After being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in June, Josh Yoder(founding member of Jungol), and his family took the necessary steps to try and get him well again. With the obvious next step being surgery, doctors removed 70% of the egg-sized tumor. Josh continues to heal with just finishing the countless rounds of grueling radiation, and beginning his next step of chemotherapy. Their hope is that the aggressive treatment plan will eradicate the tumor and the cancer cells that are infiltrating his brain tissue. With the ever piling medical bills, It didn’t take long for his family to come together and discuss putting on an event and to start a GoFundMe Page. Josh’s twin brother, Graham, went out and
asked local friends for a helping hand in getting the benefit established. Without hesitation, their friends of Today The Moon Tomorrow The Sun, Stokeswood, The Locksmyth, and The Boy Jones agreed to help out for this charitable cause.
Sunday was set as a locals only kind of night. Each band contributing had the same purpose for being there: helping a friend in need. As the small back room of The EARL began to fill, and the extension of the Yoder family there to help with greeting people, selling raffle tickets, and passing out ribbons of support; It was all too obvious that the night was off to a fantastic start.
The Boy Jones, an Americana-folk singer-songwriter, opened the evening Armed with only a guitar, a harmonica and a couple of friends to back him up; his music is left pure and stripped of anything fancy. With a recently released self-titled
EP(Hard Sell Records, 2015) Jones’ music is bare bones, with good songwriting. He will likely remind you of something wholesome and gritty. He brings a Bob Dylan quality about him, digging deep into poetic lyrics of injustices in life, and love. You just have to hush, and listen to the man speak, he’s a storyteller through song and has a way with words that might just find you tongue-tied on how much you like it. His songs are clever, and witty that speak truths far beyond something that could be taught from a paid education. The Boy Jones dug deep into his rather new EP delivering an excellent set of sublime songs that left us rather impressed. Jones thanked the crowd for being selfless by coming out to support a great cause for his friend and pleased that we continue to give.
It didn’t take long for The Boy Jones to change hats from the musician into the night’s MC. The quick-witted Jones kept the crowd entertained during each short pause between sets. As The Locksmyth was continuing to set their equipment, Ethan Gabriel Jack joined The Boy Jones to help entertain between sets with his freshly written song about NASCAR driver Dale Earnhart. The humorous song about the late great number 3 left us all entertained and laughing about the lyrics of redneck living!
The Locksmyth, an avant-garde rock band, is led by founder Ethan Gabriel Jack. What began as a one-man show turned quickly into a collection of talented Atlanta musicians: Sam Harrison(Gun Party), Jeremy Dollar(A: The Color With E.G.J.), Andres Miller(Jungol), Graham Yoder(Jungol), Dustin Cox, and Joey Jones. As the band finished setting up and Ethan wrapped his newly crowned single with a round of applause, the Locksmith got right into their set opening with the title track from their new album Exquisite Villains(Hard Sell Records, 2015). Ethan welcomes us right into a freak show of sorts, the kind that seduces you with the sounds of
bizarre and intriguing lyrics while bringing you down this distorted back ally fun house. The outlandish and mischievous sounds from the eerie keys, heavy drum, and menacing guitar to create something that sounds like you might be listening to it through a distorted fun house mirror. They tap into a different genre with each song they perform. They bring a blues feel to their rather avant-garde style rock and roll. It’s like watching a piece of artwork form; they layer instruments to create a feeling through their music that Ethan conducts while he sings. They dig into “Movin” which chases that classic rock and roll vibe combing over every song we have ever loved from Led Zeppelin into one cohesive piece. Their entire performance was something carnivalesque. Ethan perfectly plays the part with his small top hat, paired well with a noticeable woman’s red embellished peplum jacket, and a small checkered scarf tucked into his collared shirt to complete the distorted ring leader look. This is a group of rather talented musicians that deliver a captivating experience.
