Sunday, May 20, 2012

Do You Realize . . .

 . . . that everyone you know someday will die?

In order to help us remember everyone we knew who died, and to keep our memorial to impermanence a little less impermanent, Atlanta's Oakland Cemetery once again hosted its annual Tunes form the Crypt fundraiser.  Yesterday and today, a large number of mostly local bands played at several stages strategically placed around the sprawling grounds, and the Cemetery charged a $10 admission fee to come listen with the proceeds going to the Historic Oakland Foundation.  

Above and below is Nashville's Stephen Simmons, an exception to the generally-local rule.

These guys call themselves Starfighter.

There was also a stage set up for students of the Community Music Centers of Atlanta.


These young ladies call themselves Granville Automatic, after a vintage typewriter:

The Wasted Potential Brass Band:

These gentlemen call themselves Alick Gerard and the Dixie Ltd:

I had never heard of most of these bands before and I wasn't able to attend yesterday, when most of the bands on the line-up that I did know were playing, such as Lucy Dreams, Adron, The Serenaders, and the 4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra. But part of the fun of a festival like this is discovering new bands, such as von Grey, below.  That band consists of four classically-trained sisters from Alpharetta, Georgia, and while that may not sound too promising, it turns out that they are also gifted songwriters, multi-instrumentalists, and good performers.  They even did a great cover of The Cranberries' Zombie, making von Grey my first pleasant discovery of the day (Discovery Number 1).

Mirror Mode, Discovery Number 2, played a kind of ethereal dream pop in the manner of Washed Out or early Toro Y Moi (for those of you too young to remember 2010, think Youth Lagoon with a little more kick to it).

Even more ethereal was the band Mood Rings, all shimmery echoes and dreamy reverb.  Discovery Number 3:

The fourth new discovery was The Stark Trio, a great, honest-to-god jazz trio that combined pleasing lyricism with just the right amount of improvisational skronk and a subtle touch of electronic effects.  It's good to hear that real jazz is not yet dead, even if it is being played in a graveyard.

A standout by The Stark Trio was an inspired cover of Pink Floyd's Money.

Atlanta's Ocha La Rocha chose to cover Gram Parsons, and played a tasteful set of countrified Southern rock.

While Ocha La Rocha were playing at one stage, Sol Junky went from buskering to exciting the audience with their own brand of danceable Americana on another stage.

As I wandered around the historic Oakland Cemetery, I came across Margaret Mitchell's grave.

I even found Waldo.

The band Woman's Work (Discovery Number 5) played appropriately mournful and understated music, given the cemetery setting, somewhat in the manner of Cowboy Junkies.

Overall, it was a nice day to spend among the dead.  There were a lot of other acts on the many stages, ranging from choral singers to big band to jazz fusion to country and bluegrass, assuring something for every one.  For what it's worth, I got a lot of compliments on the 688 t-shirt I had chosen for the day.

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