Last August I remember seeing that Caravan Palace was making their way back to Atlanta in January for a 2022 U.S. tour. This French electro-swing menachery was the second band I wrote about back when I started painting word pictures in 2016. I instantly fell in love with them, vowing I would die before missing one of their Atlanta shows. That 2016 show was at the old Masquerade in Heaven where the floor joined in the mayhem. (If you know, you know.) Their 2019 show was by far the best Halloween dance party I have ever attended. It kept me going through a lot of the pandemic as I was begging for another chance to see Caravan Palace. You already know I had to send it for their Atlanta tour stop for 2022, especially with it being in Heaven at the Masquerade.
As I waited in the merch line to snag some vinyl, as I have made it a point to only collect vinyl from shows I attend, the opening act Phillip-Michael Scales popped on the stage. I had looked up this cool cat on Spotify and found out this self-proclaimed sinner-songwriter grew up with B.B. King as a close family friend he called Uncle B. If you are baffled on who B.B. King is, I’m surprised your mama let you date. Although Scales started off his career with a love affair in songwriting, he slowly came around to the mistress that is the blues. He was alone on the stage, facing a crowd of unfamiliar folks that he soon made swoon with his smooth indie-blues licks and velvet voice. Scales knows how to woo an audience and channels the charisma of a true rock star. His Uncle B would be proud to see how far his nephew has come. Do not sleep on Phillip-Michael Scales. Your back will thank me.
Now to gush over the main course. When the lights dimmed and I heard the intro for “Comics” my feet just started tapping out of reflex. Caravan Palace puts magic in the air and a groove beneath your feet so contagious your whole body just has to wiggle and bop. I didn’t see a stationary body in the pit, just a flux of folks dirty dancing to keep COVID off the meandering mind if only for one night. It was pure bliss to be among so many people who got lost in the beat, something I know we have all been yearning for since the before times. Caravan Palace kept the momentum strong playing through bangers from their recent album Chronologic and their third album <|°_°|> (Robot Face). When “Lone Digger” started up, the dancing kicked into high gear, which made me tear up a bit as this song introduced me to Caravan Palace. And I nearly died from euphoria when they ended their set with a medley of “Brotherswing” and “Dramophone”, the latter being another personal favorite of mine I will always dance to whenever I hear it. Then after doing a wild encore, Zoé Colotis, frontwoman for the troupe, announced that fellow band member Paul-Marie Barbier released a solo album the previous day of piano covers of Caravan Palace songs and had the mastermind play a small snippet of one as a final gift to the crowd begging for more. What a night.
If you know Caravan Palace is coming to your city or somewhere near you on their tour, please treat yourself to an evening with one of the best live bands in the world. You won’t regret it.
Photos courtesy of Stephanie Heath of Smiling Eyes Media