Monday, May 31, 2010

Nuçi's Space: A coffee bar with a taste for tunes

Nuçi's Space is indeed one of the most unique venues in Athens. Just outside the central music center of the town, it serves as a haven for musicians of all ages to practice and perform. Hundreds of records adorn the walls and a disco ball hangs from the ceiling making this cozy space a brilliant setting for an evening of tunes. Now you might be a little disoriented at first if you're a regular in the Athens night scene. One of your first hints that Nuçi's Space brings you a brand new experience is their opening time. More often than not, shows at this family-friendly venue start at around eight o'clock. Perfect for early sleepers and people who like to fill their whole nights with awesome shows! Another hint that this might not be your average club is the coffee bar tucked inside. No alcohol here, but there's quite a nice array of delicious coffees to choose from. Mmm! Had a bit too much coffee? Well, that's alright. Head on over to the back of the venue where you'll find some of the most beautifully clean restrooms in all of downtown Athens!

But what about the most important part? What about the music? A medium-sized, raised stage sits on one end of the dance floor, straight across from a very professional-looking, glass-walled sound room. Need to sit down? Well, you're in luck! Couches line one edge of the wall so you can sip your coffee comfortably while you enjoy the tunes. From your seat near the stage, you can also chat with band members as they head towards the corridor that leads to the many rooms of the backstage area. And if you are a member of a band yourself, Nuçi's Space is dedicated to helping you make the most of your talent as well. They rent out equipment to bands that need it, and through their Camp Amped summer program, they even help youngsters discover the music inside themselves! Truly, Nuçi's Space is quite the venue!

Nuçi's Space at a glance:

Ages: All ages

Cost: Usually around $5

Venue Website:

Venue Phone Number: 706-227-1515

Venue location & Google Map: 396 Oconee Street, Athens, GA 30601

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Reviews of recent concerts/events at Nuçi's Space:
Venice is Sinking/ Groove Tangent/ Rye
Tealvox/ Athens band/ Second Suns

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, May 28, 2010

Kristen's Concert Picks: June's Absolutely Humongous List of Amazing Shows!

Oh man, I'm so jealous of everyone living in Athens right now! There are spectacular bands playing their way through nearly every night in June. Wow! And, to top it all off, we have Athfest too, of course! This month is going to be unbelievable.

Wed, Jun 2: Eureka California @ 9:30 PM @ Caledonia
From what I've heard on their myspace, their loud, grime rock will be the perfect sound to kick off the month!

Thurs, Jun 3: Nutria CD Release @ 9 PM @ 40 Watt
These guys will give us some delicious classic pop rock with their sure to be awesome CD release show!

Thurs, Jun 3: Betsy Franck @ 5 @ Rialto Room
One phrase describes this woman every time: powerful voice! Trust me, you've just gotta check out her tunes.

Fri, Jun 4: Leaving Araby & Yo Soy Bean @ 9 PM @ 40 Watt
Looks like this show's going to be full of fun and good vibes! Oh yes.

Sat, Jun 5: Aman Amun @ 7 PM @ Cine
Celebrate your senses and immerse yourself in the electronic stylings of Aman Amun.

Monday, Jun 7: Doctor Squid @ 9 @ Caledonia
Happiness has a name around Athens, and it's Doctor Squid. Hooray for pop rock!

Wed, Jun 9: Wowser Bowser @ 10 PM @ Caledonia
Seriously, I am DYING to see this band again. Get ready to go wild!

Thurs, Jun 10: Kenosha Kid @ 11PM @ Farm 255
I don't usually like jazz, but even I think these guys are awesome! That oughtta tell ya that this is one band you shouldn't miss!

Fri, Jun 11: Novanauts @ 10 PM @ Caledonia
Yay for the Novanauts! This group is quickly becoming one of my favorite bands in Athens. For an amazing explosion of visuals, electronic pop, and excitement, look no further than the Novanauts!

Mon, Jun 14: Reptar @ 10 PM @ Tasty World
Oh my gosh, it's REPTAR! They're on tour, you know. Catch 'em now before they blow up into international superstardom!

