Impulse Ride played at Amp the Alley May 23. Francie Klopotic/Augusta Good News
Impulse Ride played at Amp the Alley May 23. Francie Klopotic/Augusta Good News

About Town with Francie: Impulse Ride at Amp the Alley

(Columns may contain the opinion of their author.)

AIKEN – Thursday nights are made for music, and one of the best places to hear it is in Aiken at the Alley. The annual weekly music program Amp the Alley is currently in full swing. On May 23, my husband and I drove across the river to catch a show by the legendary Augusta band, Impulse Ride.

Impulse Ride played Amp the Alley Thursday. Francie Klopotic/Augusta Good News

When we arrived, the band was setting up and doing a sound check. People had already staked out their seating arrangements, with camp chairs lining the walkways. We maneuvered around groups celebrating together-time and headed to the Mellow Mushroom for a quick bite. After we ate, we joined the throng gathered in front of the stage.

We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful evening. The air was thick and humid, but it was cool, and the sun played peek-a-boo behind a ribbon of cloud. Everything felt electrified and exciting.

Dean and I slid past a group of children playing with an oversized checker board and made our way up close and personal to the left of the stage. We probably had the best place to camp out for the show. It was almost like being backstage.

Impulse Ride played a great set of songs that spanned many decades, from 60s’ classic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones to the Gen X 80s’ anthem “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds. Peppered throughout the concert were covers of other classic hits such as “Finest Worksong” by REM, “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Jesus Just Left Chicago” by ZZ Top, and “Cars” by Gary Numan.

The band even played some of their own originals, including “Goodbye,” a song written by Ruskin Yeargain that was featured on Impulse Ride’s 1988 EP.

A crowd gathered for Amp the Alley on Thursday. Francie Klopotic/Augusta Good News

When the band took its break, we spoke with the band members, some we knew already and others we met that night for the first time. Friends came up to chat with us, too. It was a wonderful gathering. Kind of a homecoming of sorts. It made me realize how much I missed Aiken.

Dean and I will be back again soon.

Impulse Ride brings a high energy party vibe to the stage with brilliant guitar work by Bill Irwin and Ruskin Yeargain and a tight, stellar rhythm section comprised of bassist Cam Ball and drummer Brannon Galloway. Their creatively curated setlist is filled with songs that make for a great show. I highly recommend you go see them the next time they perform.

Amp the Alley runs each Thursday from now into the fall. Shows begin at 6:30 p.m. Bring a chair and cooler and plan to get there early for the best viewing spots. Upcoming Amp the Alley shows include Keith Gregory on May 30 and Zombo on June 6.

Columnist Francie Klopotic can be found about the town attending concerts, arts exhibitions and almost any event highlighting Augusta’s cultural offeringsSubscribe to the Augusta Good News newsletter here.

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