Live Review: Last Electric Rodeo and Blood Oaks at Smith’s Olde Bar

Photo Gallery by Stephanie Heath  Facebook Instagram (gallery at the bottom)

On July 22nd, 2018 I found myself at one of Atlanta’s iconic venues, Smith’s Olde Bar, to see two awesome bands, Blood Oaks and Last Electric Rodeo. On the bar side of the venue, Smith’s has the atmosphere of rich music history, with wall-to-wall signed posters and mementos from various nationally recognized bands, such as Cake and the Allman Brothers. Libations flowed freely as both regulars and concert attendees filled out the bar ahead of the show to prepare themselves for a night of true musical talent. As time crawled towards the start of the first set of the evening, the crowd shifted towards the concert venue. Merch tables were there ready and waiting to showcase the goods both bands were purveying. Everything was primed for a killer evening of mischief, mayhem, and of course music.

Kicking off the night was the illustrious Georgia-grown Blood Oaks. A self proclaimed cow punk band, these guys know how to put on a show. Their mix of punk rock and country really shines in Atlanta’s music scene with their unique sound. As per usual, Blood Oaks started their set with a round of PBRs to loosen up the band before bringing down the house. Blake, aka The Reverend, took to his podium, yes a podium, to preach the gospel that is his lyrics as he is the genius behind the band’s wise words of wisdom. Zach Reinert and Ian Mallon, lead guitar and rhythm guitarists respectively, kept the jams popping out with some slick guitar interplay. Meanwhile, Patrick Fuller on bass and Shane Simmons on drums kept the beat locked down, driving each song on a steady course. Blood Oaks kept their classic energy at 100% during their entire set, playing their well known songs such as Belligerent and Westward Expansion. Their tunes could be heard outside the venue as not even Smith’s Olde Bar could bar them from pervading the world. To close out their set, Blake directed the audience to his merch booth in a shameless plug to, as he puts it, alleviate us from the burden of money as money is the root of all evil. However, the real charge from The Reverend was for the audience to grab pamphlets from the merch booth to join in a sing-a-long for the band’s final song. That added layer of audience involvement really shows how much Blood Oaks cares about everyone getting included in their sets, not just their loyal fans. If you have a chance, definitely catch these guys at one of the many local venues they grace their presence with.

Following the cow punkery of Blood Oaks, Last Electric Rodeo took over the stage with their entourage of musicians and entertainers. A self-proclaimed as a post apocalyptic-spaghetti-western-surfer-punk-rock band, the band brings a strange new niche to the music scene in the south, blending classic southern blues with some New Orleans jazz. Picture if Tim Burton made a bluesy punk jazz band and add some Mad Max undertones. On stage, these cool cats had two guitars, a bass, a keyboard, a trumpet, a trombone, a drummer, and three vocalists, one being their front man August Wenger. Off stage, and in front of the crowd, the band had four dancers that added a performance layer to each song, with one of the dancers doing solo work with a light-up hula hoop. Overall, Last Electric Rodeo brings out the true definition of artist in their performance as they include peripheries to cater to their audience. This motley crew pulls out all of the stops when they play at a venue, even some stops that I didn’t know existed for other musicians. In addition to the live dancers adding a theatrical aspect to each song, the band works with an artist collective that offered their wares for purchase, has a story-driven, original universe surrounding their band’s background, and they even got the bartenders to serve their own hand-crafted drink recipe dubbed the “Atomic Beach Bash” named after one of their songs of the same name, which is something I have never seen done by any band before. The music behind the madness of Last Electric Rodeo lives up to this hype that they build around their set. Starting off their set with their classic song “Welcome to the Last Show on Earth”, the band jumped into the thick of it off the bat to showcase their musical talent. The interplay between their musicians demonstrated the professional work each musician has put in to master his or her craft, be it slaying some gritty blues on guitar, blasting some shrills on trumpet, or playing the pocket on drums. Last Electric Rodeo continued their set with some of their other classics, such as “Promise Land” and  “Black Rose”, with one of their dancers playing the role of their created character Black Rose as she danced around and through the band.Overall, they kept the audience tuned into their broadcast of what’s to come in their take on the apocalyptic future to come. These guys put on one hell of a show to say the least, and when they make their journey back up from Florida to play in Atlanta you should make the journey to experience the Last Electric Rodeo for yourself.

To dig deeper into both bands, check out Blood Oaks and Last Electric Rodeo. As a new project put forth the night Blood Oaks and Last Electric Rodeo met, also look out for the upcoming graphic novel being made by Last Electric Rodeo that delves into their backstory of futuristic mayhem.

Photo Gallery – Last Electric Rodeo

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