Friday, June 29, 2012

Athfest 2012: Dancing wildly with Reptar and the Orkids

Friday, June 22nd, 2012 
The Orkids and Reptar

It was 9 PM, and I had one monumental decision to make: Reptar or The Orkids?  Impossible!  I couldn't choose just one.  Maybe it was madness on my part, but I knew I was going to do everything in my power to see them both rock their stages.

My first order of business was to get myself to Go Bar where one of my longtime favorite pop rockers The Orkids would be taking the stage soon.  The last time they played in Athens was right around Athfest of last year, so this show was a bit of a reunion of sorts.  Walking in, the band gifted me and each of their other fans with glow stick bracelets which set the mood perfectly.  Then they launched into a set of hits, and wow, they sounded even better than I had remembered them!  I just had to dance along, though I have to admit the other girls in the front row gave me a run for my money as far as moves are concerned.  The band finished off the show with guitar player Adam shredding on the mic stand in rockstar fashion.  Oh man, seeing old friends and some of my favorite bands just reminds me why I can't get enough of this Athens town. What a memorable set!

Then, with not a minute to spare, I hightailed it to the Pulaski Street Stage to see the veritable kings of our music scene in action.  Luckily, flashing my press pass, I was able to make it into the media area just in time to catch the insane madness that was Reptar.  Billed by many as one of the wildest shows Athfest has ever seen, I was positively engulfed by the manic energy that surrounded me.  Although I later heard that I missed watching guitar player Jace jump off the stage and rock away with blood dripping down his face in what just might have been the most hardcore moment ever, you better believe I was there to see keyboardist Will dive into that tumbling ocean of people and then surf back to the stage.  These guys just have no fear!   I was in pure, ecstatic awe to hear their thousands of fans screaming in appreciation. Even the photographers couldn't stop themselves from dancing and getting sucked into the excitement. In fact, there were just as many of them gleefully taking pictures of the unbelievably massive crowd as there were nabbing shot after shot of the band!  I've honestly never seen anything like it. That show was just too incredible to be believed!  I can promise you that no one there will ever forget this night.

  For all of our massive coverage of Athfest 2012, 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 2012: Yip Deceiver gets us groovin'

Friday, June 22nd, 2012 
Yip Deceiver 

Before the Yip Deceiver show, I grabbed a bite to eat in the press tent and ended up chatting with Ryan, the bassist of Reptar.  Man, those guys are just so nice and down-to-earth, no matter how much touring they get up to.  Gotta love 'em!

Then it was time to head over to the Hull Street stage for Yip Deceiver.  I've seen this band several times before, but I always forget just how incredibly fun every one of their shows are.  This one was just plain awesome!  Their bouncy, hyper electronic sound spawned an impromptu block party as nearly every member of the audience got up to move their feet to the joy-inducing tunes. I spotted members of several different bands in the crowd, all bobbing along with the rest and undoubtably enjoying themselves.  Much too soon, the end of their set came, and I know I wasn't the only one wishing for more.  I definitely can't wait to catch them in action again!
As I turned to leave, I noticed the most beautiful arrangement of clouds dancing across the heavens above me, imbued with shades of pink and orange.  According to Matt Daniel (@AthensGAweather on Twitter), these were the rare Mammatus clouds, and I took them as an omen of all of the exciting spectacles and unique experiences that still awaited me during Athfest 2012.

  For all of our massive coverage of Athfest 2012, 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! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Athfest 2012: to the shade and back again with Ruby Kendrick and Atlas Sound

Friday, June 22nd, 2012 
Ruby Kendrick & Atlas Sound

Stepping into the much-need shade of the Caledonia Lounge, I prepared myself for a whole new array of sounds.  During the past few years, the venue has hosted the Dirty Athens show, a lineup of short sets from a bunch of solid bands, perfect for when you need a small break from the sun's death rays.

As I walked in, I caught the tail end of a set of some good rock tunes from a band I assume was Golden Brown.  Then it was Ruby Kendrick time!  I always like it when I get a chance to hear her.  The sweet pop rock she and her full band provide was a perfectly refreshing addition to my music-filled evening.  Full of joy, I soaked in her upbeat and sometimes almost tropical-sounding melodies for a while until it was time to head back out into the light once more for yet another Pulaski Stage show.

