Live Review and Picture Book: Rain Parade @ The Earl 1/19


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.


  1. It was indeed an excellent show! Additional props should go to John Thoman for his exceptional guitar work ( he was an official member of Rain Parade for their “Crashing Dream” recording and tour), Gil Ray (from Game Theory and Loud Family) for his solid percussion, Mark Hanley (an excellent indie-songwriter himself) for backing guitar and vocals, and Alec Paleo, who played just about every instrument on the stage at one point or another.

    I’m from the under-50 crowd that just missed seeing them live the first time around but have been playing the records for damn near thirty years now. This show was a gift from the music gods.

  2. Small mistake….Matt also played “Thank God It’s Only Business”, from Crashing Dream, the last song on side 2.
    I remember when they played 688 the last time in the 80s…that was the last song they played (with Matt in sunglasses), and they just walked offstage. I remember thinking ‘this band is done’.
    By contrast, the first time they came through, also at 688 was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Right after CD came out, and Will was there. Fuckin’ brilliant show.
    The other night at the Earl was something I’ve dreamed of but never expected to see. What a cosmic treat.

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