Thursday, June 30, 2011

Athfest 2011: Futurebirds own the stage, southern style!

Friday, June 24th, 2011
Futurebirds

As nightfall arrived, local southern rockers Futurebirds stepped onstage to give us another taste of their awesome tunes. I've been a fan of these guys for years, and I couldn't be any more jazzed about their recent takeover of the scene! Headliners of this year's Athfest and winners of the Flagpole Awards' Album of the Year, Best Country/Southern Rock Band, and Artist of the Year, Futurebirds are certainly making a name for themselves. As the crowd awaited their set, people began singing the Atlanta Braves tomahawk song for reasons that escape me completely though, I must admit, it was fun. Then, just before kicking off the tunes, one of the members of the band performed an impromptu mic check song. Nice! Hey, I'm a sucker for bands that make even the mic check a part of the show. Then the set began. With hair flying everywhere, the guys threw themselves into the music as the fans went wild, rocking out and singing along to each and every song. High energy was king as they played their hearts out, standing at the very edge of the stage right above the crowd. No question about it, Futurebirds just owned the main stage this Athfest. It was truly a show to remember!

For all of our massive coverage of Athfest 2011, from preparation guides to articles on some of the best featured bands and shows, click here! More entries on all the bands and madness of the festival will be posted daily, so be sure to check back often. Plus, get ready for show footage and Athfest vlogs coming soon to the Echoreyn of Athens YouTube channel as well!

Athfest 2011: Centro-matic & Thomas Hardy and the Outfit rock the storm


Friday, June 24th, 2011
Centro-matic & Thomas Hardy and the Outfit

Soon it was headlining Denton, Texas band Centro-matic's turn to take the main stage. Their upbeat, radio-ready soft rock tunes still maintained a bit of an indie feel that left the crowd grooving to all of the songs that filled their set. Though not from Athens, their love for our town was obvious, and the fans reciprocated, weathering the rain and the retreating thunder in droves to see them in action.

Just a while later, the crowd traipsed through the cool, wet air over to the Hull Street stage to catch Thomas Hardy & the Outfit. I've been a massive fan of Dead Confederate for years, so I'm always intrigued by lead singer Hardy Morris's other projects though I'll admit I have high expectations for them that cannot be easily satisfied. This particular foray into the soft indie folk genre, however, blew me away! Hardy's duets with the female vocalist in the band, accented with a hint of a southern twang, were really just powerfully beautiful. Their melodies had a quality that different markedly from Dead Confederate, yet held their own in a delicious way. I definitely hope to see these guys and girls perform together again!

For all of our massive coverage of Athfest 2011, from preparation guides to articles on some of the best featured bands and shows, click here! More entries on all the bands and madness of the festival will be posted daily, so be sure to check back often. Plus, get ready for show footage and Athfest vlogs coming soon to the Echoreyn of Athens YouTube channel as well!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Athfest 2011: Lera Lynn vs. the lightning strike

Friday, June 24th, 2011
Lera Lynn

As the sky opened up and rain poured down upon the eager fans standing before the main stage, local singer-songwriter and this year's Flagpole Awards winner for Best Americana, Lera Lynn, began her set accompanied by a rockin' full band. The southern indie folk sound, led by her lovely powerful voice and a great beat, entranced the crowd as she played through the growing storm. Strong winds and the ever-approaching thunder became part of the set as it blended with her music almost seamlessly. The rain began to fall in torrents as lightning flashes illuminated the cloud-covered sky, but still we stayed to see this girl play. Then, in what is simultaneously my favorite moment from Athfest 2011 as well as the most overwhelmingly terrifying event I've witnessed in a while, the drummer lowered his drumstick towards the drum to create the final beat of a song when an insanely loud crack of thunder echoed through the air. For a moment, everyone froze in time, consumed by shock at Zeus's own contribution to Lera Lynn's tune... And then, the crowd ran for cover, utterly frightened but wildly energized by the experience.

Along with many of the fans, I huddled under the 40 Watt marquee, determined to keep all of my electronics dry as I watched the festival's volunteers rush to cover all of the amps and equipment on stage with plastic. It was not long before news came to us of the source of that inexplicable crash. Apparently, the roof of Trapeze, a bar right next to the Hull Street stage, was struck by lightning, sending bricks flying through the air. Mercifully, there was only one person who sustained minor injuries (so minor that they refused medical help) which is a miracle considering the thousands of people in the vicinity. We, the people of Athens, are indeed a lucky bunch!

Waiting for the sky to clear and hoping to avoid any more incidents with the vicious lightning, I remained by the door of the 40 Watt for quite a while as the Athfest volunteers began sweeping the water off the main stage to prepare for the next band. Turns out, my choice of location was just brilliant because, through the door, I had the chance to feed my ears a taste of 'Powers' incredible tunes as they did their soundcheck inside the venue. Tragically, I've never seen this band with my own two eyes yet, but now having heard their sound and having missed their unbelievable shows two Athfests in a row, they top my list of bands to catch in action as soon as I can! Finally, after what seemed like an hour but was probably not nearly that long, the storm ceased, leaving behind it the coolest temperatures we've had at Athfest in over three years. Making my way out of the cozy little alcove, I headed for the main stage, eager to find out just what would happen next!

For all of our massive coverage of Athfest 2011, from preparation guides to articles on some of the best featured bands and shows, click here! More entries on all the bands and madness of the festival will be posted daily, so be sure to check back often. Plus, get ready for show footage and Athfest vlogs coming soon to the Echoreyn of Athens YouTube channel as well!

