Thursday, November 26, 2009

Kristen's Concert Picks: December brings frosty tune-filled delights!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you're truly enjoying this day of food, family, and football too. So, what are you thankful for? Me? Naturally, I'm thankful for the unbelievably rockin' Athens music scene. More specifically, I'm thankful for the absolutely amazing lineup of bands that December has in store for us! Your ears certainly won't be in any danger of freezing off with all of these nonstop music-filled experiences.

Tues, Dec 1: The Ha's Neptica Atlas & Matt Daniel from Leading Edge @ 9 PM @Tasty World Uptown
Start off the month with the public debut of The Ha's Neptica Atlas. You will not want to miss this! And Matt from Leading Edge will be performing too. Brilliant! And best of all, it's a benefit concert so you'll be helping people while you party!

Wed, Dec 2: Allison Weiss @ 10 PM @ The Caledonia Lounge
Oh yes, a CD release party! Don't miss your chance to check out the latest tunes from one of Athens' reigning queens of the music scene. I recently had the pleasure of seeing her sing her heart out for the WUOG listeners , and I can tell you, she truly pours her soul into these songs!

Thu, Dec 3: Madeline @ 10 PM @ The Caledonia Lounge
Madeline's soft dark rock is infused with a taste of southern rock as well. Something for everyone! She has quite a sound. She and her White Flag band are definitely worth your time!

Thu, Dec 3: Venice is Sinking @ 9 PM @ The 40 Watt Club
Ah, Venice is Sinking! After disappearing from the Athens music scene for a few months, they're back to treat our ears to some beautiful, soothing tunes. Excellent!

Fri, Dec 4: Efren @ 9 PM @ Flicker Theatre
Wow, December's full of CD releases! The ever-mysterious Efren is dropping his first album "Thunder and Moan" at this show. Delightful! Stay tuned for my Echoreview of his new tunes, coming soon!

Fri, Dec 4: A Postwar Drama @ 10 PM @ The Caledonia Lounge
The list of bands I'm dying to see keeps getting shorter, and nothing makes me happier. Here's another band I've been hoping to check out since my Athfest research days. Soft, acoustic roots-type music is their style. Very nice!

Sat, Dec 5: Bambara @ 9 PM @ Farm 255
This ever-talented trio of loud, hard rockers is playing a free show at Farm 255. Yay! I mean, let's be honest. Their sound is just plain sexy. Everyone who's had a chance to experience their tunes agrees. And they've got some brand new ones too! Trust me. You'll want to be there.

Tues, Dec 8: Aman Amun @ 10 PM @ The Caledonia Lounge - **Postponed till January 7th**
This guy brings new meaning to the words "musical genius" every time he plays. Prepare yourself for a wonderfully impressive and creative display of art and technology intertwined with deep, soul-searching electronic rock.

Thurs, Dec 10: Doctor Squid @ 10 PM @ 40 Watt
MERRY SQUIDMAS! It's time to don your holiday-themed costumes, and get ready to rock the season in style! From what I've heard, last year's Squidmas was epic. And this year, they're playing with Romanenko, and Leaving Araby. I'm definitely not missing this one!

Sat, Dec 12: Hammer No More the Fingers & Gift Horse @ 10 PM @ The Caledonia Lounge
HNMtF will give you a reason to dance! This North Carolina band knows how to make rock truly fun. With Gift Horse, another band I've heard great buzz about, on the bill, this show should be quite something!

Sat, Dec 19: Excali Brah @ 10 PM @ The Caledonia Lounge
And the Caledonia does it again with another awesome December show! Excali Brah is hilarity at its finest. These costumed guys embrace the unexpected in their shows. At Athfest, outdoor rave parties were their thing. Who knows what they're going to do next?

Thu, Dec 31: Deaf Judges @ 10 PM @ The Caledonia Lounge
Here's another band that's up for anything! These rappers will definitely capture your attention and keep it. There's no doubt about that! And, whoa, look at the date. This will certainly be a great show to ring in 2010!

Thu, Dec 31: The Constellations @ 9 PM @ Tasty World Uptown
Back in Athens just in time to usher in the new year, it's THE CONSTELLATIONS! This show's 18+, so all you kids who've been missing out on their amazing tunes, this is your chance. No matter where you are during break, be sure get yourself to Athens for this!

