Live Review: The Sexual Side Effects / The Charges / Flat Cat / Abby Wren and What it Is

WHERE: The Drunken Unicorn – Atlanta, GA

WHEN: August 12

HIGHLIGHT: “The reason you’re here! The reason you’re queer!”

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Four bands.  Four distinct sounds.  One night.  One venue.  Promoters lose sleep over line-ups like this.  Countless discussions, debates and all-out fights break out over this dilemma.  On August 12, Amy Rollinson took it upon herself to get it right.

The night opened with Abby Wren and What It Is playing soulful Southern funk.  Toes tapped.  Faces broke into smiles, and the crowd congealed for Ms. Wren’s crooning over her band’s swing.  Then, rather than follow with a similar sound, Flat Cat took the stage with their lead singer Amy Rollinson (pulling double-duty as promoter and performer) – reminiscent of Bettie Paige, if she’d let her bangs go and picked up a guitar – belting out, “Get out!!”  FC took the night from speakeasy to party, a perfect transition for The Charges to bring the old school punk.  Lead singer Mick Winters jumped, ran and flailed, throwing himself right off the stage, into the crowd, literally grabbing his audience (your correspondent included), pulling them bodily into the music.

And what better way to move the night from soulfunk to punk to… tranny glam rock?  Yes. Finally, The Sexual Side Effects, introduced by Atlanta’s premiere drag queen DAXclamation as, “The reason you’re here!  The reason you’re queer!” took the stage, led by the inimitable Amber Taylor.  With Joan Jett’s steely stare and Juliette Lewis’ wounded innocence, Taylor planted her pink boots in the middle of the stage, stroked the neck of her guitar like a cock and flat out owned the audience.  Could she have done it without the build-up her openers gave her?  Probably.  Did this unintuitive, disparate line-up set her up for certain success?  Absolutely.

photo by Chelsea Denien

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