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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!

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