Blitzen Trapper with The Moondoggies @ Variety Playhouse, Atlanta [Concert Review, Pics]

by oz on June 11, 2010

After one of the worst cubicle occupied days in recorded history on Wednesday, I drove to downtown Atlanta to witness some rock show. I was in search of mental balance and emotional prosperity.‚  What is the remedy for such a plight? Three-piece harmonies. That’s what The Moondoggies and Blitzen Trapper delivered in two magnificent sets.

Whoever paired this group together at this venue, allow me say “thank you.” As a recent transplant to the Atlanta burbs from Northern California, I walked into my first ever show at Variety Playhouse and was surprised with one of the best sounding venues I’ve ever been to. I quickly grabbed a Dogfishhead 60 Minute IPA (also kudos for having multiple IPA’s, including high gravity beers on tap) and made my way to the stage as The Moondoggies jammed their way through “Changing.”

The crowd began filling in and became instantly enamored with this unassuming Seattle band. “Love the Moondoggies!” shouted one fan between songs, to which lead singer Kevin Murphy replied, “Thanks,” in his dry, chronically sleepy demeanor.‚  When I say sleepy, I mean it.

The Moondoggies tore through tight set of American folk, blues, and gospel-inspired songs, reminiscent of great rock music from bands like The Grateful Dead and The Band, with such lethargy that I wanted to pull out some folding chairs to make it more comfortable for them. Maybe offer a 5 hour energy and quick back rub between songs. Stage presence isn’t what you need from a band like this, however, because their music and vocal harmonies deserve to own the spotlight without distractions. The Moondoggies will create serious waves with the release of their sophomore album, Tidelands (Sep 14).

And then the main course rolled on stage. My first taste of Blitzen Trapper at a real venue (SxSW outdoor stages excluded). We crowned their ’08 album, Furr, the best album of the year and Blitzen Trapper are now touring on the heels of the recent release, Destroyer Of The Void. To surpass the brilliance of Furr would be an impossibility, but Destroyer is far from a let down. There are several marginal and sub-par reviews floating around the web right now, but I’m betting that none of those critics ventured out to experience the material in the live setting. It’s too bad because it shines.

Blitzen Trapper proved that they are expert musicians, led by principle songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist/ lead singer Eric Early. Their set, dominated mostly by material from Furr and Destroyer, toggled back and forth between the full band, Early solo, Early with red-headed Marty Marquis, and then back to full band. Each song was executed with perfection, including some of‚  my favorites from the ’08 release like “Black River Killer,” “Furr,” and “Not Your Lover.”

After hearing the new tracks in concert, Destroyer In The Void carries much more weight. “Love and Hate” is now a favorite track after seeing Early and band crank through this glam-rock gem.‚  “The Man Who Would Speak True” and “Sadie” blended in perfectly with the folk-rock songs from Furr, and although they may sound like B-sides from the last album, they are still incredible songs that hold their own. To appreciate Blitzen Trapper is to stand in a crowd and watch them hit each note with precision and nail every vocal harmony. I’ve had their complete discography playing straight through each day since the show.


Blitzen Trapper – Heaven and Earth

Blitzen Trapper – Black River Killer

Blitzen Trapper – Gold For Bread

Blitzen Trapper – Furr

The Moondoggies – Changing

The Moondoggies – Fly Momma Fly

More pics:

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Eugenia June 13, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I love Blitzen Trapper. Their latest album was not as catchy as Furr, I thought, but it was still good.

Kevin DeMarco June 14, 2010 at 12:36 pm

The Variety Playhouse in Little 5 Points is my favorite music venue, period! It’s not too big so it has some great acoustics, but they still pack the place to make it a great atmosphere. I wish I had gone to this show.

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