Thurs, Jun 17: The Knockouts @ 10 PM @ Caledonia
The Knockouts are just one of the awesome bands I've discovered while listening to the myspaces of the many groups that fill the Athfest lineup. Haven't heard them live yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

Thurs, Jun 17: Etienne DeRocher @ 5 PM @ Rialto Room
Here's yet another musician I've discovered while prepping for Athfest. Can't wait to get a taste of these tunes!

Fri, Jue 18: Nate Nelson @10 PM @ Caledonia
This guy simply rocks. His voice will blow you away! Go see him.

Sat, Jun 19: Kyshona Armstrong @ 11 PM @ Farm 255
Seriously, my Athfest research has given me a flood of new bands and acts to check out! Kyshona's acoustic sound definitely caught my attention, and I'd love to hear her soulful songs live.

Sat, Jun 19: Chris McKay & the Critical Darlings @ 9 PM @ 40 Watt
Woohoo, it's Chris McKay! Let's celebrate the classic rock! This show is sure to be a blast of energy and awesome old school vibes.

Thurs, June 24: Flagpole Athens Music Awards! @ 8 PM @ Morton Theatre
This is the most rockin' award show ever! Wish you had an invite to the grammys? Well, this will be ten times more fun, I swear! Put on your fancy heels and your drawn tie t-shirts, and get ready to have a time! Oh, and don't forget to vote for your favorites while you still can. Voting has been extended till June 4th, so grab your chance!

Friday through Sunday, June 25-27: Athfest all day, all over downtown Athens!
ATHFEST! No other words are really necessary. With more than 150 bands on the bill so far, this festival is going to be beyond brilliant!

Well, there it is! Overwhelmed yet? I'm just thrilled! Looks like I'll definitely be visiting Athens more than once this month. As always, if I hear of even more shows I just know you'll like, I'll add them to the list! To check out this month's lineup of shows later on, you can always click the Monthly Show Picks button on the sidebar. Yay! And also, feel free to comment and let everyone know about any other shows you're just dying to see that aren't on the list. It's time to let the world know! Have a wild month, my friends!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I've got my ears on you!

In my humble little blogger's opinion, Athens is chock full of bands that have the "it" factor (whatever "it" really is). I have no doubt that fans across the world will be screaming many of these bands' names in no time! After all, look at Of Montreal. I'd been hearing their name long before I ever even set foot in the Athens music scene. And, more recently, bands like Dead Confederate, the Modern Skirts, the Whigs and (that still-new band that I know you've heard of by now) Reptar are exploding onto the national/international scene in a huge way! Oh yeah. This town's bands have got the goods!

Now I'm not one to make predictions. The world of music is, after all, an unpredictable place. Hell, that's half the fun of it! I've gotta say, though, there are definitely a few bands here in Athens that I'm keeping my eyes on. Now these aren't the only ones to look out for, by far. No, no. But these bands have a little something to their presence in our scene that I just have to celebrate.

Bambara is certainly one of these bands. Up for a Flagpole Athens Local Music Award this year, it looks like I'm not the only one who's noticed that there's something special about these guys. Their unique style of shoegaze-inspired noise rock draws in crowds every single time they play, and I can't deny they're one of the most searched-for bands that I've written about in this blog. Other bands, too, have taken notice. It's happened a good many times lately that I'll read another bands' interview on a major blog or news source, and they pinpoint Bambara as one of the bands to look out for! Honestly, the numbers and the fans don't lie. These guys are the real deal.

And then we've got the ever-enduring awesomeness of Doctor Squid. Without fail, their fans are always some of the most enthusiastic crowd members I've ever met! You know you're experiencing something special when you're surrounded by a sea of people who know all the words to every single song. I mean, wow, when they performed on UGA's Tate Plaza a few weeks ago, several passerby asked me who they were in just the twenty minutes that I was standing there. Yeah, they felt it too! And, this may not be music-related, but they've got one of the best and well-kept band websites I've seen. Good stuff. From their special events like the ever-popular annual Squidmas celebration to their performances in nearly every venue around Athens, Doctor Squid is definitely one to watch!

