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The Werks ~ Terminal West ~ Atlanta, GA ~ May 3, 2014 (photos by Luke Armstrong, words by Mike Gregory)

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King Plow is an arts center rich with history starting in 1902 and consistently hosting great bands as well. The walls are lined with sepia colored railroad photos. Directly opposite the stage sits a massive antiquated hunk of metal machinery representing an era gone by. Upstairs is a smoking deck and bar facing the railroad tracks where trains still cruise by. A little more exploring will reveal access to a small balcony that offers a one of a kind view of the stage and crowd! If you take the opportunity to catch a show at Terminal West you will not be disappointed. Tonight would be no exception!

LJA_1550The Heavy Pets opened for The Werks taking the stage at 9:15. Both are new bands to me, and I was pleased to see two guitars along with the bass, drums and keyboards. As the first song captivated my attention, worldly concerns faded away being replaced by a melodic picture of sound floating in the air. By the end of the second song, I can honestly say I am a fan! Twisting yellow and blue lights projected a solar pattern on the dance floor as fans continued to shuffle in. Rob Chafin, The Werks drummer, would literally “sit in” for the fourth song. Fans looked on with enthusiasm as he sat down in a chair at the outermost edge of the stage and adjusted the microphone.

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He crossed his legs and pretended to read a book titled “Hippie Watching”, all the while hamming it up for the crowd. The confused audience expected him to do something musical, but eventually realized that it was a joke. All he did was sit there and be animated while the band played a funky tune conjuring up a Stevie Wonder vibe. Apparently, St. Patrick was in the house. Werks’ lighting director, Blake Addington, would spring onto the scene, complete with his finest leprechaun attire, and dart up to the stage giving Rob a handful of silver plastic coins. Rob continued the rouse by flicking the coins into the audience and making funny faces while reading his book. They were having a lot of fun and so was the crowd.

LJA_1939Just before 11pm, The Werks fired up their show with an ominous version of the Mission Impossible theme! Expecting the usual set up with drums centered in the back of the stage, I was surprised to see a horizontal line up across the front of the stage (from left to right—Drums, Bass, Guitar & Keys). Sitting in for Norm Dimitrouleas on the keyborads was Dan Shaw.  His careful finger work produced euphoric sounds and ever so slightly dominated the sound. Added to the mix was the fine guitar work by Chris Houser, interjecting solos with seamless execution. The guitar gradually became more prominent as musical hints were dropped of the greatness that would come. Backlighting went purple as the 20 minute opener progressed into a song where the guitarist smiled wide and started making a “whooping” sound into the microphone which the crowd mimicked back. During this time, the stage lighting got brighter and everyone could see the entire band.

As I stepped back from the crowd to look around, I glanced up at the balcony to see dancing legs moving back and forth and could help but smile. Fans were totally feeling this show and rightfully so!  I spotted the coin-toting leprechaun from earlier in the sound booth groovin’ hard to music as he fine-tuned the lights all night. The other soundman was motionless leaving me to believe he is the “dancing on the inside” type of guy. To each their own as they say!

LJA_1991-2The Werks paused for a minute to announce this was the last show of their tour and thanked Atlanta for consistently being a solid crowd and showing them lots of love whenever they come through town. Next thing I know I was searching the crowd for Roy Munson, from the movie Kingpin, as the band broke into “Disco Inferno” (a personal favorite of mine)! Radiating smiles and the sway of the crowd only substantiated my growing love for this band!

At midnight, the stage lights went blue transitioning into darkness. Rob and Dino Dimitrouleas (bass) took control evolving into another slow and aggressive jam. From here on, the jams rarely slowed down and lightshow projecting into the crowd made the band and audience feel like one cohesive unit.

LJA_2532As the show began its descent, a cosmic vibe entranced the crowd much like the show started. It came full circle when the Mission Impossible theme returned and I knew the end was close. The band finally took a break revealing it was Rob Chafin’s (drummer) birthday and coaxed the crowd into singing Happy Birthday to him!

Their final song, Duck Farm, was a great choice for an encore! The song seemed to sum up the entire experience and let me ease into the night feeling fulfilled. As the crowd dispersed from the stage area, silver coins on the floor reflected the bright lights indicating it was time to go home.

Set list:

Theme from Mission Impossible> Heading South> Light> Burning Groove, Disco Inferno> Better Half> Disco Inferno> O.G., Sane, Alive, Note Alone, Fire Eater> Theme from Mission Impossible, Cake

Encore: Duck Farm

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