Monday, October 22, 2007

The Empty Bottle is full of treats

Shows at the Empty Bottle always seem to be a nice treat. Something lurks in the atmosphere at that place that really just makes you feel comfortable and at home –- and the bands seem to feel that way too. As soon as openers Gliss took the stage, the crowd filed toward the stage to take in their special brand of fuzzified melodic rock. Touted in the press as “Billy Corgan’s favorite band” – because they actually are – they played a set that fully proved they’re worthy of being headliners. They seemed to really hit their crescendo when they performed the rousing rocker, “Kissing The Boulevard,” and it was a crescendo they never came down from.

After they finished their set, most people didn’t know what to expect from Nicole Atkins & The Sea. Only having released an EP, this show came one week before her album’s release date. Upon her opening notes, I could almost hear the jaws of people in the crowd dropping. It was clear we were all in for a special treat. Rarely does the term “Americana” ever appeal to me when describing music, but Nicole Atkins is just that, and she does it far better than most. Hailing from Asbury Park, N.J., it’s clear that Atkins has embraced her roots in order to develop her sound-- and what a beautiful sound it was. After she introduced her single, “Way It Is," the crowed erupted with applause. Atkins is surely a talent to keep an eye on, as she’s surely not going to be playing the underground strip for very long.

After Nicole Atkins’ set came what we’d all been waiting for -- The Raveonettes. Their opening track was full of contradictory sounds -- warm and embracing, yet abrasive and flat out face melting. By the time they got to their first single, “Attack of the Ghost Riders,” they had cranked up the volume so much on everything that I felt as if I were catching an arena rock show on the Empty Bottle’s stage. Playing a lot of tracks from their as-yet unreleased album (due out in early 2008), The Raveonettes saved their best song for last –- a new track entitled “Aly.” As a fan of their earlier work (especially the Whip It On EP), I was thoroughly impressed by this song, as it was an obvious throwback to their old songwriting technique.

At the end of the night, I felt as if I were leaving one of those rare shows where you appreciated and genuinely liked every band that performed that evening. I came to realize that I shouldn't have expected anything less from three bands of such high caliber.-Neil Miller

Pictured: The Raveonettes