HIGH FREQUENCIES: Get ready to rumble

Will Aguero invoke the 'Freebird Rule' with Subsonics and Tiger! Tiger! in this weekend’s match against Sit N Spin, Catfight!, and others?

Photo credit: Illustrations by Sam Leyja
DANGEROUS CROWD: Tiger! Tiger! today. Detail from album cover art for 'The Kind Of Goodnight.'

Those heading to the Star Bar this weekend get a double dose of Buffi Aguero, as she’s in a two-night tag-team event that’s sure bring out the primal rock ’n’ roll urges of even the most casual music fan. Friday night, Aguero keeps up the beat for long-standing Atlanta favorites Subsonics, then returns Saturday night with Tiger! Tiger!, the band she fronts as guitarist and lead singer. The shows are being billed as an “All Star Mangle Tangle — Ringside at the Star Bar.” Promising “2 Nights of Musical Mayhem,” New York’s Sit N Spin joining the fracas each night, with Bad Spell and Nikki Speaks and her Phantom Callers in the ring Friday night, while Cafight! and DJ Vicki Vaden are sure to turn the tangle into a tussle Saturday night.

Aguero has been in many bands — the Lost Crusaders with Johnny Vignault and the Raunch Hands’ Mike Chandler, the Vendettas, the Deadbeats with Subsonics’ Clay Reed and the Woggles’ Buzz Hagstrom (Patrick O’Connor), the White Lights, and the Bandettes (with the inimitable Deeds Davis, among them — her creative and musical expressions needing many outlets.


TASTEFUL DIVERSION: Early Tiger! Tiger! button set, when Deisha Oliver and Mike Potent formed the rhythm section.
Courtesy Tony Paris Archives

A force on the local music scene for 25 years now, Aguero has formed bands that have come and gone, yet each has left its mark. She hasn’t gone from one project to another haphazardly, but, hearing a certain sound she’s wanted to realize, she’s pulled musicians together to rehearse, record, and tour. Once the musical statement has been made, the multi-instrumentalist is off on another adventure.

The rhythmic force behind Subsonics while playing guitar and singing in her own bands, Clay Reed and Rob Del Bueno, she does not find the double duties much of a stretch.

“I've always done a lot of different things at once. It's the way that I think,” she explained recently. “It doesn't seem weird to me to have concurrent, overlapping projects. Clay (Reed, singer/guitarist for Subsonics) played in a few of these bands over the years — he was the original drummer for the White Lights and the singer for the Deadbeats.”

The Vendettas (1994 to 1998), who toured the U.S. and released one album, included Aguero on vocals and guitar, along with Johnny Vignault, vocals and guitar, Susanne Gibboney, drums, and Sam Leyja on organ. Aguero described the band as more defiant in it’s approach. “The Vendettas were low-fi,  no bass, garage rock ’n' roll. The approach was more aggressive. At the time, I was listening to a lot of soul, R&B, and punk stuff,” which was reflected in the music.

The White Lights (1994 to 2004), was more expansive in scope. Again joined by Vignault (this time on baritone guitar) and Leyja, the musical soundscapes were filled out with Ana Balka, violin and accordion; Kristin Loomis (later Keith Xenos), bass; Stuart Ellis, vibes and pedal steel, and Reed (later Mike Poteet), drums.

“White lights was a Joe Meek, Ennio Morricone-style project. More orchestral. With seven members, you had to lay back and give everyone space to play,” Aguero remembered. The larger line-up also precluded the band from touring as extensively as they might have. Barely fitting into one van, they only played the East Coast. Nonetheless, they did find plenty of room in the recording studio, releasing two cinematic albums, The White Lights and Gifts From Strangers.

Tiger! Tiger! (2005 to the present) has occupied Aguero’s time longer than any of her musical projects outside of Subsonics. There’s certainly good reason for it. With Tiger! Tiger! she’s hit her stride. With Leyja again joining her on organ; Gibboney back, this time on drums and vocals; Shane Pringle on guitar, sax and vocals; and Mario Colangelo, drums and vocals, the band is a tight unit, a seductive mixture of guitars and organ accented with raging sax solos and Aguero’s teasing vocals. Somewhat retro in approach, punk in attitude, and rockin’ in it’s sonic assault, Tiger! Tiger! solidifies Aguero’s influences with a fresh attack.

