Hot Tuna | 07.28 | Atlanta
Hot Tuna :: 07.28.07 :: Variety Playhouse :: Atlanta, GA
Besides, it’s not like I had a choice. When two Rock and Roll Hall of Famers come to town for twenty-five bucks, you go. And when they headline a small, eclectic venue in a small, artsy neighborhood, you bring friends. It’s a moral obligation.
Here, in Georgia’s capital, just about every living, breathing, performing major name in rock and roll lore finds a marquee. They play the arenas. They play the sheds. They play the new hole in your wallet. Kaukonen and Casady are different. As founding members of Jefferson Airplane , they are unquestionably as important as their psychedelic brethren in the timeline of American music history. As simple musicians, their talent is rarely surpassed. Yet, these are the guys whose images rarely appear in the glossy photo pages of mega-star autobiographies.
Hot Tuna. Hotlanta. Hot venue. It was noticeably warm inside the long, narrow theater on Euclid Avenue, and Oteil and the Peacemakers had just finished a sizzling opening set – their last supporting gig of the tour. Electric Hot Tuna would soldier on down the road without the Allman Brothers bassist.
Finally, just minutes before ten o’clock, Kaukonen and Casady casually sauntered onto stage with drummer, Erik Diaz and multi-instrumentalist Barry Mitterhoff, opening with a haunting “Serpent of Dreams.” Then, “Been So Long” changed the mood, allowing the band and crowd to comfortably settle into their next number, a slow, bluesy “Barbeque King,” punctuated by trade-off solos from both Kaukonen and Mitterhoff.
“Can’t Get Satisfied” enlisted the use of Kaukonen’s signature bright red Epiphone electric, and the show took on a slightly edgier feel, opening things up for Casady’s first standout moment of the evening – a simple, grooving bass intro to “Bowlegged Woman.” There are some people who tend to believe that Casady is one of rock and roll’s most overrated bass players. After all, his official website touts him as Jack Casady – Legendary Bassist. So, in defense of his critics, it’s fair to say that the man more or less directly solicits scrutiny and evaluation.
Keeping to that theme, the next two songs were among the finest of the entire evening. “Sea Child” filled the air with melody, and “Watch the Northwind Rise” brought a pleasant touch of Mitterhoff’s mandolin into the night.
It would be three more tunes before the sparks truly started flying. After cruising through “Hit Single #1,” a bluesy “Rock Me Baby” and “Corners Without Exits,” the band absolutely flashed to life with the start of “99 Year Blues.” As Kaukonen roared through his finger-picked guitar solos, the show became all about you. “Talkin’ ‘Bout You,” “I Wish You Would” and “Living Just for You” rounded off the tail end of the set, bringing the temperature inside Variety to peak levels.
Finally, the near two-hour set ended with a blistering “Funky #7,” showcasing the soloing talent of drummer Erik Diaz. The band then crept into darkness with two parting words by, previously comatose, bassist, Jack Casady: “Jorma Kaukonen.” And just as quickly as these two childhood friends walked off stage, Kaukonen and Casady led their band back out for one last song – a steady rocking “Come Back Baby.”
To Atlanta? Anytime.
JamBase | Georgia
Go See Live Music!