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Monday, May 2, 2011

Risking life and limb for the love of Reptar

Madness. Sheer insanity. I am still near speechless several days later. Reptar's Friday night EP release party of Oblangle Fizz Y'all definitely joins the ranks as one of the craziest nights I've ever had on the scene!

Gainesville, Florida's Oh Fortuna kicked off the dance party with their bouncy yet sweet sound, a style which melded perfectly with headliners Reptar. For just the beginning of a mysterious show hidden away in the basement of some secret location, I was amazed at how crowded the place had already become. An atmosphere of excitement and fun pervaded the audience as they listened, anticipation ever growing for the events of the night. By the time the second band began to play, the place was absolutely packed.

And then, about an hour after midnight, the moment everyone was waiting for finally arrived. By some miracle, while the band was setting up, I managed to maneuver my way to the very front right beside the stage, thanks in part to all of those crowd-dodging skills I've learned from Athfests past. I hadn't forgotten just how raucous Reptar's fans get, what with all of the inflatables and falling people I've been crushed by at their other shows, but I was truly unprepared for what was to come.

Fog filled the air as one of Athens' most popular bands stepped onstage, ready to treat their fans to tunes guaranteed to leave them dancing up a storm. Their wild, indie pop tunes were in top form at this show, and the hundreds of people in attendance just couldn't get enough of them. Crowd surfers passed above the fans in a constant stream as overeager people surged forward, pushing those up front onto the stage and into amps, instruments, and even band members. Beer seemingly flowed in waterfalls from the less than sober, bursting forth from every angle to drench the listeners. The sheer excitement for Reptar manifested itself in what could only be called an evolved mosh pit, with people hanging onto poles for dear life, amps threatening to topple over, long hair getting pulled this way and that, speakers breaking into pieces, and flailing arms and legs injuring and bruising nearly everyone. Those of us closest to the stage became fast friends as we linked arms to protect each other from the onslaught of rabid fans. The band itself played through a purely awesome set which included at least one brand new song. The crowd's love for Reptar was overwhelming throughout the show, and they were eagerly encored for two more songs as their set ended. Fans screamed for the tune Houseboat Babies, and the band delivered, finishing off their portion of the show with their biggest hit. I've gotta say, this show was probably the most dangerous experience of my life and quite possibly the most fun I've ever had!

As we all recuperated, dried off, and regained the use of our limbs, West Palm, Florida's Sumsun finished out the evening with a set of calm, wordless electronic tunes played against an eye-catching light show. Such an unbelievably wild night!

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