Showstopper ’11: Free Energy, Brad Paisley, The Features (2/9-2/12)

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on Feb 20, 11 • by • with No Comments

As if Girl Talk’s fiesta at Tabernacle wasn’t enough, 2011 is already looking like a stellar year for concerts. Last week continued the trend. It didn’t occur to me that cowboys and hipsters have something in common: flannel.

2/9/11 – Free Energy w/The Postelles – The Earl
I’ve been on board with Free Energy’s brand of ’70’s-inspired garage rock since hearing “Dream City” in June 2009. When I received tickets for their show at the Earl as a gift, I couldn’t wait to see the songs that have littered my playlists come to life. The band’s straight outta Dazed and Confused shtick was not only hilarious, but highly entertaining. Between two members falling during the performance and lead singer Paul Sprangers wiry dance moves/mop-headed headbangin, I can’t think of a more entertaining act. The band’s unapologetically feel good tracks like “Free Energy”, “Bang Pop” and “Hope Child” were on point and well received. A cover of Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” was dead on and commendable. I was bummed I missed ATL act Turf War earlier in the night, but The Postelles reminded me I need to check them out. This was also my first show at The Earl and I have no idea why it took so long. It is easily my favorite intimate venue in the city.

2/10/11 – Brad Paisley w/Darius Rucker & Jarrod Niemann – Gwinnett Arena
Its probably a surprise to some, but I have a soft spot for a bit of mainstream country. I try to abide by a self-imposed “no Country music after dark” rule, but this was an exception. The last time I saw Brad Paisley in concert was about 5 years ago, but hes one of the few country singers I still check for. His storytelling, combined with being an actually amazing guitarist makes for worthwhile music (no matter the genre). The concert was definitely entertaining with stories from the past, crowd interaction and huge video screens it was a big budget affair. Highlights were plenty with “I’m Gonna Miss Her (Fishing Song)”, “Ticks” and “Mud On the Tires” leading the way. The surprise of the night though was Darius Rucker. His music certainly is more in the mainstream vein of Country, but he actually commands a crowd well and has some hits under his belt. The crowd ate up the blast from the past Hootie hits as well.
02/12/11 – The Features – The Earl
Laura and I returned to The Earl again Saturday for Kings of Leon co-signed rockers The Features. I was a fan of the bands’s last album Some Kind Of Salvation, but I wasn’t in favor of the horns on the album. They opted to skip the horns live and I think it made me take them more seriously. Nashville isn’t far from ATL so most everyone around me knew every note to each song. Its kind of nice going to a show and only knowing some of the band’s material. The new songs the band debuted had a harder edge I think will help make them a household name. I doubt The Features will be playing intimate venues like The Earl when their new album drops in May.

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