Pop Makes You Dance Poorly

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For those of you who don’t know it, Atlanta has a lot of good pop acts.  Despite, all the coverage Atlanta’s rap and rock performers get, there’s still room for alternate genre artists to get attention.  Nathan Angelo, an Atlanta transplant is one of them. A large majority of his songs fall into the space between Americana Pop and Funk Pop a la Maroon 5.  Of course, it is pop so Saturday night’s concert at Smith’s Olde Bar drew a relatively young crowd.

Steve Means opened with an impressively smooth set of songs that you could play on the beach or in the car and feel equally relaxed.  It was straight up poppy goodness with a little bit of a reggae aftertaste.  The Sublime cover song was a crowd-pleaser to the mainly college crowd and it made this journalist wonder why he doesn’t hear Steve Means playing right after John Mayer on the radio.

The next act, Jimi Cravity with his ecstatic stage presence and thick rimmed glasses, played almost exclusively to the college crowd and in this case it was a hit.  The majority of their songs being covers of anything from Gnarls Barkley to Phil Collins, and the almost juvenile subject matter of their original songs intimate a band in development.  I did highly enjoy their staccato, almost Ennio Morricone Western-style cover of “You Make Me Crazy”.

Then finally for the opening acts, there was PJ Morton, whose set did seem overly long but to his and his band’s credit he played non-stop the entire time (and with a cold no less).  Each song would crescendo and then shift into the next song and it went on like that for over 30 minutes.  It seemed like every player on stage, from the trumpet and saxophonist to the piano and back-up vocalist were all contending to be louder than one another to make one giant jazz-funk-R&B medley.  Also to his credit, the most surreal moment of the night was when PJ Morton got the whole crowd to sing the theme song to “Cheers”.

By the time, Nathan Angelo came onstage it was about twelve and the crowd had compressed in area and size by about half but the crowd was getting even more vigorous partly because of the booze and also because Nathan Angelo brought a fresh, new tempo to the proceedings.  People were dancing and doing so horribly because there’s not really any designated way to dance to Americana so you had some people shuffling and bobbing while other people were swing dancing and even still more were spontaneously choreographing what looked a rendition of Michael Jackson’s dance moves from “Black or White”.

Needless to say, none of this is Nathan Angelo’s fault.  In fact, he should feel proud that he could get so many awkward dancers to do what they did.  It means that they liked dancing and all they had was a desire to move in some way to form a connection with the those sounds which made them happy.  It was after all, a pop concert.

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