Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Athfest 2010: Ken Will Morton weathers the storm

Friday, June 25th, 2010
The Ken Will Morton band

Before any other band could even begin to play, the skies of Athens opened up and rain poured down in torrents onto the unsuspecting crowd. It seemed that the unthinkable was happening... Athfest was put on hold before it had barely started! What a tragedy!

The first to brave the stormy weather was local southern rocker Ken Will Morton and his band. They ventured onstage and refused to let the rain stop them from giving Athens a taste of their tunes. Ken's awesome attitude coaxed several fans out from all sorts of makeshift coverings to hear a bit of his americana-style music. That's the way to do it! In Athens, we don't let a bit of rain stop us getting our songs, right? True, indeed, my friends. True, indeed.

For all of our coverage of Athfest 2010, click here! I'll be blasting you with updates regularly, so be sure to check back often. Also, look out for Athfest concert videos and vlogs, coming soon to!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Athfest 2010: Allison Weiss kicks things off

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Allison Weiss and the Way She Likes It

Friday was simply a tidal wave of rock! As I headed downtown late that afternoon, I was practically wriggling with excitement for all the tunes I was about to hear. Allison Weiss, well-known queen of the acoustic pop scene and first act of the day, was just being introduced to the already growing crowd of Athens music enthusiasts and new fans as I stepped in front of the stage.

Now I've seen the girl perform a few times before, but I've got to say this time she and her band, the Way She Likes It, totally rocked it! As always, her songs had just the right mixture of humor and truth, of youth and experience, and she's certainly found her sound with the full band backing her up. Sadly, though, it was a bittersweet show because word has it that she'll soon be off to New York to make it big. Love her or hate her, nobody can deny that her quirky soft pop tunes have caused quite a stir in the Athens area in the few years she's been here. And she's definitely gathered some seriously hardcore fans in that time too. I was nearly surrounded by eager fans mouthing all of the words to her latest melodies!

An eager music fan herself, it'll be quite weird not seeing Allison sporting her trademark red glasses at all the shows downtown. No doubt about it, Athens will miss her! Don't mourn too much, though. She's already looking forward to giving Athfest another spin in the near future!

For all of our coverage of Athfest 2010, click here! I'll be blasting you with updates regularly, so be sure to check back often. Also, look out for Athfest concert videos and vlogs, coming soon to!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Athfest 2010: An awards show like no other

Thursday, June 24th, 2010
Flagpole Athens Music Awards Show

I can't believe the past year has come and gone so quickly... It feels like Athfest 2009 just happened and now suddenly it's time for Athfest 2010! Wow, though, if last year's music extravaganza was awesome, this year's was purely unbelievable!

Kicking off this series of unforgettable days was the always amazing Flagpole Athens Music Awards show on Thursday evening. I'm overjoyed to say that this year's equivalent of the Athens Grammys blew me away. What a night!

It all started with a blast of color. As the lights dimmed in the Morton Theatre, bright spotlights hit the disco ball hanging from the ceiling, splashing dots of color all over the walls. At this point, the anticipation was tangible. What was going to happen? How would they open the show this time? We soon got our answer.

In true Athens style, a crowd of performers from Mr. Blank's Carnivale of Black Hearts streamed onto the stage. A man sporting a top hat introduced the show as a bevy of bellydancers balancing swords on their heads danced behind him. On one side of him, a juggler skillfully threw pins into the air and, on the other side, a man on stilts wearing just lace underwear, a vest, and a red top hat moved about wildly and sprinkled those below him with glitter. Another man, standing off to the side, then proceeded to pick up a hammer and pound a nail into his nose. I was nearly speechless with awe and excitement. Only in Athens!

