One of my favorite songwriters over the past 15+ years has been Ike Reilly. His albums are windows into personal life experiences with songs about the people, places and events that have made their way in and out of his world. Thursday night Atlanta was able to sample a piece of this as Reilly and his band the Assassination set up shop at the EARL blasting the tunes everyone wanted to hear.
As Reilly and crew took the stage to booming intro music the five piece manned their instruments then burst into the tune “Hangin’ Around” off the latest record Born on Fire. The fans immediately starting jamming and singing along with every word, this didn’t stop with just that track. Mixing up the old and the new Reilly gave fans exactly what they wanted. Classic tunes such as “Hip Hop Thighs” and “Fish Plant Uprising” sounded as good as the first time I heard them and tracks off the new record fit right in with the old. “Born on Fire” and “A Job Like That” are new but after Ike Reilly belted out the tunes they felt like old friends.
While the music was damn good another aspect truly transformed this show into something other than your average night of live music. Reilly added stories between songs about his life, family, friends and heroes that not only set up the songs but made him one of his fans. He is just as much a fan of music as he is a musician and it shows when you see him live. This carried over into the encore where he came out in the crowd with an acoustic guitar and had the crowd circle him while singing a few more tunes. Reaching into his wealth of songs the two that stood out was “Paradise Lane” about his home town and people from there and the ever popular “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”. The latter had everyone singing the chorus and stomping their feet, it was a pretty powerful thing.
Opening the night were a couple of local bands. Ben Trickey opened things up on guitar demonstrating to the folks that got there early enough that he is a pretty damn good songwriter. Backed by a fiddle and a talented singer I was impressed with what I heard. The other performer was Blake Rainey and his Demons. Sounding somewhere between “Elvis Costello” and “Graham Parker” the longer his set went the more I liked his guitar laden music. If you ever have a chance to see either of these guys live don’t miss it.
Yes middle of the week is not always the best time to stay out late because it interferes with work, school, sleep, and so on. Sometimes you just have to ignore all the reality of life and go enjoy some live music. Those that stayed away Thursday missed a damn fine night of music, one of the best I have seen. I expecting a great show from Ike Reilly and he gave us even better. The addition of Ben Trickey and Blake Rainey added to the night showing folks that the Atlanta music scene has a lot to offer. Go listen to all of these bands and see them live whenever and where ever you can. You can thank me later.