Athfest 2011: Easter Island and Oryx & Crake start things off


Friday, June 24th, 2011
Easter Island & Oryx and Crake

Late Friday afternoon, I headed downtown through the waning heat, positively brimming with excitement and ready to bask in the awesome tunes of this year's Athfest. Local 5-piece band Easter Island was the first to rule the main stage with their uplifting take on soft, melodic rock. The inspiring power of their rhythmic drumming had a cohesive strength that molded and guided each of their songs, and their smooth and sweet vocals lent an airy yet driven feel to the tunes. Truly, Easter Island was a wonderful way to begin the festival.

Then, just before it was time to head over to the Hull Street stage for Oryx & Crake, I was summoned over to the backstage area and asked, to my great surprise, if I would introduce one of the bands playing later that weekend. Being the generally shy creature that I am, it took a bit of convincing, but finally I agreed to announce Lingo on Sunday morning. Then my pals - who had managed to sneak up behind me while I was absorbed in the set - hightailed it over to the Hull Street stage with me, just a block away. I've got to take this chance commend those who set up Athfest this year for switching the layout back to what it was during Athfest 2009 where the Kidsfest area owned the street between Hull and Lumpkin, and the main stage and second stage were easily accessible from one another. I've also got to give a virtual pat on the back to the person who decided to alternate sets between the stages instead of having two bands play longer sets at the same time forcing us, the fans, to choose which amazing band to see.

Up and coming Atlanta band Oryx & Crake were just setting up as we arrived, so we took seats near the front in anticipation of the tunes. I've been lucky enough to see this band before, way back in November, and their soft, indie psych rock was just as I'd remembered it. Cello, keys, acoustic guitar, and drums blended to create such a beautifully unique style of melody! As dark clouds rolled in above us, and thunder echoed in the distance, the band responded in turn, drumming with a power that sounded just like nature's own rhythm. Then the wind picked up, cooling off the crowd as one of the members of the band whipped out a musical saw. Too cool! Only moments later, though, Oryx & Crake's very first Athfest set ended, just before a scattering of raindrops began to fall. Athfest 2011 was certainly off to a great start, but with these dubious weather conditions, would our time on the scene be cut short?

For all of our massive coverage of Athfest 2011, from preparation guides to articles on some of the best featured bands and shows, click here! More entries on all the bands and madness of the festival will be posted daily, so be sure to check back often. Plus, get ready for show footage and Athfest vlogs coming soon to the Echoreyn of Athens YouTube channel as well!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Athfest 2011: Putting the pole in the Flagpole Awards


Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
Flagpole Athens Music Awards show

Visualize the scene. Darkness falls over the Morton Theatre as people rush to find seats while an amusing animated video plays on the giant screen before them. As the video fades, two men walk onstage bearing an extremely large pole. The crowd waits in silence, anticipation flooding the room, while the men attach the pole to the stage and disappear. Moments later, the audience erupts in applause as two girls sporting our town's trademark colors of red and black leap onto the pole and spin, stripper-style, to kick off 2011's Flagpole Athens Music Awards show. Oh Athens, I would expect nothing less from you!

Following this wild display, our MC for the night, Luke Fields, took to the stage to give us his hilarious take on all things in the scene. Man, I hope he hosts every Flagpole Awards show from now on! It was truly comedy at its finest. And most awesomely, Kenosha Kid, the Flagpole Awards' resident house band and winners of Best Jazz Band two years running, was back to fill every gap in the show with their fun and upbeat tunes. These guys just never cease to be amazing!

Seated between my friends from WUOG, UGA's student-run radio station, and Jordan of Athens Music Junkie fame, I was in the prime spot to relish in the sheer music scene madness of the show, and I loved every minute of it. Highlights of the first half of the show included a few soft and sweet acoustic melodies from Ruby Kendrick, an adult puppet show featuring sock puppets that redefined the concept of "dirty socks," and a short set of ethereal ambient tunes from Abandon the Earth Mission who were truly at the top of their form for the Awards. Best of all, though, were the two winning music videos shown right before a short intermission, the Athens band's "Animals (Mama Said)" for Audience Choice Video and "The Fear" by Lovett for Best Music Video. Wow, were they incredible! Readers of the blog will have already seen the laugh-inducing "Animals," but the awe-inspiring video for "The Fear" flew completely under my radar until the show. If you haven't seen these videos yet, be sure to check them out now!

Then just after the intermission, a followup animated video detailing the hilarious misadventures of a touring band, courtesy of local comic masters Flick Skinny, ushered in the second half of the show. After the video ended and more winners were announced, the influx of music began once more. Between Timmy Tumble's summersault during the band's super loud indie rock set, Lera Lynn's taste of soft, folk-twinged tunes, and the Gold Party's wonderfully unique, rolling tunes infused with strength and accompanied by the members of Powerkompany, the ear-engaging section of the show was just brilliant!

Comedy was rife throughout the conclusion of the show as well, thanks to Matt Hudgins and His Shit Hot Country Band. From the awarding of Grossest Athens Beard to Matt Hudgins while another bearded individual looked on sadly to the announcement of Best Upstart Band as "It's Woodfangs, assholes" when the band didn't garner the appropriate amount of applause, the Shit Hot Country Band guys were just made for this kind of thing! I'm definitely not much of a country fan, but I'd see one of their shows just for their banter, that's for sure. Then, after a dig at Stomp & Stammer courtesy of our MC, the 2011 Flagpole Athens Music Awards were over. All in all, I'd consider this year's show a raging success! Representatives from all but one of the winning bands were in attendance to accept their awards this time around, and the show lived up to its insanity quotient in a big way.

Once the Awards ended, we finished out the night at the 40 Watt's official Award Show After Party featuring a lineup of bands from Houston thanks to New West Records. We caught the last few soft rock tunes from Buxton before dancing up a storm to the upbeat pop rock of fog-covered band Wild Moccasins. What an awesome way to kick off Athfest 2011!

