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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Beyond Amazing: the night ruled by Reptar

Monday night.  These words do not usually evoke feelings of shock, amazement, or pure joy.  But then, there's truly never been a night like this past Monday night. Indeed, last night Reptar gave a performance the people of Athens will likely be talking about for years to come.

It all started at a house party off Prince Avenue, in the backyard of a rather cool guy named Scott.  My friend Andy and I arrived early, determined to stake out our place for the surprise Reptar show that had been mentioned on Twitter a mere two days earlier and had already gained a guest list of nearly 200 people on Facebook.  Figboots, the band formerly known as Bigfoot, kicked the night off just before 9 PM to quite a sizable crowd. As they played, more and more people gathered in Scott’s backyard to get their Monday night dance on.

Then finally the golden moment arrived. Reptar took the metaphorical stage, and, after hinting that the police would probably come to break up the show soon, threw themselves into their set. Just a few rockin’ songs in, the police did indeed make good on that threat, issuing not just one but three noise violation tickets and effectively halting the show. Disappointed, the fans loitered around the backyard as the band scrambled to figure out some way to satiate the crowd’s need for more Reptar. Ideas ranged from the unlikely to the impossibly insane, and Andy even suggested that they storm the Georgia Theatre now that Tom Green’s comedy show had ended. Just 20 minutes later, the band made their announcement. It was official. Reptar really was going to take over the Georgia Theatre! Texting their friends, people flocked out to their cars in droves, eager not to miss a second of this promised show.  Moments later, we found ourselves herded into a short line in front of the Theatre. By the time the doors opened for us, that line had quadrupled, and soon people were flooding into the venue. And that’s when the real madness began.

 Less than an hour after they had announced their impromptu free Georgia Theatre show, Reptar rocked the stage for a crowd of what had to be at least 300 people (apparently, there were actually more than 600 people going wild in the Theatre that night). The show was unbelievable, mind-blowing even, better than I've ever seen them before! They even dedicated one song to comedian Tom Green who was in the audience, watching the craziness unfold. Due to the sheer insanity of the whole situation, the Reptar fans were even more wild than usual. Andy dove onto the stage and then crowdsurfed, starting a chain of crowdsurfing as the lead singer Graham followed suit. Then several others joined the game, diving onto the stage only to find themselves dragged off by the now wary security guards. And wow, the band itself played through nearly all of their songs as the crowd just ate it up. After a dose of Houseboat Babies and several other tunes, some of them repeats from the house party earlier that night played for the benefit of the ever-growing and now massive Theatre crowd, the band finished their set only to find themselves encored back onstage by the eager fans, many yelling, “Play all night!” Obliging, the band struck up yet another tune as first the keyboardist Will, then the singer Graham dove into the crowd once more, even managing at one point to surf atop a crowdsurfing fan.  One song later, the history-worthy show ended, leaving everyone who experienced it in total awe. But the night was not quite over yet. Hearing a bit of a buzz about Tom Green, we turned to find him hanging out right near the stage. Pumped to finish the night on yet another high note, we went over and shook hands with the comedian before high-tailing it out of the venue.

Honestly, I’m still in shock from all that happened. Even the members of Reptar themselves could not believe it.  2012 has only just begun, and already I deem this the most amazing night of the year in Athens music.  I just can't imagine anything could top that show. You can bet this will be a Monday night the people of this town will never forget!

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