Atlantis Aquarius: Live From the Mercury Lounge Tulsa
On an unseasonably cool night in April, at Tulsa’s favorite dive bar, The Mercury Lounge, the Dallas based band, Atlantis Aquarius took the stage. Unfortunately, with a night full of music elsewhere in Tulsa, it meant a crowd that was surprisingly small, but the band took it in stride and performed as if it were a packed house. The night before their big album release show at Three Links in Deep Ellum, the band treated those in attendance with songs off their first full-length album, Leo’s Rising. The first thing you notice when looking at the band is the fact they’ve all perfected the vintage meets modern vibe that their music evokes. Making up Atlantis Aquarius is front man, Jordan Cain who formerly played with Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights, Taylor Nicks on vocals and tambourine, brothers Maxwell and Oliver Smith on bass and drums, and Hutton Ferrell on guitar.
Jumping right into the set with their brand of psychedelic rock, the band did a bit of a throwback with a cover of “Jesus is Just Alright.” It sounded great despite a little bit of an iffy start, which made sense after the song when Taylor mentioned it was something that they were just trying out for the first time. Next up was “I Am a Centaur” from their EP Nibirian Sun, followed by “Deja Vudoo,” “Waiting on the Next Life” and “The Feels” from their new album, Leo’s Rising. A haunting version of the Johnny Cash song, “Ain’t No Grave” followed and there was a brief intermission.
As the set resumed, a lone woman was clearly enjoying the music and the vibe it was giving off, as she took to the dance floor, content to sway, shimmy and enjoy the music as it echoed throughout the bar. Near the end of the set, a couple joined her and the crowd slowly got larger as the band played on. “Jesus Lives in Mexico,” a song about Christ living with his wife and kids, working in the US and walking on water each day on his commute, is a fun song. With a nod to legendary Tulsa sound musician, JJ Cale, Taylor took the lead on the cover, “River Runs Deep.”
As someone who is equally interested in a band’s look as much as I am their sound, Atlantis Aquarius was an intriguing study. Whether it was the pot leaf on the inside of the tambourine, the many intricate and interesting tattoos that Jordan sported on his arms and hands or the Stevie Nicks, gypsy dressed-in-black vibe that Taylor gave off; it all made for a study in the small details. This is a great band and I really think their new album is taking them to a new level, both musically and creatively. If you haven’t caught this band live, you should. Especially if you primarily attend live shows that feature Americana or Red Dirt music. This is a welcome change from my normal listening and I’ve had their CD on repeat in the car since I purchased it the night of the show.
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