music

“welcome to hell” – remo drive in atlanta

 

 

september 9th, 2018 – remo drive @ the masquerade (hell)

 

I’ve never been this sore and bruised from a concert in my life– and that’s saying something. I’m typing this from Alabama where the temperature is still hitting mid-90s on the regular, and I’m wearing a long sleeve shirt because of the horrendous bruises absolutely littering my upper arms. Being in a room full of people completely letting loose and giving it their all so much so that at times I felt the barricade I was flushed up to tipping forward is a (terrifyingly) satisfying feeling.

Prince Daddy and the Hyena opened the three-act show and immediately the energy in the room skyrocketed. The group, hailing from Albany, NY began with their track “I Forgot to Take My Meds Today,” and an announcement that the first person to crowdsurf would be rewarded. Immediately– almost on cue– someone came hurling over my head into the arms of the (AMAZING!!!!) security that stood watch over the crowd. Song suggestions were yelled during lull periods (mine was “Clever Girl,” which I was glad to find out was their closer), but those fleeting moments of calm were valued by audience members to catch their breath. People around me who didn’t even know the group’s name were having just as much fun as me, and as an opener I think that’s the best outcome you can ask for.

The second act of the night, Field Medic, brought a welcome change of pace for the crowd that was already soaked with sweat and radiating an ungodly amount of heat. I’d previously seen Kevin, the one-man band behind FM, when he opened for Wallows in Nashville and was happy to see his name on the lineup.  Having a lo-fi, folksy artist bridge the gap between two heavier punk/emo bands may seem risky, but Kevin maintained the attention of the audience through even his slowest tracks– to his benefit. After commenting on an audience member’s ballcap that showcased the logo of his favorite band, the hat went flying up on stage to him with the boy in the crowd insisting that he could keep it. A beaming Kevin went on to (while donning said hat) finish his set with “Let Freedom Ring,”– a blunt and targeted callout of Donald Trump and his followers. Being in Georgia (albeit Atlanta), it’s always reassuring when songs like this are met with cheers and praise, and it’s reassuring to hear artists like Field Medic continue to play them night after night.

Remo Drive closed the concert with one of my favorite sets I’ve experienced. The band was barely out on stage before I took my last full breath I’d have for the next hour. Vocalist Erik Paulson blew me away with the quality of his live performance, reeling through each song alongside his bandmates with an energy that led to at least 30-50 people being pulled over my head by security– either because they were crowd surfing or had passed out (personally, I was careened in the head at least five times by the foot of someone trying to make it to the front). A note-worthy standout song in the set was “Strawberita,” which comes to an end with powerful repetition of the line “I want nothing to do with you,” which was chanted by the crowd at an unbelievable volume that nearly overtook the sound of Erik himself. The same reaction was true when the band began their closing song, “Yer Killin Me.” With classicly angsty lyrics like “I don’t wanna fucking hear it anymore / I know you’ve got problems and we’ve all got problems too,” the tone of the song makes it impossible not to scream every single word. Remo Drive doesn’t do encores– the end of their set is the end of their set, but with their post-show playlist starting with “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, you’re buzzing with the crowd’s energy until you’re safely in the quiet of your car.

I left the venue with Remo Drive’s setlist in hand, dripping with sweat, not sure if I wanted to throw up or pass out, but with a huge smile on my face. Concerts like this, where there is such a crazy amount of uninhibited power being bounced between the artists and the audience, are what make live music the force that it is. Though all of my videos are blurry and erratic, and my body looks like a Jackson Pollock painting, I know next time they come my way I’ll be back front row singing my heart out all over again.

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