Not going to write this as formally as my Brand New review.
Saw ATAL last night. Dan and the boys were as solid as ever. Opened up with "Circles," then moved into "Breakers," "Ghosts of York," "Go Easy," "Stab City," "A Break A Pause," and ended with "In Case of Rapture."
"Circles" was solid, it's a truly fun live song and the band, as expected, has a fun time playing it. "Breakers" was as good as I have heard it, their was a definitive urgency and passion behind it I hadn't seen before. The last two minutes was just the band jamming, which was a true delight. "Ghosts of York" started off limp but really kicked in the final minute, aided by a trumpet. "Go Easy," featured more trumpet and some of Dan's best live vocals ever. Just truly astounding stuff. At present, this is by far my most favorite song of the new stuff and one of my all time fave ATAL songs. "Stab City" featured a trumpet intro, and a trumpet outro, and a longer trumpet interlude after the first chorus. "A Break A Pause," also turned into a jam in the last two minutes and went from this mid-tempo track of filler to this really sensational live song. "In Case of Rapture," was redonkulous. Though it sounded a bit thin in places, Dan stepped away from the mic and really put on his best arena-ready frontman imitation. It was very Liam Gallagher and it was just solid. The chorus is undeniable live and it has this whole Wembley Stadium vibe to it. I truly have a feeling this song will be the one that takes them farther than before.
In talking with the band I learned that they had a tour with Aqualung that got cancelled, after Matt Hales backed out. Boo on him for that. That would have gotten the band into some seriously large venues. I learned that their is a huge demand for them in Europe and that the band is hoping to film a "Music in High Places" DVD in Central America, at some point in the not so distant future.
In talks with both Dan and Cliff they feel incredibly psyched for the album's release and seem to really be confident that release will be the one that pushes them over the brink. All I can say to that is it's about damn time.
As for Dredg. Wow, total letdown. While I enjoyed the band's musicianship, the set was way, way, way too loud. Not only that Gavin appeared really distant, narcisstic and unapproachable. He even at one point said, "I'm sorry my on-stage banter sucks, I'm a musician, I don't do on-stage banter." It was really quite off-putting. The minimal fan interaction and his pompous strutting was just really unpleasant. The music was strong, if not a bit alienating. They had these pre-recorded voiceovers during the transitions of the songs and it was just bizzare to say the least. So hard to follow. After promising they were only going to play one more song, their guitar tech removed the drums from the stage and the drummer played piano for this really pretty instrumental. It was the only downbeat song of the night except for this one romantic ballad. For a band who really pushes the sonic envelope, a quieter numer would have been preferred. The whole band just seemed aloof, listless and egotistical. I talked with fans after the show and they all seemed to agree, the band was far better at HighLine Ballroom, last fall.
As for the Rx Bandits. I was impressed. Very professional, very polished and overall a really great set. For a band I was marginally into, I have to say, they really turned my head. This was solid, solid stuff, and I was impressed.