. Just when you think they can’t get any better they do. Book Club and Cute Boots demonstrated why you need to get to the shows early. More times than not the supporting bands are pretty damn good and both of these groups were. They are two more killer local bands that folks need to go support. When the curtains closed and the house music came on the people congregated at Smith’s Olde Bar had been treated to one fine night of music. Those that chose to partake in one of the high ticket priced big venue shows chose wrong. If you dig good music then check all three of these bands out.