While the costumed folks outside the Buckhead Theatre were milling around hitting the bars dressed as super heroes, Ghostbusters and various slutty concoctions, the people inside the venue were being treated to a night of killer tunes care of Soul Asylum. The veteran outfit lead by Dave Pirner hit the stage and put on one hell of a show. The people who made the effort to get there early also witnessed the spectacle that is the Higher Choir.
Playing to a crowd of various ages, Soul Asylum whipped out a set list of tunes that made the diehard longtime fans happy and enlightened some youngsters as to what good music sounds like. They wasted no time getting to their classic tunes as they kicked the night off with “Somebody To Shove” which was followed by a long list of career spanning tunes. Highlights included “Closer To The Stars”, “Just Like Anyone” and “Misery” which all sounded sharp. The crowd went nuts with the opening notes of “Black Gold” and when “Runaway Train” started everyone had their phones out snapping pictures and videoing, one person even broke out an iPad. Pirner broke into “Free Bird” telling the crowd he will sing that shit every time if the crowd asks for it before firing into “String Of Pearls” Mixed among the older tunes were some of the new tracks, and they sounded damn good live. The tunes “Gravity” and “Into The Light” proves they still can write good music and the rocking “Your Generation” and “The Streets” harnessed the sounds of their pre-Grave Dancer’s Union albums. The tightness of the band led to a night of music that was a pleasure to the ears and Pirner’s interaction with the crowd made the show a little more personable. He chatted between songs, mentioned Atlanta musicians, joked with a dude wearing an Anvil tee, personally handed a kid a guitar pick and gave props to the lady using the previously mentioned iPad. When the final note faded from the speakers and thank-yous & goodbyes had been dispersed, they left the audience satisfied yet wanting more.
Starting the night off was the Atlanta band the Higher Choir, and these dudes know how to rock. A dual guitar attack, thumping bass and thunderous drums supply the backdrop for Chance Walls’ wailing vocals. As Walls stomped around the stage threatening to lead the way on a chaotic musical trip the southern infused rock emanating from the band reeled things back in. Playing songs from their debut EP Half-Way Home they showed their range with the soulful “Who’s To Say”, the rocking “All Night Radio” and the bluesy “Hard Tack & Whiskey”. They offered up a nice tune about William Blake and when they blasted into the favorite “Queen Of Hearts” the familiar fans went nuts. These guys leave everything on the stage each and every time they play live and Friday night was no different. If you have never experienced the spectacle that is the Higher Choir, you need to.
Friday night was a good night to be at the Buckhead Theatre. Soul Asylum rocked the place showing their music is still relevant in a world full of over produced computer manipulated pop that is force fed to the masses. Their old tunes sounded great and the new material fit right in. With their southern rock grooves, the Higher Choir showed that they are more than capable of keeping rock alive into the future. You can’t go wrong with great music at a great venue, and on this night all of that rang true.