Atlas Genius + Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. + Family Of The Year @ Fillmore, SF 11/7/13
San Francisco’s Fillmore has had an extremely satisfying 2013 calendar, from hip-hop legends to pop icons in training. Thursday’s show, part of the “Ones To Watch” series, might as well have been subtitled: “Or Hear During a Prime Time Soap Opera.” A sell-out crowd was offered three distinct versions of young adult contemporary music presented in ascending order of Spotify popularity.
Blinking “J”s and “R”s proudly announced Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. like a Broadway marquee. Joshua Epstein untangled a microphone from its stand in between stanzas without missing a beat. Daniel Zott instigated a spastic dance party. Jon Visger’s airy synth and Mike Higgins’ sturdy drumming beefed up the sound tremendously.
The audience threw up their hands in unison like the end of 8 Mile. Jr. Jr. are clearly representing Detroit harder than its more famous residents. It was a perfect promo for their return to the Fillmore in March. Hopefully by then more people will know the words to “If You Didn’t See Me (You Weren’t On the Dance Floor).”
While Jr. Jr.’s six song set had the intensity of a secret show, Family Of The Year felt much more like your typical opening act: capable musicians struggling to win over the politely oblivious masses waiting to hear that one song (in this case it was the anthemic “Hero”).
Their homespun melodies are a fiddle solo away from becoming CMT mainstays, and despite their photogenic appearance and references to smoking weed at Joshua Tree, the LA quintet didn’t hold our interest. Perhaps Family Of The Year have already accepted their background music status, the TV show in this case being titled Roaming The Venue Drinking Cocktails.
Australia’s Atlas Genius, on the other hand, was instantly captivating. Laserium-like light cues felt like a preview for their inevitable arena tour. The Brothers Jeffery (Keith and Michael) and keyboardist Darren Sell gave When It Was Now a full-bodied workout.
Square but funky new wave possessed our feet like those shoes the leprechauns made Porky Pig wear. Even scenesters danced through their self-absorbed conversations.
Keith’s beguiling voice took center stage whether the moment was intimate (declaring “I don’t feel like myself” on “Don’t Make A Scene”) or all-inclusive (crooning “oh-oh” on the addictive “Back Seat”). Though the closing “Trojans” sing-along was expected, that didn’t make it any less rousing or cathartic.
For more stellar photos of Atlas Genius delivering some dance inducing tunes, click HERE!