The last one I'll mention today is the band led by rising UGA sophomore Luke Galloway. Whether they call themselves Kalvinova or the Novanauts, this band has the makings of an electronic pop superstar. They've got it all: eye-grabbing visuals, pure sound, and fans galore! Honestly, it's a rare time when I've ever seen the Caledonia Lounge more full than on the night they played. And even just outside of the freshman dorms, a small crowd formed as they rocked the afternoon away one day in late April. Since they're still to new to these parts, you may not have heard of them yet but trust me, you will.

So, my friends, what bands are you keeping an ear out for? Let us know below!

Friday, May 21, 2010

May's MASSIVE Athfest 2010 update (and other tune tidbits)

The anticipation is building... Athfest headlines just keep pouring in from all sides! Being out of town for the summer is quite a terrible thing for an Athens music enthusiast like myself, but the excitement of the festival and all of this awesome news fills me with all kinds of joy. June just can't get here fast enough!

First off, the outdoor stage lineups as well as the lineups for nearly every venue are almost full! Looks like we're just waiting for the bands playing at Nuçi's Space and a few at Tasty World to complete the set. That's 145 bands as of last night, you guys! Wow, so many to choose from! And every time I check, they've added just a few more. See for yourself!

This is the perfect time to start writing out your Athfest plan of attack. Which bands are you just dying to see? Which of your favorites will be rockin' stages all over Athens? Just keep in mind, the schedule's still shuffling around a bit, so don't get too attached to your plans yet. Also, may I suggest searching the bands that you've never seen before on MySpace to hear a few of the tasty tunes each of them has to offer. That's definitely my research method of choice. I've almost gotten through the list of all 145 bands! Who knew there were so many Athens musicians just waiting to be heard?

Oh, and the Athfest folks have given us a few more treats as well. Still not really sure what the festival has to offer? Check out their overall schedule. And I've just got to remind you to vote, vote, VOTE for the Flagpole Athens Local Music Awards! You've got until May 28th, but that's only a week from now! Still not sure who you want to vote for? Well, my friend and blogger Jordan Stepp (Athens Music Junkie) has been writing up a few blurbs about each band again this year, so if you're just a bit flustered, she might be able to help you out.

As always, keep visiting here for more Athfest news and full coverage of this year's festival coming in June!

But wait, before you go, I've got one last treat for you! In other Athens music news, there's this:

What!?! A music video from Mud Scholar? For those of you who don't know, Mud Scholar is the newest creation straight from the twisted mind of Alex McKelvey. It's offensive, shocking, hilarious, brutally honest, and, well, purely brilliant. I was lucky enough to first hear this particular video's tune live a little over a year ago during a brief pause in a Crumbling Arches set. Little did I know what that song would one day become... Oh, I definitely look forward to seeing much more ridiculous imitation douchebaggery from Mud Scholar in the future!

Hope the weekend rocks your flip flops off! Have a wild one, my friends.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lovin' on the Drums

Oh, the drums! I've always had a thing for the heartbeat of the song. And, ok, I'll be honest: my first crush in elementary school was a drummer too. I used to call him little drummer boy when I whispered about him to my pals. (Hey, in my defense, he was really short... after all, it was elementary school!) But, seriously, the power of the rhythm in a song is undeniable. I love feeling the vibration of the beats thunder through the ground and reverberate in my veins!

I have a great admiration for drummers themselves too. When I was younger, I had almost no coordination. The idea that someone could keep a rockin' beat seemed almost superhuman to me. Thanks to the drummers of all of the songs that I've listened to since then, I have some semblance of rhythm now... and it's glorious!

Really, I feel like drummers don't get enough credit for what they do. Behind the front men and women, blocked by the guitar players and bass players and backup singers, that's where they generally sit. Most of the time, you hear their art before you see its maker.

