Adam Franklin – Echo Lounge – Atlanta, Georgia USA

Guestbook Adam Franklin – Echo Lounge – Atlanta, Georgia USA

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      by Kevin Mitchell

      Echo probably holds two or three hundred and it was packed for most of Adam’s set. I was thrilled that he was staring his tour in a club that my band (since broken up) played in October, 2001, but it was kind of sad in a “We’re not worthy” sort of way also. I spoke with Adam before he went on and he very happily autographed my copy of 99th Dream (“Better late than never. – Adam”) that Jez had also autographed in March, 1998 at the Cotton Club. Adam also complimented me on my black “Water Pistol” T-shirt, which I think was from the Duel single in about 1993. I told him the usual stuff that he’s heard a hundred times before (been a huge fan since I first heard Sci-Flyer… Have a good show… etc.) but he was still very cordial and appreciative.

      Adam’s band is best described as a power-pop 3-piece: Mr. Franklin sang and played guitar (looked like a Fender Jag-You-Are, but maybe a Jazzmaster), of course. I didn’t rush the stage to copy the list of pedals used and in which order (I’m not that much of a guitar geek), but I definitely heard the familiar delays, phasers, drivers, and a Vox wah. Locksley “Lee” Taylor from Sianshperic played bass primarily and keyboards on a couple songs. I didn’t catch the drummer’s name (if it was ever thrown); dude was about 140 pounds, but blasted the crap out of the skins – a hard hitter.

      Adam told me that the oldest song in the set list was Mars and that tonight’s show was very heavy on the past few years of Toshack Highway material. Since he is billed as “Adam Franklin of Swervedriver” on this tour, I sensed that the crowd gathering may not hear the older Swerve songs that those of us in Georgia haven’t heard live in over 5 years. More on that later…

      After sets by Drugmoney (Asheville, North Carolina mountain/swamp rock) and The Roy Owens, Jr. (good Atlanta pop-rock with a ridiculously fun hyperactive bass player), Adam’s band went on at 1:00 AM.

      The very good news is that Adam’s voice sounds better than ever. I love some of the early B-sides, but there’s absolutely no comparison possible between the vocals on, say, Volcano Trash versus the Toshack version of The Sounds and The Times. More good news is that Adam is still the guitar-slinging bastard that we’ve known since 1990. I was surprised to see up close how technical he is and how much he uses his thumb to wrap around and change bass notes on barre chords.

      The band opened with Song of Solomon which was new to me, but a lot of melodic medium-light fun. Adam’s voice sounded incredible on I’ve Lost the Feeling and The Other Jesus and things started to get lively. I wished that I had not asked Adam about the set list because Mars would have been a huge surprise. I’ve always loved Sunset (which either developed from or became “Mars”), but Adam has added vocal lines between and beyond the normal triplets (“Take me there” etc.) that made this song the highlight of the first half. To paraphrase a potential Southern saying: It rocked like a ten-pound rock in a five-pound rock bag.

      Another early highlight was The Sounds and The Times with just vocals and guitar (capo on 7th fret). Adam’s vocal warmth (and I love the line about “Choking on Poppy Smoke and Sparks”) with the somewhat atypical bright, cheery arpeggios made for a perfect combination. This was simply Adam at his triple-threat (vocalist, lyricist, guitarist) best.

      Now I’m going to bring up the tension: Question: Does Adam Franklin “owe” us certain so-called classic Swervedriver songs?

      Several yahoos in the crowd made it known that they felt that their $10.00 for three bands cover charge meant that they could write their own set list. There were several loud, profane requests (demands) that the band play Rave Down, Son of Mustang Ford, Last Train to Satansville, etc. Some people became more and more upset with each passing Toshack (The Streets that Spin Off), new (Morning Rain), or Swerve B-side (Maelstrom) song, even though

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