Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bringing in 2011, Bringing Myself Home: Abby Gogo, the NEC and The East Pole

Contributed by: Andy Gish

I want 2011 to be different.

Twenty-ten (I like saying it that way) was fabulous, but I want 2011 to be better, more introspective, more loving, warm and "special" in some way.  And where does that start?  Right here.  Right now.  At home.  In my neighborhood and in yours.

I just went on a pilgrimage to see a city that I had heard about in songs and read about in books.  I was so excited to see these things first hand: The streets, the buildings, the music, the people.  It was refreshing, cleansing, joyful.  And when I returned  home I made a decision. To love Atlanta, Georgia through the same eyes through which I loved Winnipeg.

So what does this mean?  This means that me and a few of my cohorts are going to start encouraging each other and encouraging YOU to see through new eyes. To challenge ourselves and to challenge you -- to see and experience more of what our streets, our venues and our people have to offer.  To learn the stories behind the stories.  To tell these stories.  To support each of them, this city and this state.

Thus, we birth this blog which we want to feature people, places and music that make this great state unique.  We will feature them here, introduce them to you and encourage you to seek out the same kind of uniqueness on our streets.

Yep, I suspect this is going to be semi-Atlanta-centric at first, but it's not meant to be.  Part of the challenge is to look beyond the city and challenge ourselves to to venture there too.

And it all starts here.

Georgia Music in My Heart:
I have been playing music in Atlanta for over a decade.  I love, love, love the music that this great state sprouts.  But do I do my part to support that music? Do I still show up for the openers if I don't already know who is in the band?  Do I encourage friends who have not seen these bands to come with me?  Well, sometimes I do.  I did just co-host Canadian radio show and played a bunch of Georgia Music.  But surely I could do more, much more.

So, on New Years Eve this year I decided to turn a new leaf.  To lead by example.  To put on new spectacles and go to a concert where I knew no one in any of the bands and to drag my best friend with me.  Going to the Star Bar was nothing new.  The first time I stepped foot in that place was in 1999 to see Ultra Baby Fat and the Butterflies and I ended up giving CPR to someone on the sticky floor.  She started breathing again and lived.  I thought about never stepping foot in there again.  But 11 years later, I still live around the corner and I am still going there and just like 1999, to see bands I had never seen before.

The NEC @ The Star Bar NYE

What I saw was lovely, encouraging and I was completely entertained. We Georgians are still delivering  really good new music. It was packed, but with very few people I knew.  I know hundreds of Atlanta musicians so how could none of them be there?  I mean it was NYE and there was a lot going on, but is our music scene so disjointed that it does not overlap at least by a few people?  Well if so, that is just gonna have to change.

Abby Gogo @ The Star Bar NYE 2011

If you have not seen Abby Gogo, I encourage you to.  They are pretty darn talented.  They remind me of when I was 15 going to see Ride, My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and Mary Chain on school nights and falling asleep in algebra class the next day (Thanks mom for *knowing* that there was more to life than high school).  It's not that this has not been done before but they do it well and make me proud. Good songs, good stage presence and really lush comfy guitar sounds.  They remind me a lot of the bands I was listening too when I lived in San Francisco in 2008.  It's so nice to have something like this in Atlanta.  We should open our ears to them, support them and encourage them.

I also saw another band that was new to me called The NEC.  They were quirky, shoe-gazy with a dash of surf.  They were energetic and entertaining and totally worth checking out.  The lead singer looks like he is the love child of a bunch of local indie rockers: Matt Glagola (The Liverhearts, the Preakness), Matt Chenoweth (Brain Box, Exiles on Mainstreet) and Jimmy (From Spectralux and our beloved Earl bartender), all of which are cute and talented boys which I adore. So, what's not to love.

It looks like The NEC are playing January 14th at The Earl with Sovus Radio and All the Saint.  You should consider checking them out.

Find more artists like abby gogo at Myspace Music

Find more artists like The N.E.C. at Myspace Music

I wanted to stick around to see the Howlies, but the show was running hours late so we headed to The East Pole as I had never been there before either.  Is it a venue?  art space?  practice space?  Do people live there? I am not sure.  I plan on investigating and reporting back.  It did have a hip atmosphere with the "anti-stage" or sunken dance floor, a fire pit and a clean mens' room (I never did find the "ladies' room"). We drunken-danced to Arcade Fire (which tells you I had had plenty to drink already). So, I should wait for another visit for a formal report.  It seems like a fun place to have a party though.

Still Standing at the East Pole

So this is how I am starting out 2011.  Sitting at Aurora per usual, jittery from my quad-Americano with Dion on the stereo, watching people checking out the mosaic of posters, planning their months around concerts.  Any hint of jadedness has been wiped from my spectacles, a new challenge at hand and a grin on my face knowing 2011 is gonna be different.  I am gonna make it so.

Why on earth did I get the Quad-Americano?

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