Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kristen's Concert Picks: This is Halloween. Everybody scream!

It's Halloween, one of the very few days of the year that people actually expect everyone they see to be decked out in strange clothing, ridiculous hats, and creepy masks! Naturally, because of this fact, it also happens to be my favorite holiday. And it looks like I'm not the only one in love with this spooktacular day. All of downtown Athens is celebrating! Pick your party... or go to them all!

The 40 Watt Club: Krush Girls @ 9 PM - $6/$8
No way... KRUSH GIRLS!?! This pair of (shockingly male) DJs were the reason I first set foot in downtown Athens. Newcomers may not have heard of them since they tend to reunite only for special occasions these days, but they are known all over Athens for their rockin' ability to keep the party going with their selection of pop dance tunes!

Tasty World Uptown: Kite to the Moon @ 9:30 PM - Show $5 (most likely), Parade Free
I have no doubts that Kite to the Moon will bring it big time for Halloween. These guys dress in costumes for their everyday shows! And, whoa, they're kicking off a whole Halloween parade here too. This will definitely be an unforgettable night!

Farm 255: Venice is Sinking @ 11 PM - Free
The soft beautiful songs of Venice is Sinking will serenade you throughout the night over at the Farm. With another Athfest talent, the Packway Handle Band, you're guaranteed to get a completely unique Halloween experience with them!

Little Kings Shuffle Club: DJ Mahogany @ 9 PM - Free
It's dance time! For the over 21 set, DJ Mahogany's ready to spin a whole mess of tunes from every era. Oh yes.

Ooh, this is going to be AWESOME! Don your capes and wings, everyone, and have an amazing night!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's My Birthday, and I'm Giving My Blog a Gift!

Echoreyn of Athens

Whee, it's my birthday! Yeah, I'm in college, but I haven't grown out of my excitement for this annual event, and I hope I never do. It's one more excuse to celebrate life! So how old am I? Well, that's a secret. However, I do have some really exciting news that I would like to share with you...

Today, I'm debuting the Echoreyn of Athens facebook page! Now, it'll be easier than ever to check out all the latest local music news from the comforts of your favorite social networking site. Feel free to become a fan if you so desire!

Also, I'd like to give a shoutout to the fans of Dead Confederate, the Meat Puppets, the Constellations, Doctor Squid, Bambara, and the Warm Fuzzies among others. You guys are making this blogging experience completely amazing for me! Thank you!

Hope all of my readers have a spectacular day!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Dead Confederate & Meat Puppets: the essence of true rock

Rarely do I ever get to see an entire lineup of bands I've been dying to hear, but Saturday night at the 40 Watt was a night like no other!

I first discovered Madeline as I was making a list of bands that I just had to check out during Athfest. I was quite intrigued by the songs of hers I had sampled on Last.FM and MySpace, but since my underage friends couldn't get into the venues she was playing, we had to miss out on her sets. When I learned she was opening for Athens band Dead Confederate and nineties famed rockers Meat Puppets, I was overjoyed! Indeed, she was the perfect singer to start off the show.

Madeline's sound alternated between soft southern rock and soft dark rock, and she wore an incredibly intense expression on her face as she sang which made her songs all the more powerful. She and the White Flag band particularly fired up the crowd with their Johnny Cash cover and a number of their final tunes. And the crowd she gathered... Wow! I've never seen such a large and eager audience for an opening set before.

Moments later, everyone on the floor waited with bated breath for the first headliner. I had previously seen Dead Confederate own the stage at Athfest over the summer, but nothing could have prepared me for the show they had in store for us this time. They leapt immediately into their hard rock as they stepped onstage, setting the mood as they jammed wordlessly for several minutes in the low light. What an entrance! They followed these songs with a set of amazing tunes which included their much-loved hits The Rat and Get Out. The guitar chords resonated through my whole body, and the lights behind the band flashed almost constantly in a shock-inducing display of sheer madness. Lead singer Hardy Morris was so completely immersed in the songs that he closed his eyes during most of them and even writhed on the floor near the end of the set. Truly, this is how Dead Confederate was meant to be experienced. I adored them at Athfest, but seeing them rock the darkened 40 Watt surrounded by crowds of enthusiastic fans was completely amazing! And as they were packing up after their last song, Hardy jumped off the stage and landed right between Sheila and I so that he could talk to the talented photographer who happened to be standing right beside us. Oh, Athens! Fun times.