Have you got a show you think should be added to this list? Comment, and let me know! Also, I'll be giving you even more shows to look forward to as I find them, so check back often. Have a truly lovely December, my pals!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rye Bar: Down, down in the underground

Once you spot the elusive Rye bar sign and descend the steep metal stairs into this venue, you're in a completely different realm. Wonderfully painted walls greet you as you pass the resident smokers that often choose to relax in this underground spot on your way inside. Once you enter, you'll know why this is one of the greatest places to experience your favorite band. The intimate setting just can't be beat, and the bands perform on the floor just mere feet from the tables, chairs, and benches that are scattered around the room! Oh, and the acoustics. I wouldn't have expected them to be really good here, but indeed, they are. Nice. The full bar sits just a few steps away from the music as well, so you'll never risk going thirsty or missing any of your favorite tunes. And one of the best parts is, after the show, fans and bands are nearly always guaranteed to mingle in this cozy space. How exciting!

What if the band is still setting up, and you've got nothing to do? Never fear, there's a large screen TV right behind the bar for your viewing pleasure. Excellent! And, hey, I can't forget to describe the bathrooms for you. They're nice little single rooms for males and females right off the main performance space, so even if you need to step away for a second, you still get the full music experience. Just be sure before you get there that you look your best since there are no mirrors inside. Undeniably, though, Rye bar is the true essence of the underground music scene!

Rye Bar at a glance:

Ages: generally 21 and up (check before you go)

Cost: Varies depending on the band/event - usually under $5 and quite often free!

Venue Website:

Venue Phone Number: 706-543-9276

Venue location & Google Map: 140 E. Clayton St, Athens, GA 30601

View Larger Map

Reviews of recent concerts/events at Rye Bar:
Aman Amun

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!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tidbits and Tales

The Athens music scene has been incredibly busy lately which means that Echoreyn of Athens has been busy too! Here's a bit of news to bring you up to speed...
  • Over the next few months, loads of my favorite bands will be releasing their musical masterpieces to the world in convenient CD form. In lieu of this fact, I'm branching out a bit. Within the next few weeks, I will be debuting the first article of a brand new blog series: the Echoreview! I'll get to share my take on the CDs that pass through my ears as soon as I experience them! Watch out for it soon. Ooh, I'm excited!
  • Videos, videos! Boy, have I got tons of them just for you! Remember the absolutely unbeatable Meat Puppets/Dead Confederate/Madeline show? How about the darkly festive Doctor Squid/Leading Edge show? Now you'll get to see some rockin' live footage from both of these amazing shows. Where? Well, fans of the Echoreyn of Athens facebook page got to see these first, but you can also find all of them up on the YouTube Channel. Delicious!
  • The first few weeks of December are brimming over with can't-miss shows. Start your final school projects and exam studying now... You'll want to make extra time for these tune-filled adventures! Also, stay tuned for another blog of Kristen's Concert Picks. Coming soon.
  • ATTENTION, BANDS! Athfest is now taking submissions for its outdoor stages. Don't miss your chance to be seen and heard by the whole eager crowd that attends this multi-day festival! You can submit songs for the Athfest compilation CD now as well. Fun stuff!
  • And, for those of us at UGA, break starts today! Oh yes. Have a wonderful one, my friends!

Monday, November 16, 2009

What an UNBELIEVABLE night! Crumbling Arches & the Ha's Neptica Atlas bring dreams to life...

Spectacular. Nearly indescribable. Pure euphoria. I'm still recovering from the shock of having my dream birthday party become a reality. My absolute favorite band in the world played a set just for me and my pals!?! Pinch me! This can't have really happened, right?

This culmination of over a year of dreaming and planning took place on Friday the 13th... What an ideal date for a costumed concert party! Since Halloween is my most favorite holiday, the house was adorned with tons of balloons, lights, and streamers in black, orange, and purple. Ooh, festive! Candy, juice boxes, and cake filled the room with sugary sweetness as well. However, it was the performances that topped everything else!

