The Goat Farm is a magical place, and is without a doubt Atlanta’s most inspiring music venue. For those of you who haven’t seen it, The Goat Farm is an arts center community located amongst rundown 19th century industrial buildings in West Midtown. The building where they host concerts is a vast open space, held up by weathered bricks and massive wooden support beams. Compared to many other major US cities’ lifespans, Atlanta is essentially no more than a prepubescent child (thanks Sherman), so it is quite a mystifying experience for an ATLien to set foot in a structure that is over one hundred years old. Now with this otherworldly locale as the setting for a concert venue, it would be a gross miscalculation for a band not to attempt a live performance of an equally preternatural fashion. As the saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility,” and no other band has wholeheartedly embraced this notion like Quiet Hounds. If you were at The Goat Farm on the 17th, you witnessed one of the most galvanizing Atlanta events of 2012.
Quiet Hounds are an alternative rock band that have the pop songwriting capabilities of groups such as The Killers, Coldplay, or Keane. But they also have an emotional depth comparable to The National or Arcade Fire. They write uplifting indie songs of a very epic nature, and seeing them live will instill in you a profound sense of affirmation for life and the people within it. In essence, a Quiet Hounds performance is like jumping off a cliff, landing on an eagle’s back, and soaring into the sunset while singing at the top of your lungs (see Rescuers Down Under for a visual cue). In an interview, the Hounds reported, “…the main stay of our journey at this point is curating our concerts and making them events versus just doing the normal stuff. We put a lot of care into our music, from the writing to recording to the packaging… The live show should be just as important as anything else.” These are men of their word, as their Goat Farm performance was a fully conceptual and interactive experience.
As you approached the Farm, you would pass haunting instillations such as a flaming hound face, in the same likeness of the masks that the band members perform with. Through clever marketing, this logo has become the ‘bat signal’ for Quiet Hounds, already ingrained into the fans’ subconscious. Projected on the the first building you walked past was the event’s name, “An Ode To Lost Souls”, which signified a tribute to the fallen soldiers of The Civil War, more specifically those who died at Andersonville. Before the show began, people gathered in a presentation room adjacent to the venue where the music video for Quiet Hounds’ latest single, “Beacon Sun“, was shown every fifteen minutes, preceded by a brief introduction by the director, Scott Lansing. The music video follows the Hounds as they visit the Andersonville prison site to pay homage to the soldiers that didn’t survive this horrific occurrence within America’s troubled history. The video is beautifully shot, and the single is one of their best songs to date. The melody is simply gorgeous, and works perfectly to inspire appreciation towards the fallen soldiers of our past. In fact, when I watched Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln the other night, during one of the final scenes where Lincoln is riding through the grotesque aftermath of a battle in Petersburg, Virginia, I thought to myself, “‘Beacon Sun’ should be playing right now.”
In the main concert hall, drinks were being served as well as culinary delights from the exalted Good Food Truck. The excitement in the air was palpable as an angelic string section serenaded the crowd during the prelude. Next, a horn section silently took the stage, representing ‘the cannoneers’. Soon after, the show commenced as the lights dimmed and singer/songwriter Meghan Arias stepped on stage, portraying the ‘daughter of the regiment’. She began singing a prayer as a spotlight cast upon a single prisoner kneeling on a platform in the middle of the venue. This prisoner was ‘the lost soldier’, bound by chains and forgotten by time itself. The daughter’s prayer was then accompanied by the Quiet Hounds, who entered from the back of the hall, wearing their signature masks and holding gas lamps to light their path. They walked through the audience and stopped at the unknown prisoner to finish their prayer in reverence. This chilling intro set the tone for the hauntingly beautiful set these Hounds would bestow upon us, and the crowd was awestruck as the band made their way on stage and began playing. I would continue to describe in detail the show’s events, but I could not adequately convey the sheer enchantment that permeated through the Goat Farm that night. However, I will say that Quiet Hounds are a remarkable group of musicians who can masterfully invigorate a crowd with dexterity and humility. While the entire set was seemingly flawless, the apocalyptic crescendo during their encore performance of “Hemlock” was my favorite moment of the night. Goosebumps ran down my entire body as the crowd roared along with the Hounds, singing “Take me to the rapture!” as the band played to a blood-boiling climax.
If ever there was a time when the lost souls of Andersonville could hear tributes from the living, this was the moment. Quiet Hounds are an enlightening band that Atlanta should be proud to have helped spawn, and because these guys have only played a small handful of shows since their inception, I highly recommend you keep your ear to the ground for their next performance, for without a doubt, it will be an unforgettable experience.
Full Gallery after the jump…