And then, there were the Meat Puppets. Getting to see these rock legends take over the stage was nothing short of incredible! Their subtly southern rock and wild long hair screamed nineties in its prime, and their wild energy and badass attitudes captured the attentions of everyone in the audience. Their fans, ranging in age from college students to middle aged partiers, covered the whole dance floor with their exuberant moves as basist Cris Kirkwood jammed across the stage, pushing over sound equipment and grimacing with intensity. One lady in the crowd even held up a shirt she had gotten from them over two decades ago as she danced. Wow, these guys have staying power! I could see why, too. The Meat Puppets sure know how to put on a show! Then, as they finished up their set, Cris lifted up his shirt to show off his tattoo, making one drunk fan so excited that he started screaming and trying to touch the design. And boy, was this guy determined. After several minutes of trying, he finally succeed in diving onto the stage only to be dragged off by a security guy, who was helped by Cris himself, and thrown out of the 40 Watt. Wild!

Then, just as we thought the show was over, another drum appeared onstage and the members of both Dead Confederate and Meat Puppets emerged from behind the curtain. We could all tell they had bonded quite a bit during their joint tour throughout the country. Cris and Hardy even shared a cigarette as they tuned their instruments once more. And then, they began. It was an encore of insane proportions! Together, both bands rocked a short set with such energy that it was an experience unlike any I've had before. The whole dance floor felt so in the moment right then. I wouldn't have missed it for anything! It was like those rock shows of past decades that I've seen on TV. I've really never seen anything like it. Saturday was definitely one of the most unbelievable nights ever!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fighting the Good Fight to Help Others

It's especially refreshing to find local musicians dedicated to helping others and making the world around them a better place for everyone. Atlanta rock band the Goodfight is doing their part to make a difference with their latest project, Buy a Record, Save a Life. All of the money from the sale of their newest CD, Good & Evil, will go towards finding and creating clean water sources for people in need all over the world! When I learned about this awesome effort, I had the spread the word to all of you guys. Wow, I love it when people use their talents for the good of humanity!

Want to see what this is all about for yourself? Well, you're in luck! The Goodfight will be playing a free show on November 6th with Athens bands Leaving Araby and Pilot Coat and Atlanta band The Wellreds at the Seney Stovall Chapel. Athens' own Jason Harwell from one of our favorites, the Warm Fuzzies, will M.C. the show to celebrate the release of this special project. Help people and have fun doing it? Very cool. Music really does save lives!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Clouds, and Crinkles: An Evening of Alliteration with the Arches

Crumbling Arches, The Clouds Are Ghosts,
and a crowd of music enthusiasts

Frequent readers of this blog may be shocked to learn that I had never stepped foot in a venue in downtown Athens on a Monday night... until now. However, if every Monday show is as mind-blowingly spectacular as the Clouds Are Ghosts/Crumbling Arches show I had the incredible pleasure of seeing at the beginning of this week, I'm going to have to make a regular habit of it!

You see, Caledonia's a rather peaceful place so early in the week, perfect for a bit of soft, eerily beautiful music. The Clouds Are Ghosts traveled all the way from their hometown of Austin, Texas to satisfy our ears' needs. From the very first note they played, I was in love with their sound. Their name describes them exactly. Using a keyboard, a violin, and some electronic elements, they weaved together a set of amazing songs that transported me into another realm every time I closed my eyes. Most uniquely, they employed the use of a megaphone for the vocals of several of their tunes. I've never seen that done before! Intriguing... and completely awesome. My friends and I were mesmerized. In fact, their whole show blew me away. Behind them, a screen displayed everything from familiar internet videos to fiery explosions to a velvety black, star-filled sky that changed with the music. The whole effect was quite awe-inspiring, really. And I've got to admit once again, it's awfully hard for other bands to impress me during a show featuring my favorite band, but this group of talented musicians certainly managed to do it. I really hope I get to see them again in the future!

Then it was time. Crumbling Arches time! I've been thirsting for another sip of their delicious theatrical rock for months. Now, seeing as that this was the ninth time I've seen them, I wasn't really expecting any surprises during this show. Boy, was I wrong! Introducing themselves jokingly as "Crinkly Arches," the vocal, guitar playing half of Crumbling Arches seated themselves onstage for a set unlike any other. With Alex on acoustic guitar and Brian on electric, they rocked some of my very favorite songs in ways that I've never heard or even imagined before. Oh wow, it was awesome! And, in between songs, the comedy stylings of Alex and Brian had everyone in the audience cracking up. What with their jokes and their particularly prominent lyrics, it was one of their most memorable shows yet, and for a band known for its acrobatics, hilarious anecdotes, and general antics, that's certainly saying something! Quite simply, I loved it.

Amusingly, both the Clouds Are Ghosts and Crumbling Arches chose to perform their own vampire-inspired songs at this show, just in time for Halloween. The Arches even had everyone in the audience scream as loudly as they could near the end of their ode to the fanged being. Mmm, audience involvement. It's always fun to have a part to play! And then, with October's darkness setting in and hints of my favorite holiday surrounding me, the show came to a spellbinding finish. What a night!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Excitement, changes, and a bit of music!

