As we face the final 30+ days of 2012 what better way to kick things off than with some mighty fine music. All over Atlanta artists are setting up shop to offer up their wares for anyone who wants to listen. No matter what kind of tunes you dig you can find them here in town. With so many options to choose from, here is a sample of some of the better ones.
THURSDAY, November 29th
The Mountain Goats at Terminal West (9:00 p.m.)
Mixing folk and rock into a nice lo-fi package is what the Mountain Goats have been doing since their inception. Keeping things simple is what John Darnielle and the various players that have been a part of his project do best. Out touring in support of the 14th album Transcendental Youth, Darnielle and crew will be treating the listeners to a night of soothing music full of quirky lyrics. Known mainly for the studio albums, the Mountain Goats’ are not going to get loud and rowdy but they will supply one of the better live shows you can treat your ears to.
Red Wanting Blue at Vinyl (8:30 p.m.)
Known for their relentless touring and guitar driven rock music, Ohio’s Red Wanting Blue has hit the road to deliver their music to the masses. Jamming tunes from their newest release, From The Vanishing Point, look for a variety of tunes on the set list as they possess a wealth of music to choose from. Thumping rhythms mixed with a steady diet of guitars and keyboards frame Scott Terry’s vocals giving the band their signature sound. What separates them from others are the perfect additions of ukulele, lap steel and mandolin to their music. Vinyl should be packed and the music will be loud, that sounds like a win/win situation.
Michelle Malone at Red Clay Theatre (8:00 p.m.)
One of Atlanta’s favorite musicians will be jamming some tunes at the Red Clay Theatre this Thursday night. Michelle Malone has cranked out some killer music with various bands throughout her career as well as worked with some of the biggest names in music. She is a jack-of-all trade wearing multiple hats successfully singing, writing, producing and playing the guitar. Her latest records are recorded on her own label with 2009’s garnering a wealth of critical praise. With a plethora of songs to choose from her show should have something for everyone. Also look for some new stuff since she is in the process of working on a new album. This should be a good night of music.
FRIDAY, November 30th
Rod Hamdallah with J.D. Wilkes at Darwins
If you have never witnessed Rod Hamdallah live then you need to get your ass to Darwins this Friday night. Hamdallah may be the best guitar slinger in Atlanta as he delivers vicious riffs that fall somewhere between the Mississippi Delta Blues and rowdy garage rock. His live shows are loud and raucous and filled with classic blues tunes and some of Hamdallah’s originals. The simple formula of his guitar, Gabriel Pine pounding the drums and Adam Holliday thumping the bass produces some mighty fine music. This Friday he will be joined by the one and only J.D. Wilkes of the Legendary Shack Shakers as well as a variety of other projects. With Hamdallah’s guitar and Wilkes howling vocals the intimate Darwins may rock off its foundation.
The Nighthawks at Blind Willies (9:30 p.m.)
With a new record under their belt, the Nighthawks roll into Atlanta with their own brand of smooth blues music in tow. Led by Paul Bell’s guitars paired with Mark Wenner’s harp blowing their music is a mix of old school blues, soulful rhythms and smooth grooves. They have seen every part of this great country from the windows of their tour bus while trying to bring the blues to all who want to listen. Don’t plan on sitting on your ass because these guys will have the joint up and dancing. Get out early and grab some dinner then head over to Blind Willie’s for some of the best live music your ears will ever hear.
The Carolina Chocolate Drops at Variety Playhouse (8:00 p.m.)
Bringing some old time music to Atlanta, this North Carolina string band will be playing their own take on traditional music inspired from the Piedmont region of North & South Carolina. Full of banjo, guitar, jugs, kazoos and fiddles, the Carolina Chocolate Drops will use anything and everything to find the right sound for their music. Friday night they will be jamming at the Variety Playhouse which should be a knee slapping good time as they roll through tunes from their various albums. So leave your troubles and worries at home then get out and enjoy the sweet Southern sounds from a similar bygone era.
The Cigar Store Indians at Smiths Olde Bar (8:00 p.m.)
One of the more popular local bands, the Cigar Store Indians have developed a devout following since they began making music in the early 1990’s. Pulling from rock, country and rockabilly they developed their own distinct sound which mirrored rock music from the 1950’s, with a fresh new life. With a few studio albums under their belt, the road was their life as they toured to deliver their music to the masses. After a bit of a hiatus, the Cigar Store Indians have regrouped this year and gone back out on the road. Albeit the line-up has changed, but the music is still as good as ever.
SATURDAY, December 1st
Justin Townes Earle & John McCauley (Deer Tick) at Winterfest, Atlantic Station Central Park (5:30 p.m.)
Known for his introspectively written songs, Justin Townes Earle has stepped out of his father’s footsteps to become his own singer/songwriter. His songs are driven by his lyrical abilities which are complemented nicely with the melodic arrangements. His latest record, Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Know, is a shining example of his skills and may be one of the best records of 2012. Out touring to support the new record, as well as his other works, Earle sets up shop at Atlantic Station this Saturday to tempt your ears with his killer tunes. Joining him will be John McCauley the guitarist, singer and songwriter from the critically acclaimed band Deer Tick. This combo should provide one of the better nights of music Atlanta has ever seen.
Nine Times Blue at Smith’s Olde Bar: Atlanta Room (8:00 p.m.)
Atlanta’s Nine Times Blue (NTB) will be showcasing their power pop music Saturday night as they call the intimate downstairs Atlanta Room their home away from home. The show is the official release party for their newest record, Falling Slowly, which is a collection of what they do best. The album showcases Kirk Waldrop’s singing and songwriting abilities while Greg King, Jeff Nelson and Jason Brewer supply the musical backdrop. The new record is driven by trade mark jangly guitars as NTB delivers old style power pop tunes similar to The Connells, Producers and Gin Blossoms while keeping it fresh and new. In today’s musical environment it is refreshing to their music. Live, the music jumps out of the speakers to assault the listener’s ears in a good way. Downstairs at Smith’s Olde Bar should be rocking.
Japandroids at Terminal West (9:00 p.m.)
With one of the hottest records out today, Celebration Rock, the Vancouver duo Japandroids bring their road show to Atlanta for a night of noisy, lo-fi garage rock. Driving fuzz filled guitars and thunderous rhythms dominate their albums and when transferred to the stage the music goes to another level. If you have never listened to the Japandroids I highly suggest you do, then check them out this weekend. You can thank me later.
The Barreracudas at 529 (9:00 p.m.)
There is only one way to describe this Atlanta band, and that is ‘BAD ASS’! Equal parts Ramones, Cheap Trick, Johnny Thunders and Van Halen their music gets inside your head and wrecks the place like a cheap hotel room. Vicious guitars and head banging percussion will fill the room at 529 as they deliver a set of tunes that will be fast, loud and rowdy. If you want to experience what rock and roll is supposed to sound like then this is where you need to be on Saturday night.
SUNDAY, December 2nd
Everclear at the Masquerade (7:00 p.m.)
What better way to end the weekend than with a night of ear bursting rock music. Still firing on all cylinders, Everclear still knows how to rock. In addition to the vast back catalog of tunes they have to choose from, the band also released a new record this year so look for new tunes to make their way throughout the set list. The Masquerade should be packed so get there early for a night of great tunes.
There you have it, a list of shows throughout Atlanta that start this Thursday and run on until Sunday. Try to hit up as many as you can to throw your support behind local music and venues. Sounds like a good way to kick off the last month of the year.