Monday, November 29, 2010

Kristen's Concert Picks: Heating it up with December's jams

December has arrived, bearing the gift of tunes! Athens bands sure know how end a year the right way. Take a break from it all, and check out these amazing shows!

Thurs, Dec 2: Deaf Judges (FINAL SHOW) @ 8 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
Kicking off a month of rockin' tunes, some of Athens' favorite rappers Deaf Judges will be dropping the beat for the last time at the Caledonia. They'll definitely be missed! Joining them for a lineup like no other will be noise rock blog favorites Bambara and the awesome Gift Horse. You just can't miss this show!

Tues, Dec 7: Squidmas 2010 @ 9:30 PM @ 40 Watt
It's that time of year again! SQUIDMAS 2010 IS HERE! I'm so excited! Every year, Doctor Squid and friends top the previous year's festivities with even more unimaginable festive cheer. With the happiness-inducing Warm Fuzzies and a Romanenko spin-off band Flesh and Blood on the bill as well, this year's party is sure to brilliant. Ring in the holidays with Squidmas!

Wed, Dec 15: Tealvox @ 10 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
Longtime blog favorites Tealvox are bringing their awesome tunes to us once more to rock the middle of our month. Celebrate the end of finals with these guys!

Thurs, Dec 16: Pholksinger Josh @ 5:30 PM @ Terrapin Brewery
In the mood for some harmonica? Well then, Pholksinger Josh is your man! Get ready for a righteous mix of folk-insfused songs!

Fri, Dec 17: The Orkids & the Athens band @ 8 PM @ 40 Watt
YEAH, I can never get enough of the Orkids! You won't be able to keep from dancing to their pop tunes. Also, at this show, the Athens band begins their three day takeover of our town's stages. Too cool!

Sat, Dec 18: Love Tractor (Jon Guthrie Tribute show) @ 7 PM @ 40 Watt
In honor of Jon Guthrie, a musician our city dearly misses, a lineup of some of Athens finest are gathering together to play a wonderful tribute show. Featuring one of the music scene's founding bands Love Tractor, another appearance by our young favorites the Athens band, and tons of others, this is guaranteed to be wild!

Sun, Dec 19: the Athens band @ 8 PM @ the Melting Point
Couldn't catch them at the 40 Watt? Well, don't miss your chance to see these rockers take the Melting Point by storm with their unique mix of covers and original tunes. Other young rockers Second Suns will be taking the stage at this show as well. You've gotta see it!

Fri, Dec 31: Of Montreal @ 8 PM @ 40 Watt
New Year's Eve 2010. OF MONTREAL. I don't think there could ever be a better combination! Insanity reigns supreme with this band, so I'm sure this show will be nothing short of spectacular! Buy your tickets early 'cause I know this one will sell out fast! CAN'T WAIT!

Dress warmly, my friends! This December's going to be incredible!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Of Echo's Playlist and Turkey Days

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I hope you all are feasting up a storm today!

So what makes you thankful on this fine day of food and family? As for me, I'm most grateful for my pals, my family, my ever-more-ridiculous wardrobe, my always-growing list of majors, my continuing ability to hear, my extensive collection of Harry Potter knick knacks, my rather frightening assortment of knee socks, and something else... I can't quite put my finger on it... Of course! This lovely music scene of ours! After all, how could I not be thankful for something that just keeps giving like it does?

Lately, I've been reminiscing, so my playlist for the past few weeks has been largely filled with my eternal Crumbling Arches favorites. Namely:
...among MANY others. Favorite tunes of the week by bands not named Crumbling Arches include:
One more thing before I leave you for a deliciously mouth-watering slice of pumpkin pie. If you're going to be around the Atlanta area tomorrow (November 26), you won't want to miss the unbelievably spectacular lineup of the Whigs, Futurebirds, and Bambara over at Variety Playhouse at 8 PM. What I wouldn't give to be there! I can guarantee you, it's going to be wild. Embrace the awesomeness! Happy eating, you guys!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Crumbling Arches: THE END OF AN ERA

To call Crumbling Arches my favorite band in the world would be an understatement. If I loved these guys any more than I do, they'd probably have to put me in the crazy house. Seriously. As the band that's most responsible for bringing me into the Athens music scene, motivating me to find and follow my own dreams, and giving me the most spectacular memories like my insane birthday party last year, I can't thank them enough. And somewhere along the way, I was lucky enough to become friends with all of these awesome guys too. Crumbling Arches may have just played their final show, but this band will always rock a huge piece of my heart.