For all of our massive coverage of Athfest 2011, from preparation guides to articles on some of the best featured bands and shows, click here! More entries on all the bands and madness of the festival will be posted daily, so be sure to check back often. Plus, get ready for show footage and Athfest vlogs coming soon to the Echoreyn of Athens YouTube channel as well! Also, for a complete list of winners of the Flagpole Athens Music Awards 2011, check out the AMJ blog!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Partying it up at Athfest 2011. Be back soon!


Massive coverage of the festival starts next week! In the meantime, my friends, feel free to follow, like, and subscribe at the links below:

Echoryen of Athens Echoryen of Athens Echoryen of Athens

Hope to see you rockin' out downtown!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Athfest 2011: EoA's Guide to Athfest: Awards show tonight!


Ever been to the Grammys? Probably not, am I right? Well, don't miss your chance to be a part of Athens' own ridiculous version of the Grammys, the Flagpole Athens Music Awards! Here's your chance to don some classy attire (or really anything hanging in your closet that you've always wanted a chance to wear, be it a bloodstained t-shirt or a glittery banana hammock - hey, it's been done!) and make some bets on which bands will go home with the coveted Flagpole statuette. Plus you'll also get to catch short sets from electro-ambient wizards Abandon the Earth Mission, soft folk singer Lera Lynn, unique soft rockers the Gold Party, and many more! All you need to do is get yourself to the Morton Theatre tonight at 7:30 PM with $5 in hand ($10 if you haven't got a wristband). You'll even be able to pick up your wristbands right outside the venue if you signed up for the Will Call option online.

Trust me, you won't want to miss out on a second of the insanity that is the Flagpole Athens Music Awards!

And, if you haven't already, be sure to follow Echoreyn of Athens on Twitter for up-to-the-minute details on the award winners and all of the Athfest excitement! Also, you can 'like' us on Facebook for even more info about all the bands we'll catch at Athfest. Feel free to check out our YouTube channel after the festival ends for some rockin' videos of live performances and the annual Echoreyn of Athens Athfest Video Diary as well.

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See you at Athfest, my friends! And, hey, if you happen to spot me downtown, don't hesitate to say hello. Don't be a stranger! :) Oh wow, this is going to be so awesome. Athfest 2011, here we come!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Athfest 2011: EoA's Guide to Athfest: EoA goes MOBILE!


Just in time for Athfest 2011, we're unveiling a brand new feature of Echoreyn of Athens... the mobile app! Now you can check out EoA's festival show picks on your iPhone or iPod touch while you're downtown rockin' out. And this is only just the beginning. Our monthly series Kristen's Concert Picks is going mobile as well, and we'll be adding much more content to the app and altering it for many more mobile platforms in the coming months!

To download, all you need to do is visit http://www.echoreyn.com/ofathens (which differs slightly from our blog url) on your device and add the link to your home screen. Welcome, friends of the scene, to the modern age... How exciting is this!

Have comments or suggestions for the app? Shoot me an email at echoreyn@gmail.com.

Athfest 2011: EoA's Guide to Athfest: Kristen's Concert Picks


Ever since my very first Athfest years ago, I've thrown myself ears first into the massive list of bands playing the festival to narrow down a schedule of sets to see. However, when confronted with a lineup of nearly 200 bands, I hardly expect anyone else to be as insane as I am. That's why, this year, I'm giving you a list of tried and true favorites that you've just got to catch live if you haven't seen them yet.

Thurs, June 23:

Flagpole Athens Music Awards @ 8 PM @ Morton Theater
For me, Athfest begins with the Flagpole Athens Music Awards! I'll give you more info about this show tomorrow, so stay tuned.

MAXfest with Sam Sniper & Yo Soybean @ 7:30 PM @ MAX
Free with a wristband and just $3 without, this unofficial Athfest kickoff party will feature the tunes of 7 awesome bands including the curious stylings of blog favorite Sam Sniper and the folk rock of Flagpole Award finalist Yo Soybean. It's going to be a crazy, southern-twinged show, that's for sure!

Fri, June 24:

Oryx & Crake @ 6 PM @ Hull Street Stage
Over on the Hull Street stage, you'll get the chance to hear the beautiful, pop rock of Oryx & Crake. Get ready for the rockin' beat of their tunes!

Futurebirds @ 9 PM @ Pulaski Street Stage
One of the headliners at this year's Athfest, these southern rockers never fail to put on an awesome show. They're clearly going places as well, so catch them live while you can!

Misfortune500 @ 9 PM @ the Arch Bar
A two-hour unofficial Athfest set featuring the dark rock sound of blog favorite Misfortune500, this show will, no doubt, be incredible. Best of all, it's free regardless of whether you have a wristband, so don't miss it!

the Athens band @ 10 PM @ Bad Manor
These young rockers were breakout stars at last year's Athfest, and they've only become more amazing since then. Check out their full-stage takeover on Friday at Bad Manor! And if you aren't doing the venue crawl, you can catch them out on the KidsFest stage at 2 PM on Saturday as well.

Powerkompany @ 10 PM @ New Earth Music Hall
The dark but sweet melodies of Powerkompany will drive you wild over at New Earth on Friday night.

Tealvox @ 11 PM @ Bad Manor
Quality soft rock is the Tealvox way, and there's no question that their set will be awesome. Be there!

Manray @ 11 PM @ 40 Watt
Is dark, melodic rock your style? Then Manray's the band for you! Catch their set at the 40 Watt on Friday night.

The Orkids @ 12 AM @ Bad Manor
Catchy, dance-inducing pop is the order of the day with the Orkids. If you're in the mood for fun, you need to make your way to this show!

Venice is Sinking @ 1 AM @ Melting Point
An Athfest staple, the soft and beautiful melodies of Venice is Sinking are an absolute must!

