It's going to be strange seeing the Whigs in a tiny club this weekend; after all, the last three times the trio was in town last year, it had the gigantic Pageant stage at its disposal. But it's clear that these opening slots — for the Toadies, Kooks and Kings of Leon — have helped the Athens, Georgia, band become a toughened bunch of rockers. The barfly soul and ragged, Who-meets-Replacements vibe of 2008's Mission Control is still intact, but the band's youth-on-fire bluster now brims with confidence and poise. Dead Confederate might seem like an odd choice for an opening act: Onstage, the quintet takes a brooding, sensitive-poet stance, in direct contrast to the Whigs' hyperactive adolescent pose. Still, Dead Confederate's 2008 LP, Wrecking Ball, is no less energetic and charged than Control; Ball's tunes simply draw their emotional intensity from a place of burden — a thunderclap of Nirvana, Explosions in the Sky and Afghan Whigs.
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