It was March 4, 2011 on a Cool Friday night in Atlanta, and the featured headliner of the night was Bo Bice, Runner up contestant on Television favorite AMERICAN IDOL back in 2005. As i approached the Buckhead Atlanta venue, i couldnt help but notice the huge tour bus parked right in front. I walked in early, but there were plenty of fans already inside drinking and lined up at the front.
Second up, Shirley Kennedy:
After several years’ hiatus from the area, Bo Bice returned to Atlanta for a show on Friday, March 4, 2011, at the Peachtree Tavern in Buckhead. Accommodating up to 400, the Peachtree Tavern is a great venue for live music. A large open floor space provides the bulk of the room for music fans, with benches elevated along one wall for those who prefer to sit, as well as a couple of high tables and the bar, both with bar stools. Unfortunately, Bice didn’t need the room. A query of the doorman revealed an audience of approximately 150 over the course of the evening. It has been quite some time since Bice last played Atlanta; things have changed for him from a fan base perspective.
Bice’s performance was somewhat lackluster. He performed songs for which fans know him, including his remake of “Vehicle,” the title cut from his RCA CD “The Real Thing,” and a song from his Sugar Money days, “Women, Whiskey, and Time.” Curiously, on three occasions, Bice unceremoniously left the stage, leaving entertaining the audience to his band. Perhaps, had the show been longer, his absences would have gone unnoticed, but this show was less than an hour and a half long. Besides, people came to see Bice—not his band. In fact, a group of women drove from North Carolina to see the show, obviously hoping to meet Bice, but they never got that chance. Following his show, Bice immediately left the building, went to his bus, and never looked back. Because of his affiliation with American Idol, fans are accustomed to “meets and greets” and have come to expect the opportunity to meet their chosen “idol(s).” Right or wrong, that practice is what can endear fans to artists, making them fans for life. In the end, however, Bice gave his fans what they came for: A show.
Was it a great show? Not really. Many left after one of the openers, Thomas Tillman, a local artist who brought fans of his own, finished his short set. Thomas is a great vocalist and played to the audience with some very familiar covers. He invited the crowd to sing along, and they were only too happy to comply. That mood seemed to change when Bice and his band took the stage. He launched into his set, only to have at least two tables immediately empty. As the set went on, several more left. By the time he finished, there were likely less than 80 people in attendance. Bice never really seemed to fully capture the crowd on Friday night. Does he lack performance skills? Certainly not. Is his music bad? No. In fact, his band is quite talented. Friday just seemed to be one of those times when a much-hyped artist didn’t live up to the hype. That sometimes happens to the best of them. Hopefully, Bice will continue with his career, learn the importance of making fans happy, and will realize success doing what he at some point in his career loved to do. That love did not show on Friday night, and his performance suffered as a result.
Photos by: Keith Minor (Keith has worked with The Backstage beat since December 2010. He owns and operates Shock and Awe Productions and shoots for us in his spare time)
Jonah Parzen-Johnson at Lilypad
Jonah Parzen-Johnson has an innate ability to make the baritone sax sound like bagpipes, and maybe that’s why I cried.
Mostly I cried because Jonah tells radiant stories with his saxophone and analog synth, working the brass and pedals to recreate the framework which surrounds his album Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow: Parzen-Johnson wanted to make “something of myself that’s for everybody else.”
Jonah opened his set with “Stay There, I’ll Come to You,” showcasing the harmony between synth and sax right off the bat. With haunting lilts, the two combined into a ribbon of melody, pulsating inside the ear as well as the heart. Much like the song’s title, Jonah was the one approaching the audience as an experimental troubadour of tête-à-tête.
The back stories and thoughts behind each song tied in so well with the raw, almost throaty sax, developing such strong, emotional resonance with the musical layers. The skeleton shook.
Speedy Ortiz “riiiiise above and gliiiiiide away” at The Sinclair
The Sinclair was a packed house Wednesday night for the Speedy Ortiz CD release party; as a hometown gig for the Northampton, MA-based band, kinetic warmth buzzed through friends and fans alike as Sadie Dupuis and crew played their freshly-release Foil Deer track-by-track.
What’s a party without some guests, though? That’s where Krill and Mitski come in.
Krill kicked off the night with some tracks from A Distant Fist Unclenching, other goods from Lucky Leaves. Lead singer/bassist Jonah Furman brought to mind early (read: good) Billy Corgan, which I’m not sure he will appreciate. But I think he’ll appreciate this: I couldn’t stop laughing because then I kept thinking about Marilyn Manson telling Billy Corgan that he looked like Charlie Brown.
Opening with “Theme from Krill,” the Boston trio has a knack for rhythm and melody that burrows into your brain. The dreamy bleakness of “Purity of Heart.” The discordant garage rock and hiccupping guitar and warbly Scooter-ness of “Foot.” Krill’s sound is a good, comfy noise that keeps you wiggling and all that good stuff. Be sure to catch the band at Boston Calling.
Years & Years at Royale Boston
During winter storm Juno, UK electro pop group Years & Years were forced to cancel the first show of their two-night stint in New York City back in January. After the snow finally melted, they made the rounds again this past March, playing several shows in California, South by Southwest before finally landing in Boston.
Due to popular demand, the show was moved from The Sinclair to the Royale in downtown’s Theater District.
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