November 26, 2010
In a year that has included enormous amounts of success including a smashing successful tour with Kings of Leon and genre spanning festival appearances, The Whigs made one final stop before bidding the United States goodbye for a short tour in Europe. With their third album, In the Dark, their critical acclaim has only continued to swell. Yet on this night in Atlanta at Variety Playhouse, a home town gig of sorts for these Athens natives, one thing was abundantly clear, this is a humble but vigorous crew. As front man Parker Gispert took his first breath following an onslaught of three angst filled numbers, he told the crowd that they were "proud to be here, on this stage that we saw so many on when we were young."
To warm up the evening, two groups, Bambara and Futurebirds served the audiences that were as vastly different as The Whigs fan-base. One thing that kept complete polarity at bay was the high energy of both outfits and the fact that both are from Athens, GA.
Of the two, Futurebirds were most impressive. A group of multi-instrumentalists, this sextet which boasts four vocalists maneuvers from instrument to instrument as they deliver their form of what they have coined as psychedelic-country. Though this branding may be the best way to box these guys, they truly defy packaging. They do something that, although borrows on musical elements from here or there, is completely their own and is served with interaction with the crowd and confident stage presence by all.
The Whigs took the stage and got off to a mighty start with the consummate opener "Already Young" to a packed sold out crowd. What was nice was to see them on their own stage as opposed to a shared one where set lengths are defined based upon production needs and the like. This empowered the trio to loosely tackle their material as opposed to having to force it into a formula that they feel will give them the right showcase for their given time slots at festivals or as openers for larger bands.
Having developed quite the catalogue, they took their hometown faithful on a journey through it all, feeding off of and nearly entering the crowd at every twist and turn. This is clearly a band that is happy with playing music and ecstatic that people are accepting their brand that does not neatly fit into any precast blend.
As the night dissolved, Gispert again thanked the crowd before flashing a peace sign and shaking a few fans’ hands on the way to stage left. While the fans were satisfied, it was clear that they could have raged for quite awhile longer. Damned curfew.
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