Sunday, September 23, 2007

This is a Lot of Concerts... Days 16-19

As dismal as it was that there was no Akron/Family show on September 16th, the first day of the second half of the month provided me with some much needed rest and quite the consolation with a set from an all-time great: Mr. Charlie Louvin, an 80-year-old with the energy of someone a quarter his age. And you better believe his voice was as beautiful as ever. That Sunday made it clear to this youngster why Louvin has achieved his legendary reputation.

On the topic of legendary musicians with beautiful voices, I caught another on the 17th, albeit as far removed from Louvin as you can get: Björk. The icelandic pop superstar did not disappoint at the Fox Theatre, giving the packed house a magnificent show, with a visual spectacle equal to that of the Flaming Lips. I'm not the biggest Björk fan in the world, but I can sum her show up musically in the words of punk icon Mike Watt describing Kelly Clarkson, "she's a helluva entertainer and the kid's got some pipes," bringing us to the startling equation: Kelly Clarkson + The Flaming Lips = Björk. You can't argue with the math, folks. I was tempted to catch Finnish psych-rockers Circle later that night at the Drunken Unicorn, but common sense and Tibetan homework won out.

The next night, however, both Tibet and common sense were both tossed aside for a trip up to Athens to catch the New Sound of Numbers, an experimental group that draws as much from free jazz such as Sun Ra as it does any rock band. They put on a fine show and accomplished the significant feat of making the long drive up to Athens worthwhile. Wednesday brought more "experimental rock" and my first trip of the month to my favorite Atlanta venue, the Eyedrum, to catch the underground trail-blazers from Prague, the Plastic People of the Universe (above).

The Plastic People started by diving into a deep, accessible hard rock groove before stretching out, largely behind the squalling improvisation of saxophonist Vratislav Brabenec, who is easily one of the two or three best European saxophonists I've seen at the Eyedrum so far this year. For all their psychedelic and even progressive tinges, the Plastic People of the Universe are first and foremost a rock band, and a damn fine one at that. One can only hope that crazy bloggers like myself will hype this excellent (and important) band towards their deserved larger audience.

After the Plastic People, I did my radio show (SHAMELESS PROMOTION: Wednesdays 10 pm to 12 am at, surprised at how quickly the first two thirds of my venture had gone....


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