[Above: The Redcoats]
A typical Saturday night opening act at The Earl often functions as a backdrop for crowd members to consume their first rounds of PBR tallboys and greet friends, but on this night The Redcoats captured the audience in a way that many openers fail to do.
their early days as Second Shift, a moniker they gave up a year ago, I've seen variations of this group of Atlanta guys perform more times
than I can count. Their transformation into The Redcoats
(not to be confused
with the Redcoats, who sport plumes and bibbers on Saturdays in
Athens, of which your Local Editor was a member for three
years) was a change of which I was skeptical at first, but after this performance at the Earl I am finally sold. An opening band that's
almost as impressive as the headliner is rare, but that characterizes
The Redcoats' act. And the band finally seem to have found its footing with the new name, re-energizing the music and stage presence and re-igniting
the chemistry among the guys that began so many years ago.
Performing old favorites along
with newer additions, the audience was engaged at every note. Singing,
dancing, and shouted requests got smiles and laughs from the band
members, who weren't above interacting with their
audience. When lead singer Jonathan Baker and guitarist Wes Hoffman (of
local promo powerhouse Pop Death Squad) leaned in to share the microphone on
a falsetto part of "Who Are You Foolin," it didn't feel fabricated or
cheesy-- it just felt like they were having fun.
Decatur's The Long Shadows (not to be confused with The Longshadows,
featuring Robin Wilson of Gin Blossoms fame) provided a strong
interlude between the Redcoats and Features. They held the attention
of attendees, and much of the audience got into the set. Admittedly,
during much of their set I was too overwhelmed by how great The
Redcoats had just been and how great the Features were soon to be to
really pick up the details of their talent.
The Features, out of Nashville, never disappoint live. Whether they
have 30 minutes as an opening band or an hour as the headliner, they
pack their sets with energy and don't pull a lot of punches or
surprises. They are, perhaps, the definition of an indie pop/rock band, in that they are not
signed to a label and consistently deliver addictively catchy songs-- though none of the band members seem large enough to produce the level of sound that emanates from their instruments and vocal chords.
This show served as the Atlanta celebration of their latest self-released album, Some Kind of Salvation, so the set was packed with a good bit of new material, including the few new tracks they've been playing live for months. But they didn't neglect the old fan favorites, making for a well-rounded set for sold-out Earl and their eager, adrenaline-pumped fans.
The Redcoats Blog
Kings of Leon, The Features @ The Roxy 3/19/05