She described the band in much simpler terms. “Tiger!Tiger! is kind of a mixture of the two (the Vendettas and the White Lights). Low and hi-brow.” With three albums — Collision, The Kind of Goodnight and Cut Them Where They Bleed — to their credit, and tours of the U.S. and Spain behind them, Tiger!Tiger! is ready to enter the studio for the long-awaited follow-up to … Bleed, their 2012 release.

Aguero told me “bands are like organisms. The chemistry and music changes depending on the people.” With Tiger! Tiger! she’s found the right balance. “We love playing together and enjoy each other's company. We also all like snacks. Going on the road gives us the opportunity to do a lot of snacking together, so it's a win win.”

It’s time to get yer Christmas on. If marketing departments had their way, everyone would be saying “Merry Christmas.” Not to foist one’s religious beliefs on another, but to sell, sell, sell, plain and simple. Do you think those fighting back against what they claim to be a “war on Christmas” are devout and pious? Hardly. Many are Capitalists first, rallying around the Christmas tree, not to pay tribute to a birth, but to focus your attention on the biggest retail purchasing season of the year. If sales are up, profits are up. The more who bid “Merry Christmas” the better; it puts people in the spirit — the buying spirit. The weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year are a wasteland of sales, holiday parties, fake mistletoe, HoHoHo’s, drunken Santa Clauses, and the sounds of the city: horns honking, brakes slamming, tires squealing, cars crashing, people arguing, sirens sounding.

For those who choose to celebrate the season, its prime time for music, that window of opportunity when your favorite artists spice up the egg nog, put the blankets on the hearth and toast the time in front of a warm fire. Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, the Beach Boys, Joey Ramone, She & Him, Cheap Trick, and so, so many more — they’ve all done it, whether celebrating the sacred, rockin’ around the Christmas tree, or romancing in a winter wonderland.

For those who just can’t get enough of the Yuletide song, whether on old scratched 45’s; dog-eared albums; shiny, shiny compact discs or streaming services, there is the live concert alternative. Rejoice in knowing you can find respite from the holiday madness at your favorite club, participate in toy drives and, in some cases, allow a portion of your admission to help the less fortunate. Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, or, Happy Happy, going about your business in your own way.

Friday, December 1:
Aisle 5:
— Toys For Tots with Andy Bruh, Juju Beats, Eastern Standard, The Original Complex

Red Clay Theater:
— Eddie Owen Presents: Standards and Classics - A Christmas Special

Saturday, December 2:
Eddie’s Attic:
— Diane Durrett’s Merry WooHoo!

The Variety Playhouse:
— The 9th Annual Merry Y'Alltide Celebration, featuring The Whiskey Gentry & Cory Branan, with Pony League 

Zoo Atlanta:
— Jungle Bells

Wednesday, December 6:
Atlanta Symphony Hall:
— Brian Setzer Orchestra - Christmas Rocks! 

City Winery:
— Ronnie Spector’s Best Christmas Party Ever!

Friday, December 8:
Red Clay Theater:
— Eddie Owen Presents: Celtic Guitar Christmas with Robin Bullock and Steve Baughman

Saturday, December 9:
The Atlanta Dance Academy:
— Aurora: A Magical Night of Dance

Avondale Towne Cinema:
— The Rainmen Holiday Show

City Winery:
— A Christmas Story - A free screening presented by Karoo

Smith’s Olde Bar, The Atlanta Room:
Bryce & Bethany Merritt: “Christmas with the Mrs.”

The Variety Playhouse:
— Robert Earl Keen: "Merry Christmas from the Fam-O-Lee" Tour

Sunday, December 10:
Buckhead Theater:
— A Drag Queen Christmas

Eddie’s Attic:
Jon McLaughlin - This Time of Year Tour
— Early show
— Late show  

Monday, December 11:
City Winery:
— Christmas with the Celts 

Tuesday, December 12:
Coca-Cola Roxy:
— Star 94.1 Presents Christmas with Kelly Clarkson & Bleachers

Red Light Cafe:
— Tease Tuesday Burlesque: Naughty or Nice 

Wednesday, December 13:

The Vista Room:
— [https://www.freshtix.com/events/the-breezekingsdynomite|Breeze K][https://www.freshtix.com/events/the-breezekingsdynomite|ings & Dyn-O-Mite Swingin]’ Christmas

Thursday, December 14:
— Rockin’ Around the Masquerade: Goodfires, Hum Ripple, New Mantra, Mixed Tribe, RoyalSun, Some Kids, TasteBud, and Aquashade
A part of proceeds go towards The Hosea House, a non-profit for the hungry and homeless.

