Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Atlanta Mess Around 2016, Saturday April 30

Unfortunately, I was not able to get to any of Saturday's day time shows due to Gizmos practice and sound check - both badly needed as we hadn't played together for almost a year and it was Melanie's debut! After sound check we were told that the water was off in the entire city (!!) and the fate of the show was uncertain since employees could not wash their hands and so health laws could be compromised! This lasted an hour or two - when we were supposed to have dinner and, ironically, as it was pouring rain outside - while we found some chips nearby and waited to hear the outcome. Eventually, everything was fixed and we were able to eat and somehow with all of the chaos and delays, I also missed the opening band, Nurse, though I heard enough through the walls to note that they sounded like a combination of hard core and post punk.

We did get out front to check out Negative Scanner, since we had heard good things about the band and because the touring drummer, Karissa, had played with the Gizmos at the Chicago show she promoted! Led by singer/guitarist Rebecca, they had an early Siouxie and the Banshees sound - taking the off-kilter sounds from that first album and adding their own minimalist drums and weird licks on their odd guitars. Intense and quite enjoyable!

The three piece Nervosa followed, again incorporating post-punk and hard-core with some Joy Division as the female guitarist thrashed away at her instrument and the drummer sat his kit at the front of the stage.

As they appeared directly before the Gizmos, I didn't get to spend much time watching Predator - and obviously my photos suffered due to the size of the crowd at the time - but again they had a similar take on their direction - lots of post-punk/noise/sound effects/echo/etc.- as was being used by the other younger bands at this festival. All to good effect (no pun intended) though I'm not sure what words to use to distinguish each group.

The Gizmos were excited to play again after all this time and to have Melanie hit the stage on bass! The crowd was pretty sizable by this time and most were taking pix, throwing beers, singing along, dancin'n'yellin' and generally carrying on as we went through all of the songs from our three original EPs as well as the entire new EP, 21st Century Gizmos Fans Can't Be Wrong. We felt that this was one of our strongest shows due to our powerful, female rhythm section and, I'm sure, the fact that we are now learning how to work together again. Truly a great time and we were grateful for everyone involved for having us!

Giz drummer Kelsey

New Giz bassist Melanie!

Closing out the night due to their mythical stage show and the fact that they send the audience into a beer-throwin', crowd-surfin' frenzy was Hank and the Hammerheads. While I am not normally a fan of hard core punks, these cats fused it with garage rock - and keyboards! - to give a truly uncommon sound. The singer was a wild man and the songs were well written. I kept thinking their sound was as if the Lyres were a hard core band! They gave a nod to their roots as they closed with the Stooges "Loose"! A terrific finish to the fest!

The Gizmos have been lucky enough to grace several fun festival stages over the last couple of years and this one was right up there with the best! Great organization, friendly folks, cool club with a real PA and a talented soundman (who put up with our four guitars, two basses and drums without batting an eye) and plenty of F-U-N! Thank you Atlanta Mess Around!