The band formerly known as Neptica made their official debut as the night began following a spontaneous name change to Atlas. Henceforth, I shall refer to them as the Ha's Neptica Atlas... until further notice, at least. Well, whatever they choose to call themselves, they were simply amazing! Everyone gathered around them in a semicircle on the floor, fully absorbed in their folk acoustic sound. During one song, they even had the attentive crowd wave their arms fluidly to their organically-formed music. The members of the audience jumped at the opportunity to involve themselves in the creation of such melodic magic. Beautiful. And what a curious array of instruments they used! It's purely awe-inspiring to hear Adriana, Parker, Jeff, and Sarah combine their musical talents to create a such wondfully fresh mix of tunes. I rejoice in the fact that I've gotten to see them grow as a group from one of their earliest practices into a now fully realized band with limitless potential! Their official public debut will be at a benifit concert at Tasty World on December 1st, so never fear, you'll get to see these bundles of talent for yourselves soon!

Then, just minutes later, it was Crumbling Arches' turn. I don't think I've ever gone into a show with so much anticipation before. I mean, CRUMBLING ARCHES! This was the band that first introduced me to the Athens music scene, that first inspired in me a true love of music. To have them perform at my birthday party as a favor to me is nearly beyond comprehension. And the set they played! Wow! Kicking things off with a completely ridiculous cover of the Ghostbusters theme infused with a slight hint of birthday references, they had the whole house dancing and yelling "busting makes me feel good!" Just plain hilarious. They followed this song with a wonderful set of their newer tunes including the holiday appropriate and deliciously dark Vampire Sex song. Mmm, how I love the organ-sounding keyboard in that one! And then, most joyfully, they dedicated their song Mutant Love to me. Everybody say awww. I just can't stop smiling! Their final tune of the night was old favorite, I'll Make a Man Out of You, their rock version of the ever-popular Mulan song. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the floor was shaking wildly from the nearly 50 person crowd rocking out to this song! Nothing can beat the energy that filled that room. Unbelievable! Ian finished things off by saying that whenever I want to celebrate another fake 18th birthday, they'll be there. Oh man, I love these guys!

Right now, I'm practically oozing appreciation. I absolutely must thank all of the members of Crumbling Arches and the Ha's Neptica Atlas for their spectacular performances as well as the members of Bambara for the use of their PA system. Also, I can't forget to thank the people who made this possible like the owners of the house especially Olivia, Kelly, and Megan as well as my pals Susannah, Meghan, Leona, and Sheila (you all know what you did). Oh, and I guess I should thank the police officer who didn't give us a noise violation too. :) I can never thank you all enough! As my friend Susannah declared, this party was the stuff of legend! It seems that the line between dreams and reality is not quite so thick after all. At this moment, I am utterly and completely ecstatic!

Stay tuned for tons of videos from this incredible event! Coming soon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

You're invited...

It's party time, people! A little over a week ago, I mentioned the plans for my next birthday party which includes a concert with live music as well as an awesome dance party. I can't wait! Tunes and costumes galore! This will essentially be the party of my dreams, and you're invited too.

Crumbling Arches will be rocking the house in what is sure to be the most delicious of sets! Also on the bill are newcomers The Ha's (formerly Neptica). This will be their official debut show so checking out their soft, folksy tunes is a must! It's all going down in Pineview this Friday the 13th (ooh, scary). Email me through my profile for details!

Also, don't forget to check out this month's concert picks for more spectacular show recommendations! Wonderfully unique rock band the Constellations will be returning for another insane show this Saturday, and I've added several bands and dates to the schedule as well. Hope you have a wild rest of the week!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Sleepless Person's Guide to a Rockin' Rest, a Whole New Show Experience

Two nights ago, I had the supreme pleasure of catching yet another Aman Amun set after Last Comic Standing's show at New Earth Music Hall. I have mentioned him tons of times recently, so I'm resisting the incredibly strong urge to write another post about the one of a kind, immersive experience he creates for his audience. Suffice it to say that this show of his topped all others. It was so purely amazing, my heart nearly burst with joy! Okay, now that I've got that off my chest, let's get down to business.

Sleep... or rather the lack thereof. I rarely ever get any! It's become so commonplace at breakfast for me to mention the one hour of sleep I'd managed to get during the past night that my friends hardly even react anymore. Most of the time, this wouldn't be an issue. Hey, I can just make it all up on the weekends, right? Well, not really. See, weekends are the best days for shows, and readers of this blog should know by now that there's no way I'm going to miss a potentially awesome band for a little thing like sleep!