Truly, though, in my experience drummers are some of the coolest and craziest people I've ever met. They definitely know their stuff. And awesomely enough, they're usually the first people in each band to friend request me too. Ah, what fun! :)

Put simply, the beats give the songs heart, and the drummers that make the beats are generally rather rad themselves. Let's hear it for the drums... Celebrate the rhythm!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Unraveling the Mysteries

Athens is full of overwhelmingly talented people. That's certainly no secret! And our musicians aren't the only ones with talent either. This time I want to share with you the awesome work of budding filmmaker Eric McGaw. Check out his highly professional documentary about Athens' own musician, Aman Amun. Wow, it's well-made! Step behind the scenes of the creative process, and discover a bit more about this ever-mysterious performer.

And speaking of Aman Amun... He and tons of other blog favorites including Venice is Sinking, Reptar, and Bambara are up for this year's Flagpole Athens Local Music Awards! Yup, it's that time again. Don't forget to VOTE HERE for the bands that have taken your ears for a ride this year!

Ooh, I can't wait for the award show! Just a little over a month till it all goes down. Must. Be. Patient. :) Well for now, hope you all have a spectacular weekend, my friends!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dragon, Defender of Echo Isle

In celebration of the first week of summer break, I give you a video game complete with a few hints of Athens music magic and many late (and I mean LATE) nights' worth of animated joy! Be patient... it takes a bit of time to load (if you see the grey rectangle on your screen, it's coming), but I promise you, it's three levels of crazy, flame-throwing fun! I'm rather proud of it. The most exciting part? See if you can get to the level where one talented Athens musician makes quite a ridiculous appearance. Trust me. You won't want to miss this! Enjoy. :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

One word says it all: SUMMER!

HAPPY SUMMER, YOU GUYS! It's the perfect time to relax in the sun, travel to someplace exotic, or at least change up the daily routine a bit. This is going to be rockin' summer, my friends. I can feel it! Before you go on your way, though, I've got some Athens music tidbits for you.

First, it's probably no secret that I'm a huge champion of the Caledonia. Shows at the 40 Watt blow me away, New Earth Music Hall has unbelievable acoustics and visual capabilities, and Rye Bar makes me feel like I'm truly experiencing the underground music scene, but Caledonia is where I spend most of my time. Seeing bands play there just feels so right: it's just cozy enough to feel like you're at a private show but just large enough to get the whole rockin' performance deal right before your eyes. I go to the Caledonia so much I'm hoping they'll start some sort of monthly pass system. Ooh, that would be awesome!

That being said, however, I have a very special place in my heart for Tasty World. Tasty World as I knew it when I first set foot in the venue was a two-story music powerhouse. My very first experience in the Athens music scene, seeing Crumbling Arches for the first time ever, happened on the lower level of Tasty World. I got my first taste of other bands like Doctor Squid and 23jinx (the band that would become Bambara) there too. Oh, memories! Since last summer, though, Tasty World itself has been fading from the scene becoming just an attic venue, setting down harsh age restrictions, and on occasion, double booking bands and dropping highly anticipated shows from the bill. Yesterday, the owner of Tasty World announced through Facebook that the venue will be closing its doors in July, presumably right after Athfest. I've got no more details as of yet, but I'll let you know as soon I get them. This is quite the tragedy. Goodbye, Tasty World! I'll miss the way you once were when I first saw you... and I'll never forget how you gave me my beloved Athens music scene.

Now here's a bit of happier news for you! Even more bands have appeared on the Athfest schedule over the past couple of days. Now we've got some info on who's playing Ciné, 283 Bar, and Little Kings. YAY! I hope you all are as excited about this summer's festival as I am. I just can't wait! I'll be starting my in-depth research of all the bands' MySpaces soon, and of course, I'll be keeping you posted with all the news you need to know about Athfest 2010!

Here's one for the bands. If you're in a band that's playing in Athens or Atlanta during the summer, let me know. Hooray for summer shows!

