The guys in the band THE VARIANT showed their stuff from their new EP at Ashley Street Station last night and the Old Lady heartily approved.
THE VARIANT plays varied styles, ranging from heavy melodic to hard punk, and their high energy set left the Old Lady wanting more. “We have the new EP here available,” urged the main singer, “or you can listen to it for free online, and that will be fun for you and for me.” Get a taste by watching their music video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2zQvTVJWMYKILLMAMA just up from Florida starting their tour is a switch-hitting blues-rock duo, taking turns on guitar and drums with equal facility.
And if you’re listening to these bands for free online, buy some merch if you can. Hey, you didn’t have to spring for the cover charge to get into ASS so send’em a few bucks, ya cheapskate. LISTEN TO THE OLD LADY!
Valdosta, in extreme south Georgia, July, nighttime. Temp: about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity: about 90 percent.
Red Door Records. Free show. Thanks, Jessica. Love the new location; the parking lot scene is much more urban and better lit.
First up: The Caution Children, from north Florida. Singer: “This one’s in the key of F, it runs about 5 minutes and 30 seconds, and it’s got a couple of time signature changes.” They play melodic ambient hardcore, and he does some interesting things with the mic and with one of the guitar players’ heads. Listen to them here: https://myspace.com/thecautionchildren/music/songs
Next: Gillian Carter, also from Florida, more hardcore than melodic. They call themselves post punk. I guess that’s pretty accurate. A sample: https://myspace.com/gilliancarter
The afterparty was at the Ashley Street Bar, which of course is now on Baytree Road. Cody Gibson was playing when the Old Lady walked in, high powered country. She couldn’t find any links to his music other than with the Southern Gentlemen, and they weren’t in attendance tonight just some dude named Kevin on keyboards who was very good.
Then Mylo Ranger, with a big multilayered alt-country-rock sound that occasionally slid into blues. The same Kevin that played keyboards with Cody Gibson joined them on sax, and again was very good. Who is this guy? Hear Mylo Ranger at http://www.myloranger.com/#!music/c10tw
SUPPORT LIVE LOCAL MUSIC. IF YOU DON’T GO, IT WILL GO AWAY.
(note to the band: Sorry this is so late; the Old Lady ended up the evening getting carted off to the local Emergency Room with all the classic symptoms of a heart attack. It wasn’t, but she took a few days to recover; you can’t keep the Old Lady down!)
“Not bad for a Monday night, eh?” said Bryan Gay, owner of Ashley Street Station, with a slap on the Old Lady’s back as he passed.
What an understatement.
DIRTY ROTTEN SNAKE IN THE GRASS is a streetwise, wisecracking New Orleans-via- Eugene, Oregon bluegrass band. But this ain’t yo’ Grannie’s bluegrass.
Their song “Nojob Blues” as the singer explained is “not about unemployment; it’s about if somebody gives you a blowjob the appropriate response is to give one back.” Grannie is spinning in her grave, but the Old Lady was kinda tickled.
Lauren Herr’s husky voice suits such songs as “Whiskey in the River” and her guitar, foot tambourine, and personality drive the band’s sound.
Jenna Schoof’s dead-on banjo pickin’ and deadpan vocals are a good counterpoint to Lauren’s drive.
Stella Lioni Smith (from Singapore, they said) plays a mighty mean fiddle and blows one helluva harp.
And they’ve got some guy whose name escaped the Old Lady (sorry!) who slaps a standup bass like he means business… which he does. The skull attached to the scroll of his instrument is a nice, New Orleans-style touch.
Check out their album DANGER GRAVY at http://dirtyrottensnakeinthegrass.bandcamp.com/ if you can put up with admittedly obscene lyrics. C’mon, don’t be coy, you’ve heard these words before and this is great music! Send them some money while you’re at it; as the lady said:
“Keep us outta the poorhouse, the whorehouse, and YOUR house!”
The Old Lady’s favorite dive bar, Ashley Street Station, has done it again.
A live local show. The music the Old Lady lives to hear.
Opening act: Valdosta natives Jen Anders and Scott Clark. Jen has a voice reminiscent of Janis Joplin, without the screaming. Scott Clark on U-Bass (Ukelele Bass) is the perfect backup man. They’re headed next to St. Simons and Brunswick, on the southern Georgia coastline area known as the Golden Isles of Georgia. They’ll be playing the Georgia Sea Island Festival on June 7 & 8. Watch for them! Listen to the Old Lady!
