Straight-forward Southern guitar rock seems to be a sadly diminishing genre these days, but this weekend, I had the chance to enjoy some sweet, bluesy rock when Atlanta’s Brother Hawk made a soulful tour stop at Will’s Pub in Orlando.
About 7 months ago I begrudgingly purchased tickets to Coldplay – Christmas gifts for my 13 and 15 year old daughters. I liked Coldplay, but not enough to pay close attention to their music or to try to distinguish between their songs, which to me, all sounded similar. Not being the biggest fan of huge, mainstream productions in arenas, I cringed at the thought of going, and continued cringing all the way up until the point that I entered the venue.
Coldplay’s graffiti-inspired Mylo Xyloto set has got to be one of the most vivid backdrops I’ve ever seen – almost to the point of distraction. Adding to the spectacle, upon entering the arena fans were given “Xylobands,” light-up wristbands to wear during the concert. (A quick Google search revealed that the band spends nearly $600,000 per night on these bracelets for the tour.) The wristbands were programmed to light up at certain points throughout the show. I was skeptical at first, but have to admit, it really was pretty cool to see Atlanta’s Philips Arena, lit up with 20,000 lights. In fact, the Xylobands almost stole the show.
About half of the songs on the evening’s set list were from their most recent Mylo Xyloto album. And the other half pretty evenly spread from their older albums. The highlight of the evening was the encore set. Spotlights illuminated a small section of the lower balcony where two rows of about five seats were roped off. One by one, the band members joined Chris Martin in that very small area and performed an acoustic set of “Up Against the World” and “Speed of Sound.” (The only thing that could have made this any cooler was if the band members weren’t wearing matchy-matchy colorful outfits with parachute pants…but I digress.) The encore then continued from the main stage with “Clocks” “Fix You” and “MMIX”. Chris Martin led into “Fix You” with Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind.” The crowd went wild.
The music was much better than expected, and the scenery was spectacular. So over-the top in fact, that every now and then I found myself feeling like I was watching some sort of elaborate Disney concert, or perhaps Coldplay had stolen the Wiggles’ uniforms, but those thoughts were fleeting and overpowered by the fact that, all in all, it was a really good show.
Editor: Click here for a recent review of Wolf Gang the opening band on this tour.