It's mid-October, everyone! So far, October has certainly continued the tradition of being my busiest month of the year. Where's all the time gone? I haven't even decorated my room for Halloween yet, and if you know me at all, I'm sure that will come as quite a shock. But hey, there's a whole lot to to be excited about this month. Tons of amazing bands will be the gracing the stages at many of the most awesome Athens venues over the next few weeks. I can't wait! Don't believe me? The October schedule is right here for your planning pleasure!

In fact, the spectacular Crumbling Arches will be stepping onstage for the first time this school year to rock the Caledonia this Monday night! (That's tomorrow.) Oh yes! You know you want to take a study break and party with these favorites of mine. One thing to note: Original headliners, the Winter Sounds (formerly of Atlanta), are skipping out on this one. Actually, they won't be performing at all again until 2010 owing to the fact that they're in need of a new drummer. Hm, that's unexpected. I haven't gotten all of the concrete details yet, but it looks like their entire fall tour has been canceled. Well, I eagerly await their return. Never fear, though. Tomorrow's show will go on, and it's most definitely going to be a delicious one! Now it's a triple band lineup with Crumbling Arches, Joy in Tomorrow, and The Clouds Are Ghosts. Yay!

Oh, and before I go, I absolutely must share some videos with you! The two in this entry are from Bambara's latest show at the 40 Watt on the last day of September. This band's been getting tons of buzz lately, so be sure to check them out. Enjoy! And naturally, for more videos of your favorite Athens and Atlanta bands, visit the Echoreyn of Athens YouTube channel. Videos galore!

Well, that's all for now. Have a rockin' day!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Caledonia Lounge: Tunes emerging from the darkness

Tucked away just behind the 40 Watt Club, you'll find the Caledonia Lounge. No other venue gives off more of an indie rock vibe! The dim lights beckon you into this mysteriously dark place and draw your eyes to the raised stage at the back of the club. As stages go, I'd say this one is about average, length and width wise; in other words, it's just large enough for some general band antics as long as those antics do not include any wild feats of gymnastic skill. The acoustics of the place are rather nice, too. A sizable dance floor sits in front of the stage lined with ledges, great to stand upon if you need to see over the crowd or to place music-related equipment on while your band waits to set up. Want a place to rest your legs and set down the drink you just got from the full bar near the front of the venue? There are a few tables and chairs set around the club just for this purpose as well. Oh, and don't forget to glance over at the sound technician once in a while! He sits up high in a lifeguard-like booth beside the bar. Quite a sight indeed.

Uh oh! You drank three full glasses of water before you got here and the next band to play has tunes that you know will make you dance? You need a bathroom and fast! Conveniently located right near the entrance, you've got two single occupancy bathrooms to choose from. Now here's the confusing part. The sign on one door is labeled "male," but contrary to one's expectations, the other is labeled "unisex." Well , that's curious. I assume, however, that both of the facilities are the same in this case so I recommend that you use either should the need arise.

Waiting for the last band of the night to step onstage? It's the perfect time to check out the outdoor patio and deck area. Between sets, you'll usually find band members and their fans and pals chilling and catching their breaths out here amidst the small grove of trees. How incredibly relaxing! There are tables and benches galore on both the deck and patio too so this is the place to be if you need to take a short break from the crowds inside the club.

The Caledonia Lounge at a glance:

Ages: 18 to 20 are welcome!
21 and up usually get a cheaper price.

Cost: Generally $5 for 21 and up, $7 for under 21.

Venue Website:

Venue Phone Number: 706-549-5577

Venue location & Google Map: 256 W. Clayton St, Athens, GA 30601

View Larger Map

Reviews of recent concerts/events at the Caledonia Lounge:
Doctor Squid, The Warm Fuzzies, and Gemini Cricket

Have any thoughts of your own about this venue? Dying to know something specific that I didn't mention? Be sure to comment below! Also, to read about all of the venues I've reviewed, visit my venues page!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A post that is not about music

It's the truth. I rarely ever post anything that is completely unrelated to the music scene. However, I must acknowledge the fact that Athens isn't just for those who love music. There's a whole other culture here that causes a sea of red and black to engulf the campus on selected Saturdays in the fall. UGA football culture. Now, many of the hipsters, band members, bloggers, and concert-goers that I know go into hiding on these days in order to avoid getting swallowed up by the crowd and abused for accidentally wearing the wrong colors that day. Like some of them, I too prefer to catch on my sleep rather than tailgate, but don't hate. I've still got my share of school spirit! I always check up on our dawgs to make sure we're winning our games.