After the insanity died down a bit, the Athens band took their place onstage and rocked it out like I've never seen before. Their short little set was incredible! I don't think there was a single person in the crowd who was unimpressed by their performance. In fact, after people finished shaking their heads incredulously at the sheer awesomeness of the rock, the band got a well-deserved standing ovation. But that wasn't all for this young group of guys. They pretty much owned the night, winning the award for viewers' choice music video too and getting back onstage to tell the crowd about the wonderful Camp Amped program. Wow. Just wow!

But that's not all! Other highlights of the night included Venice is Sinking triumphantly taking home the win for Best Pop Act after being nominated several years in a row, Reptar rockin' the stage after picking up two wins for Upstart of the Year and Best Live Band, and the extraordinary news that the Georgia Theatre will be reborn in 2011. Pure joy!

After all the awards show insanity was over, I headed over to the 40 Watt for the after party and caught a bit of the nice southern rock Roadside Graves was serving to the dancing crowd. Ah yes. The night was simply the best beginning to Athfest that I could have possibly hoped for!

For all of our coverage of Athfest 2010, click here! I'll be blasting you with updates regularly, so be sure to check back often. Also, look out for Athfest concert videos and vlogs, coming soon to!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Are you ready for it?

At the moment, I'm right in the middle of the Athfest 2010 madness and excitement. Man, it's crazy here! Hold on tight, though... Tomorrow, the first of several weeks of daily blogs detailing shows, events, and ridiculous little stories from this year's Athfest festivities will be up! Prepare yourselves for TONS of photos and videos coming soon too. You won't wanna miss it!

For all of our coverage of Athfest 2010, click here! I'll be blasting you with updates regularly, so be sure to check back often. Also, look out for Athfest concert videos and vlogs, coming soon to!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Prepping for Athfest 2010!

Words can barely express how I feel right now... TODAY IS ATHFEST! For those lucky enough to be in Athens already, last night's comedy showcase kicked things off with what I'm sure was quite a bit of hilarity. However, tonight the tune-filled fun begins! That's right... The Flagpole Athens Music Awards are tonight at 8 pm in the lovely Morton Theatre. YES! I seriously can't wait for this. Apparently, Reptar and several other rockin' bands will be providing the entertainment for the night, and Kenosha Kid is back to spruce up the in-between times with some jazzy tunes. Oh, and the after party at the 40 Watt is sure to be wild too! Man, this is going to be amazing.

And it just gets better! Tomorrow, we'll get to start rocking out to the insane lineup of over 150 bands that will grace stages all over Athens. I can't believe that Athfest 2010 is finally here!

Now, if this is your first time going to Athfest or if it's been a while since the last time you've been, here are some tips to remember:
  • Bring LOTS of water! It will get hot out there, and we don't want you drying up while you wait for your favorite bands to play!
  • On a related note, wear thin or light clothing and bring some sunscreen. You don't want to roast to death out there either!
  • Pack a snack. There are so many AWESOME bands playing that you may not be able to find time to get food when you need it. It's best to come prepared.
  • Make a plan. Decide which bands you're really dying to see and figure out where they're playing beforehand, so you don't miss anything.
  • Don't be afraid to just check things out and go with the flow. Some of my coolest Athfest 2009 experiences came as a result of spontaneous exploration!
  • Get free samples. Several of the tables at Athfest give out free food and drink samples among other things. Mmm, delicious!
  • Don't lose your wristband! It's not too late to buy one online, or you can always pick one up at Athfest itself.
And also, for up to the minute coverage on all things Athfest, be sure to follow Echoreyn of Athens on Twitter... Just click below!

Oh, and finally, if you happen to see some who looks like this -

- don't hesitate to say hi. It's me, Kristen a.k.a. Echoreyn of Athens! Let's jam together, and have a rockin' time! You know I'll be there for the old favorites like Dead Confederate, Venice is Sinking, and Bambara, and I just can't wait to discover some new favorites too. It'll be amazing to see bands like Cracker, Efren, Spring Tigers, and the Gold Party since I've heard so much about them. This is just simply going to be too much fun!

See you all at Athfest!

