Shadowboxers - Guitars and keyboards on top of the drums lay out a soulful pop, light R&B sort of sound here. The most interesting sound to me is the three-part harmony that sounds almost as if CSN had taken a stab at dance music. There are some tempo shifts from more obvious dance beats to a more introspective souful approach. This would not normally interest me a lot, but there sense of calm and deep feeling worked a bit of magic on me, getting the stress levels down after a hectic run of emails on my record sale. The crowd was also enjoying the set, particularly when they covered D'Angelo's "Untitled (How Does it Feel)", which of course I was the only one in the crowd who couldn't name that tune. The sing along even was quite successful, so this Atlanta band's set pretty much worked for everyone in this large crowd.
Redline Graffiti - I saw this local quartet a couple times three years back and enjoyed their sound well enough. They seemed even more interesting tonight, although their almost experimental approach was trickier for the crowd to grasp. They had a great sense of quiet as they carefully built and let down the sounds in their songs. There was a bit of a jazz approach to their R&B moves and I found their music to be an enjoyable challenge tonight. Their set was a bit too short as this was the first of two (different) shows tonight, but I hope to catch a fuller set some time from this interesting band.
Emily King - This is the second show in a row that I felt was perfectly booked with two opening bands each doing something slightly different and a headliner that takes elements of both of those sounds and builds it up to something special. This approach makes for a complete evening of interesting music. But even if you only heard Emily King tonight, you would probably enjoy it just as well as she was on top of her game. The crowd loved the energy as King and her band cooked up her unique and fresh R&B sound. I was a bit worried at first as they were taking a long time starting with two soundmen running back and forth between the back booth and the set up in front of that. After switching people off, the first song was really rough, but the new guy on the Board got it together so the vocal work from King, a female backup singer and a male guitarist was balanced perfectly with the moderately strong instrumentation. The vibe continued as this was an uplifting finish to a strong night of music. There were a lot of happy faces tonight.
Cartoon of the Night -