This star-studded tour finds a handful of the biggest names in modern Christian music joining forces to create a thoroughly uplifting experience.
Hopeville is a unique and cutting-edge effort, in that it merges both traditional gospel concerts and Broadway-style theatre. Stars Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin and Donnie McClurkin take part in all aspects of the performance, including singing, dancing, acting, and choreography.
The show was started by Franklin, who came to fame a decade ago, when his debut, Kirk Franklin & The Family, enjoyed massive success, topping the Billboard Gospel Charts for 100 weeks, and crossing over into pop and R & B.
In 2004, he is hyping his rebirth with a new CD. He calls Adams the most amazing female singer in our time -- not only in gospel, but in all of pop culture, and praises McClurkin as the most incredible male singer on this planet. Thurs., 7 pm, Johnny Mercer Theatre.
Hot Young Priest
Hows that for a segue?
A few months back, this Atlanta trio played Savannah for the first time, opening for the reformed Urge Overkill.
By all accounts, they stole the show that night, with a more focused and memorable set than the headliners.
Now theyre back on a double bill with North Carolinas critical darlings The Rosebuds, and while each band is distinctly different, there are enough similarities to suggest a terrific matchup.
Both are trios which boast one female member (in this case, guitarist and frontwoman Mary Byrne). Both earned almost immediate raves from both critics and crowds alike, and both temper their more somber tunes with infectious, toe-tapping rave-ups.
The biggest difference between the two, however, is in their attack. Where The Rosebuds play coy about their garage-rock antecedents, Hot Young Priest comes on thick and hard, with a dirty, sludgey guitar tone that lives right across the street from early 90s grunge.
Theyre a snarling, throbbing throwback to the time when Kim Deal got recognized even without the Pixies standing next to her, and Veruca Salt were guilty pleasures for those of us who got the shuck but still dug singing along.
Vocally, Byrne (formerly of Atlantas Shamgod) certainly cops a couple of Deal-ish coos now and again on their debut EP Burning Hot and Free, but more than anyone else, her approach (both of throat and of axe) recalls Bettie Serveert leader Carol van Dijk. In fact, HYPs Eyes Wide Open sounds cast off from that groups Dust Bunnies LP.
If you like catty, push and pull rock with more than a touch of feedback and dynamic tension, check out this band that many are calling one of the most promising indie groups currently on the Atlanta scene. Fri., The Jinx.
Stretch outcha tweeters, MC Wyzstyk hollers on Nuff Teef, one of the singles off this Atlanta progressive Hip-hop trios latest album and one gets the feeling he means it.
That track, based around a sly rewrite of James Browns Soul Power (augmented with a snip of the Godfather himself from the impossibly cool Make It Funky) sets the tone.
Along with their mouthpiece (whose DC villain-esque moniker is pronounced wiz-stick), Psyche Origamis DJs Dainja and Synthesis are blurring the line between underground and commercial rap. They now have one EP, one full-length release and three maxi-singles to their name, and have opened for Talib Kweli, Gift of Gab and Nappy Roots. Plus, theyre also getting props and airplay throughout Europe.
This is powerful and fierce work from folks who seem poised for greater success, and oddly enough, this metal and punk club is becoming the place in town for progressive live hip-hop.
Tues., The Jinx.
The JoJa Band
Back in the mid-70s, this swinging rock band was one of the hottest tickets in town. Formed from the ashes of two earlier local groups The Easywalkers and JoJo they emerged as a feverish combination of gritty blues, piano-driven boogie, and Southern twang.
After touring the U.S. several times as an impressive cover band with a fluid roster, they regrouped with a lineup (including Danny Branson, Steffens Clark, Bobby Hanson, Howard Jobe, Jimmy Maddox, and Danny Williby) that many still deem to be the original band.
In 1977, that amalgamation cut the indie LP Cold Winds, which sold well regionally, but failed to generate national buzz, and soon fell out of print. Their 1979 follow-up, City Lights, became a highly prized piece of local music ephemera as well. The group staggered to an end in 1981, but many members continued to play music, some professionally, and others merely as a hobby.
After their charismatic frontman Howard Jobe passed away in 2002, the groups surviving members reformed as a tribute to their friend, with a well-received show at Armstrongs Fine Arts Auditorium that found local singer and longtime JoJa Band admirer Dennis Chief Hinely, filling in for the late Jobe.
They followed that up with an impressive set at the last Blues & BBQ Festival, and now, theyll play an entire evening at this 1,100-seat room. With two full albums worth of original material (not to mention a handful of unreleased songs) to choose from, this 21st Century version of The JoJa Band may just be the best one yet.