For all of our coverage of Athfest 2010, click here! I'll be blasting you with updates regularly, so be sure to check back often. Also, look out for Athfest concert videos and vlogs, coming soon to!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kristen's Concert Picks: Ready for July's Show Forecast?

Discoveries of chalk art are always exciting!

After June's flood of tunes, July's list may seem a bit short, but don't let the length fool you. These bands will pack a rockin' punch, so you won't wanna miss them!

Sat, July 3: Romanenko @ 10 PM @ Caledonia
It's time for some awesome indie tunes with a touch of darkness! Romanenko will give our ears what they need to ease us into the heat of July.

Fri, July 9: Venice is Sinking @ 9 PM @ 40 Watt
Venice is Sinking, the rulers of Athens' soft pop scene, are giving us another chance bask in their amazing new songs. If you haven't checked them out yet, this eternal favorite is a must-listen!

Sat, July 10: Second Suns @ 8 PM @ 40 Watt
They may be young, but they sure know how to bring the rock. Get ready for the upbeat sounds of the future!

Sat, July 10: A Postwar Drama @ 10 PM @ Caledonia
These guys have been on the list of bands I'm dying to see for quite a while now. Rumor has it, they're pretty rad.

Fri, July 16: James Husband @ 10 PM @ Caledonia
For a hint of the crazy you get from an Of Montreal show, make sure you're there for James Husband. Several of the members of the famed band rock this side project during their off-hours. Way cool!

Wed, July 21: Yo Soy Bean @ 10 PM @ Caledonia
I've definitely got good vibes about these guys. Enjoy!

Well, look at that! Next month is shaping up to be tons of fun. And don't forget: I'll be adding to this list as I hear of more awesome July shows, so keep checking back often! Also, if you've got a show you don't want anyone to miss that's not on the list, be sure to comment and let the world know all about it. Have a great one, you guys! Oh, and stay tuned for Athfest coverage like you won't believe starting this Thursday.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Echoreview: Crumbling Arches' Yellow Years

Here's some fan art I made way back in the day for Crumbling Arches'
last album. I'll post the cover art for Yellow Years when it's released.

And here it is... the cover!
It's finally here! I'm extremely excited to say that a week and a half ago Crumbling Arches released their latest EP Yellow Years, a culmination of the discoveries of their college days put to song. True to form, the band debuts a new sort of sound and style on the album as well, rather unique to this era in its existence. Honestly, though, this comes as no surprise since, throughout its history, Crumbling Arches has been known to thrive in the realm of musical experimentation. This time around, their songs tend toward soft pop rock and often tread the line between humorous and very dark.

Now, unlike their 2007 full-length release the Somnambulist, Yellow Years is not a concept album. However, despite a large range of styles and subjects presented in the tunes, it exists as a mostly cohesive work and arguably holds a new story within its lyrics. So how do these new songs compare?

Mutant Love begins our musical journey with a twist on a classic story. As the song progresses, it weaves a tale of the struggles and changes that love brings although, in this case, the object of the singer's affection has gone through so many changes that she has transformed into, well, a mutant. My very first thought upon hearing this song was that it sounds like it's sung by ghosts in an underground cavern. Rather fitting given the subject matter, really. Although it took me a couple of listens to get into the recorded version of this tune, its incredible instrumental transitions and ridiculously catchy sound had me hooked pretty quickly. Now its one of my favorites on the album! I particularly love the line, "You seem different in my eyes. Dear God, my eyes have changed!" Something about those words just makes this song, despite its unconventional lyrics, feel right.

Now, naturally, Mutant Love would be followed by Vampire Sex, right? The vampires in this song aren't your standard Twilight vampires, though - no glitter here! Chronicling the curious sexual encounters of one man with a plethora of dangerous women, this tune has got something of a gothic feel to it. However, as the least serious song on the album, it does stick out a bit. If you're one for dark humor, though, you'll enjoy this one.

