Thursday is traditionally “get settled” day at Dragon*Con as people flood into the hotels and map out must-see events. To warm up attendees, first night programming focuses on music.
Mississippi based trio Cemetery Surfers played Centennial II-III at 9:30PM. Their odd mix of blues and beach music produced by guitar, bass, and synth/drum machine framed their horror-themed stage show. As the singer lamented, “This is the body of the one I love,” out came a corpse draped in cloth. An electric chair sat center stage awaiting its spotlight; however, this reporter didn’t stay for the gruesome finale. A few dedicated fans braved the dance floor, though the music was unreliably danceable.
Over in the Regency Ballroom, the evening was booked solid with Renaissance-style acts. First up, Three-Quarter Ale, a trio from Atlanta, soothed the audience with their folk-Celtic enchanting sound. The players took their turns at singing and playing both guitar and flute amid the ever-present charm of traditional percussion.
Kings of self-promotion and stage presence, The Lost Boys hit the Regency stage at 10PM. A Georgia Renaissance Festival favorite, the Boys had the audience cheering right out of the gate to lively interpretations of classic hits. From their Shakespearian version of the Fixx’s “One King Leads to Another” to the ever popular spoof of the Knack’s “Desdemona,” this pirate-savvy, teal-kilted foursome of guitars, bass, and drums employed harmony and comedy to rock the house.
Headliners Emerald Rose began their set at 11PM with a powerful number driven by three drums and Brian (Logan) Sullivan’s strong vocals and masterful guitar. Surprised by the size and enthusiasm of the crowd, the band noted, “Thursday is the new Friday.” The foursome claimed they refused to learn “traditional” drinking songs and instead melded elements of many into a lively drinking melody all their own. Larry Morris’s lilting pennywhistle layered keenly into many of the original tunes. As the evening progressed, their repertoire included lyrics about Star Trek, chocolate frogs, astronomy, and gaming. Clyde Gilbert’s bass and Arthur Hinds’s mastery of the bodhran drove the band’s Celtic rhythmic heart.