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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

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!

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