Review + Photos: The Stuffing 2012

Photos: Brandon Funk + Joy Sharp

It’s probably known by now that we’re fans of Atlanta-based label Favorite Gentlemen Records, so when word got around that the label, along with founding fathers Manchester Orchestra, would be putting on their annual holiday showcase, The Stuffing, we made plans to be there. They even decided to invite us back to host the after party, The Leftovers.

The event has taken place the Wednesday before Thanksgiving at the Center Stage complex in Atlanta for three years strong now and shows no sign of slowing down. Manchester Orchestra and the label once again curated the line up for the 2012 event and made no hesitation to include their friends, inviting Cage the Elephant back, as well as having Grouplove play a stripped down set, and sets from Ponderosa and Royal Thunder, along with the old stand-bys.

Like in years past, there was a line wrapping down 14th Street by the time we got them. Young and old, hipsters and hippies, the crowd was diverse enough that it would have been difficult to judge the bands playing by group that had gathered before doors.

Bad Books started things off right after the doors opened, which for a great many of people was a let down, since doors were moving slowly at first and their set was only scheduled for 25 minutes. Though the audience outside could clearly hear the band work through songs from their newly released album, it was irritating a good number of people who were hoping to see them.

As Bad Books finished, the line opened up and the crowd streamed into the lobby of the complex, some people making their way to the lobby of Center Stage to grab the best spot in the house once doors opened at 7:00pm, while most of the crowd filled up the Vinyl for Harrison Hudson.

Hudson’s newly stripped down lineup consisting of himself and drummer Shaun Rawlings was much fuller and present than I expected. Aside from not hearing “Katy Perry”, I loved every single part of his set, as did the crowd.

Death On Two Wheels took the stage following Hudson, treating the nearly warmed up crowd to a hellishly fast-paced number of songs that barely left time for me to catch my breath before they were counting in the next one. After a few songs, we worked our way up to the Loft to catch Gobotron, the side-project of Manchester/Bad Books guitarist Robert McDowell, being backed by Kevin Devine, Jonathan Corley and Tim Very. The songs were layered in the perfect amount of distortion and though there were instances when things seemed a bit rusty, the crowd was visibly pleased.

Ponderosa took the stage downstairs with a warm reception from friends and family, along with a crowd that seemed rather unfamiliar with their material but who danced along nonetheless. Our crew was torn between catching all of Ponderosa and making it for some of All Get Out, so we split up for a little of both.

All Get Out, now comprised of longtime members Nathan Hussey and Gordon Keiter with support from members of Death On Two Wheels, made no delay in getting the crowd that had gathered for them in the motion of things as they ran through favorites from their last release, The Season, and ended with a brand-new track.

Dead Confederate head-honcho Hardy Morris and his outfit came next at the Vinyl, and since Kevin Devine was starting in Center Stage and Royal Thunder would be starting soon upstairs, the crowd wasn’t what I was expecting, though we stayed around for nearly all of his set. I’m a sucker for pedal steel guitar and it was nice to not be packed like sardines for a few songs, so we stayed around before closing out the upstairs stage with Royal Thunder and O’Brother.

Royal Thunder or the O’bros easily claimed my vote for best set of the night, adding in just the right amount of dropped tuned, headbangable numbers to get bodies moving around and stomping their feet.

Since was hosting the after party, a few of us had to head down and prep during the remaining sets from Cage and Manchester, however our photographers were there to capture the real magic of the evening.

Yet again, The Stuffing sold-out before doors opened, making it one of the more anticipated showcases in the Southeast. We talked to people who drove from Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and all around the country, each of them professing their love for the community that Favorite Gentlemen has created. You can bet your Thanksgiving dinner that The Stuffing will be back next year and we hope to see you there.