Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Caldonia Lounge (November, 17th 2006)

While local favorite Now It's Overhead was obviously the highlight of the nights show, the two opening acts were very entertaining as well. They Sang as They Slew, the opening band was my second favorite of the night. The second opening band, Psychic Hearts, put on an impressive show as well.

They Sang as They Slew is a Christian punk/indie rock band from Taccoa, Ga. Normally I'm not impressed by Christian acts at all. They have a tendency to either pay too much attention to their message and none to the music (thereby alienating the fans they might otherwise reach out to) or ignore the message and focus on the music, making them Christian in name only. TSATS did neither. While I honestly didn't even know that they were a Christian band until after they show while looking at their myspace page upon a closer listening to their lyrics I can hear the connection.

TSATS, put on an impressive show for four guys from Taccoa. They rocked hard leaving everyone satisfied. Although they didn't exactly make us hunger for more, they didn't leave us exactly malnourished either. The only complaint I had was that they could have possibly used a better singer, especially considering the level of technical difficulty (vocally) on some of the songs. Maybe he was just having an off day.

Psychic Hearts was also a very talented band, although not nearly as loud or fast. They seemed to fall more into the seemingly supersatured market of emo bands that don't like you. Considering the fact that both radio stations like 99x and 105.3 as well as TV's the Fuse are over saturated with bands like these (Fallout Boy, Ok Go, Jet), the 45 minutes it took them to set up was not worth the wait. The only thing that kept me from leaving was knowing that Now It's Overhead was next, even just to see if they lived up to all the hype.

That said there were two things that made this band worth while. The keyboardist was a chick. As sexist or whatever that may sound, this was important to me for several reasons. First of all as a female vocalist, there just aren't that many other female rockers and its always nice to see one. Think about it, other than Courtney Love (Hole) who nobody takes seriously, Gwen Stefani (No Doubt) and those chicks from Garbage (What were their names? I know, but do you?), how many can you think of? Plus the show was visually exciting. Not only did the have some interesting lighting which gave the impression of a strobe light, their wild jerking movements added to the effect (trust me, this was good thing).

Now it's Overhead was definitely worth waiting for. They had just gotten back from a somewhat lengthy tour and it was the first show they had played on their home turf in some time. This is a band that certainly translates well when it comes to recordings, but of course is much better seen live. The set was both pleasing to the ears and mesmerizing visually. I remember watching Andy LeMaster roll his sleeves up every time he put his guitar down to sing and rolling them back down again when he picked his guitar back up. While this was obviously not an important element it says something of his showmanship in the way he made it a part of their show. Above all if you have not seem them live I encourage you to check out Now It's Overhead or at least check out some of their songs at their website or myspace page. And if you like maybe even buy an album, or two.

Friday, November 17, 2006

House of Blue Leaves (John Guare)

This very entertaining play (Written by John Guare) has quickly become my favorite. It has a rather unusual plot. It concerns a zookeeper -songwriter who's household hurls into chaos on the day that the pope comes to New York. This highly entertaining and engaging dark comical satire on relationships takes place in the top floor apartment in a Brooklyn apartment in the 1960's.
One of my favorite aspects of this play is the characters very interesting tendency to break the fourth wall and address the audience with their thoughts, views, opinions and innermost feelings.

Town and Gown did a wonderful job with the set, casting, and directing (Amy Wright). Some notable performances where the little nun (Katie Dotson), Ronnie Shaughnessy (Zach Goulet), and the zookeeper/songwriter, Artie Shaunessy (Micheal Brogdon). If you haven't had a chance to catch this play there are two performances remaining 8 pm Saturday Nov, 18 ($12 students/seniors, $15 general) and 2 pm Sunday November 19th ($5). For more information visit town and gown or Theater Notes in Flagpole magazine.
(This is a blurb - a full review will be posted shortly).

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

The Flats

The Flats is an independent movie starring Chad Lindberg (October Sky), one of my favorite actors. It is a "coming of age" story about a young man who returns home to go to court and finds out he must report to a work farm in 8 days. This film easily could have been some sappy stupid story about how some drunken idiot turns his life around. Instead it was a very good realistic movie about how Harper spends the next few days of his life and the choices he makes, as well as the very real struggles the other characters go through.

What I loved about this movie is that these characters were very realistic. They could have easily been people I knew. For example it was easy to believe that Luke, Harper's best friend, was reluctant to introduce his new girlfriend to his parents because they were very conservative and he did not know how to deal with that.

Many times filmmakers portray characters as black and white instead of being well rounded. This was not the case with the brothers Kelly and Tyler Requa, were not afraid to show the gritty and sometimes upsetting side of the characters as well as the good aspects of their personality. Harper may be a drunken womanizer causing fights, and sometimes unable to remember the women he has spent time with, but he is also a good friend, putting others before him self for the good of the group. This is the case with Tully and Mark whose dispute he resolves (at the expense of his own good time) in order to ease the tension and repair friendships.

I highly recommend this hard to find and excellent movie by the brothers Requa. It is being shown on IFC (the Independent Film Channel) or if you don't get IFC you can order it from Indie Flicks, a new web based movie store featuring independent films.