REVIEW: Athfest 2013

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District Attorneys

Vinyl Mag’s first year at Athfest (we’re killing it this year, my friends).  So here’s the deal – for those of you who don’t know, Athfest in an annual five-day festival (music is three days) held in downtown Athens, GA showcasing the best in Athens-based artists, both locally and nationally acclaimed.  Jealous?

This year’s lineup was pretty damn impressive, not to mention well spread apart, so our staff decided to divide and conquer (the crew this year consisted of Carly Snidemiller, Kelly Mattick, Chris Hunkele, Amy Johnson, Dane Robinson, and editor Emily McBride – great job, us guys).

A bit of reflection from me and advice for future Athfest attendees – don’t get too excited and burn yourself out on Friday night when the music festival gets started.  Saturday is the big day, starting early on with day parties and ending late night at one of the fest’s 13 venues. Don’t miss out on the street vendors during the day either – there are some really good scores to be found.  Finally, don’t breeze past the smaller outdoor stage – or any stages for that matter – you may discover someone you really love.

Here are a few specific highlights of this year for us.  Our top day parties include the Dirty Athens Day Party at the Caledonia Lounge (sponsored by PBR, ’cause you know we all gotta have that hipster beer at a festival like this), with a great lineup including our SXSW buds, New Madrid, as well as the Slushfund Day Party put on by BMI, Paste Magazine, and Red Hare Brewing Co. at Little Kings Shuffle Club.  Our top overall performances include pacificUV, Darnell Boys, The District Attorneys, Twin Tigers, Cicada Rhythm, Grape Soda, Reptar, National Anthem, Kite to the Moon, and Dead Confederate.

Coco Rico at the Dirty Athens Day Party at the Caledonia Lounge

That being said, here are a couple of quick reviews of some of the standout bands of Athfest 2013:

The District Attorneys @ Pulaski Street Stage – Friday, June 21

Athfest could not have had a better start than the showcasing of the natural talents of The District Attorneys. Taking the stage on Friday, the DA’s drew quite a crowd to Pulaski Street with their feel-good summer tunes. With songs such as “Slow Burner” and “Target Practice”, the jams of piano interludes and guitar solos filled the streets of downtown Athens.  I was very impressed with the swapping of instruments- the trading off between guitar and piano, as well as the turns taken to solo.  My personal favorite, “The End”, was performed with one of the best live jam sessions I’ve seen so far in Athens.

The guys showed natural talent as well as a love for performing. Their stage presence was that of a band who has been playing together for 20 years. Interactions with the crowd and hip style made them all the more entertaining to watch.

Named Flagpole’s 2012 Artist of the Year, The DA’s most certainly did not disappoint for 2013. I would definitely recommend adding them to your summer playlist; they suit perfectly for beach jams.

– Carly Snidemiller

Twin Tigers @ Hull Street Stage – Friday, June 21

Any band that can make someone dance uncontrollably for a solid hour to their music is definitely a winner in my book.

I had the pleasure of seeing Twin Tigers, a native Athens band, during Athfest this year.  The show itself took place on the Hull Street Stage – a simple, decent-size stage in downtown Athens. Twin Tigers did not need a large stage or tons of lighting to mesmerize their fans; their music did all the talking. The combination of electronic sounds, with their own rock n’ roll energy created this surprisingly mellow toned music.

Being up close and personal with the band throughout the entire show was an incredible experience. Not only did I get to experience the music loud and clear (and I am not exaggerating about the loud part) but also, the atmosphere that they created was perfect.

Now it’s time to wrap it up. Overall, the Twin Tiger show was one of my favorite shows of Athfest. It was the combination of great music, good company, and a great atmosphere that put it on my top list.

Though audience interaction was minimal to say the least, I will be downloading the songs from their show, and I will see this band again. With out further ado, Twin Tigers gets a rating of 9 out of 10 for me. Go see this band!

– Kelly Mattick

Reptar @ Georgia Theatre – Friday, June 21

By the time 12:30 a.m. rolled around, I didn’t expect many people to still be high-energy from the first day of Athfest. That was until I experienced a dance party with Reptar..

Fans lined the block Friday waiting to see one of Athens’ most beloved groups, Reptar. With a full house, Georgia Theatre quickly turned from concert venue to humongous dance floor. With hits such as “Sebastian” and “Isoprene Bath”(my personal favorites), there wasn’t a still leg in the house. Fans knew every word until they sprung a new song on us, one which everyone continued to dance to, signaling that it definitely didn’t disappoint.

Seeing a group live can definitely change how you hear their music. This was my first time seeing them live, and with a full band- brass, percussion, strings, and piano, they captured not only my ears but my rhythm.

Their stage presence was undeniably joyous.  These guys rocked out and were all over the stage, jumping around to synchronized dance moves.  There was no question about their dedication- it was obvious they were doing what they love, which made their attitude contagious to the crowd.

– Carly Snidemiller

Kite to the Moon @ MAX, Saturday, June 22

Walking into Max Canada Bar’s side room, the first thing that caught my eye were some acrobatic women in cheetah print leotards and leg warmers suspended from the ceiling via rope swings. Yes, I said it – leotards and rope swings. Then my eyes began to travel around the room until I spotted Kite to the Moon, also in various thrift animal print clothing.

The show itself was full of energy and spunk. Not only were the members of Kite to the Moon spontaneous, but they also seemed to feed off the energy from their fans. One moment they were simply playing their songs, while the next they were jumping and bouncing all over the stage.

Out of all the shows I saw during Athfest, Kite to the Moon was the most unique.  Not only did the craziness of the set capture me, but the music itself was also…lets say…out of the norm. Imagine a rock group combined with dance hits from the 70’s.  Strange I know, but honestly this was some of the the best music I danced to all night.

During the show, the three-person band invited some of their female friends to co-sing with them on the last three songs.  If I had to guess from simple observation, this idea was one hundred percent spontaneous, and – because of that – those last few songs were some of my personal favorites in their show.

So, if you love rock with a touch of 70’s flair, then you must see Kite to the Moon. Not only will you hear some of the most unique rhythms and vocals, but you also will see theatrics that will shock you into a fantasyland created solely for your entertainment. Kite to the Moon gets a solid eight out of 10 for me, and they gave me an unforgettable experience.

– Kelly Mattick

 

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