Mall musings: Music a bonus Downtow


Octane Saints, No Gods No Monsters
at Atomic Burrito
Saturday, May 25

Graduation weekend is no-stop action in Charlottesville. Restaurants are full, parking is limited, and traffic congestion reaches epic proportions.

On Saturday the list of live music was exhausting, and I just couldn't decide where to go. Eventually I found myself walking up and down the Downtown Mall hoping for inspiration. If you start at the Ice Park and make your way up toward the embryo amphitheater, you usually pass multiple local music options.

There are the regular spots: Miller's, Gravity Lounge, Atomic Burrito, The Paramount, Rapture, and Twisted Branch. Then there are the regular folk: young cats playing djembé drums near the Mudhouse, or the dude with graying dreadlocks sitting on a bucket playing harmonica. Not to mention that cute brother and sister duo playing guitar and violin.

I can't forget the thin and stately guy who looks like the pictures of Fredrick Douglas I remember from history class. On many occasion you can find him walking the Mall singing gospel tunes at the top of his lungs– smiling all the while.

After taking all this in, I stumbled into Atomic Burrito to attempt to clear my head. When I arrived, Octane Saints were already warming up the crowd for No Gods No Monsters. Atomic Burrito is a very small room, and Octane Saints are a very loud band. The sound was almost deafening, but most folk in attendance didn't seem to mind.

Octane Saints rock hard and rock well. They stick to the basic in-your-face power chord formula, almost never straying outside the box to explore the depths of their songwriting. Octane Saints were good for what they were. Don't ask for anything more.

It was late by the time No Gods No Monsters played their first chord, and I had walked the Mall almost four times and guzzled more ginger ale than most bars have on tap.

NGNM are another outfit who like their rock hard and simple. What sets them apart is the tenor crooning of their frontman, who writes a pretty mean and memorable tune. By the time they really got going, much of the crowd was clearing out. They continued performing, but without the energy I've seen in previous shows in front of larger audiences.

As I left Atomic, the streets were near empty. Visitors, locals, street musicians had called it quits for the night. I made one last trip up and down the Mall. So many places and faces to write about. I can never decide where to start... or how to end.

No Gods No Monsters