Today The Moon, Tomorrow The Sun, was the cheerleader of the night for the Atlanta filled bill, there to provide their indie pop-new wave sound for the dance party portion of the evening. TTM,TTS Lauren: guitars, keys, vocals. Cregg: guitars, keys, vocals. Micah: bass, keys, vocals. Jeremy: drums, electronics. The band has taken a rather small break from the spotlight only performing a handful of shows around Atlanta in 2015, and releasing a single “Turn It All Around” back in April. Regardless of what the band has in store for its future it was without question they would come out to play for the benefit in Josh’s honor. The band dives right into making the crowd dance around to their electro synth worthy
beats. Their songs have a 90’s style new wave feel. Lauren takes charge of the stage dancing and allowing her music to take her and the crowd to the small dance party she and the band are creating through their sound. She wastes no time climbing to the edge of the stage to dance with whoever happens to be standing in front of her. Josh had a front row seat for the majority of the night and was drinking in everything people were playing for him. As the band closes out their set, Lauren lets us know: that their hearts go out to the Yoder family, and they know Josh is going to kick some ass. It shows the genuine sentiment that the bands performing believe in Josh’s person and completely respect and admire his strength.
The five-piece band known as Stokeswood Adam Patterson (vocals) and Mark Godwin (lead guitar) with Michael Roman (keys), Jon Joiner (drums) and Justin Mullinix (bass) wasted no time getting right to the point and bringing their synth-happy power-pop ballads to the now SOLD OUT EARL stage. Adam jumped right out to show his appreciation to Josh by saying “play that shit in the name of love for Josh” during their opening song. The obvious love in the room for this person was undeniable. They weren’t the only band to continually convey the love while on stage, and
could be felt throughout the room. Stokeswoods music can lyrically be compared to Maroon 5 or Walk The Moon with a heavier synth. The group layers their instruments quite well to create a very smooth transition between each and making little or no mistake to their heavy pop-influenced songs. Adam belts out his lyrics with a fury of intensity that makes the crowd absorb what he’s reciting. The band brings this feverish intensity on stage; they begin dancing while they’re hammering down on their instruments making it seem that they are almost surrendering to something more godly. Stokeswood has three albums collectively with their most recent power-pop heavy 2075(June 2015). The band ended their set, with a cover of NIN’s “Closer” and completely nailing it. Adam has that kind of seduction on the backside of his voice; he nails every verse sending the crowd into wild amazement. As the band jumps off stage, they re-testify how much love they have for the Yoder’s, and helping out does matter.
Jungol has always been that band that lends itself to a more artful way of approaching music. Josh and Graham Yoder, childhood friend Andres Miller and Mark Garretson combine to create this layered avant-garde experimental rock, with lightly pop style hooks. After releasing 2 EP’s and two full-length LP’s since 2005, the band decided to take a break from tour life and focus on other creative outlets like their 2013 film project called Go Softly. The film won them Best Experimental Band of 2013 for Creative Loafing’s Best of Awards. In the summer of 2014, Jungol released Ghost Knocks. This would be the bands first full-length album release in 4 years and would also be chosen as Creative Loafing’s Best and Most Anticipated Albums of 2014. Their music is fruitful, and provides more than just music, but a feeling as well.
As Jungol made their way on stage, it was hard not to notice the glaring absence of some of the band. Josh’s usual spot was left empty with what we could only assume to be filled with an array of musical colleagues and friends. As they began to play, and Graham started to sing, friends Kenny Brown, and Prisca Strother made their way to the two microphones set in the center of the stage. Both began belting out lyrics; They created something quite powerful. You witnessed the raw emotion of the evening ultimately take over, as it poured out of each of them. Josh, who was standing at the left of the stage, smiled at each surprise guest of Jungle’s set. As the song ended and Graham took to the microphone, he looked over at his brother and clarified that “even though the bill says jungle was to perform; Jungol doesn’t exist without Josh, this show is a tribute to him.”
Adam Patterson of Stokeswood also lent his voice and recited the explicit lyrics that Josh himself would have sung. Even with the void of Josh’s presence on stage, you still felt some of his spirit. These songs would hardly exist without some of his creative force helping to bring them to life. As the evening was drawing to a close, musicians from each band along with some of the Yoder family joined Jungol on stage for their final song of their short three song set. It was a fitting final tribute to a person they all either call friend or brother. The love for Josh that evening was undeniable; you could see and feel it throughout the entire back room of the SOLD OUT EARL. It was a fitting tribute to a truly worthy person.
As a community, we came together to help support this completely genuine, and creative person. Passion is what helps drive the music and arts scene in Atlanta, and as a community we need to help support that desire especially in times of need. Josh is an extension of that, and as a community we DID come together and helped a fellow friend feel the love and support that evening. Please Continue to support Josh and his family through their GoFundMePage.
Photos by Mike Gerry