The doors to the Cox Capitol Theatre swung open on Saturday, Aug. 29, welcoming guests to a special Planet of the Abts (POA) concert. Originally planned to take place at Macon’s beloved Big House, rain in the forecast quickly rearranged the concert to take place at the Cox.
When asked if the unexpected weather caused a problem, Big House director Rob Schneck replied, “(It) was a relatively quick fix… It would have been nice to have it at the House,” but emphasized that the Big House has had a longstanding relationship with the Cox.
Guests prepared for the show, hovering around the bar to making their selections. They talked, told jokes and spoke of time past. This was a night where the cool kids could once again relive their legacy. Patrons began to spread out amongst a modest crowd, some adorned in tie-dyed shirts and floor-length skirts, and some sporting untrimmed beards as untamed as the music which would highlight the night.
In the historic Cox Capitol Theatre, the preset stage was encapsulated in indigo haze. Fog could be seen through the many beams emitted by stage lights. House lights were dim, classic rock was amplified through speakers filling the space, and the ornateness of the theatre’s architecture gleamed through. The lights shifted to a bright white as the concert began, and the four-person band opening for POA, OTIS, took the stage. “Brothers and sisters, how are we doing this evening?” asked guitarist Steve Jewell. When the music began, it became clear that the Kentucky-based group stays true to their Southern roots. The band’s classic rock-infused style of rhythm and blues filled the Cox as vocalist Boone Froggett churned out soulfulness.
It was their well-known song, “Let Your Love Shine Down” that slowly shifted the mood in the Cox. With each phrase of this soulful rock ballad, the crowd gave more and more of themselves to the music. As the songs developed through the venue speakers, it was almost as if a brother and sisterhood was indeed forming in the room – and this seems to be the moment OTIS aims for.
When OTIS concluded their set, a brief intermission was taken to allow headliner Plant of the Abts to set the stage. Finally, the emcee announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, POA!” Roars and whistles emerged from the crowd welcoming POA for their returning performance. The band replied with a long intoxicating instrumental overture to their first song.
As POA unleashed their sound, classic rock overtones were obvious, but notes of the blues arched through their music. The band members themselves were subtle, soft-spoken and a picture of the past. There was no need to think that the bandmates were not grateful to be here in Macon, Georgia, especially when Matt Abts sincerely informed the tribe, “We came here for you,” from behind the drums.
As the set was coming to a close, patrons rushed the stage and swayed with each song. Songs were embellished with bell tones and additional flourishes brought in by melodies most likely influenced by Los Angeles, where the band comes together to write their music.
The music ended in a climax of cheers and applause from the guests, who had come to enjoy this moment of musical surrender. Through their cheering and beckoning, the audience brought POA out for a special two-song encore performance. Overall, both bands provided an excellent outlet for fans to celebrate Macon’s musical heritage last Saturday.
For a complete list of upcoming events and concerts present by the Big House, please visit http://www.thebighousemuseum.com/. The Big House museum is open Thursday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and is located at 2321 Vineville Ave.