Sat, June 25:

Dirty Athens featuring Bambara @ 6:30 PM @Caledonia
The time has come... This Saturday, top blog favorite Bambara will be playing their final show in Athens before they relocate to the NYC. Be sure to make your way over to the Caledonia for the free, day-long Dirty Athens celebration (not officially part of Athfest) that will feature more than ten amazing bands including the Bambara boys. The raging perfection of their noise rock sound will definitely be sorely missed!

Lazer/Wulf @ 9PM @ Caledonia
If intense, instrumental metal gets you excited, Lazer/Wulf will deliver what you truly crave.

Reptar @ 11:45 PM @ 40 Watt
Reptar is blowing up in a huge way, and their untamed pop style and crazy shenanigans make every one of their live shows an insane experience! Word to the wise... If it's your first Reptar show, avoid the front row and keep watch for flying objects. Things are guaranteed to get wild at the 'Watt for these guys!


Looks like Friday's the night for most of the old favorites which means that, on Saturday and Sunday, we've got a whole slew of brand new ones to discover. Remember: exploration is key, so I encourage you to check out all the bands you can find at Athfest 2011. Let this list just serve as a starting point to help keep you from getting lost in the massive sea of sights and rockin' sounds.

Also, we've got videos from Athfests past of many of these bands up on our Echoreyn of Athens YouTube channel if you want to get a feel for their sound. And hey, if you like what you see, feel free to subscribe! We'll be putting up footage from some of the best shows we see at Athfest this year once the festival ends.

Stay tuned for the unveiling of the brand new Echoreyn of Athens feature!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Athfest 2011: EoA's Guide to Athfest: Things to Bring


Echoreyn of Athens' Guide to Athfest
Things to Bring
  • Sunscreen
- It gets hot out there, so be sure to bring sunscreen and plenty of it, the higher the SPF, the better. You might also consider bringing along a hat. After all, tunes are no fun when you're burned to a crisp!

  • Water (and other hydrating drinks)
- Dehydration is a serious problem in Athfest-level heat, so make sure to keep yourself stocked with plenty of liquids especially since drinks bought at the festival can be pretty expensive. Also, if you're feeling overheated, be sure to step into some shops or seek out some shade. I've had heat stroke at Athfest several times, and trust me, it's no picnic.

  • A Raincoat or Umbrella
- It rains at Athfest almost every year, and this time around, it's practically a guarantee, so come prepared. Since all of the shows during the day are outdoors, it's a very likely possibility that you will get wet. Also, if you're on Twitter, you can follow @athensgaweather for in-depth weather details.

  • Snacks
- If you'll be spending all day at the festival, you'll need more than just the free samples you collect from the booths to keep you on your feet. Bring along a sandwich or some energy bars for the road.

  • Money
- Chances are, you'll find a band whose tunes you just love. Or maybe, something in one of the artists' booths will catch your eye. Or hey, perhaps you'll be craving a bit more food and drink than you brought with you. No matter what, you'll need to remember to bring some cash so that that CD, t-shirt, or Snow Cone can be yours!

  • Wristband and ID
- If you're participating in the nighttime venue crawl, this one's a must! I suggest keeping your wristband on throughout the weekend (it's waterproof) or attaching it to something you'll always bring with you, like a purse.

  • Schedule of Bands You Want to See
- Make a list of bands you're dying to catch in action along with all the info on where and when they're playing so that you can make the most of your Athfest experience! Not sure which of the almost 200 bands you should go see? Check back tomorrow for Echoreyn of Athens' Athfest show picks list!

  • Phone
- If you come to Athfest with friends, chances are you'll want to split up at some point to catch different bands or take breaks from the heat in some of the air-conditioned shops downtown. Don't forget your phone so that you can catch up with them again later! Also, you can follow @echoreyn on Twitter for all kinds of Athfest updates too.

  • Camera
- Athfest is a wild, awesome, and incredible experience! Bring along a camera to capture your favorite memories of the weekend.

And most importantly, bring a sense of fun and get ready to rock!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Athfest 2011: EoA's Guide to Athfest: Intro


Can you believe it, guys? Athfest 2011, Athens' biggest celebration of music and the arts, starts this week! Need some tips on how to prepare for this rockin' festival?

Presenting...
Echoreyn of Athens' Guide to Athfest

What is Athfest?
Here's the lowdown on the festival for those new to this scene. More than 150 bands will fill our town with their tunes throughout the massive show which spans this entire weekend from late Friday afternoon through early Sunday evening. Two outdoor stages, which sit at the Washington St. intersections of Hull St. and Pulaski St., will feature band after awesome band throughout the daylight hours, and best of all, this part of the festival is completely free! Also, during the day, there will be shows and activities just for kids at Kidsfest which will take place at the Lumpkin St. intersection. Plus, there will be booths showing off some of the creations of Athens' talented artists lining the streets of the festival. At night, venues all over Athens will host unbelievable lineups of bands for the 18 and up (and sometimes 21 and up) crowd to rock out to provided they've purchased an Athfest wristband. Get one for yourself now for just $15 right here (or you can purchase one during the weekend for $20). For more general Athfest info, you can check out their official site here.

Athfest tidbits
Ok, now let's get to the fun stuff. Have you got an iPhone or iPod touch? If so, UGA's own New Media Institute (of which I'm a proud alumna and huge fan) created a mobile web-based app just for Athfest to help you pick which bands to see, make your own schedule, find your way around, and show your appreciation for the tunes. It's a free download straight from the iTunes store, and you can get it right here.

Remember those Flagpole Athens Music Awards predictions that Echoreyn of Athens and Athens Music Junkie made a few weeks ago? Well, it seems like we were pretty spot-on with our guesses! You can check out the top nominees in each category to see if your favorites made it to the list by picking up a copy of this week's Flagpole magazine or checking out page 14 of the PDF version over at Flagpole.com. And don't forget to make your way over to the Morton Theatre at 7:30 PM on Thursday evening for the big awards show!

