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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

More than Music: the Fashion

Ian and Zachary of Crumbling Arches
sporting their show attire
with style

Why do people go to live shows? For the music, of course! Right? Well, technically the answer is yes, but with a good stereo and a few high quality recordings, you can pretty much recreate the same effect at home. There must be more to it.

I think most people go to live shows for the experiences, for the chance to see and be a part of something awesome and unforgettable, something they can't have at home. The music is important, yes, but it's only a small part of what makes a live show an event worth traveling through downtown (or even across a few states) to enjoy. So what else makes a show bridge the gap between good and FREAKIN' SPECTACULAR? Hold your breath with me now... I'm about to plunge right in.

Since I just spent the past day sewing up a storm in the hopes of having double the "downtown wardrobe" by the time I get back to Athens, I'll start with the subject at the forefront of my mind: fashion! Or, more specifically, band member fashions. Now the key thing to remember when picking a rockstar outfit as a member of a band or a clever imposter is to stand out. Wearing your normal, everyday t-shirts and jeans just won't cut it. Take a cue from your favorite Halloween costume or eccentric, established rocker icon, and go wild! Remember you can't go wrong with bright colors and crazy patterns.

Take it from Ian of Crumbling Arches. From what I've seen of his onstage fashions, his closet must be full of shirts with hypnotising designs, artfully ripped jeans, and multicolored pants. Alex of the same band keeps everybody's eyes on him with his array of curiously interesting and slightly ridiculous hats. Brian and Zachary generally keep it simple and classy with their dressy/casual take on suits - always a good choice. The members of this band and Doctor Squid too have also been known, at other times, to don some rather spectacular costumes as well, among them phantom masks, kitty suits, santa hats, and even full-face squid masks. And while we're on the subject, I can't forget to mention bands like Deaf Judges and Excali Brah. For them, costumes are mandatory show wear. It totally works, too. Nothing makes me more gleeful than seeing a bunch of fully grown men wearing capes and vampire fangs!

Sometimes, though, fashion choices directly relate to the music being played. The members of Chris McKay and the Critical Darlings take it old school all the way with their sound and their threads. Basist Frank DeFreese definitely does it right with his shiny, eye-catching clothing. In fact, just before I saw the Critical Darlings perform for the first time, I noticed him wandering by in the semi-darkness. Without knowing anything about the guy, I instantly knew that he must be a member of one of the featured bands. That's the way it should be! His clothes totally tipped me off. He had to be more than just an average bystander. And you can't miss Carly Kane, lead singer of Stellate, when she's rocking the house either! Her brightly-colored clothing smacks of fun just like her music. You'd know she was a star from a mile away!

Other whole bands choose to rock their looks uniformly. No, I'm not talking about the matching outfits worn by the boy bands of the nineties. I'm sure we all want to forget about those! I'm talking about a small hint of color coordination like the matching red glitter eyeshadow worn by all of the members of Casper and the Cookies (especially the men). Things like this ensure that these groups won't be forgotten in a sea of bands trying to stand out and make a name for themselves.

So, now that you've got a handle on some of the fashions of Athens and Atlanta bands, what's next? A live show has to be more than just a rockstar outfit, right? Well, naturally. As always, stay tuned for more!

To read about all of the ingredients that make up a live show to top all others, click here!

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