Attending their final show was as bittersweet as I knew it would be. I've been mentally preparing myself for this for quite some time now, but seeing the band in all its glory just like in the old days brought back a veritable flood of memories. They played through some of the highlights of their body of work, songs that span over the more than eight years that they've been together. Several of the tunes were from the very beginning of the band's existence, long before I had ever gotten a taste of their sound. Purely rockin'! And, rather spectacularly, as the show wound to an end, they thanked me and other fans that have been there through it all by name. Nothing can beat a band who truly loves their fans back! Most tragically, though, the set itself was much too short. I wasn't ready for it to be over. It still hadn't really hit me that this was the last time they would all be playing together like this.

Luckily, however, their final note belonged to a song I've been dying to hear as it was recorded many years ago, a song that I had never gotten to see performed in its original version in all my years of loving this band. Phantom, the band's notorious Phantom of the Opera cover, brought me full circle again with an epic finish that involved Alex perching atop Zachary's shoulders and smacking the drums with reckless abandon, lots of delicious falsetto, and just pure magic. Phantom was the very first recorded song I ever heard from Crumbling Arches all those long years ago. There could be no greater finish than finally seeing that tune performed live at the end of their final show!

It's only just starting to hit me that I won't get to see them again like this. Singers/ guitarists Brian McGaw and Alex McKelvey are off to New York in less than a month, fully ready to debut a sure-to-be-awesome brand new joint music project there to complement their amazing solo acts Aman Amun and Mud Scholar. Ever-smiling bassist Ian Hennessee will be jetting to Africa with the Peace Corps soon, and Zachary Hennessee will be working at an environmental consulting firm in Atlanta which is just brilliant. I will miss this band and these people more than I could ever express in words. If ever there comes a day that these guys reunite to play once more, you can bet I'll be in the front row, ready to sing along to their tunes just like I always do!

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's Party Time: WUOGfest 2010 with Oryx & Crake, Venice is Sinking, and Reptar!

Downtown Athens is the perfect place for a party, no doubt about it! Given my tendency to throw birthday parties two weeks after my actual birthday, I was on the lookout for a rockin' linuep of bands sometime around the 13th. I didn't have to search for long... WUOGfest featuring blog favorites Venice is Sinking and Reptar was prepared to take over the 40 Watt that very night!

So, on Saturday, my friends and I headed to the Watt dressed in our ridiculous best. Silly hats, feather boas, and condom dresses ruled the night! But enough about my party... what about the bands?

Well, I've been hearing buzz about Oryx and Crake for a while now, so I was quite overjoyed to learn that they would be playing just before Venice is Sinking on this night of nights. Truth be told, I'm always a bit skeptical of bands with an incomprehensible number
of members since, in the past, I've seen just as many multiple-personed bands give the audience a cacophony of noise as I've seen play cohesive music. Lucky for us, Oryx and Crake definitely belongs in the latter category. They managed to throw together a banjo, a violin, a cello, an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, drums, a bass guitar, computer-generated layers, and vocals to create a sound that's just plain amazing. I'd describe their music as beautiful pop rock with an undeniably awesome beat. This is one discovery I'm incredibly happy to have made. I'd love to see this supergroup rock the stage again sometime soon.

And then, it was Venice is Sinking's turn to fill the fans' ears with their tunes. Now, clearly, I can't get enough of this band. I honestly saw them perform twice this week. They're just that good... always. They're definitely one of the two bands I've written about most on this blog. So why do I love Venice is Sinking so much? Maybe it's their sound that transcends this world with its softness.
Maybe it's the fact that most of their songs have a lovely fun beat, perfect for groovin'. Or maybe it's because, at the end of every show, they gather together a massive crowd of band members from countless Athens bands to help them play and sing their wonderful song Bardstown Road. No matter what it is, their shows never cease to be amazing. Even better, at Saturday's show, they debuted a brand new song that I really enjoyed. Yup, it's true! I'll always come back for more.

No other band but Reptar could finish out a night like this. Reptar's particular brand of crazy is the sole reason why I knew no one would question my friends and I when we drew all over each other with body crayons. When you've got a band that plays their first song next to a bunch of people who seem to be building some sort of blanket fort onstage, nobody wonders about anybody's actions anymore. Now, if you've never seen them, Reptar is widely known as one of the most fun bands in Athens. Their Of Montreal-like antics are an attention-grabber every time, and their tunes never fail to drive the fans nuts and leave them dancing up a storm. Crowdsurfing was the act of the night on Saturday, and one of the members, Will Kennedy, even involved some of the fans in his music making as he had them hold up his giant drum so he could give us the beat standing on the edge of the stage. Accessories were a band favorite with umbrellas, giant fish, and road signs showing up onstage throughout their set. Even crazier, they peppered the crowd with large sheets of paper as they played so that, by the end, the floor of the 40 Watt looked like the site of some office building explosion. Madness truly has never been so much fun!

