Sunday, March 12, 2006

Life Is For Living.




SXSW begins this week, and Atlanta seems to be the last place on the way there that many national touring acts have decided to hit, making this past couple of weeks a blessing and a curse for a frequent show-goer such as myself. A curse in that I have basically not slept more than 4 hours a night for about a month, and a blessing in that I have been able to catch some really wonderful shows.

One of the shows I have been fortunate enough to catch was Living Things at Vinyl, with support from the Twenty-Twos and The Vacation. The Twenty-Twos are a four piece almost chick band (the drummer is a dude) out of New York. They have a punk-ish/rock sound that works well with lead lady Jenny Christmas' uber skinny figure and edgy guitar. The music reminds me of the girl band that emerged in the mid 90's, L7, with a small exception...Christmas' vocals are more like Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo. I'm not a fan of chick bands whatsoever, but this one had me tapping my bronze heels against the chair and bobbing my head back and forth.

After a short intermission, The Vacation took the small stage to completely transition the mood left by the Twenty Twos with their cock rock sound. This is one of those bands that thrives on shock value. By about the third song, lead singer Ben Tegel was shirtless and pouring beer into his mouth during instrumental breaks before spitting it into the air in true rock star fashion. At one point, he jumped off the stage into the audience before hopping onto a ledge by the stage and continuing to croon. You may not like them if you're easily offended, and I'm not, which may be why I was chuckling when I heard them sing a song about "Destitute Prostitutes" and effing a whore. The last song had Tegel out in the crowd again pointing at people and throwing his head back as he preached about the life of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It was really quite amusing, and although this is not the kind of music I would sit around and listen to, the live show is plenty for me to actually go see them when they come around.

After all of that, Living Things came out. Their single "Bom Bom Bom" has been in regular rotation on 99X for quite a few months now if you're not sure who they are. This track is one I listen to and feel like I should be in a convertible with the top down riding down a desolate highway through the desert on a 100 degree day, with my huge sunglasses and hair flying all over the place. All decked out in black and very tight fitting pants, Lillian Berlin ruled the stage with his Jagger-esque movement and his exemplar rock star hair. His voice was deep and seductive while managing to stay true to the form of gritty rock, a trait you'll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. In between songs, he made a few comments that really displayed his natural humor. I laughed when he said Jimmy Carter was supposed to stop by with some peanuts. I appreciate cheese sometimes, I guess. Berlin was able to work the crowd quite nicely, for as I looked around, I noticed many fans all out dancing and throwing their hair around in beat to the music. For the closing tune, Berlin shed his shirt and came out in the crowd to get into the faces of a few select audience members, which only left us all wanting more.
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