Live: The Features, The Long Shadows, The Redcoats @ The Earl 8/30/08

Music Reviews
Live: The Features, The Long Shadows, The Redcoats @  The Earl 8/30/08

[Above: The Redcoats]

A typical Saturday night opening act at The Earl often functions as a backdrop for crowd members to consume their first rounds of PBR tallboys and greet friends, but on this night The Redcoats captured the audience in a way that many openers fail to do.

Since their early days as Second Shift, a moniker they gave up a year ago, I’ve seen variations of this group of Atlanta guys perform more times than I can count. Their transformation into The Redcoats (not to be confused with the Redcoats, who sport plumes and bibbers on Saturdays in Athens, of which your Local Editor was a member for three years) was a change of which I was skeptical at first, but after this performance at the Earl I am finally sold. An opening band that’s almost as impressive as the headliner is rare, but that characterizes The Redcoats’ act. And the band finally seem to have found its footing with the new name, re-energizing the music and stage presence and re-igniting the chemistry among the guys that began so many years ago.

Performing old favorites along with newer additions, the audience was engaged at every note. Singing, dancing, and shouted requests got smiles and laughs from the band members, who weren’t above interacting with their audience. When lead singer Jonathan Baker and guitarist Wes Hoffman (of local promo powerhouse Pop Death Squad) leaned in to share the microphone on a falsetto part of “Who Are You Foolin,” it didn’t feel fabricated or cheesy– it just felt like they were having fun.

Decatur’s The Long Shadows (not to be confused with The Longshadows, featuring Robin Wilson of Gin Blossoms fame) provided a strong interlude between the Redcoats and Features. They held the attention of attendees, and much of the audience got into the set. Admittedly, during much of their set I was too overwhelmed by how great The Redcoats had just been and how great the Features were soon to be to really pick up the details of their talent.

The Features, out of Nashville, never disappoint live. Whether they have 30 minutes as an opening band or an hour as the headliner, they pack their sets with energy and don’t pull a lot of punches or surprises. They are, perhaps, the definition of an indie pop/rock band, in that they are not signed to a label and consistently deliver addictively catchy songs– though none of the band members seem large enough to produce the level of sound that emanates from their instruments and vocal chords.

This show served as the Atlanta celebration of their latest self-released album, Some Kind of Salvation, so the set was packed with a good bit of new material, including the few new tracks they’ve been playing live for months. But they didn’t neglect the old fan favorites, making for a well-rounded set for sold-out Earl and their eager, adrenaline-pumped fans.

Related links:
The Redcoats Blog
Kings of Leon, The Features @ The Roxy 3/19/05

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