Unplugged in the Park at Park Tavern has been a summer time tradition in Atlanta now for 12 years. Local jazz/funk trio The Instructors kicked off this season’s 15th week at Park Tavern. They were followed by Bonnie Bishop, who traveled down from Nashville with her band mates to perform. Headlining the show were a trio from Boston who call themselves The Ballroom Theives. Of course no Unplugged in the Park would be complete without radio station giveaways. Host Matt “Organic” Jones from Atlanta’s Rock Station, Rock 100.5, had DVDs, concert tickets, and Atlanta Braves tickets to hand out to lucky fans in attendance.
Between albums, Canadian progressive rock group Rush hit the States in the Fall of 2010 with the highly acclaimed Time Machine Tour. Opening with one of their most popular hits, “The Spirit of Radio,” the band performed material encompassing their nearly 40-year career. One of the unique features of a Rush show in today’s modern concert world is the absence of any opening act. When Rush take the stage, they perform for nearly three hours, with a 20-minute intermission. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the Time Machine Tour was the performance of the 1981 album Moving Pictures in its entirety at the beginning of the second set. Afterward, front man Geddy Lee announced production of their upcoming release Clockwork Angels, and the band performed a track or two from the new album.
Touring in support of their latest release, Stereolithic, 311 stopped in Atlanta for two intimate sold-out performances at The Tabernacle. Many fans may not have had the opportunity to see the band perform in such an environment, as they typically play large amphitheaters when they tour. DJ Soulman warmed the crowd up Thursday evening for 45 minutes before 311 took the stage, opening the set with two of their early hits, “Beautiful Disaster” and “Do You Right.”
The quintet from Omaha, Nebraska are widely known for mixing hip hop, reggae, and rock with their own unique style. The band’s performance at The Tabernacle was energetic from start to finish. Front man Nick Hexum shared the spotlight with Doug “SA” Martinez, who performed vocals along with Hexum when he wasn’t spinning the turntables. Hexum and SA were joined on stage by lead guitarist Tim Mahoney, bassist Aaron “P-Nut” Wills, and drummer Chad Sexton.
Cover bands. Ugh. So do not dig. As with most rules, this one has an exception. Two exceptions, actually.
It takes a very talented and impressive voice to recreate the vocal styling of Geddy Lee. Matthew Trautwein — better known to some as String of the Renaissance rock-and-roll group The Lost Boys — has the necessary talent. His newest band Permanent Waves covers the early career of Canadian rock legends Rush, from the ’70’s through the early ’80’s. The set opened with “Working Man” off Rush’s self-titled debut album. Near the end, fans were treated to the entire Side A (anyone still remember what that even means?) of Moving Pictures. Permanent Waves closed with one of my all-time favorite Rush tracks, “Subdivisions,” from the 1982 album Signals. I can never get enough of that record.