The Stolen Hearts, G.G. King and Gentleman Jesse and His Men showed what Atlanta has to offer April 11 at Lenny's, but, as expected, Memphis' Jay Reatard ultimately stole the show.
Opening was The Stolen Hearts, a female-fronted powerpop group combining three attractive ladies who are in their first band and two established guitarists in Greg King of Carbonas fame and Adrian Barrera from The Hiss and Gentleman Jesse. They have only played a handful of shows since their Feb. 18 debut, but things are already coming together well for the group. Ashley is a solid vocalist, and the group will have its first single released May 1 by Atlanta's Douchemaster Records.
G.G. King, an act using Greg's real initials as its name, was up next. The new band debuted back in February and features every Carbona who is not in Gentleman Jesse (Greg, guitarist Clay Kilbourne and bassist Chris Van Etten) plus Mike Beavers from Predator on drums. Their repretoire includes a Carbonas song that never was called "Adult Rock," the catchy "In The Terminal" and a punked-up version of "Letter" by The Box Tops.
Gentleman Jesse and His Men, a powerpop band bearing the nickname of Jesse Smith from The Carbonas, was on third. The group also features drummer Dave "I just play one set per night now" Rahn from The Carbonas, Warren Hate on bass and the before-mentioned Barrera on guitar. A couple of catchy new tunes written and sung by Smith and several songs from the band's outstanding LP and debut 7" made for yet another solid outing for the band.
Closing out the night was Jay Reatard, and the Memphis Messiah did not disappoint. As usual, his trademark high-pitched vocals and guitar work shredded through familiar tunes like "See/Saw," "Blood Visions" and "Always Wanting More."
Reatard is joined on stage by bassist Stephen and my long-lost twin, Billy, on drums. Both are chubby, long-haired guys, so seeing them perform at such a high level and draw such a large and animated crowd is empowering for me. At risk of being crass, I figure I can now claim to know how chubby girls feel when they see The Gossip live.
Aesthetics aside, the highly-touted garage punk trio lives up to their hype, as they legitimately are on the same level live as Atlanta's Black Lips and international star King Khan and both of his touring acts.
Afterwards, parties at both 529 in East Atlanta and Warren's house rounded out a great night of music. If you get a chance to see any of these acts live, take advantage of it.