Atlas Sound was prepping for his set as I arrived and planted myself before the stage. I knew things were about to get quirky when he introduced himself and made a point of thanking the hospital he was born in for their part in his existence. Indeed I was right.  First, though, he masqueraded as your average southern musician with a guitar and a harmonica, playing a sort of folk song.  Then, just as I wondered if I had already figured him out, he layered in a recorded background and altered his style until I was nearly overwhelmed by the unique and ethereal quality of his soft rock sound.  Yup, that's what I was hoping to hear! It was a rather nice way to usher in the evening.

  For all of our massive coverage of Athfest 2012, 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 2012: Efren rocks the heat!

Friday, June 22nd, 2012 
Efren (with Betsy Franck)

Slathered in sunscreen with my press pass in hand, I trekked my way through downtown to Washington Street, pumped for the official start of Athfest 2012.  Within minutes, I could tell that the heat during this year's festivities would be brutal, but I knew as long I could catch a lineup of killer bands, it would all be worth it.  Country band the Darnell Boys were just finishing up the first set of the day as I walked up, so I opted to collapse in the shade near the Manhattan Cafe and in front of the Hull Street Stage where Efren was slated to play next.

Now, I believe it's been several Athfests since I've seen Efren last, and boy, have they changed!  They seem a little less gritty and quite a bit more southern rock than I remember them, but their sound is still solid, for sure.  A few songs in, they brought powerful singer and another one of those musicians I saw in my early Athfest days, Betsy Franck, up onstage, and I've got to say, I just loved their tunes together!  And I definitely wasn't the only one who enjoyed them either.  Several ladies up front started going wild and dancing all over the place, and pretty soon, the rest of the crowd had joined in.

 Once the set ended, we got a bit of quality country folk from the guys in Corduroy Road over on the Pulaski Street Stage before the heat just became too much, and I opted to head to the shade of the Caledonia Lounge and check out the second annual Dirty Athens show.

  For all of our massive coverage of Athfest 2012, 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 27, 2012

Athfest 2012: the always wild Flagpole Awards!

Thursday, June 21st, 2012 
Flagpole Athens Music Awards show

Dancing bananas?  Waving octopus arms?  Clowns throwing glow sticks?  No, you're not having a bad trip... it's the Flagpole Athens Music Awards 2012!

We've come to expect all sorts of ridiculous shenanigans at the Flagpole Awards ceremony every year, and this year's show was certainly no exception.

Traveling by time machine to get to the Morton Theatre, the wildly costumed band Like Totally kicked off the night with a short set of quirky tunes and enough glow bracelets for everyone in the crowd.  And that was only the beginning. Truly, the night was rife with classic Athens madness!  Hope for Agoldensummer accepted a win for Best Folk Group via speakerphone, presenter Jeff Tobias had an unnamed assistant give his speech for him, and Reptar insisted on Texas two-stepping across the stage to collect their second award of the night for Best Live Band.  Pure, beautiful insanity!

And the night got even more ridiculous from there.  Between house band and multiyear Best Jazz Band winners Kenosha Kid's pitch perfect covers of hits from every award winner to the impromptu rap performance and Humpty Hump dance from presenter/WUOG DJ Akeeme Martin, the show had me smiling from beginning to end.  I just loved having a small second taste of the sounds from indie rockers Viking Progress and masters of fun the Grass Giraffes, and I certainly enjoyed Cicada Rhythm's soft lilting folk vocals as well.  And the Sprocket's music video and audience choice winning videos?  Hilarious and awesomely made!

Undoubtably, one of the coolest parts of the night, though, was musician Kishi Bashi's incredible and fascinating performance!  Like an art installation for the eardrums, he created unique and complex melodies with just his voice and a violin, melodies that left the audience enthralled and in utter awe.  What an experience!  It was really no surprise that some guy yelled out, "Holy shit!" just before the audience got up to give Kishi Bashi a well-deserved standing ovation.  Indeed, the whole crowd, led by the show's host, joined together for a collective "holy shit" after that set!

And then, once Flagpole editor Michelle Gilzenrat Davis had introduced her successor Gabe Vodicka with a series of amusing quips and the band the District Attorneys had swept the awards including Band of Year, the Flagpole Athens Music Awards 2012 came to an end.

But, of course our first night of Athfest wouldn't be complete without the 40 Watt Kickoff Party!  White Violet, a band I've loved since the first time I saw them and who seem to just get more and more incredible as time goes on, were finishing up their set as I stepped in the door.  Then Texas act Buxton jumped onstage to give us a bit of their awesome southern rock before it was time to go home and rest up for the first official day of Athfest 2012!

For all of our massive coverage of Athfest 2012, 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 2012, check out the AMJ blog!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Athfest 2012: EoA's Guide to Athfest: Awards show tonight!

