A strong American voice, a windmill backdrop of flowing blonde hair, and a thickening crowd permeated the Earl on August 20. Goldwing’s first songs had taken flight with the intensity of the E. Street Band. As their set progressed, the sound seemed to cut like light through a prism and expand in molasses-filled melodies that thickened the overall anticipation of the night to come. The band was professionally conscious of their time, while still providing a close cut shave with intentional nicks meant to tingle with aftershave.
Following Goldwing was Athens-based psych-pop group Blue Blood conceived in the entombed skullcap of Hunter Morris (Gift Horse) and further brought to fruition by the guiding ear of Hank Sullivant (Kuroma, The Whigs, MGMT). Their freshly-pressed wax smartly features Sullivant and Dead Confederate’s drummer J.J. Bower, though their live performance line-up is amended to accommodate scheduling fluctuations. As their all-star recording cast would indicate, Blue Blood’s live members are nothing to be sold short. Fronted by Morris, the band swirled in ectoplasms of electro-infused, guitar-driven synth songs that ascended from the stage atop a glow of effects pedals. The presentation — let alone the set itself — was astonishing to view. Blue Blood performed the same way they would in front of a stadium of thousands, preying on wandering and weary festivalgoers caving under the weight of warm-washed psychedelics.
To follow, Slow Parade came to the Earl like a condor hunting cyber wolves with the intention of hauling their LED-lined pelts across the destitute lines of the Pacific Railroad to trade for troves of Wampum, thick cuts of plaid-skinned buffalo steak and murmurs of the Midwestern sawgrass. The room, overflowing with hat-bound longhairs fueled by well liquor and PBR, was grinning from ear to ear. Why? Because, Slow Parade is on the precipice of Atlanta’s finest collectives of phenomenal musicians. The band and their debut album, Big Plans, are molded of Georgian red clay and are the direct manifestation of the earnest work of Matthew J. Pendrick. Pendrick and company recorded their masterful piece of Southern heritage with Damon Moon at The Cottage Recording Co. The live line-up that carved glacial lakes of sonic resonances into the stage featured Grand Vapid’s Paul Stevens (drums) and Cicada Rhythm’s core duo of Andrea DeMarcus (upright bass) and Dave Kirslis (keys).
Slow Parade’s live set submerged the audience chest deep off the coast of a tonal shoreline that cast songs to the sands like mountainous waves swelling over their heads. Appalachian-inspired harmonies lay entrenched between trails of echo that foamed over the melodic waters of tunes like “It All Tumbles Down” and “Big Plans.” Their last song of the night, “Stink I’m In,” rattled with the intense peculiarity of a Bermuda thunderstorm. The Earl swayed as if it were a massive galleon with a mast that snapped on impact of the first drum strike, helplessly tossing about like a hermit crab in a washing machine. The audience was soaked in primal rhythms, thick bottomed bass lines and enigmatic guitar leads. It became evident throughout the night that the sense of fulfillment Pendrick and his band members receive from giving these songs to their audience is a kind of fulfillment that is pervasive not only in the very core of the band but also in the weary-eared listener having finally found release and momentary resolution in the wake of Slow Parade’s performance.
All photos by Joey Kopanski. Click to enlarge.