Review by Daniel Karasek. Photos (at the end of the article) by Shaun Krisher
The air was heavy with anticipation on February 25 for the Save Ferris, Baby Baby, and Burns Like Fire show in Hell at the new Masquerade located in Underground Atlanta. The crowd huddled in the warmth of Hell as a brisk breeze of winter air finally came to the city. Pockets of conversation could be heard about the coming show, with occasional chatter about the new Masquerade placement. Everyone seemed to dig the new setting for the seasoned Atlanta music venue. Many attendees were crowding the back bar to get their fix before the night of music debauchery. Others were already waiting by the stage for the opening act to kick start the night. It was the same old vibe of Masquerade we have come to love. As it turns out, Underground Atlanta pairs well with Atlanta’s underground culture that has made a home at the infamous Masquerade.
The first act of the night, Burns Like Fire, broke the ice with a cover of “I’ll Be There For You” (you’re welcome for getting that stuck in your head). Immediately the audience got riled up and sang along to the classic opening theme song from Friends. There was a buildup of energy between Burns Like Fire and the crowd that culminated throughout their set. The band was very cohesive with both their stage presence and sound, leaving a trail of broken necks in the wake of each song. Even with the recent departure of their bass player and vocalist Charley Ferlito, Web, Josh, and Parker put on a show to get any audience pumped up. As a punk band from Athens, it was a pleasure for them to take a bar break and shred some for their fans.
Baby Baby took the stage as the second act of the night. There was instant hype from the crowd the second that they took the stage, carrying over the tidal wave of energy started by Burns Like Fire. Except that tidal wave became a monsoon as Baby Baby jammed through song after song of pure rock. Their proclaimed genre of fun rock really fits the bill with Baby Baby as not an immobile body was seen in the crowd, just a bunch of rockers kicking it to the sweet tunes of the evening. The double percussion split between Grant and Colin adds in a crispy, crunch beat that pairs well with the popping bass riffs of Hsiang-Ming and guitar licks of their sassy front man Fontez Brooks. Not only was their sound on point, Baby Baby also puts on one hell of a show with it ending with Hsiang-Ming playing bass atop the shoulders of Colin with Grant pumping out killer beats and Fontez, shirtless, hyping the crowd with his savage guitar stylings. These guys are not an act to be missed.
For the headliner of the evening, Monique Powell graced the stage as the front for Save Ferris. Yes, THE Save Ferris. The one you haven’t heard of in a good while. To put this in perspective for those young ones out of the know, Save Ferris hasn’t toured or even released new music for over 15 years, with their last tour and most recent album release being fan backed. As soon as the band took their places on the stage the crowd went wild and kicked the already built monsoon of energy into overdrive. When Monique took the stage and filled the room with her classic vocals, everyone in Masquerade, and probably the surrounding area, turned an ear towards the stage at Hell. Monique’s stage presence is unrivaled. Her raw talent makes her a natural performer as she romps the stage egging on her adoring fans. The rest of the band comprising the new rendition of Save Ferris shined as well as they filled the room with guitar riffs, horn solos, and funky rhythms that could make statues tap a foot. When Save Ferris played tracks off their recently dropped album Checkered Past the entire crowd seemed to chime in. The bridge in their new track “Golden Silence” glistened with a slick saxophone solo by Alexander Mathias that filled the Masquerade with a jazzy-ska blend. The entire set was bumping up until the end where Save Ferris played an encore of “Come on Eileen”, their famous cover of the classic by Dexys Midnight Runners. The energy of the crowd continued until the very end of the last note, with even some wanting to hear more.
The night at Masquerade was lit. Both Burns Like Fire and Baby Baby are acts not to miss live as they put on killer shows, however Save Ferris was something special to see live due to the bands checkered past, coincidentally and justly the name of Save Ferris’s recently released album. Check out the tour dates for Save Ferris’s New Sound 2017 Tour here: http://saveferris.com