However, this does cause some problems. Quieter or unfamiliar bands stand very little chance of breaking through the tsunami of exhaustion that tends to overcome me during the day after a sleepless night. This doesn't have to be a bad thing, though! Let me explain... introducing the Sleepless Person's Guide to a Rockin' Rest, a how-to manual from one who's tried it all!

First, I suppose I should answer the rather important question: why nap during shows? Well, it's a whole new way to experience the show... especially if you've seen the band before! You can feel the music vibrate throughout your body and you may even be able to guess which songs were hits merely through their vibrations (like I did at the Augustana show last Tuesday). Also, your dreams are infinitely more incredible when they've got a rockin' soundtrack. Sleeping during shows may not be the norm (or even entirely socially acceptable), but it's totally awesome!

Well then, how can you pick a prime napping location? Find a comfortable chair, bench, or ledge... or even patch of floor, if you're feeling really adventurous. Make sure you try to pick a spot that can't be seen from the stage as some bands may be slightly affronted to see that one of the members of their audience has fallen asleep. Hm, I definitely need to remember that one the next time my eyelids start drooping downtown. Most importantly, though, do not fall asleep amongst band equipment as you have a chance of being mistaken for a piece of equipment yourself which may very well scare the living daylights out of the band member that tries to lift you up in the dark. Ah, fun times!

Tiredness is no longer an excuse to miss a potentially wild show. Now you can enjoy the rock and get a rockin' rest at the same time! Oh yes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Leading Edge: Ghouls, ghosts, and phantoms, oh my!

Oh, Halloween week. Sure, I've already mentioned all of the spectacular shows that downtown Athens offered its costumed partiers for the actual night of All Hallows Eve, but the week leading up to this spooky holiday was just as amazing!

Last Wednesday night, several old favorites played sets all across town at around the same time. Which band to choose? Well, Leading Edge has been high up on my list of groups to check out for a while now and with Doctor Squid opening for them too, I just knew I had to pick Tasty World Uptown!

Walking onto the dance floor was like entering a whole new realm. We were surrounded by Halloween madness! Right next to me was a guy covered from head to toe in blood. And look over there! That's Hannah Montana and her best friend having a conversation with Draco Malfoy and Cap'n Krunch. The bands, too, were appropriately festooned in a curious array of costumes. Doctor Squid, for instance, featured a giant penguin, a demonic being, a hippie, and a jack-o-lantern. Awesome. As always, they rocked the stage, using their fun-inducing powers to put the whole crazy crowd into a dancing frenzy. Oh wow, the audience was fun to watch! I could hardly keep my eyes off of them. Some of the girls in the front row, clearly longtime fans, even moved in unison in what resembled a choreographed dance to one of the songs. Seriously, I never leave one of Doctor Squid's shows without a smile on my face!

Then, after an impromptu venue-wide cha-cha slide dance party, Leading Edge took the stage. Man, these guys started it off right! Through a cloud of thick greenish fog, Matt the lead singer/ keyboard player appeared, his face obscured by a lovely mask a lá Phantom of the Opera. Ah, phantoms always fill me with such joy! He began the show with a creepy gothic tune that melded into the band's first song, a wild rendition of the Ghostbusters theme. From there, the rest of the band members, adorned in a spectacular variety of ghoulish costumes, leapt straight into a series of their original songs, each totally and wonderfully unique. I still can't figure out how they managed to create such one of a kind musical sounds from the same instruments that I've seen countless other bands use. Very impressive! As they finished with a few more awesome tunes including a Billie Jean cover, I just knew I would have to see them again. Let's hope it happens soon!

Seconds later, my friend Sheila and I were speeding through downtown in hopes of getting to Ciné in time to catch Bambara's set. Tragically, we arrived moments too late, but we were just in time to check out very loud punk band, the Agenda. Truly, pure insanity. These guys had so much energy, my eyes could barely keep up with them. One second the lead singer was lying on the floor; the next, he was divebombing the audience and screaming into the faces of several members of the crowd. The audience got into it as well. One guy, presumably a friend of the band (well, I hope so), bounded onto the singer's back while the guitar player licked the strings of his guitar. The drummer ended the night by toppling his drumset and collapsing behind it. The sight was very nearly indescribable! Wild times, my friends. Wild times.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Kristen's Concert Picks: Are your ears ready for November?