Continuing in the tradition of choosing odd names for their songs, Crumbling Arches gives us Daily Vitamin next. Vitamin is a slow and pensive ballad, a sort of picking-up-the-pieces tune. Musically well-composed, the lyrics absolutely make this song. Alternating between depressing and uplifting, this tune may be quiet, but it's certainly filled with feeling.

I know it will surprise readers of this blog to hear that my one of my favorites from this album is called Athens is Shit but, truly, I feel like everyone living here can relate to some part of this song. I love Athens more than any place in the world, but this song spells it out just right. Lines like "time of our lives, the dirty rotten time in my life" speak to college kid in all of us. After all, isn't everyone always telling us we're supposed to love college? Sometimes the reality of it, especially while you're living it, doesn't seem so great. Another line that's just perfect is "F*** a major, I don't need a career. With the way things are going, I won't live to see senior year." Classic stuff! Athens is Shit also gives us a generous helping of singer Brian McGaw's melodic voice which is rare on this album as these songs are written and largely voiced by singer Alex McKelvey. And while it has a bit of a nineties sound to it (after all, the band is heavily influenced by nineties rock tunes), it is musically probably the best song on here, with Daily Vitamin coming in as a close second.

Then Beez Kneez slows things down once more with the keyboard and guitar-filled tale of man whose legacy lived much longer than he did. This song features an enjoyable return to the harmonies between Brian and Alex that peppered their last album. Intentionally low fi vocals also give this song a sort of finality that rounds out Yellow Years.

Truly, I'm incredibly happy I've finally got my hands on these songs. Ever since I first heard these songs live over a year ago, I've been dying to have them! Want to hear them for yourself? Well, you're in luck! You can download your own copy of Yellow Years right here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Random Acts of Awesomeness

Just one of the ways my car was being ridiculous

Well, I'll be honest. Being out of Athens has left me a bit down this summer. So what's a girl to do? Visit Athens, naturally! But even in my beloved town, I faced quite a few near disasters last weekend. With a little help from my friends (and a few strangers) in and around the ATH, though, I had a most spectacular time!

It would just be wrong if I didn't show my gratitude to everyone, so here goes: Hmmm, let's start with the strangers... Thank you, girl surrounded by friends at 2 AM Friday night for making sure I was ok walking alone to my car. You reminded me why I just love Athens so much! And I thank you, off-duty Barrow County police officer, for leading me out of the doomsday rain and into an air conditioned building to wait for help when my car started acting ridiculous on 316. It's bad enough driving a car with no radio or air conditioning for two hours, but you saved me from the even more terrible misery I could have been experiencing! Oh and thanks to the other people who stopped to offer help as well.

And to my friends, you guys are just purely amazing. Thanks, Elizabeth and Blaze for hanging with me at the Caledonia! Awesome as always. Gracias, Susannah, for giving me your couch for the night and playing Mario Cart with me. Taking the town, old school style! Thanks to the bands and especially Luke for giving me a generous helping of Athens tunes while I was there. That's just what I needed! Oh, and I also have to express my undying love for the people who work the after-midnight shift at the Grill whenever I'm downtown. I never truly feel like I'm back in Athens till I have a taste of that sun burger with cheese! Oh yeah!

Athens, I've already said it too many times, but damn it if I won't say it again. I love this town!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Back to the insanity with the Caste, X-Ray Visionaries, and the Novanauts

Stepping back into the Caledonia last Friday night for the first time this summer was like returning home. Oh music scene, how I've missed you! Surrounded by the fashions and smells and hairstyles of the town, I was overwhelmed by happiness. Yay! All that I needed was the music, and I wasn't disappointed. First up was The Caste. They've got one of those bouncy, indie pop sounds that had us dancing in no time. Yes! Back in Athens, feeling good! When they started playing, I knew the show was going to be filled with fun.