So why am I writing this? Well, this year I actually want to thank the tailgaters. On Saturday mornings when I've just been up all night screaming my head off at some show or another, there's nothing worse than waking up at 7 AM to people chanting loudly on the quad. This year's tailgaters have yet to do this, and so I am eternally grateful. I can get some sleep! Hooray! I suppose this is due in part to the fact that we've been forced to play mostly night games, but the respectful behavior is appreciated, regardless of the reason. So thank you, UGA football fans. I salute you! Oh, and one more thing. Gooooooooo Dawgs! Sic 'em. Woof woof woof woof!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kristen's Concert Picks: October is party time!

Happy October! My favorite month comes bearing musical gifts of all sorts. From cultural groups to cover bands, from rock to pop, I've got you covered. Oh, and just for you, I've uploaded live footage from several of the shows I saw during the past month. Visit my YouTube channel for videos of Bambara, The Warm Fuzzies, Doctor Squid, The Constellations, and more! And now, prepare yourselves for some spectacular musical adventures!

Fri, Oct 2: Incatepec @ 6 PM @ Terrapin Beer Co.
If you want a fully cultural experience, Incatepec is the band for you! A mixture of jazz, rock, and South American flute music, you've never heard anything like them before.

Wed, Oct 7: Death on Two Wheels @ 10 PM @ Tasty World Uptown
Heavy rock is the order of the day! Atlanta band Death on Two Wheels will have you banging your head and moving your feet to the beat.

Mon, Oct 12: Crumbling Arches @ 10 PM @ The Caledonia Lounge
Readers of this blog will know that this is one show you can't miss! My favorite rockers return to the stage to treat us to a night of amazing tunes and general madness. With the Winter Sounds, another awesome band, on the bill, this show should be nothing short of spectacular!

Thurs, Oct 15: Birds and Wire & Electa Villain @ 10 PM @ The Caledonia Lounge
Two bands I've been hoping to check out since Athfest playing together on one night? Awesome! With soft southern pop from Birds and Wire and classic rock from Electa Villain, this should be one crazy night.

Sat, Oct 17: Modern Skirts @ 9 PM @ The Melting Point
The Modern Skirts are gracing yet another Athens stage! You' know you've heard of them. The buzz about this soft pop band never stops.

Thurs, Oct 22: The Warm Fuzzies @ 9:30 PM @ The Caledonia Lounge
More happiness, more hilarity, more joy! Take it from me, you can never have enough of the Warm Fuzzies. They're smile-inducing pop rock at its best!

Fri, Oct 23: Velvet Runway @ 8 PM @ Tasty World Uptown
Love 80s tunes? Well, then Velvet Runway is the cover band for you! They'll transport you back in time so that your ears will believe you're hearing the jams as they were originally played. It's time to rock!

Sat, Oct 24: Dead Confederate @ 9 PM @ The 40 Watt Club
Headlining with the Meat Puppets and with opener Madeline, this show is sure to be HUGE! Dead Confederate's dark rock will most certainly entrance you. Be sure to buy advance tickets on the 40 Watt website!

Wed, Oct 28: Bambara & The Agenda @ 8 PM @ Ciné
For your ghoulish delight, there will be a performance of Halloween: Live followed by a show from our favorite hard rocker trio Bambara and The Agenda, another group of rockers on my list of bands to see! Oh yes!

Wed, Oct 28: Doctor Squid & Leading Edge @ 9 PM @ Tasty World Uptown
Want some pop, some rock, and some old school tunes? The Redcoat Band party is where it's at! With Beatles cover band Abbey Road live playing as well, this lineup is nothing short of super awesome.

Wed, Oct 28: Chris McKay & the Critical Darlings @ 10 PM @ The Caledonia Lounge
Yay, the Critical Darlings are back! We've missed them quite a lot while they've been off picking songs for their latest CD. This will be one of the few chances we Athenians get to see this group of energetic power rockers this semester, so be sure to check them out!

Thurs, Oct 29: It's my birthday! Yay!
Yeah, ok, I couldn't help myself. I had to mention it too. :)

Sat Oct 31: Krush Girls @ 9 PM @ The 40 Watt Club
No way... KRUSH GIRLS!?! This pair of (shockingly male) DJs were the reason I first set foot in downtown Athens. Newcomers may not have heard of them since they tend to reunite only for special occasions these days, but they are known all over Athens for their rockin' ability to keep the party going with their selection of pop dance tunes!

And those are my picks! Just like before, when a whisper reaches my ears of another awesome show, I'll be sure to add it to my list. Also, so this list doesn't get lost in the quagmire of blogs that I write, check out the side bar! I've just added a monthly concert picks button for easy access.

Echoryen of Athens

Ok, be sure to mark your calendars! This October is going to rock!