Smith’s Olde Bar, The Music Room:
— Asheville Holiday Hang with Town Mountain & The Honeycutters and Mermaid Motor Lounge

Fri, December 15:
The Earl:
— Jeffrey Butzer & T.T. Mahony perform Vince Guiaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and selections from Phil Spector’s “A Christmas Gift to You.” Plus, Nick Latham Holiday Set

Eddie’s Attic:
8th Annual Christmas Extravaganza w/ Ryan Horne, Nathan Angelo, Dwayne Shivers (a.k.a. Micah Dalton), & Jonathan Rich
Early Show:
Late Show 

Philips Arena:
— Power 96.1’s Jingle Ball with Demi Lovato, Logic, Zedd, Halsey, Fifth Harmony, Nick Jonas, Charlie Puth, Camila Cabello, Liam Payne, and Why Don't We 

The Variety Playhouse:
— A John Waters Christmas 

The Vista Room:
— Mudcat & the ATL Horns Christmas Crunk Saturday,

December 16:
City Winery:

The Earl:
— Jeffrey Butzer & T.T. Mahony perform Vince Guiaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and selections from Phil Spector’s “A Christmas Gift to You.” Plus, Chad Shivers and the Silent Knights, performing "The Ventures Christmas Album.” 

Eddie’s Attic:

Robin Meade’s Holiday ‘Round Robin’ featuring “Sixwire.” Toys collected for Toys for Tots
Early show
Late show 

The Vista Room:
— Royal Blues Holiday Celebration for Prostate Cancer Awareness 

Sunday, December 17
Eddie’s Attic:
— Rebel Union - A Christmas Show 

Northside Tavern:
— Lola’s Toy Drive- All Day 

The Variety Playhouse:
Dave Barnes - A Very Merry Christmas 

The Vista Room:
— The Hot Toddies Cool Yule Christmas featuring Michelle Malone 

Tuesday, December 19:
The Fox Theater:
— Annual Holiday Organ Concert and Sing-Along, featuring the classic holiday movie, the original 1947 version of "Miracle on 34th Street.” 

Wed, December 20:
— Terminal West:
 7th Annual Holiday Hootenanny: A Benefit For Habitat For Humanity, with Larry Keel, Rev. Jeff Mosier, Johnny Knapp, Yonrico Scott, Gaurav Malhotra, Bill Fleming, Nick Disebastian, Kevin Thomas, Bobby Miller, Fiddlin’ Faye, Zebulon Bowles, Richie Jones, Jared Womack, Matthew Williams, Ralph Roddenberry, and Count M’butu. 

Thursday, December 21:
Buckhead Theater:
— Ed Roland's Winter Wonder Bash 

Center Stage:
Puddles Pity Party 

Eddie’s Attic:
The Hot Toddies Cool Yule Trio with Michelle Malone, Doug Kees, and Robby Handley 

— Slaytanic Xmas: Yule Log, Legion X, Elzig, Iron Shroud, and Los Meesfits 

Smith’s Olde Bar, The Music Room:
— Carly’s Country Christmas with Carly Burruss, Aspen Anonda and Krysta Nick. 

Friday, December 22:
Center Stage:
— Puddles Pity Party 

City Winery:
Kris Allen: Somethin’ About Christmas Tour 

Eddie’s Attic:
Joe Gransden Christmas Special with Francine Reed
— Early show
Late show 

Red Clay Theater:
— Early show: MATINEE: Banks and Shane Christmas Concert!
— Late show 

Smith’s Olde Bar:
— Moredopemusic Presents: Yuule - Our 4th Annual Holiday Party & Toy Drive 

The Variety Playhouse:
— ATL Collective presents Funky Christmas with Bernard Purdie, Fred Wesley, Marcus King and more!

December 23:
Red Clay Theater:
 MATINEE: Joe Gransden Big Band Christmas Show - featuring Francine Reed!
— Late show: Joe Gransden Big Band Christmas Show - featuring Francine Reed!

You can contact Tony Paris regarding upcoming gigs; noteworthy news, rumor, and innuendo; or, if you just want to say, “Hi,” at cl.highfreqs at gmail.com, since you already know he doesn’t read messages received on his Facebook account.