With a ton of music selections to choose from around Atlanta last night, all offering their own merits as to why you should partake in them, those of us who picked door number one and headed to the Buckhead Theatre to celebrate their One Year Anniversary made the right call. Friday night was a 4 act marathon of tunes with Jonny Corndawg, Futurebirds, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit kicking things off, then culminating in the power rock of Atlanta’s own Drivin N Cryin (DNC).
When DNC hit the stage at 11:30 they had a lot to live up to as the previous 3 acts set the stage with some pretty sweet sets of music. Kevn, Tim, Mac and Dave were up to the challenge, cranking it out loud and fast, firing right into “Fly Me Courageous”. They played for around an hour and a half, playing loud and hitting most of the tunes the rowdy crowd came to hear and sing along with, classics such as “Honeysuckle Blue”, “Build A Fire”, “Scarred But Smarter” and of course “Straight To Hell”. Highlights of the show have to be a strong version of “Powerhouse”, “Another Scarlet Butterfly” and a sweet cover of “The Boys Are Back In Town” with Tim on vocals. Jason Isbell came out and jammed with the boys on “A Good Country Mile”, and a few other tunes, lending some killer guitar solos and a nice duel with Mac. The music was loud and in your face with a couple of mellow tunes. The crowd was rowdy, jamming and singing along all night. To quote one dude, “It’s time to get crazy, cause this ain’t no Taylor Swift Concert”. When the smoke cleared on their set Friday night, DNC showed why they are still relevant in a music world where good rock bands are few and far between.
Before DNC blistered people’s ears, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit put on one hell of a show, and I think he brought half of Alabama along with him. Throughout his career he has proven to be a brilliant songwriter, but each time I see him live I am more impressed with his guitar playing prowess, the boy can flat out shred. Friday night he rolled through solo tunes such as “Alabama Pines” and “Codeine” the latter may be the best damn song he has ever written, it is the perfect song. He appeased the packed house with “Decoration Day”, “Outfit” and “Never Gonna Change” (with a sweet cover of “Stone Free” mixed in), tunes from his previous job. Their perfect mix of rock, country and soul lit up the crowd, with diehard fans singing every word of every tune (I can attest to that due to the nice people from Cumming, GA serenading me all night long), and won over the new comers. Another great show from Mr. Isbell, they have yet to disappoint, and I have to say, I really dug Jimbo Hart’s Squidbillies trucker hat.
The second band of the evening was Athens own Futurebirds. They are one of the best damn live bands I have had the pleasure of experiencing. Their smooth psychedelic country garage rock sounds great recorded, but it is made to be heard live and in person, their performance of “Ski Chalet” proves that. Jamming tunes from their debut album and multiple EP’s they almost stole the show. Their set started off nice and mellow and slowly built to a massive crescendo of controlled musical chaos. The multiple guitar attack, (Electric, Acoustic & Lap Steel) aided by pounding rhythms and haunting vocals create a sound that needs to be heard. They set the bar the other acts had to raise.
Jonny Corndawg kicked things off with some good ol’ country music. Backed by a few members of the Futurebirds, Mr. Corndawg sporting his cowboy hat and matching white alligator boots, belt and belt buckle, sang about life, relationships and bears. His music is traditional, falling along the lines of Merle Haggard and George Jones, not the alt-country of today. I am pretty sure he played at least 5 “last songs of the night”, but hey, that is a good thing. Jonny is someone you need to experience live at least once in your lifetime.
There you have it, a long winded look at the One Year Anniversary show at the Buckhead Theatre. The place was packed, the crowd was jamming, the beer was cold and the music was damn sweet. These four bands were a perfect mix of all that is good about music. Their tunes sounded great live and the show was well worth the price on the ticket. Check them out and give them all a listen when you get a chance. Also, the old Roxy has never looked better, it’s rebirth as the Buckhead Theatre is a success and it is a great place to see bands pedal their wares, although, I do miss the quaint rundown hole in the wall it used to be.