We'll be posting even more Athfest info every day of this week including our picks for must-see shows and a list of things all music fans should remember to bring. Best of all, we'll be unveiling an exciting, brand new feature of our blog, just in time for the festival! To make sure you don't miss a single post, be sure to 'like' our page over on Facebook and tell your friends about Echoreyn of Athens too!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Kristen's Concert Picks: Take a break from it all with July's tunes!



After the hundreds of bands and the insanity that has been and will continue to be this June, July sure seems pretty quiet. The shows we’ve got to look forward to, though, are guaranteed to be incredible! Weirdly enough, it looks like Sundays are joining the Fridays and Saturdays of the month to make these upcoming weekends chock full of rock. Exciting!

Fri, July 1: Hans Darkbolt @ 11 PM @ Farm 255
I’ve been searching far and wide for another theatrical alt rock band, and from what I’ve heard online of these guys, it seems I’ve hit the jackpot. Can’t wait to catch them live! And, if you miss this show, they’re also rocking the Caledonia stage on the 14th as well.

Sun, July 3: Yo Soybean @ 2 PM @ Melting Point
Got music festivals on the brain? Well, you’re in luck! The American Music Festival is giving us an incredible lineup of band after band on one ticket. Some of the highlights are sure to be Yo Soybean, Lera Lynn, Patterson Hood, and Packway Handle Band. Buy your tickets now on the Melting Point website: http://www.meltingpointathens.com

Fri, July 8: Little Tybee @ 9 PM @ 40 Watt
Little Tybee's soft indie sound has garnered all sorts of buzz lately. Check 'em out for yourself at the 40 Watt!

Sat, July 9: The Orkids, Tealvox, & Chris McKay @ 10 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
WOW, what a combination! The awesome rock of Tealvox and the newest incarnation of Chris McKay & the Critical Darlings meets the unbelievable pop sound of the Orkids for a show that’s sure to blow everyone away. Don’t miss this lineup of some of Athens’ best!

Sun, July 10: Vincas @ 8 PM @ Highwire Lounge
I just caught noise rock band Vincas in action for the first time last week, and I definitely liked what I heard!

Fri, July 22: the Athens band @ 8 PM @ New Earth Music Hall
Much buzzed about young rockers, Athens, will be ruling the stage at New Earth on Friday. If you haven't seen one of their shows yet, trust me, you won't wanna miss this one!

Fri, July 22: Sam Sniper @ 9:30 PM @ Flicker
A little bit country, a little bit rock with a funky style that that's all their own, blog favorite Sam Sniper's show is a must-see!

Fri, July 22: Turf War @ 10 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
If you're looking for a fun, rock-filled show this Friday, Atlanta's Turf War is your band! You can see them at the Caledonia with rockers the Agenda.

Fri, July 22: the Shut-Ups @ 10 PM @ 40 Watt
Over at the 40 Watt, you can catch the fun, electronic stylings of the Shut-Ups with another purely rockin' set from Chris McKay and the Critical Darlings. What a lineup!

Thurs - Sat, July 21 - 23: Slop Fest @ 6 PM @ Little Kings
You haven't heard the last of the music festivals yet! Slop Fest 2011 will kick it in Little Kings Shuffle Club on this late weekend in July with a lineup of over 30 bands including awesome melodic noise rockers Xavii and Manray plus insanity-filled experience Ye Olde Sub Shoppe. Can't wait!

Sat, July 23: Camp Amped Session 2 Finale @ 7 PM @ Nu├ži's Space
Want another taste of the future of the Athens music scene? Catch a glimpse of the youngest and newest emerging bands in our town at Camp Amped's Session 2 Grand Finale showcase. And since it's a free, all-ages show, bring your family and friends along too!

Sat, July 23: Daddy Lion @ 10 PM @ Flicker Theatre
I've heard a few tunes from South Carolina's indie musician Daddy Lion online, and now you can check them out too at Flicker on Saturday!

Fri, July 29: Bambara & Dead Confederate @ 8 PM @ Max Canada
Noise rockers Bambara join southern rockers Dead Confederate for a show that's going to be several different kinds of amazing! I've seen these two blog favorites perform together before, and I was blown away by the sheer incredible rock I experienced. Plus, Five Eight is on the bill as well. Trust me, you'll want to be there!

Well, it looks like July's got a few sure-to-be awesome shows in store for us! Don't forget, if you hear of a show that you want the world to know about, post in the comments and share it with us. And as always, check back often for any new shows that just might appear on this list throughout the month. Happy listening, you guys!

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Noise Rules the Night: Bambara, Vincas, and Manray


The power emanating from the Caledonia Lounge this past Saturday night was truly something to behold. The three bands that gathered there to play for us were unequalled in their skill, and they took the stage as masters of their craft.

The first band to drive us wild were longtime favorites of the blog and veritable rulers of the noise rock scene, Bambara. As one of their final shows in Athens before their big move up to the NYC, they gave us a send-off nobody is likely to forget any time soon. Fully absorbed in their sound, with amazing energy that vibrated through the concrete floor to the core of every listener, they blasted us with their tunes. It was quite possibly the best show of theirs I've ever seen, and considering just how many times I've headed downtown to catch them in action, that's certainly saying something! Indeed, the guys rocking out beside me in the crowd were practically throwing fits from being in the mere presence of Blaze's mind-blowing drumming, Reid's incredible vocals and control of the piercing melodies, and William's intense mastery of the bass. The highlight of the night, though, was undoubtably their newest tune which, I am absolutely shocked to say, managed to outsex their hit Native Tongue for the title of most eargasmic song I've ever heard. Honestly, I didn't think it was possible to top that song, but holy geez, their latest tune was filled to the brim with sheer sexiness!

