Rain Parade with Tim Lee 3
The EARL-January 19, 2013
Review by: Scott Roberts
Photos by: Sue Volkert
Anticipation was palpable at The Earl last Saturday as the mostly middle-aged crowd awaited California’s Rain Parade to hit the stage for only the second time in 25 years (the first was a low-key warm-up gig in San Francisco last month), and the first time in Atlanta since a mid-1980s show at the legendary 688. The occasion was a fundraiser for ex-Windbreakers guitarist Bobby Sutliff (longtime friend of the Rain Parade’s), whose car accident last summer has left him scrambling to pay his living expenses. Opening bands the Head—young, local rockers who played tribute to the headliners by covering their “Mystic Green”—and the swamp-rockin’ Tim Lee 3—featuring singer/guitarist Lee who was in the Windbreakers with man-of-honor Sutliff and whose set included a song with Magnapop’s Linda Hopper and Ruthie Morris—perfectly warmed up the nearly packed-to-capacity house.
Introduced by Sutliff, the Rain Parade, looking dapper and happy, took the stage and launched into opening number “You Are My Friend” from their second release, the EP Explosions in the Glass Palace. Sounding every bit as vibrant and relevant as they did in their Paisley Underground heyday, lead singer/guitarist Matt Piucci and singer/bassist Steven Roback (the only remaining original members) took turns on lead vocals and passionately presented mostly songs from the band’s debut, Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, and the aforementioned EP. Shifting effortlessly between poppier tunes like “What She’s Done to Your Mind” to more dreamy excursions like “No Easy Way Down,” the sextet were true to form and sounded as if no time had passed since the 688 days of yore. (Piucci joked, “If you saw us last time we were here, that means you are at least 50 years old!” to which an audience member shouted back, “Unless we snuck in back then!” Another highlight was “Depending on You,” the lone song in the set from the band’s second full-length, Crashing Dream, and included, apparently, only at the request of promoter Chris Chandler. (Thanks, Chris!)
The evening had a familial vibe due to the presence of Lee and Sutliff, and the two joined the Rain Parade for their encore, featuring Television’s “Glory” fueled by a blistering triple guitar attack by Piucci, Lee, and Sutliff, and the only unreleased song of the night, “I Got the Fear” a late-era Rain Parade song that was never recorded. The band have just one other gig scheduled in April, but with the audience response and obvious joy the band felt while playing, fans can realistically hope that this won’t be the last they see of Rain Parade.