Hope you all have a spectacular summer, and don't forget to keep visiting us here at Echoreyn of Athens for all your Athens music news!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Shaking it up with Wowser Bowser and Reptar

Here it is! The latest in my series of late show reviews of madly spectacular shows. See, the Critical Darlings weren't the only band I saw last Thursday. Not by far. After they rocked their return to the stage, I hightailed it to the Caledonia for some pure crazy in the form of Coco Rico, Wowser Bowser, Qurious, and Reptar.

Now I've seen Coco Rico before, but their (what could only be called a) mating dance never ceases to make me laugh. What ridiculousness! In this case, it totally set the scene for the rest of the night.

Then Wowser Bowser stepped onstage and stole the show. Seriously, they STOLE it! Even nearly a week later, I want to dance all over the place just thinking about them. In a whirl of paper confetti, they showered us with purely awesome tunes that were full of heavy drums and indescribable fun. You know when you hear something that just feels right? Wowser Bowser was one of those bands. Oh yeah! And I definitely wasn't the only one feeling it. Near the end of their set, the crowd flowed onstage to surround the band in what proved to be an epic display of fan love. Ah, I'm still basking in the moment!

Luckily, the rest of the night didn't disappoint either. Qurious, the next band up, donned masks a lá Of Montreal and gave us an eerily artsy performance beside a motionless, masked effigy. Whoa. I felt like I was in the midst of some sort of supernatural ritual. As they shared with us their ethereal tunes, something of a trance fell over the crowd, and they leaned and grabbed at the stage. All in all, it left me rather speechless. I think my pal Elizabeth may have summed it up best when she said that she felt like she " was swept up in some mystical ceremony invoking a feminist vagina god." Complete insanity, without a doubt.

And, to top it all off, there was Reptar. If you haven't heard of them yet, you will, believe me. Still rather new by even Athens' standards, they've taken the town by storm and gone so far as to perform at SXSW! Is it even possible to have this much of a following after one year? To appease their ravenous fans, many of whom had their faces covered in war paint for the occasion, they broke all the rules and played one of the longest sets ever. And you thought downtown closed at 2 AM. The party doesn't stop till Reptar says it does! They gave us a cover of Prince among their many dance-inducing original tunes, and the crowd went insane. Though no one could, to borrow another phrase from Elizabeth, "buy the hell out of their CD" because of some sort of failure on the part of the CD printing company, I'm sure the pre-orders were pouring in after that show!

Holy platypus, this lineup was outrageous. Oh Athens, I just can't get enough of you!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chris McKay brings the rock back around!

Oh, exam time! With all these presentations, projects, and tests, I barely have a second to breathe. But, you know, even all this insanity won't keep me from the amazing shows that fill the final days of the semester! Forgive me if these next few reviews are a little late, but, no matter what, I can't resist sharing the awesomeness!

Last Thursday night, it was the band Chris McKay and the Critical Darlings that brought my blogger's ears full circle with a healthy dose of their classic rock. Shockingly, it had been exactly a year and a week since I last saw the band that helped inspire the blog. A year! Can you believe it's been that long? I'm so glad they've finally returned!

It's been quite a year for the Darlings, though. Most tragically, their drummer Josh Harrison had to bid adieu to the band recently when he relocated to Texas. Luckily, original Critical Darlings' beat keeper Josh Couillard was happy to step back into the role! Then they brought another old friend, this time Andy Ainsworth from Chris's old band Q-sign, to complete the quartet for this show.

Apparently, the four of them only had time for one practice together before their set. Wow, really? These guys made it look so easy! And Chris was back to his crazy tricks again, rocking and writhing in the floor with more energy than a kid full of sugar. Ah, I love it! They played a full set of the lovely tunes I've missed so much, and the band gave each song a bit of a new spin too. Way cool! I've got to say, though, I think that a little something was afoot during the show because every so once in a while a substantial gust wind would blow out from the instruments to the audience. It was like getting blasted by the rock! Crazy, indeed.

I'm definitely not going to let another year go by before I see these guys again!