What a night that was! It definitely ranks as one of my top favorite birthday parties ever. Oh Athens, you give us all such joy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Attack of the Cowboys, Aliens, and Everything in Between: Yo Soybean, Kite to the Moon, and Misfortune500

Thursday night was a lovely break from all of the schoolwork that has been plaguing me lately. To start things off, I headed on over to catch a forever favorite, Venice is Sinking, play Live in the Lobby at the WUOG radio station. Then Dreamboat, whose members Claire and Paige you may recognize from Hope for Agoldensummer, gave us a taste of something purely beautiful and serene with their short set. The rock, however, didn't start till I stepped into the 40 Watt.

Now to my utter surprise, Yo Soybean had already taken the stage when I got there. Why is it that I'm always either extremely early or horribly, unfashionably late to shows? I'm never just on time! Tragic, indeed. Boy, am I glad I finally got to see at least half of their set, though. After hearing about them for quite a while, this experience was certainly looooong overdue. And I've gotta say, I really enjoyed their folksy, southern rock style with a hint of pop. Wow, these guys went wild onstage as they played. Clearly, they all, especially singer Nicholar Mallis, have a flair for the dramatics! Using everything from banjos to harmonicas, they jammed their way through a medley of movement-inducing tunes leading up to a rather awesome wall of sound. Absolutely, genuinely beautiful!

Next up were newer blog favorites, Misfortune500... not the Modern Skirts as they tried to lead you to believe. Don't let them fool you with their jokes! Oh, the ridiculousness! Most wonderfully, these guys brought the darkness with their set, and I loved their sound just as much as I did the first time I saw them. During the show, they gave us quite an awesome cover as well as a taste of one of their newest tunes, a song undeniably filled to the brim with rock. Great stuff! I have to admit, though, you know it's kind of a weird lineup when these two bands play one after another.

And speaking of weird, Kite to the Moon took the stage next, ready to give us an experience that can only be described as random (and that's coming from a person doesn't ever use that word). If you've never been to one of their shows before before, all you really have to know is that you're in for a crazy spectacle when you go to see these guys. Is it Halloween again? Kite to the Moon will, without a doubt, have you pondering this question during their set. Watching them this time around made me feel like I was observing some sort of gathering of circus clowns. Utterly insane. I can see why the Cowboys and Aliens theme was necessary to remotely tie these three bands together. Madness, I tell you! Madness!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Echo's Playlist: Weeks 3 & 4

These past two weeks have been insane for me! Have they been as crazy for you too?

Luckily, my music was there for me. Mud Scholar's refreshingly honest tunes have definitely been a big help in getting me through these few weeks. After all, there's nothing like singing along to an incredibly explicit song right before a major exam! After pulling three all-nighters in a row, though, I realized that listening to these tunes put me in immediate danger of blurting out something wildly inappropriate during one of my group presentations. :D To prevent this, I delved straight into a medley of some of my very favorite Disney songs. I mean, who doesn't love Disney songs? Here's my rather ridiculous mix!

George Carlin is My Obi Wan [very explicit] by Mud Scholar: FREE album A Must for the Dick on Bandcamp

I'll Make A Man Out of You from the Mulan Soundtrack: Song and album in iTunes

Elitist's Curse by Mud Scholar: FREE album A Must for the Dick on Bandcamp

Part of Your World from the Little Mermaid Soundtrack: Song and album in iTunes

Be Prepared from the Lion King Soundtrack: Song and album in iTunes

What tunes have been dancing through your head lately?

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Night of Mystery with Qurious and Abandon the Earth Mission

Last Friday night was undoubtably a night of mystique and wonder, where flights of fancy took wing and soared into our ears! As I walked to the Caledonia through the icy darkness of downtown Athens, I thought I knew what to expect, having seen both bands before. I was unprepared, however, for the magic in store for those who braved the cold.