Another nice thing at the ASSBar is that the TVs are always playing the Braves game. TV worth watching, while you wait for the next band to set up.
Tonight’s headliner was Big Shoals, and this was the CD release party. Big Shoals started with a bang: the first number was ROCKING in that old-time country hard rock style, and a couple took to the floor with some moves that left the Old Lady breathless!
Big Shoals went on to exhibit a variety of styles, all excellent. You can hear the entire album on Spotify at https://play.spotify.com/album/03pe3GWe5pa4lRfQG7fRA2?play=true&utm_source=open.spotify.com&utm_medium=open
But the CD isn’t as good as hearing Big Shoals live.
The band is from Gainesville but the lead singer/guitar, Lance Howell, is from Valdosta. So let’s support this hometown boy, V-Town! This is your opportunity to be able to say “Wow, man, I saw them live at Ashley Street Station!” someday when you can’t even afford tickets to see them at a major venue in Atlanta or Tampa. Don’t you think the Old Lady loves to be able to say “I first saw the Allman Brothers live FOR FREE in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park on a Saturday afternoon in the late sixties. I was the little hippie chick in yellow hightop Converse sneakers sitting on top of the stone pillar beside the steps where they performed!”
Buy the CD! Check out Big Shoals live! SUPPORT LIVE LOCAL MUSIC! Listen to the Old Lady!
What’s that, you say? Valdosta, Georgia’s best dive bar, Ashley Street Station, has a Sunday brunch??? How undivelike.
Even more undivelike: the Bloody Mary bar. They bring you a glass with ice and vodka, and you do the rest with six kinds of Bloody Mary mix as well as V-8, every kind of hot sauce the Old Lady ever heard of and quite a few she’s never seen, pickles and olives and celery sticks… you get the picture, and the picture doesn’t do it justice.
But of course there was live music. Heath Deloach with his acoustic guitar, playing a lot of covers and a few originals. The Old Lady particularly liked Josephine, a lovely love song Heath wrote for his girlfriend whose name is NOT Josephine. I guess three syllables just fit the rhyme scheme better, or something like that. He didn’t say.
As at any good dive bar, dogs are welcome, and they are allowed to bring their humans.
By the way, the Crab Cakes Benedict is FABULOUS. Listen to the Old Lady!
If you think Valdosta is some backwater, backwoods, backwards south Georgia cultural sinkhole, you need to listen to the Old Lady:
To wit: one Friday night, four great musical experiences.
Let us begin at the beginning, at The Elder House which is a garage apartment near VSU. The downstairs has been converted into a small music hall or, more accurately, a rec room with a stage. We will not discuss the décor, or lack thereof. We are here for the music.
First up, REALIZATION from just up the road: Albany, Georgia. As the lead singer informs us, they are a “crossover hard-core band” and the emphasis is on “hard.” The Old Lady hasn’t seen a singer work that hard – for free! – in quite some time. When the music starts, this is a crazy man! With bearded face and bulging eyes, he breaks a sweat two minutes in and from there on it was Katy bar the door! Four guys onstage, twelve people in the audience… REALIZATION fills up the corners with blasting speakers and screaming lyrics.
Next up, a solo act. Billed by the promoter (translation: the guy who lives upstairs) as The Sarah Beth Experience, she says she’s “just a chick who does covers on the ukulele.” Correction: this chick ROCKS the ukulele! The Old Lady loves her cover of Amy Winehouse’s Valerie, followed by Katy Perry’s The One That Got Away. Sarah Beth informs us that: “If Katy Perry didn’t exist, I wouldn’t be living in Georgia… it’s this weird internet thing, I don’t want to go into it.” Well, the Old Lady knows a tease when she hears one, so afterwards she demands to hear “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey says. The Old Lady is not a spoiler; if you want to know, ask Sarah Beth. She’s the one with the ukulele.
Last onstage (the show had to end by 11, the chick with the red hair told one band member; “last time we ran past 11 and got shut down.” Damn neighbors; don’t they know art when they hear it?) is NORTHBOUND, a band which is actually southbound after a nine-day tour (“Donations please!” pleaded one guitar player/singer, “we’re going to Disney World tomorrow! Help us get back home to Miami!”). Then the band proceeds to blow the Old Lady away, and for nothing more than gas money. These guys don’t play for the money, they play because that’s what they do, they love it and they are damn good at it. NORTHBOUND has a new release… duh, that’s why they’re touring… and you can hear it at http://northboundfl.bandcamp.com/ but it won’t sound quite as good as LIVE and in your face at The Elder House! If you missed this show, you are a dweeb! LISTEN to the Old Lady!