Then, just after the Caste finished, Valdosta band X-Ray Visionaries brought the fun to a whole new level. It was freaking crazy! They immediately caught my interest by hanging a sign off their keyboard that said something like "You can never have too many cats." Haha! Apparently, named after a song by Math The Band, I could only describe their sound as discordant indie gameboy music with a big shot of joy. Oh man, I couldn't stop smiling as they played. Really, they reminded me A TON of one of my very favorite non-Athens indie bands Lemon Demon (I urge you to check them out too if you're a fan of hilariously unique and unbelievably catchy tunes). I suppose that makes sense since the Visionaries list Lemon Demon as one of their influences on MySpace. Too cool. And then, when I thought I had seen it all, they whipped out a keytar. A KEYTAR! Oh, the insanity! But the craziness didn't stop here. During their last few songs, they got their friends in the front row involved, encouraging them to leap around the venue and even getting the guys to go shirtless for one tune. And yes, I have to admit with a sigh that I know the guy who took this as a cue to rip off his pants and throw them across the stage causing a rather quick exodus from the Caledonia. From what I know of this guy, he's never been much of a fan of pants. Luckily, though the band kept on rockin' their indie tunes and jamming on their keytar. What a set!

Then, as the night came to an end, it was time for the Novanauts to play us out in their downtown Athens debut. Now I've seen some incarnation of this band three times, and I've gotta say, every show they do is different. This time the band rocked their wonderfully constructed electronic pop tunes as a duo in front of their ever-impressive giant screens of color and art. Nice. And I particularly loved their last song The Cause. Very good stuff! Oh man, though, I still can't get over how they managed to nearly fill up the venue for a summer show. These guys were freshmen just last year, and already they're proving themselves to be a band to watch in Athens. I mean, wow, they were headliners last Friday, and with their ever-growing fanbase, they're certainly going places! It's always a delicious treat for the ears to see them.

What a night! And the best part is, this is just a small taste of the Athens tunes I'll hear this summer. Just two more weeks till Athfest!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Off to Athens!

Looks like I'm a bit late today, but that's because I'm heading to Athens for the weekend! Yay! Not certain I'll have internet for the next few days, but you can be sure I'll be making the most of these few days on the ATH scene. Good news is, if things go as planned, this will be my last summer away from my beloved city. Yes! Party it up, my friends! And if you're in Athens too, don't forget this month's concert picks!

Oh, and while you're waiting for the night to start, enjoy this awkwardly insane music video from Mud Scholar which is sure to leave you uncomfortable in all the right places!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Don't be that guy!

Sign in the 40 Watt

They're there at nearly every show, waiting in the darkness. Hidden amongst the excited fans and the curious listeners, they usually look like unassuming guys and gals. Don't be fooled, though. Once that band you've been dying to hear steps onstage, they'll make their presence known... Look out! It's ranting time. Here come the annoying ones!

Interestingly enough one of the most awesome shows I've ever seen, the Meat Puppets/Dead Confederate rocksplosion, had two such characters of this questionable nature. Specimen number one was quite a memorable chap. From the moment, Dead Confederate stepped onstage, this guy was screaming out "WALKER!" so loud that nobody could hear anything else. Now, a fan to band connection is certainly a wonderful thing, but this guy just wouldn't stop. Before the song started - "WALKER!" Right in the middle of that wild chord progression - "WALKER!" During that meaningful pause in the song - "WALKER!" And of course as the song came to an end - "WALKER!" Each time he yelled, he swayed and bumped into everyone around him, causing people to fall all over each other. Finally, Walker asked him what was up... Turned out this guy had strung Walker's guitar for him once. All that yelling for that? Well, O... K... At least, he was done then, right? Wrong! Two songs later, he was back to yelling out his favorite name.

