In order to meet the demands of your busy lifestyle, here's a quick summary of last week's entertainment events in Atlanta. The Braves played baseball. People went to bars and talked, danced, listened to live music and got drunk. Enrique Iglesias sang at Chastain in English and Spanish. His mole was silent, but nevertheless stole the show. Thank you and see you next week.
For those with more leisurely lifestyles, what follows is a longer summary of events I actually attended.
Is there an echo in here? I went to the Echo Lounge last Tuesday to see Hot Rod Circuit and Further Seems Forever. The latter band played first. Their frontman was a buff yet sensitive man whose super-intense emotional singing electrified the dense 18- to 20-year-old-looking crowd. I wondered for a while whether they were a Christian rock band because, despite the intensity, all the people there were much friendlier than at other typical rock shows. When I asked a crowd surfer if I could use his picture for this column, he said, "I'd be honored," then shook my hand. Further Seems Forever is on the same record label as Dashboard Confessional, and according to a couple of young men in the audience, that's very important information to know. I don't know why it's so important, but their sincerity compels me to share that with you.
I have very little memory of Hot Rod Circuit's music even though I stared directly at the stage for their entire show. I wasn't intoxicated or anything. It's just that the guitarist was so riveting to watch that I ceased paying attention to the music. My mind was glued to his movements. About half the time he stood in place with his head down and his hair over his eyes. But every 15 or 30 seconds, he'd break out into some jumping, pogoing, kicking movement that bore no relation to the rhythm of the music or his place in the song. A lot of players will start jumping when a song hits the chorus or reaches a rhythmic punctuation point. But this guy would start jumping in the middle of verses, at points in the song that were no different than the preceding or following points. He was clearly operating on his own internal rhythm.
Is there an echo in here? The man who books bands at Echo Lounge insisted I come back the next night and since nobody else invited me to any events that night, I went. I saw a punky, pop band called Lust. Again, it was the visuals that stuck in my head. The guitarist and bassist were women wearing pouffy short skirts, garter belts and fake animal ears. The guitarist, who also did most of the singing, kept winking at me as I took her picture. For a second I felt special, but then I saw that she was winking at everyone else with a camera. I could still see her underwear the whole time, so I wasn't too heartbroken. I tried really hard to understand what they were singing about, but I couldn't make out a word. In between songs, though, they talked a lot about beavers. That, I understood.
Revenge of the nerds: Bars all over the city attract big mid-week crowds by hosting team trivia. Barroom trivia is for nerds what jogging in spandex pants is for people with nice butts. It's a socially acceptable way to demonstrate to the world how smart you are. It's more than just answering questions correctly though. One of the most important aspects of team trivia is picking a clever team name. The most popular way to name a team is to come up with some clever play on words based on current events. A couple of weeks ago, a team at Central City Tavern in Buckhead named themselves "I Shot the Sheriff, But I Did Not Get Convicted."
Newly dead celebrities are also popular team name inspirations. The passing of comic legend and Arthur star Dudley Moore inspired the team name "When You Get Caught Between the Moon and a Dirtnap" while the notoriously well-endowed late Milton Berle inspired the bizarre "10 Inches of Burled Milton."
I played at Central City Tavern last week, joining the aforementioned Burled Miltons. I enjoy playing with them because they're all pretty cutthroat. They're peace-loving, kind souls by day, but sit them down for trivia and they become hypercompetitive monsters, spitting bile at the other teams (not literally) and each other if there's ever an intra-team disagreement about an answer. I won't bore you by repeating all the questions, but did you know that Wilbur Wright was the first person to die in a plane crash?
Office Pool: Barley's Billiard's downtown hosts a lunchtime billiards league on Thursdays. Barley's is unique among pool halls that I've been to in that it is entirely smoke-free. It's next door to an Army surplus store that still has a sign that says, "Usama shirts are in" taped to the front window. From noon to 1 p.m., Barley's is full of corporate types who are obviously on their lunch breaks. They're able to complete three games in an hour before heading back to work. The crowd was too well-behaved and friendly to have done anything particularly memorable for this column. Diet Coke and grilled chicken sandwiches don't fuel pool hall brawls nearly as well as beer and gambling.