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Monday, October 4, 2010

More than Music: the Fans

There'a no doubt about it... the fans make the show! You could be the best band that ever lived, but if there's no one there to hear you, did you really make a sound? Some bands go above and beyond to make sure that their fans know just how much they're loved and to keep them always coming back for more. These bands' fans are much more than simple spectators. They become part of the show itself! And often, the fans respond in turn with some rather wild displays of affection of their own.

About a year ago, the Warm Fuzzies brought their tunes to some concert newbies at UGA Freshman night and totally made the show an all-encompassing experience! Their smile-inducing songs already had the crowd pumped, and to top it off, they brought some girls from
the audience onstage to hold up cue cards to let everyone know just when to yell the title words of the song, "HEY MILUNKA!" That sure is one way to get the fans involved and make some new fans in the process!

Bands like Excali Brah, Deaf Judges, the Athens band, and Reptar drive their fans wild by essentially throwing parties during their shows. At their Athfest 2009 concert, Excali Brah threw an outdoor rave party in mid-daylight complete with glowsticks for every fan. They also had us move up and down in unison to different parts of their songs. We were all in the show! Similarly, Deaf Judges, the Athens band, and Reptar have all been known to toss inflatables into the crowd to keep them on their toes. Exciting (and a little frightening) indeed!

And Reptar even takes it a step further. Their love for the fans truly knows no bounds. After this year's Athfest performance, they passed around handmade band shirts to all of the fans
they could reach. And when I say handmade, I'm not kidding. These were t-shirts of all kinds of styles and designs, handpainted and embellished for all of their beloved Reptards. And with these guys, the love isn't just one-sided either. Fans come to their shows decked out in all sorts of costumes and covered in war paint in support of their favorite crazy band!

Now you want to know about something truly original? Aman Amun's got a way to make the crowd a part of his act that's totally unique. Bordering on antics, his innovative method's got everyone yearning to touch him! Using the iPhone strapped to his chest that enables him to control his entire performance, he can manipulate the music and add interference with just his fingers. More recently, he's chosen to take it to the next level by jumping off the stage and letting the fans alter the music themselves. Sometimes it causes some hilariously awkward moments when the fans don't quite understand where they're supposed to put their fingers though. Ah, fun times!

And finally, a discussion of fan love just isn't complete without mentioning Doctor Squid. I still have never seen a fanbase more loyal than theirs. When the fans sing along to their every word, Doctor Squid will often let them take over the song. And their love for the fans doesn't just stop with the tunes. They bring fun to every aspect of their show. Last Halloween, they hosted a show where fans got in cheaper just for arriving in costume. And who can forget their Squidmas celebrations? They give their fans some amazing treats with their festive tunes that blend original songs with holiday favorites, and the fans respond joyously, dressing the part with absolute glee!

These are just some of the ways the bands of Athens spice up their shows and shower love upon their listeners. It's clear to see why fans just can't get enough of these bands! But fan love isn't the only thing that makes a show an unforgettable experience. Keep a look out for the next entry of More than Music!

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

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