Scene & Herd - Signs of the apocalypse
The undead are fun
Friday, the High Museum kicked off its Rebel Samurai film series with an exhibition by the Atlanta Budokan, a traditional Japanese martial arts dojo. It staged impressive battles with precision and ceremony, as well as showing us skills with swords by slicing through rolled up reed mats (they did not slice through a tin can, nor did they make julienne fries). It was a fun prelude to a film, Samurai Rebellion, which was one long, moody prelude to one short, tragic battle. I was surprised by the lack of action in this particular movie, but the film made up for it with an equally surprising amount of humor. The series continues through June. Visit www.high.org for more information.
Lately, I've been getting phone calls every week from random people telling me they're on their way to Lenny's for the final show at its current location. I'll hustle over, hoping to be present for the final hour before the music venue moves to a new location a few blocks away. But when I arrive, I always discover that it's not the final show; the owners are still waiting for a license or permit or whatever, and the new spot has not been approved by the city. Saturday was the fourth time I've gotten one of these calls and it's become a running joke, but I knew Lenny's was hosting the Last Days Festival so I went, anyway.</
Local band Maiutic started up shortly after I arrived, doing metallic dirges that were heavy on the distortion, intermittently broken by clear moments of harmonic guitar. Yelled, unintelligible vocals made me wonder if anyone has ever decided metal could do without the vocals entirely. I expected the Last Days to draw a bigger crowd, but maybe the saved had already ascended.
The next act, I-Robotics, might make one believe we have indeed been left behind. A guy wearing an aluminum-foil-covered box walked into the room. Joined on stage by a guy playing some kind of computerized device in a suitcase, "foil guy" pulled the microphone into the box so he could tell a story while the other two "band members" played the "music." One sported an alien mask and a flowery dress with a cardboard skeleton taped to it. The third member of the band sat behind another effects machine, pumping out electronic racket. It wasn't so much music as it was sound, vaguely reminiscent of standing outside a video game arcade circa 1989. Soon, a shower of fake blood gushed from inside the aluminum box, followed by a baby, who was snatched by the alien. Then came acts of cannibalism and pyrotechnics before the sound guy killed the show, only a few minutes into I-Robotics' "set." Confusing and strange, yes, but appropriately apocalyptic.</
As it (probably) wasn't really the final show at Lenny's, and I didn't think anyone could top I-Robotics' weirdness, I sped over to the Earl. I arrived in time to catch a video of a Tiger! Tiger! song, a fun black and white flick shot in the GSU parking deck. Lead singer and guitarist Buffi Aguero stepped on stage, the hottest woman on the local music scene, and started up the band. Her sneer melted into a crooked, contagious smile as she clearly enjoyed performing the lead in this '60s-garage-influenced act. They've fattened up the sound with keyboards and occasional sax and violin. As if Buffi is not enough eye candy, they've added Susanne Gibboney on bass. Somehow Buffi and/or Susanne keep ending up in my favorite bands: Subsonics, White Lights, Catfight! and Lust, just to name a few. Tiger! Tiger! performed an excellent show but ended relatively early. So I sped back to Lenny's in time for yet more music that would sound familiar to anyone who has paid attention to the heavy/hard genre any time in the last, oh, 35 years. Did you know that recycled metals are just as valuable, yet cheaper to manufacture, than the original materials?</
The last act of Last Days, Deerhunter, had enjoyable moments — despite vocals made indecipherable by too much echo, distortion and other effects.
Speaking of last days, my longtime significant other and I recently parted ways. She and I met at Lenny's (then Dottie's) and had our first date at the Starlight Drive-In. So when she landed a pair of T-shirts from the film The Break-Up, we thought it only fitting to wear them to the Starlight as we joined our friends at the Monster Bash. The T-shirt humor made some folks groan, but anything we can do to keep ourselves smiling is fair game.</
And who wouldn't want to smile when surrounded by hundreds of revelers enjoying live music, people in costumes, custom cars, fireworks and movies? OK — since attendees sported demonic and/or undead costumes, the custom cars on site were hearses (some complete with skeleton-filled coffins), and the movies were the horror classics Halloween and Pumpkinhead, some folks might not smile at this event. An afternoon shower didn't dampen the mood, it just served to cool things down as people socialized over grills and the bands rocked the day away. By the time the movies flickered to life at night, I was both damp and sunburned. Halloween had the same surprising lack of action as Samurai Rebellion but also made up for it with laughs .</
I was sad to return to the real world outside the confines of the Starlight Drive-In. Speaking of movies, The Break-Up, coincidentally, started Friday — right as I moved into a new apartment. I probably won't have time to see the film, but I doubt I really need to, either.</