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The Return of I.O.Z. – Smith’s Olde Bar

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Atlanta premier progressive rock quintet, I.O.Z. brought their special blend of jams to another packed house at Smiths Olde Bar.  If you haven’t seen them, I.O.Z. music is definitely rock but perfectly infused with reggae and Cajun flavors that simmer in atmosphere and grooves reminiscent of a Pink Floyd and Talking Heads combination. This night, unlike the previous shows here, there were no flashing strobe lights or pulsing lasers to distract the crowd, this night was a strait up no frill I.O.Z. rock show. The band commanded the stage with an air of confidence and power, jammin’ out a 2+ hour set, treating the crowd to a live peek at the new upcoming record and the now classic tunes from the debut release.  I.O.Z. is fronted by founders, Steve Senn (vocals/rhythm guitar) and Daniel Groover (lead guitar and electronic programming) who share the songwriting duties, and are supported by an eclectic and energetic rhythm section including third original member Jeff “Huggy” Hunt on percussions, keys and washboard.  Bassist, Jonathan Lee and drummer, Greg Perry, both of whom joined on after the release of the self titled first record in 2010, were a perfect addition to complete this musical crew.

 

They came out to rock, opening the set with a couple of the new tunes before breaking into “Figment” — which has become a standard crowd favorite – this version featured guest sax player, from opening band Sol Driven Train, Russell Clarke.  The jam train continued to roll on as they cruised through a string of catchy groove-infested new tunes like Matamoros, Ghost Song and Don’t Let Go.  If the band itself wasn’t exciting enough, the sound in Smith’s was especially full and tight, thanks to the band’s studio sound wizard, Tony Terrebonne, behind the board.  Fans, new and old, were treated to original tracks like ‘Between the Lines’, ‘Back at Me’ plus an extended version of ‘Rahtikan Chant’, a personal favorite upbeat jam.  Though all are serious musicians, the camaraderie and joy they exude jamming together pours over into the crowd. Hunt, Lee and Perry all smiling behind the beats they deliver as each tune shows off Groover’s stunning guitar solos balanced against Senn’s ominous and personal vocal delivery.   The jam continued with more new tunes, ‘3:55’ and ‘Shallow Ground’ (which featured local sax man, Eric Fontaine) before they finished up in overdrive ending the set with, ‘Now’ — a mesmerizing rhythmic tune from the first record that features Hunt’s signature spoon work on the washboard, truly a rare sight here in Atlanta and a real thriller for the audience.  Given a small break the boys ended this musical marathon with 3 song encore of covers done I.O.Z. style that left the crowd wanting more – watch for their next show and their upcoming sophomore album that’s planned for release later this year.

 

Song List

Keep it Goin’

Morning Drive

Figment

Don’t Let Go

Matamoros

Ghost Song

Habits

Between the Lines

Rahtikan Chant

Back at Me

3:55

Shallow Ground

Now

ENCORE:

Float On

Dance on Vaseline

It’s Out There

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Artists to Watch

Cry With Us! Puddles Pity Party in Orlando

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Ange Alex

I owe him a poem:

Here’s a story of a sad clown who one night in February was traveling through O-town. 

He brought a suitcase and a lot of gum, he brought music and videos and tons of fun.

He sang high but mostly he sang low, and he put of one hell of a good show.

He gave a bearded guy a cupcake and danced with a lady, a wolf he would make

There is no doubt he is a boss sir, he even got love from Kevin Costner.

Fans filled the plaza for a night of delight as the 7 foot clown gave us some real insight.

He sang Bowie and Queen and even some Who, also Cash, Lorde and “Let it go” too

Videos played of pets and babies crying, also beautiful artwork and people smiling.

Last night Orlando was anything but mad as we showed much love for a clown that is sad.

Ok, I’d cry too after that poem. Here’s some more info:

If you haven’t been to see a Puddles Pity Party show, you are missing out. 

The show had me smiling and laughing so hard my stomach hurt, but I was also moved so many times by the range of Puddles voice. True entertainment never gets old and I have a feeling he is going to last forever.

I loved the interaction he had with the crowd. He pulled numerous people up to help him on stage and all of them were good sports, one man even singing the entire song, “All by myself” karaoke style! The show was so well thought out and planned but with room for some hilarious improv. Especially at the end when he pulled the 3 fans from the audience dressed like clowns. At the end of them performing together, Puddles suddenly remembers that he is scared of clowns! Genius! 

Hands down one of the best performances I’ve seen in years.

 

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Holiday Fun

Kingsized Holiday Fun! Big Mike is Back at the Variety Playhouse!

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Big Mike Geier and his Kingsized Rock ‘n Roll Orchestra, along with the Dames Aflame Dancers, Lil’ Santa and other special guests, bring tidings of comfort and joy with their signature glitz and glamour in what has become a tinsel-time tradition at the Variety Playhouse. The all-ages 90-minute show features your Holiday favorites by the likes of Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Heat Miser, The Grinch and more!

Photo: Emily Butler

We caught up with Big Mike to ask a few questions.

TBB: Big Mike! It’s been a couple years since we had the pleasure of seeing you perform live. We are so excited to be back in Atlanta and we are ready for this show. What can you tell us about this years event?

Big Mike: Welcome back to Atlanta, Ange! We’re also excited to be in town for another wild and wonderful Holiday Jubilee. We like to honor the tradition that the Jubilee has become and don’t mess too much with the format. You can expect the always magnificent sounds of the 12-piece Kingsized Rock ‘n Roll orchestra performing your favorite holiday classics and the dazzling Dames Aflame dancers providing the glamour. The show is all about holiday nostalgia, whatever that means to you: Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Donnie Hathaway, The Grinch, Rankin Bass, Peanuts, the Dreidel Song? It’s all in there.

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Music Gallery

Turkuaz at Aisle 5

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Brooklyn based funk band Turkuaz played at Aisle Five in Atlanta last week and here are some shots from the show!

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