He had to be the only one, though, right? Well, 40 Watt's a big place, apparently roomy enough for two such classy creatures. The second was a shirtless guy who got more than a little bit excited at the sight of Meat Puppet singer Cris's tattoos. After screaming and stretching awkwardly to try to touch the tattoos, he finally heaved himself up onto the stage with clearly one thing on his mind: MUST. ABSORB. TATTOOS'. MAGICAL. POWERS. Before he even got to Cris, security guys leapt onstage like ninjas and picked him up as if he were a piece of band equipment. Cris even helped them out as they carried this specimen off the stage and out of the venue! Now that, I can say, was quite a sight! Despite all this, I'm lucky enough to still remember this show as one of the most spectacular ones of the year... That's how you know the music just had to be beyond unbelievable!

Of course, this wasn't the only show plagued by such ridiculous personages! At more shows than I can count, there's always that one guy who doesn't quite understand that dancing is meant to be a nonviolent endeavor. I've seen several fights break out right in front of me when people react less than enthusiastically to being whacked in the face and kicked in the shins by someone who claims to have been just "getting into the music." What about that drunk guy that decides to pour beer all over everyone? Just no. And we can't forget that guy who always tries to crowd surf on a top of a relatively sparse crowd of fans... That never ends well!

So who's the most memorable of all these people for me? Well, at the Of Montreal show in February, there was this one girl who, using her head as a sort of battering ram, fell against people in the crowd in a very awkward manner until they moved aside to let her pass. Honestly, I'm still not sure whether she was just really high or a complete genius because she did actually manage to successfully maneuver her way to the very front right beside the stage. I suppose I wouldn't necessarily put her into the exact same category as all of the rest of these characters, but she sure was, um, unique. Oh, the sights you'll see at shows!

Moral of the story: have fun, go wild, yes, but PLEASE don't be any of these people! Oh, and if you have any crazy stories of your own about these ridiculous creatures, comment and share them with us below!

Friday, June 4, 2010

A rave party in Athens, Greece and other revelations

Who wants to go to a rave party? Well, apparently the people of Athens, Greece do. At least once a week, someone will search for some wild raves in their local Grecian area and end up on this site. Gotta love Google, right? :) Well, before I go on, here are some links those people might want to check out instead:
Ravelinks | Spraci | Google Search | Bing Search
Must respect everyone's right to party, after all!

Not from Greece? Well, our own Athens, Georgia continues to be a pretty happening place too! June's concert picks entry is probably the best evidence that I can give for that. Oh man, the sheer amount of awesome shows on this list still blows me away!

Apparently, though, rave parties and other events aren't the only things people search for. One of the cool things about being a blogger is getting a sort of inside look at what's on everyone's minds. Certain bands, events, and local personalities are clear favorites around the 'net. People from as far away as Switzerland and Brazil are yearning for a taste of our local tunes! And you know what's even cooler? With this info, you can usually guess which bands are going to blow up onto the national/international scene too. A prime example of some thoroughly searched-for rising stars are Atlanta-based rockers, The Constellations. When I first saw them last summer, their name was already on the tip of everyone's tongues, but they weren't really that well-known yet. Then, next thing I knew, they were signed with Virgin Records, touring with Snoop Dogg, and putting out a VERY NotSafeForWork (R-Rated) music video on Insane how things happen, right? So here's a little super secret hint for you... If you haven't already, I'd definitely go see Wowzer Bowser, Reptar, and Bambara as soon as you possibly can!

And, word around the 'net is, Athfest's on everyone's minds too! A quick check on their site reveals that nearly all of the bands have been announced and that wristbands just went sale at an awesome price too. Oh and don't forget... Today's the LAST DAY to VOTE for the Flagpole Athens Local Music Awards! Do it. You know you want to.

And lastly, here's a little something that's much too cool to ignore. It's looking like our pals Chris McKay and the Critical Darlings have a great chance of opening for KISS in Charlotte. Whoa! Thing is, they need our help. They've got a bit more info up on their myspace, so be sure to check it out and give them a unique chance to represent the ATH!

Happy searching, voting, and raving, my friends!