Photo by Lizzy Johnston
I’ve always felt that, traditionally, the Five Spot is a venue for fledgling jam/groove-oriented bands and electro groups to cut their teeth and pick up some serious performance skills before “graduating” to the more elaborate and distinguished stage at the Variety Playhouse next door. Hence, it was a pleasant surprise to see the club open things up and put hardcore post-punk band Silent Coyote on the same bill as Midnight Revival, a bluesy Southern rock act, and the BareKnuckle Betties, a raucous, all-female country and bluegrass band.
Silent Coyote kicked off the jams for the night with a simple breed of post-punk and hard rock. It reminded me of early Polvo and also Drive Like Jehu, but with more guitar solos. Their guitarist Ben Davidow was certainly the most entertaining member to watch; his playing was equal parts blues, punk and hardcore, like the bastard stepchild of Ian Mackaye and Jimmy Page.
With Davidow leading the way, Silent Coyote blasted through comedic songs such as “Fuck You, I’m an Octopus” and “Spanish Fly.” But while the band played with plenty of urgency, their set lacked strong vocal hooks and the additional harmonies that would have smoothed out some of the rough transitions between their choruses and bridges. I feel this is a band with a lot of potential, but they’re still a very rough diamond.
The next act was Midnight Revival who brought a stripped-down form of blues and Southern rock to the stage. Their sound was reminiscent of artists like JJ Grey and Mofro, Warren Haynes, and Drive By Truckers. While I appreciate this kind of music, for some inexplicable reason, the group played their entire set sitting down, and that was a total drawback for me. It detracted from their performance and ultimately I was not impressed, so I hit the bar. Magically, their set improved.
The BareKnuckle Betties headlined and they blazed through rough and tumble country and bluegrass songs with titles like “Die Baby Die” and “Truck Stop Love.” Unfortunately, I am not a huge country fan and can’t reference too many country groups, but think Veruca Salt with banjos. Overall, the BareKnuckle Betties were great. I feel they add a fresh angle and spin on Atlanta’s rock scene, which is currently drowning in reverb and washed-out campfire chords. They put on a very entertaining performance, and did so with catchy honky tonk stompers that would likely appeal to a variety of different audiences. Look for these ladies to start making some noise around town in the coming months.