Atlantis Music Conference 2000 Highlights
including Shufly, the Pleasantdales, Steep, Bottlefly, and Another Man Down
Atlanta, GA o August 9-12, 2000
by Roi Tamkin
The first band to kick off the Thursday night showcase at the Hard Rock Cafe was Miami's Shufly. This was the first show out of Florida for this six-piece rock band, which included a percussionist. Their mix of high energy rock with a Latin beat was successful with the crowd. The audience was bouncing to the congas as much as the band. The Latin rhythms make this band. Without the percussionist, Shufly is just another rock band struggling to find a place amongst all the other South Florida rock bands. The injection of the Latin influence adds a new dimension to the music, creating an infectious atmosphere that will find you bouncing, too.
For years, the Pleasantdales have been playing Atlanta as a hard-edged rock band featuring the raw guitar of James Jones. Well, JJ has left to tour with the Marvelous 3, and the band had to hire a new gun. With the addition of Atlanta guitarist Jeff Gardner, the band also brought in a new songwriter. They have an all new set of songs that present a new sound to the band. The rough edge is gone. The music is softer, rounder, and moving towards pop melodies. No more screeching guitars or flamboyant personalities. The instrumental breaks are even more restrained. With new songs such as "Satellite Home," "For The Day," and "Together," audiences will have an opportunity to experience the Jeff Gardner effect.
This Atlanta four-piece brought the crowd right up to the edge of the stage. Their rock songs had a heavier edge than the bands that preceded them at the Hard Rock Cafˇ showcase. The big guitar sound kept the lead guitarist pacing in his corner of the stage while the lead singer belted out the tunes, flashing smiles to the chicks in the crowd. They promoted their new CD with songs "Slow Cherry Burn" and "Hello Ecstasy." Steep's guitar sound is laden with effects, but they still lay out a solid rock sound.
Universal recording artists Bottlefly found themselves playing in the 9 PM slot at the Tabernacle. The five members of the band all hail from London, but they were dressed in their finest cowboy hats and boots for tonight's show. Bottlefly has perfected the '70s classic rock sound, and deliver their songs with a smooth efficiency. They just put out a self-titled CD, and performed songs from the release. For "Sunshine," the lead singer strapped on an acoustic guitar, showing they weren't just all about imitating the Rolling Stones, but also could imitate contemporary American acts as well. Pretty flashy, but maybe reaching a little too deep for the retro vibe.
Another Man Down
The local band Another Man Down performed in the 10 PM slot at the Tabernacle, right before the Psychedelic Furs. Quite a coup for this group singing pop rock, as the crowds picked up on the floor. For being the band before a major act, their set consisted of a low-key performance. They announced a forthcoming CD and played "Close" as a selection from the new release. The slow-paced acoustic song did little to generate excitement in the audience. Other songs, such as "Tomorrow She Shines" and "Spinach" failed to keep a high energy level. The addition of Jeff Gardner on guitar helped keep the music flowing, but I heard someone say they were just an impediment to the Furs.