30.04.2004 - 02.05.2004
According to the Music Midtown site, in 1993, Alex Cooley and Peter Conlon joined forces with the idea of presenting a festival that would encompass all aspects of music, in an urban setting with an affordable ticket price. This vision came to life in 1994. Since that time, Cooley/Conlon have created one of the most successful annual music festivals in the country, which still offers one of the lowest ticket prices of any comparable event.
What started out on Peachtree Road has grown to six stages and this year with over 100 bands encompassing over 42 acres. Throughout the years, Music Midtown has presented a wide range of musical genres including Rock, Alternative, R&B, World Music and Gospel. The festival has included performers at all levels of their career from emerging bands to international superstars.
So I went. Here's my impression of the bands that I saw.
I started off checking out Kenny Wayne Shepherd, who is one of those youngish blues players. He wasn't bad, but sounded too much like all the other white blues guitar players that have come and gone across the years.
After grabbing more beer and a turkey leg for dinner, we went to the 99X stage (alternative music) to see Puddle of Mudd. I can now honestly say that if you ever have a chance to see Puddle of Mudd, don't bother.
Next we good a little local flavor with the crunk bands YoungBloodZ and Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz. Crunk, for those who don't know is defined (by the Urban Dictionary) as musical genre of hip hop formed and dominant in the Southern states. The music is loud and abrasive in nature, with bass heavy beats, and loud repetitive lyrics. The music is high energy and is usually heard as only club music. Not really my cup of tea, but these two bands REALLY got the crowd going. And this was the first I got to see boobies. Gotta love concerts where women flash the band.
Ended Friday seeing Ludacris. STAND UP! Ludacris was excellent, getting the crowd really going and bouncing, despite the rain. And way more boobies!
Drive By Truckers are a local band who are channelling the ghosts of Lynard Skynard. Great southern flavoured country-rock. They are really good.
Then I bounced around between 4 different stages, catching little bits of the sets by:
Wyclef Jean - I like Wyclef, but he was all rockin' out at Music Midtown. They played "Gone Til November," but as a jazzy-rock fusion piece with hard guitars and drums. Frankly, I liked the slow version.
Chris Robinson & The New Earth Mud - Chris Robinson, ex of the Black Crowes, had his new band playing. They sounded like the Black Crowes, only no where near as good.
The Offspring - I like the Offspring, and even own an album of theirs. However, they are not a good live band, and they kept trying to get the audience to sing along with them. Only, no one had any idea what song they were singing, so there was just lots of silence. And then the lead singer would say something like, "C'mon people, sing it loud!" And we would all sit there looking at each other. Time to move on...
The Doors of the 21st Century - The surviving members of the Doors, with Ian Astibury from the Cult as the lead singer. The Cult was always trying to be the Doors, now it looks like Ian has succeeded. Only problem is, Ian Astibury can't even sing as well as Jim Morrison. And Jim Morrison couldn't sing.
Ashlee Simpson - a late fill-in, Ashlee and her band were actually the best act I had seen since the Drive By Truckers finished their set earlier in the day. Lots of energy with hard guitars and banging drums. Who would have thought Jessica's little sister would be better than the Doors, Chris Robinson or Wyclef?!?
Finally, we ended the night at Foo Fighters. They were incredible! I was surprised how many of the songs I knew, and even the ones I didn't I was immediately attracted to. The band moved effortlessly between songs, often times weaving one song into the next. Very polished!
The night ended with a dash through the rain to the MARTA (the subway of Atlanta). Soaking wet, the train was packed with people. Soon the place smelt like a locker room, and the windows were steamed up. And then a 16 year old kid who was 2 minutes earlier taking swigs direct from a flask in his pocket was throwing up all over the floor of the train, adding to the great mix of humid body smells, alcohol and smoke. Beautiful. But it's all part of the concert going experience, right?
Sunday I rested, apparently missing Courtney Love acting crazy and Jessica Simpson acting ditzy. Who would have thought?