Qurious was up first, ready to give us a show that matched the band's name perfectly. A man and a woman with glowing faces appeared before a background of green stars and illuminated instruments as the atmospheric melodies wafted through the room. There is always a danger, with trance-inducing, ambient music like theirs, of being too repetitive, but Qurious never had this problem. Though each song had no concrete sound, every tune differed greatly from the one that preceded it. Nature sounds helped to create a peaceful, unique environment that bordered on the realm of the other-wordly. Their style could truly only be described as larger than life. As their set drifted to an end, they debuted for us a curious brand new tune with a very modern backing track that I really enjoyed. Quite an ethereal show!

Then Abandon the Earth Mission, one of my Athfest favorites, stepped onstage through a veil of fog and red lights. Mystical sounds surrounded the audience as they played their nearly tangible yet ever mysterious tunes. I felt as if I were soaring through space and time, stars flying beside me as as I listened. Adding a bit of rock guitar to the melodies, their style had an awesome hint of pop to it which I quite liked. Their sound never ceases to impress me. What an experience of the mind!

Without a doubt, this was an exquisite combination of bands and tunes! This show was definitely worth grappling with the vein-freezing weather to see.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Kristen's Concert Picks: November's tunes will drive you wild!

There's no doubt about it... the 40 Watt's the place to be this November! You can stay warm while rocking out to all of your favorite tunes. And there's plenty of other shows to tickle your fancy here too. Exciting!

Thurs, Nov 4: OK Go @ 8 PM @ 40 Watt
You remember that song Here It Goes Again with those guys on the treadmills doing that awesome choreographed routine? Well, they're coming to Athens and hopefully bringing their antics with them! This should be fun.

Sat, Nov 6: Krush Girls @ 9:30 PM @ 40 Watt
YEAH, KRUSH GIRLS! Everyone's favorite Athens DJs are coming out of hiding once again to rock the dance floor!

Sat, Nov 6: Abandon the Earth Mission @ 10:00 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
Otherwordly, electronic sounds engulf you as you listen to Abandon the Earth Mission. Ah, wonderful!

Wed, Nov 10: Wowser Bowser @ 10:00 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
Now, I've only seen this band once, but boy, did they make an impression. Trust me, if you're looking for some fun, this is the band for you!

Thurs, Nov 11: Misfortune500 & Yo Soybean @ 9:30 PM @ 40 Watt
Well, the second week of November's definitely shaping up to be an explosion of amazing tunes! Newer favorites Misfortune500 are taking over the 40 Watt with Yo Soybean, a band that's been on my radar for a while. Named the Cowboys and Aliens Dance Party, this show is guaranteed to be one you won't want to miss!

Fri, Nov 12: Modern Skirts CD release @ 9:30 PM @ 40 Watt
Modern Skirts is just one of those bands that you've got to have seen if you're into the music scene. Best of all, they're releasing their brand new album at this show as well!

Fri, Nov 12: Doctor Squid & the Orkids @ 9:00 PM @ Bad Manor
WOW, I've dreamed of this lineup since I first saw the Orkids at Athfest! Happiness-inducing Doctor Squid and the dance-inducing Orkids team up with a bunch of other great bands in a benefit called Music for Mali!

Fri, Nov 12: Aman Amun @ 7:00 PM @ UGA's Lamar Dodd School of Art
Longtime electronic favorite Aman Amun will give us yet another cutting edge musical experience at this semester's Art X exit show. Awesome!

Sat, Nov 13: Reptar & Venice is Sinking @ 9:00 PM @ 40 Watt
More pairings of brilliance! UGA's radio station WUOG is giving us a lineup of all their favorites, and it looks like they've picked some great ones. Get ready for a 5 band show you're sure to enjoy!

Thurs, Nov 18: Crumbling Arches (FINAL SHOW) @ 9:00 PM @ Farm 255
It's no secret that Crumbling Arches has been my favorite band since before this blog was born. Well, the end of an era has come! Don't miss their FREE farewell show at Farm 255. This is going to be an event to remember forever!

Fri, Nov 19: James Husband @ 8:00 PM @ 40 Watt
An Of Montreal member's curious side project, if you missed the famous band when they were here in September, here's your chance to hear what some of them do on their off days. Cool stuff, indeed.

Fri, Nov 26: Drivin' N Cryin' & Trances Arc @ 8:00 PM @ 40 Watt
Well-known southern rockers Drivin' N Cryin' are headed our way to give us a taste of their live tunes. Opening for them is local act Trances Arc, a band that's been on my list of ones to see for a while. This should be a rockin' show!

There it is! A massively impressive list of wild shows ready to fill our ears with sound this November. Got another show we just can't miss? Post it below for the world to see! And naturally, this list will be updated with more amazing shows as the month progresses, so keep checking back often. Have an awesome month of tunes, my friends!