Atlanta provides perfect party venues

Eddie’s spotlights The Kennedys

You know that feeling you get when you hear a good story from your grandparents? The nostalgic and warm images you get? Pete Kennedy from the folk/bluegrass band achieved this indescribable feeling.

The Kennedys are a husband and wife team that beautifully blends the harmonious sounds of acoustic-based folk, rock, country, pop and secular gospel into their music. At their Feb. 2 show at Eddie’s Attic, however, the team was missing their lead vocalist Maura Kennedy. This unexpected absence did not sway Pete, however, who played an intricate set that included covers ranging from the early rock of legendary Chuck Berry and Johnny Cash to a humorously fiery ukulele rendition of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and a Memphis bluesy cover of Robert Johnson’s “Come On in My Kitchen.”

What was most surprising was Pete’s unorthodox way of using his guitar. While playing his Robert Johnson cover, he would drop the guitar down and up from the normal tuning as if to physically place you into the dark, moody blues of the song’s premise of a cheating woman. Yet it wasn’t until I got to discuss with Pete the nuts and bolts of his musical palate that I realized I was seeing a mirror image of Bob Dylan.

“My extensive traveling has led me to learn two distinct aspects of what makes my music. I learned to listen. I had to listen to all the different forms and genres of music as I traveled. Secondly, collecting this music, I learned I had to play for many different kinds of people. Playing for people in Texas has a marked difference in the music I play for the crowd versus playing gritty blues in Memphis or Mississippi,” Kennedy said.

While playing with such prolific singer-songwriters as Mary Chapin Carpenter and Marci Griffith, Kennedy learned how to present himself and his stagecraft to better forge that special connection between the artist and the audience: the goal of any songwriter. Furthermore, Pete adds that “our music is inspired by dreams to unlock your creativity,” which is catalogued on their first all-original album in seven years, Better Dreams.

Charming, witty and glowing in his interpretation of the folk genre, Pete Kennedy encapsulated the public’s imagination. Pete Kennedy’s take on songwriting as well as his musical tastes shows that storytelling hasn’t gone extinct.

Sinners Ball proves sensational

Last Friday at the fabulously swanky Opera Nightclub, the annual Mardi Gras party hosted by 99X was in full tilt.

The 2008 Sinners Ball was full of lavish indulgence as anxious Atlantan 20-somethings poured into the venue. 99X pulled out all the stops to make this evening insanely wild.

Opera Nightclub, which recently had a remodelling and was reborn from the Club Eleven 50, is strategically located on Crescent Ave. It features modern, highly sophisticated furnishings and décor with clean lines in a beautiful, elaborate reference to its origins as an opera house. Its event repertoire includes Thursday Crescent Moon parties, Friday night DJ of the Month (usually a top 50 DJ) in the Moda Lounge and Phantom Saturday nights.

The insatiable tug of a down and dirty Mardi Gras party overpowered Opera. Sponsored by Coors Light Brewing and SoCo Liqueur, the bash hosted two local breakout artists.

The Black Lips, composed of indie punk era sounds with heavy bass and grungy vocals, were recently signed to VICE Records. They headlined the evening’s music lineup.

What was truly amazing, however, was the stirring, provocative opening performance from one of the freshest sounds in Atlanta: Janelle Monáe.

Her eclectic sense of style and unorthodox medley of musical sounds are influenced by her vivid imagination and a sci-fi movie sharing her new album’s name, Metropolis.

Clad in a ’50s tuxedo and bowling shoes, her musical android alter-ego Cindi Mayweather and the band burned through wonderful songs like “Violet Stars Happy Hunting!,” a toe-tapping, swing-style song.

Recently she has been linked creatively with the likes of other Rap/R&B titans as Outkast’s Big Boi and P-Diddy.

She will be playing at Lenny’s Bar on Feb. 16th at 8 p.m., and it’s the opinion of this writer that Janelle Monáe is a musical talent not to be missed.