Free Energy and friends burn up the Star Bar

Live Review: Free Energy, Jukebox the Ghost, & Miniature Tigers at the Star Bar in Atlanta, 6/3/10

As drummer Nick Shuminsky took the stage in his vintage Styx t-shirt, the room was transported to the 1970s with little chance of returning. Free Energy, the Philadelphia rock band (transplanted from Minnesota and transformed from the band Hockey Night), have enjoyed a rush of critical success since their March debut entitled Stuck on Nothing (DFA Records).

The first the fans heard out of the band was that cowbell. Then lead singer Paul Sprangers kicked in with the band’s namesake, “Free Energy” (“We’re breakin out this time / Makin’ out with the wind / And I’m so disconnected / I’m never gonna check back in”). It’s an infectious song that got the small crowd going quick.

Lauded by Spin as an “excellent” band to watch for 2010″ and a Rolling Stone “Best New band of 2010” (“It totally fu@%ing rules. Lighters up!”), and enjoying a slot on Letterman in March, Free Energy has definitely received the press.

This was a fantastic evening of three bands with refreshingly different sounds. As the night progressed, band members from all three groups jumped on and off the stage, singing along and playing various instruments (including a rain stick!), culminating with a musical-orgy-of-sorts when nearly every member of every band (plus a few fans) filled the tiny stage near the show’s end. It was fun and actually sounded good. Catch all three bands on the road this summer.

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