Ever been to the Grammys? Probably not, 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 fun indie rockers Grass Giraffes, melodic tune innovator the Viking Progress, electronic orchestral genius Kishi Bashi, 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.

Echoryen of Athens Echoryen of Athens Echoryen of Athens

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 2012, here we come!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Athfest 2012: 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 once again, 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 21:

Flagpole Athens Music Awards @ 7:30 PM @ Morton Theater
For me, Athfest always begins with the Flagpole Athens Music Awards! I'll give you more info about this show tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Athfest Kickoff Party @ 10:30 PM @ 40 Watt
Free with a wristband or Flagpole Awards ticket stub and just $3 ($5 for under 21) without, this jammin' party will feature the solid soft rock tunes of White Violet and the unique, country rock sound of Buxton along with sets from Ponderosa and DJ Immuzikation as well. What a way to end the first night!

Fri, June 22:

Efren @ 5:45 PM @ Hull Street Stage
It's been a while since we've seen Efren, one of our favorite folk rockers, in action, and we can't wait to hear them all again!

Yip Deceiver @ 8:30 PM @ Hull Street Stage
If you're a fan of Of Montreal, you'll like Yip Deceiver.  These guys are full of fun!

Reptar @ 9 PM @ Pulaski Street Stage
Current rulers of the Athens music scene, Reptar is always a good time.  At last year's Athfest, they filled the 40 Watt to capacity in minutes, and this year, they're rightfully headlining the main stage. If you haven't experienced one of their shows yet, don't miss your chance to see what all of the hype is about!

The Orkids @ 9 PM @ Go Bar
It's been nearly a year since we last saw blog favorites The Orkids onstage, and we've truly missed their awesome, upbeat pop tunes.  This one is definitely a must!

Sam Sniper @ 10 PM @ Flicker Theatre
Up for several Flagpole Awards this year, these unique folk rockers are always worth a listen!

The Shut-ups @ 10 PM @ The Melting Point
Two Athfests ago, I just loved the Shut-ups' new wave indie pop sound and fun electronic style.  So glad we get the chance to check 'em out again!

Holly Belle @ 11:30 PM @ Little Kings Shuffle Club
It's a rare thing when a musician I've never heard of blows me away with the just the sound of their voice when I'm conducting my annual online Athfest research.  What a sound!  I'm dying to see this girl in action!

Lera Lynn @ 12 AM @ 40 Watt
Lera Lynn's powerful voice and indie folk rock combine to make every show of hers just spectacular!

Sat, June 23:

Emily Hearn @ 1:30 PM @ Pulaski Street Stage
I've never seen this girl live, but several of my friends are crazy about her, and from what I've heard, her voice is just incredible!  This'll be a show to remember.

Packway Handle Band @ 4 PM @ Pulaski Street Stage
After all the amazing things I've heard about this bluegrass folk band over the years, it's shocking that I've never truly had a chance to see them until now.  Playing the main stage this year, I'm sure Packway Handle Band's show will be amazing!

Ruby Kendrick @ 6:30 PM @ Pulaski Street Stage
Ruby Kendrick's soft and sweet melodies will, no doubt, bring joy to your ears!

Bambara @ 9 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
Blog favorite Bambara returns to the Ath-town for one night only to give us that delicious noise rock sound we've been craving!  They may be Brooklyn boys now, but they know Athens is always pumped to let them melt our faces off with their tunes once more.

Mad Axes @ 10 PM @ Little Kings Shuffle Club
If rap and hip hop's your thing, Mad Axes is your band.  As the latest incarnation of former Flagpole Award winners Deaf Judges, you'll love their style!

Sun, June 24:

Sean VanMeter @ 2:20 PM @ Kidsfest Stage
Yup, this one's from the Kidsfest Stage, but you've got to recognize talent when you hear it!  From what I can tell online, this kid's something of a piano prodigy, and his show sounds like it'll worth checking out.  Always gotta keep an ear towards the future!

Want to see these show picks on the go?  If you've got an iPhone or other mobile device, here's how you can download our web app: All you need to do is visit (which differs slightly from our blog url) on your device and add the link to your home screen. Now you can take our show suggestions with along with to the festival!

** Remember: exploration is key. I encourage you to check out all the bands you can find at Athfest 2012. 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 our final Athfest 2012 Guide coming tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Athfest 2012: EoA's Guide to Athfest: Things to Bring

Echoreyn of Athens' Guide to Athfest
Things to Bring
  • Sunscreen
- It gets hot out there (this year's temperatures are around the high 90s!), 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!