Three bands. Three hours of great music. And all it costs the Old Lady is some gas money for the boys in the band. Oh yeah, and a coupla beers but they were a gift and she has them stashed in a cooler in the Golden Dragon outside.
So it’s only 11 and the Old Lady’s favorite dive bar, Ashley Street Station, is on the way home so she stops in to see whassup.
Whassup is the West Virginia Slims, a rockabilly band with swagger that the Old Lady has reviewed before (see http://www.oldladyandpurpledragon.com/the-great-guinness-toast/ ). This night they include a Spanish-flavored song, an original titled Lonely Trumpet , with sadly sweet riffs that seriously brings the Old Lady to tears, good tears, the ones that come when she hears something that’s so damn lovely she can’t hardly stand it. One of’em tells the Old Lady “I hope you give us a glowing review!” Are you freakin’ kidding??? She already said they’re great; what more can she say? Just this: go see’em!
First she went to 306 North restaurant in downtown Valdosta to hear The Remedy, a duo consisting of Chip Tanner on guitar and Bill Vendemo on percussion. The Remedy has a folky, laid back feel with tight harmony between the two men’s voices. Vendemo, who is one of the happiest looking musicians around, describes their song selections as “crowd pleasers, picking from every genre.” The sound is low-key enough so as to not drown out a rather sedate crowd of upscale diners, but provides a nice background for dinner.
Then the Old Lady stumbled upon a carnival! It was just one of those parking lot affairs with the obligatory Ferris wheel, funnel cakes, and cotton candy, but the lights were lovely against a clear spring sunset.
Ashley Street Station was the next stop, for the CD Release Party for the band Made Ready.
OMG, this band ROCKS! One of their originals in particular, Brand New, is as good as anything the Old Lady has ever heard… and she can certainly relate to the lyric “I’m not brand new.” This is straight up, hard driving rock with the heavy melodic elements that make the Old Lady scream along.
You can hear Made Ready’s new album at https://play.spotify.com/album/0BOVz5abbdlZQj1eGQOQ7o
but better yet, you should buy the download. These guys are rocking their asses off, they certainly rocked the Old Lady’s ass off, and they deserve your financial support.
Made Ready also does covers of their favorite band, Thin Lizzy (lead guitar/singer Justin Gray told me once that the band had “Thin Lizzy-envy”).
And here’s the real deal about live LOCAL music, as opposed to the hotshot big-name arena groups: after the set the Old Lady walked up to the stage, fist-bumped the lead guitar/singer, looked him in the eye and said “DAMN! That was good!” You’ll never get to do that to Steven Tyler or Mick Jagger.
SUPPORT LIVE LOCAL MUSIC! Listen to the Old Lady!
Continuing her search for cultural treasures in Valdosta, GA, the Old Lady attended a global event this evening: her favorite dive bar, Ashley Street Station (ASS), hosted the local participation of the Great Guinness Toast, an annual world-wide effort to perform a simultaneous toast by the largest number of people for the Guinness Book of World Records (duh!).
The annual Toast is held on the 13th of February, and in Valdosta the moment of toasting hit at 11 p.m. where 24 toasters raised their glasses at ASS. In other time zones, of course, the hour varies… in Sochi, Russia, the Toast was held at 8 a.m. A mite early for Guinness but as Sheryl Crow sang, “I like a good beer buzz, early in the morning…” Okay, okay purists, so Guinness isn’t technically a beer but an Irish Dry Stout. Forgive the Old Lady, she prefers PBR anyway.
Playing tonight at ASS was the West Virginia Slims, a local band that put the “rock” in “rockabilly.” Mike Tappan, Zane Ally, and Dudley Johnson played a straightforward rockabilly first set but their second set got down and funky and rocked the Old Lady’s world, especially the song about Tallahassee.
West Virginia Slims plays every Tuesday night at the Bleu Pub in downtown Valdosta.
SUPPORT LIVE LOCAL MUSIC! Listen to the Old Lady!