Atlas Genius, Family of the Year and Little Comets - It's no secret how much I love the boys of Atlas Genius so was thrilled to hear they were coming to Charlotte again. Last time was November 1, 2012, so it was time. I had never heard of the opening act Little Comets but was surprised and hooked immediately. They remind me of Vampire Weekend, some songs more than others, but the overall sound and feel is infectiously poppy. The second act was Family of the Year. Their song Hero made my music list earlier this year so I was looking forward to seeing them, but sadly I was disappointed. I'm not sure if I just didn't connect to the lyrics or overall vibe of the band, but I was glad when they were done. Then it was Atlas Genius time. The boys had bulked up a bit since I saw them last time but they sounded just as good as ever. They are releasing more new music so I was happy to hear song after song that I knew. They are working on album two and I am rooting for these kids.
We drove home the next day and prepared for the Charlotte show. We had pit passes for this one so headed down early to get in line for the general admission. I really wanted a Charlotte poster since I have a collection of band posters, so loved the city specific one. I stood in line for 30 minutes chatting with the people around me. Most were talking about shows they had been too and I immediately had street cred saying I was at Charlottesville. It hadn't even been 24 hours and the show was already known for being amazing. The posters sold out 6 people in front of me. ARGH. Assured there were merch stands inside, I went to wait in the general admission line. We had pizza and drinks and talked with our neighbors. There is nothing like the instant bond you can create with someone standing in line, it made the two hours go by very quickly. As soon as the doors opened, I headed to a merch stand while my new friends headed to secure our space in the pit. I was able to get a poster, walked to the pit and was thrilled to see I would be 2 people back from the stage. I don't care what band is playing, being that close is a neat experience. I love seeing the set up, the "behind the scenes" things that happen that most people don't get a chance to see, and being that close to a legend is always a treat. The show started with Pendulum again and then they proceeded to play hit after hit. I don't know it was just different than Charlottesville or I was tired or they were tired, but it seemed like there was a bit more of a laid back vibe. Don't get me wrong, it was still fun and amazing, but in a different way. They sang more of the well known "sing along" songs like Even Flow, Daughter, and Black.
Again there were two songs I really wanted to hear (Chloe Dancer and Let The Records Play) and sadly, I was disappointed that neither of them were played. I was more upset when I saw the original set list HAD LTRP listed but it was replaced with the famous Better Man. I am not a huge fan of that song, but I liked it live. I was happy to hear Just Breathe (another great line: I'm a lucky man to count on both hands the ones I love) and I was taken by surprise when I got teary eyed during Sirens. Have I mentioned what a great song that is? I was pretty happy to hear Getaway live and now can say I was there when they played it for the first time. Overall the concert was great, the crowd around us was into it and there is nothing like making eye contact with the band members to feel more connected. I even was lucky to get one of Mike McCready's guitar picks. Eddie passed out wine to the pit and gave a tambourine to one of my new best friends from waiting in line. Again I walked out of there smiling, glad to have been part of something so special.
Many people have told me that they "just don't get it" in regards to Pearl Jam but I think those people still think of them as the twentysomethings with long hair, wearing flannel and heading up the grunge movement. And to be honest I don't know that I would like them as much as I like the 50 year olds that I saw twice this week. They and the shows are so fan-centric, it is hard not to leave there feeling like they tour just to make the crowds happy. Many people talk about how unintelligible Eddie's singing can be (check out this hilarious video of Yellow Ledbetter "I said I don't want a whale in a box or a bag; Potato Wave"). The band has an amazingly comprehensive listing of all the lyrics online. I read through many of the songs and was so impressed with the poetry and imagery that is created. Some of the songs are utterly beautiful. I was also so surprised at how clear and pretty Eddie Vedder's voice is. And honestly, no matter how you feel about their music, you have to respect the fact that this band has been around, viable and rocking since 1990. These (old) guys still are able to create new music that is really good, entertain and put on an amazing show. While I've never seen The Stones or Zeppelin, I have seen many concerts and many of those have been legendary performers, but I can honestly say I have never been to a show that felt like such a mutual love fest between artist and crowd. If you get the chance, go see them. I guarantee you will walk away amazed, smiling and utterly happy.