Golden leaves are falling, carpeting the ground with their brilliant color. Cool breezes make them dance across the earth just once more before they lie still. Without a doubt, November has arrived! So which shows are worth braving this month's unpredictable weather to experience? Here are my picks!

Tues, Nov 3: Augustana @ 8 PM @ Tate Grand Hall on UGA Campus

Ok, I'll admit, I only know of them through their hit song, "Boston," but this band's been all over! This month, they're coming to our very own UGA campus. The best part? It's free for students! ($10 advance for non-students)

Wed, Nov 4: Fire Zuave @ 9 PM @ Tasty World Uptown
Just plain great alt rock... That's what Fire Zuave is. They're another one of that bands I've been wanting to see since Athfest. Yay!

Thurs, Nov 5: Deaf Judges @ 9 PM @ 40 Watt Club
These wild performers thrive in the realm of the unexpected. I've seen them throw a crazy interactive beach party one day and a fog-filled vampire fest the next. What will these rappers do this time? I guess we'll have to be there to find out!

Thurs, Nov 5: Betsy Franck @ 9:30 PM @ The Caledonia Lounge
Blues and southern rock fans, I've got a show for you! Betsy Franck's incredibly strong and wonderful voice will blow you away. Another talent I first saw at Athfest, she's one to hear!

Fri, Nov 6: Aman Amun @ 9 PM @ New Earth Music Hall
A comedy show followed by astounding visual displays and groundbreaking musical stylings? A weird mixture to be sure, but it sounds like a winner from all sides. Oh yes, it's time for another delicious Aman Amun set!

Fri, Nov 6: The Goodfight @ 8 PM @ Seney Stovall Chapel
Rockin' for a good cause with Leaving Araby, Pilot Coat, and the Wellreds, this free show should be quite the experience! For more info, check out this entry.

Mon, Nov 9: Doctor Squid @ 9 PM @ Tasty World Uptown
Wow, Doctor Squid has been busy these past few months! If you haven't yet seen these upbeat rockers, you've definitely been missing out. If you've caught one of their shows before, I know you're dying for more. Well, you're all in luck! They're playing at Rye Bar on the 6th and at Tasty World on the 9th! Nice.

Fri, Nov 13: Kristen's Fake Eighteenth Costumed Concert Birthday Bash @ Time TBA @ Pineview

2-3 band lineup... More on this later. :) I can't wait!

Sat, Nov 14: The Constellations @ 9 PM @ Tasty World Uptown
And they're back! I was so worried that I'd never have another chance to see them, but here they are. What amazing fortune! Want to see a band with style, attitude, and a uniquely awesome sound? Well, you've got to check out the Constellations!

Wed, Nov 18: Aman Amun @ 11 PM @ Rye Bar
This guy just keeps getting better and better. I can't wait to see what he does next! If you haven't checked this electronic rock genius out yet, this show's a must! And hey, it's free too. Zesty!

Fri, Nov 20: Hope for Agoldensummer @ 10 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
Oh, I love this band's sound. They've got a quieter, folksy style that just leaves you feeling wonderful. And they play the musical saw! You can't get much better than that.

Sat, Nov 21: DJRX @ 11 PM @ Sideways
Dance time! This DJ's spinning the tracks and mixing like crazy. Get ready for a party with this guy's selection of jammin' tunes.

Fri, Nov 27: Birds & Wire @ 9 PM @ New Earth Music Hall
By some terrible conflict of fate, I've never managed to see this group in action, but my insane plans can't keep me from telling you to check out this soft and southern pop band. One day, it'll happen! I truly hope that day comes soon!

Hm, curiously enough, there seems to be a decided lack of shows on this list scheduled for the later half of November. I'm sure this will be remedied as the month goes on, though. As always, let me know if there's a show you think should be mentioned here! Also, if you want to check this list again to help you make your plans as the month goes on, press the "Monthly Concert Picks" button on the sidebar. All you need to know will be right there!

Alright, hope this month's musical adventures take you on a ride. Enjoy!