Following Bambara, Athens own Vincas gave us their dark and eerie take on the noise rock genre. I'd never heard these guys before, but their sound was pure quality. They were an excellent addition to the night's lineup!

Then it was Manray's turn to rule the stage. My pals have not been able to stop talking about the awesomeness that is this band, and now I fully understand why. The strength of their melodic hard and dark rock was absolutely brilliant, and though rather sparse by way of lyrics, their songs had a depth of sound that provided the perfect conclusion to the night. Best of all, these guys were rife with personality. Between tunes, they fed the crowd a bit of hilarious banter, and during the songs, they threw themselves into the music. Near the end of the set, bass player Ryan even tried to spontaneously crowd surf, leaping into the unsuspecting mob of fans before writhing around onstage. Enamored by their style, the crowd responded in turn, dancing wildly and even playing band member Jordan's guitar as he held it out for them. Such an insane lineup! It was quite a night!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Summer Side Show 9 experience: Part 4


Read part 1, part 2, and part 3 of the Summer Side Show 9 experience!

As darkness settled over the festival, Misfortune500, one of my top Athens favorites and the band sweet enough to share their Summer Side Show adventure with me, began setting up. A few weeks ago, I tweeted that I could happily see this band play a live show once a week and still never get sick of them, and since that time, I've actually caught them in action about that often. Hey, it's true! Misfortune500's strong and dark alt rock is so powerful, I just can't get enough of their sound. And I'm definitely not alone. Curious fans, seeing the intense display of lights and pure rock from afar, ventured over throughout their brilliant set to join their crowd of fans as they ruled the show. Even on a stage sandwiched between Attila's monstrously loud tunes and American Idol contestant Bo Bice's songs from across the river, Misfortune500 owned the evening and, after their set was tragically cut short, left us dying for so much more of their style. In fact, the guy standing right in front of me during the show said that it was, by far, the best act he'd seen all day. What an impression!

And then, there was nothing left to see but the headliner. Creators of iconic 90s hit Sex and Candy, Marcy Playground topped off the night on the main stage, lit by Misfortune500's awesome lights, in front of a crowd of mostly teens too young to actually remember their biggest hit in its heyday. Now, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from these guys since I, like most of the audience, only knew one of their tunes. During the set, their sound ranged from almost metal to more southern rock which, all in all, was pretty well-crafted. Unfortunately, though, until they performed the song that everyone eagerly awaited, their hearts just didn't seem to be in the performance. I suppose, after all those years of being known for one great tune, it can be hard to maintain enthusiasm for the others. When the time came to satisfy the fans' craving, however, all of the band members threw themselves into the song and even got the fans to join in, proving that there are some things, like Sex and Candy, that never go out of style.

After that intense heat and all of those bands and those wild sights and sounds, I really only have one thing left to say. Wow, what a day!

You can check out the full coverage of the entire Summer Side Show 9 experience right here!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Summer Side Show 9 experience: Part 3


Click for part 1 and part 2 of the Summer Side Show 9 experience!

Breezes finally arrived to ease the heat of the day by late afternoon. Sweeter, more melodic tunes rode these breezes into our ears from every corner of the field as the general tone of the festival began to soften.

Over on the main stage, Florida's Quiet Science began their set of soft, soothing rock. The band's pure quality sound drew me straight out of the merch tent and across the field. From the instant I first heard them, I really enjoyed their style, but something about them just seemed so familiar. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what it was until, finally, it hit me. I had seen them before over a year ago at the Caledonia! I had even written about their set way back then. Small world!

The next band to catch my attention was a group so memorable that, even though I never caught their name during their set, I felt like it would be tragic not to do some research to that end. Apparently, they're called Lost on LeMans, and they hail from Columbus, GA. There was just something about this band's attitude that reminded me of Athens' own Reptar. Maybe it was the beach balls flying through the air, the insane Justin Bieber t-shirt worn by one member, or the guy who crowdsurfed onstage to sing into the mic with the lead singer, but their show garnered the same level of unbridled excitement from their many fans as our town's pop rulers. Different from Reptar, though, was their sound which had a distinct Fallout Boy feel to it that their crowd clearly enjoyed.

Just a while later, quiet singer-songwriter style tunes guided me back to the main stage where I found the Great Paper Castle. Their songs, infused with trumpet-woven melodies, had me smiling instantly, and I simply fell in love with their sweet lyrics. Quite a find!

Then the solid, radio-ready soft rock of Ocean is Theory finished out the daylight hours. With night fast approaching, some of the most anticipated acts of the evening were just a few moments away!

Check back tomorrow for more documentation of the purely crazy Summer Side Show 9 experience!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Summer Side Show 9 experience: Part 2


For Part 1 of the Summer Side Show 9 experience, click here!

As the heat climbed to even more unbearable heights, I knew that every band's set I caught would be a violent battle between myself and the sun's harsh rays. So, armed with a can of SPF 70 sunscreen and a full bottle of lemonade-flavored Vitamin Water (that stuff's expensive but I highly recommend it), I journeyed forth to find more rad bands.

By an awesome stroke of luck, I ran into Athens rockers Come What May who began setting up on a stage just a few feet away. They've long been on my list of bands to see, so I settled myself onto the warm grass to await their set. From my vantage point, I found myself facing a most curious sight. Apparently, several guys, eager to have a side of shade with their tunes, opted to hear their favorite bands play while seated underneath the stages. Pretty clever, actually!

A few moments later, Come What May stepped onstage to blast our ears with their tunes. Characterized by a hardcore indie rock sound infused with intense melodies, strong vocals, rare punk elements, and the occasional death scream, their style was, without a doubt, a quality cross-genre production. Keyboards and even jingle bells mixed with the standard guitar, bass, and drum fare to give them quite a unique feel. The minute they began to play, several kids came rushing from all over the festival to check out their set. Gathered at the very front of the crowd, a few new fans even started dancing so exuberantly that the band offered to give them t-shirts for their enthusiasm. Nice! Rockin', writhing, and head banging across the entire length of the stage, the band members finished out their set with an awesome show of energy and sound.