  • Sunglasses
- At Athfest, the sun will make its greatest effort to try to blind you and keep you from seeing all of the awesome acts rocking the outdoor stages.  Don't let the sun win.  Bring along a pair of shades!  Without fail, I forget to bring these every year, and there's never a day at the festival when I don't wish I had them with me.

  • 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 least once at every Athfest I've attended, and trust me, it's no picnic.

  • A Raincoat or Umbrella
- It rains at Athfest almost every year (heck, last year's storm was so memorable, we wrote several entries about it) so be sure to 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 should definitely follow @athensgaweather for up-to-date and 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 or wallet.

  • 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 us at @echoreyn on Twitter and get all kinds of Athfest updates and special tips straight to your phone as well.

  • 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 18, 2012

Athfest 2012: EoA's Guide to Athfest: Intro

Wow, get ready to rock out... Athfest 2012, Athens' biggest celebration of music and the arts, kicks off this week! Craving some tips on how to get ready and make the most of this awesome festival?

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. This year, many of the venues will be strictly wristband only, so get one for yourself now for just $22.50 right here (or you can purchase one during the weekend for $20 without the online surcharge). 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, later this week you'll be able to access our Athfest 2012 Edition of show picks right here on our mobile show picks web app!

And remember those Flagpole Athens Music Awards you voted for a few weeks ago? Well, 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 16 of the PDF version over at 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.  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 1, 2012

Kristen's Concert Picks: June will blow you away!

June is the month for tunes.  From Athfest to the many smaller shows happening this month, your ears will have a veritable feast of sounds to enjoy in the coming weeks!

Sat, June 2: Manray @ 10 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
Kick off your June with a blast of noise and rock courtesy of Manray.  It's quite a way to start the month!

Tue, Jun 5: The Skipperdees @ 7 PM @ Melting Point
A southern twang and a great helping of talent make the Skipperdees a must see.  Check 'em out at the Melting Point.

Tue, Jun 5: Wowser Bowser @ 11 PM @ Georgia Theatre rooftop
If fun is what you desire, look no further than Wowser Bowser.  Their crazy tunes will have you dancing in no time!

Wed, Jun 6: Rachel O'Neal @ 6:30 PM @ Melting Point
I greatly enjoyed Rachel's soft acoustic guitar and lovely voice at my very first Athfest years ago, and it will no doubt be wonderful to hear her sweet melodies again!

Thu, Jun 7: Grinnin Bear & Death On Two Wheels @ 9:30 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
Folk tunes with a sense of fun, Grinnin Bear is always worth a listen.  And pairing them with heavy rockers Death On Two Wheels?  That'll be one amazing set!

Fri, June 8: Sam Sniper @ 8:30 PM @ 40 Watt
Gotta love the unique southern folk rock of Sam Sniper!

Mon, Jun 11: Madeline @ 9 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
You'll truly enjoy Madeline's dark melodies with a southern touch.  Catch her over at the Caledonia!

Tue, Jun 12: The Gold Party @ 11 PM @ Georgia Theatre rooftop
What do you get when electronic indie tunes have a fling with 80s era pop?  The Gold Party, of course!  Soak in their sound up on the Georgia Theatre rooftop.

Thu, Jun 14: Lullwater @ 9:30 PM @ Caledonia Lounge
Would you like a hint of folk with your hard rock?  Lullwater will be serving up some awesome sounds in the middle of the month.

Thu, Jun 14: Lera Lynn @ 8:30 PM @ Melting Point
Lera Lynn channels a power and a passion into her dark melodies that makes every one of her shows an experience. You won't want to miss her set!

Wed, Jun 20: Powerkompany, Little Tybee @ 8:30 PM @ Melting Point
The ethereal Powerkompany and the soft indie sound of Little Tybee are sure to complement each other perfectly at this Melting Point show.

Thu-Sun, Jun 21-24: ATHFEST @ All Day @ Downtown Athens
Athfest 2012!  Over 150 bands, many of them awesome blog favorites, will be gracing stages all over downtown for this multi-day event.  Get your advance wristbands right here before it's too late, and stay tuned for prep guides, coverage of the event, and a special version of our concert picks coming in the next few weeks!

Well, we knew Athfest was going to be amazing, but who could have guessed so many other incredible shows would be taking place in Athens during the rest of the month?  Got a show you're dying to share?  Comment below, and tell the world all about it.  Can't wait for all these tunes.  June is going to be wild!