Monday, March 24, 2008

Atlanta dispatch #1

It's been a classic Chadwick Crawford vs. the South vacation thus far: gallons of beer and a never-ceasing quest for brown food. The winning meal thus far has been my shrimp and grits breakfast with my friend Johnny at the Sun in My Belly cafe in the Kirkwood neighborhood. Tonight we dine at Mary Mac's Tea Room, which has apparently been an Atlanta soul food staple for 60 years or so. A glance at their menu promises utter incapacitation and lipidic nirvana.

Last night our hostess Allsion brought my lady and I to the Chicken Raid at the Northside Tavern, one of Atlanta's venerable blues nightspots. The Chicken Raid is a blues festival honoring Mr. Frank Edwards, a Georgia musician who was a big part of the Atlanta scene. Pulled pork sandwiches and iced tea were set up on a piece of plywood over one of the pool tables. A woman was working a massage table in one corner. A hippie was playing Piedmont ragtime blues on a huge Gibson flattop on the patio. Our stated reason for attending was to see Oliver Wood, who apparently is big shit around these parts. And he is a great blues guitarist, going for tasty riffs over masturbatory noodling. But the band set up was of the model where each song was more or less an excuse for soloing, which I'm sure is hella fun for the band, and for the guitarhead blues connoisseur types who always come out of the woodwork for these things. Me, I start drinking heavily when the jamming starts.

Soon, however, Sammy Blues started his set. He's definitely a member of the blues-musician-as-sexual-predator set, leering and being generally off-color as regards the fair sex the whole show through. He was quite capable of bringing the goddamn funk, though, and the dance floor responded enthusiastically as I mused about Afro-Futurism and the Gibson Flying V (there probably isn't a connection, but if you're interested, just ask. Oh, and apropos of nothing, doesn't the above photograph remind you somewhat of this

Yep, the gold old Sony DSC W70. In anything other than generous natural light, completely useless for documentary photography as the exposure time is so lengthy that one can't help but shake all over the place. But an excellent instant shoegaze record cover generator.

Anyway, Sammy Blues wound things up with a cover of Prince's "Kiss" and then gave the stage over to this guy:

I mean, his backing band played first. Whatever. They were dullsville, dad. Or maybe they were okay. But Robert Lee Coleman totally pwned. Apparently he got his start as a sideman for Percy Sledge, and was a JB for two years, and this level of professionalism definitely came out in his playing. Tasteful, exciting,and totally on fire, Coleman's set was the high point of my night, although Lola Gulley's immediately afterwards was a very close second. Her rubbery, impressionistic barrellhouse keyboard style led her band through probably the most dancefloor friendly numbers of the night, and they were definitely the best party band of the evening.

So yeah, pretty awesome night, although I think I may be done with the blues for a little while. I-IV-V chord progessions can get a little samey, you know.


Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...

great post.

Anonymous said...

--so why hasn't your hostess taken you to see/hear any local hip-hop?

testpattern said...

Well, I'm sure she would have if she knew where it was to be found. Unfortunately, that's not really her bag.

Anonymous said...