Once Come What May's set ended, I wandered over to the main stage to catch a few of the earthy yet ethereal creations of the musician called Panda. While it was unfortunate that there were a few sound and mic issues during the set, when everything was working as planned the simple keyboard tones blended with the exotic texture of the rain stick to create a style like no other. Most tragically, though, it was during this set that I began exhibiting all of the early signs of heat stroke, so I high-tailed it back to Misfortune500's merch tent before my heat-induced state of mental confusion had me laughing at the trees like it did last Athfest.

After relieving my headache, becoming less disoriented, and recovering vision in my left eye, I decided to give myself a bit of a rest and cool down with the help of Jordan's life-saving misting fan. Most joyfully, though, I was able to stave off any boredom I might have had while confined to the tent, thanks to all the sights and sounds of the festival that surrounded us. From my seat, I could see one band squirting silly string all over their fans while tossing beach balls over the crowd's heads. I also couldn't help but notice one drummer's less than savory exposure of his entire backside as he was beating away on his drums. The most ridiculous sight, however, had to be the man in the head-to-toe, face-covering black lycra bodysuit who hugged on a few girls he didn't seem to know before running off in the opposite direction. Just plain weird. Best of all, though, I had the chance to hear a bit of the funk-style rock tunes of Surround Sound on the stage behind the tent. I liked what I heard!

Finally, after a few hours of recovery, I was back to the grind again thanks to some unbelievable, professional-grade songs that reached my ears from afar. Over on the main stage, I found that Columbia, SC's Sent By Ravens had gathered a huge crowd of fans yearning for a taste of their true rock. Seriously, this band had just the right amount of every element of progressive rock tucked into their tunes. And such energy! Wow, I wish I had managed to see their whole set. As it is, just the one track I saw them play was enough to get me hooked! And, as that melody ended, late afternoon arrived, bringing with it a lineup of band after quality band.

Check back tomorrow for more documentation of the purely crazy Summer Side Show 9 experience!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Summer Side Show 9 experience: Part 1


This past weekend was most eventful! Quite unexpectedly, I was invited to join my friend Jordan and the always-spectacular band Misfortune500 for a trip to Columbus, GA's festival of tunes, Summer Side Show. For me, it was my first true look into the action behind the scenes, from start to finish, of a day-long multistage show. Exciting, indeed!

The day started off rather early as hundreds of band members gathered to await the verdict on where and when they would be rockin' for the fans. Surrounded by a crowd of mostly high schoolers, my pals and I were certainly some of the oldest people there, but since we all looked to be somewhere around the age of sixteen, we blended in perfectly. Fashion-wise, however, it seemed we were a bit out of the loop since, despite the already intense heat of the early morning, we were standing amidst a sea of black fabric. No one, though, was more overdressed for the mid-day sun than the guy sporting the Batman costume who passed the time during the two long hours of band registration walking back and forth between the band area and the tent beside his own unique, gun-adorned version of the "batmobile". Oh, the things you see at music festivals! Finally, after quite a bit of waiting around and hiding from the sun's rays in the ever-shrinking shadows, the bands were given their time slots for the four stages that faced outwards in a rectangle in the middle of a large field on Columbus State's campus. Scrambling for what I would call a "prime real estate" spot, we quickly pitched Misfortune500's merch tent and set about displaying the goods. It was then that the cacophony of metal engulfed us from every angle.

Now I'll be honest, I'm not the world's biggest metal fan. Just like in most genres, I'll take the best and leave the rest. But even if I was a huge fanatic for screamo metal, that crushing mountain of sound would have been overwhelming. See, that's why earplugs are always a good idea! And that, kids, was my public service announcement for today. ANYway, after jamming in my industrial grade ones (best gift my brother ever gave me), I ventured out into the dire heat to scope out some quality tunes. And, joy upon joy, it wasn't long until I found some!

The first rockin' musician to catch my ears was creative rapper G Nasty. I only heard a small bit of his set, but the taste I did manage to get of his tracks put a sure smile on my face. My next find was a band whose name sure sounded like The Old New Standard, but since I've been able to find nothing of their particular existence online, I am tragically uncertain of their identity. No matter who they were, though, I must say their quality classic rock was a welcome choice! Finishing out the discoveries of my first few rounds of the stages, Asheville, North Carolina's Issachar grabbed my attention with their jazzy take on the metal genre, especially during their last few more melody-driven tunes. I couldn't stay long, though, because by that point, the heat became unbearable enough to warrant another trip back to Misfortune500's merch tent for a much needed bit of shade.

Check back tomorrow for more documentation of the purely crazy Summer Side Show 9 experience!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Just a few more days left to vote for the Flagpole Athens Music Awards!


Sunday's the last day! You have until midnight on Sunday night to vote for all your favorite bands in our local version of the Grammys, the Flagpole Athens Music Awards. Don't miss your chance! You can vote right here.

Still not sure who to vote for? Well, Echoreyn of Athens and Athens Music Junkie have teamed up to tell you who has our vote and who we think just might win too. We've divided the answers between our blogs so be sure to check out AMJ tomorrow for our thoughts on the second half of the categories.

Here we go!

Electronic


EOA:

Favorite: Abandon the Earth Mission

Favored to win: Basshunter 64


Last Athfest, I caught Abandon the Earth Mission for the first time, and I fell in love with their space-inspired sound. I’ve got to admit, though, the buzz about Basshunter 64 has been huge, so I expect quite a few votes for them this year as well.


AMJ:

Favorite: Abandon the Earth Mission

Favored to Win: Basshunter64

I love Abandon the Earth Mission but Basshunter64 has been pounding the pavement lately, getting their name out there. Electronic is a strange category that usually goes to the most well known name. This one could go either way really.


Experimental

EOA:

Favorite: Qurious

Favored to win: Bubbly Mommy Gun


Experimental is, by definition, a hard genre to classify. Indeed, the last time I saw Geisterkatzen, they were all wearing cat masks and filling the room with the sounds of a windstorm. Bubbly Mommy Gun has their own very popular version of this genre. For me, though, my choice would have to be a write-in for the mystic experience that is Qurious.


AMJ:

Favorite: Whistling School for Boys

Favored to Win: Bubbly Mommy Gun

Have you seen WSfB? It's pretty awesome. Not to mention the crossover they did a while back with Flash to Bang Time. But Bubbly Mommy Gun is the name here, along with Geiterkatzen.


Rock


EOA:

Favorite: Bambara

Favored to win: Dead Confederate


Bambara’s noise rock is truly like no other, so picking my favorite for this category was easy. However, Dead Confederate’s fame and southern rock sound may give them a bit of an edge. Manray is also one to watch. Really, it could go either way.


AMJ:

Favorite: The Humms

Favored to Win: Cinemachanica

The Humms released the best rock album last year. Period. They truly deserve to win this packed out category. But it'll be a struggle for anyone. Rally your fans, bands!

Cover Band


EOA:

Favorite: Velvet Runway

Favored to win: Abbey Road Live


Beatles lovers have always raved about Abbey Road Live’s quality covers, and as winners of this award last year, I think they have a good chance of walking away with the trophy again this year. However, 80s covers are more my speed, so cover band Velvet Runway gets my write-in pick for this category.


AMJ:

Favorite: Deja Vu

Favored to Win: Abbey Road Live

Abbey Road Live always puts on a solid show. I'm partial to Deja Vu right now though.


DJ


EOA:

Favorite: Mahogany

Favored to win: Immuzikation


Choosing a favorite Athens DJ is actually quite difficult. These guys have set the tone for countless nights of awesome dancing and fun. How can I pick just one? I’ve loved DJRX’s quirky style for years, and Feral Youth’s tunes just before Halloween were amazing. Out of this crowd, Immuzikation is probably the best known for spinning his tracks around town, but if I were to pick one, I’d have to give DJ Mahogany my vote for his righteous St. Patrick's Day mix.


AMJ:

Favorite: DJRX

Favored to Win: Immuzikation

My knowledge of this category is slim to none. So is pretty much everyone else's I bet. How does one judge a dj correctly?


Jazz


EOA:

Favorite: Kenosha Kid

Favored to win: Kenosha Kid

Winners of last year’s Jazz award, Kenosha Kid’s style appeals to both jazz fans and new listeners alike. Not only are they my choice for this year, I’d say they have a good chance of nabbing the trophy again as well.


AMJ:

Favorite: Mary Sigalas

Favored to Win: Kenosha Kid

Kenosha Kid is amazing. My vote this year went to Mary, however. She's a fresher face in the jazz category and man, can she perform.


Hip Hop


EOA:

Favorite: The Beat Geeks

Favored to win: Showtime (feat. Elite tha Showstoppa)


Since the Deaf Judges broke up in 2010, there is no longer a clear winner in this category anymore. My write-in pick would be up-and-coming group and openers for Ludacris, the Beat Geeks. If I were to gauge a winner based on buzz, though, I’d say Showtime featuring Elite tha Showstoppa, entertainers at the Flagpole Athens Music Awards show last year, have good odds.


AMJ:

Favorite: Showtime (Elite tha Showstoppa)

Favored to Win: Showtime (Elite tha Showstoppa)

I will completely and utterly admit that I'm voting for Showtime just because of the name. I haven't heard much of the others either.


Pop


EOA:

Favorite: The Orkids

Favored to win: Reptar


Athens’ favorite Reptar is likely to be a shoo-in for the Pop category this year. I have to admit, though, I was absolutely shocked that the Orkids didn’t make the list with their catchy pop tunes. My write-in vote has got to go to them.


AMJ:

Favorite: The Gold Party

Favored to Win: Reptar

No brainer. Reptar has had an incredible year. They're playing tons of awesome shows, got a kick-ass album, etc. I do love the quiet beauty of The Gold Party though. Part philosophy, part dance. Listen to Luxury and Light. Seriously.


World


EOA:

Favorite: Klezmer Local 42

Favored to win: Incatepec


I have yet to see Klezmer Local 42 live, but I truly enjoy their international sound from what I’ve heard online. I’ve long enjoyed Incatepec’s Latin style as well, and I’d say they have quite a good chance of winning this year.


AMJ:

Favorite: The Knockouts

Favored to Win: The Knockouts

Probably the most mainstream sounding of the bands listed here. Also the only one besides Grogus that I've listened to in the past year or so.


Folk


EOA:

Favorite: Yo Soybean

Favored to win: Madeline Adams and the White Flag Band


I’ll be happy to see any one of the bands in this category win the award for Folk this year. Madeline Adams and the White Flag Band have been spotted on stages all over town, and Efren’s gritty sound has caught the attention of many a fan. If I had to choose just one, though, I suppose I would pick Yo Soybean for their unique take on the style.


AMJ:

Favorite: Yo Soybean

Favored to Win: Madeline Adams and the White Flag Band

Such a hard category for me. I love each and every one of these bands. I'm picking Yo Soybean as my favorite mainly because I can't get Manifest Blasphemy out of my head. But I love Madeline's sweetness and Efren's folk songs and on and on....


Hope our blogger's take on the nominees helps you out! And don't forget to visit Athens Music Junkie on Friday for the other half of our favorites and favored to wins. Happy voting!