Now, presenting… Vinyl Mag Presents, a show series highlighting Athens’ diverse musical talent.
On Wednesday, October 8th, Vinyl Mag and Zero Mile held a jointly promoted show on the Georgia Theatre Rooftop as the first for the series. The charming and ever-exciting Handholder, Convince the Kid with their layered synth landscapes, and newcomers Roommate performed. With their help, we sold out the Georgia Theatre Rooftop, gathering music fans across Athens to celebrate each band and its music. All were fantastic, drawing in the crowd set after set. Special thanks go to Vinyl Mag contributor Jake Feinberg, for his effort in putting the lineup together and coordinating the show.
At 8:10, four-piece band Roommate took the stage with a cover of Maroon 5‘s “Sunday Morning.” Incorporating the jazzy elements of the original arrangement, the band made use of a synth organ to put its own flavor into the song. The rest of the set was primarily covers, and members of the crowd were singing along the whole time. These songs included “Valerie,” popularized for Gen Z by Amy Winehouse, “All These Things I’ve Done” by The Killers, “Yellow” by Coldplay, and “Where Is My Mind?” by The Pixies.
They ended the set with an original unreleased song, repeating the lyrics “I’ve got the August blues.” By far the most cohesive song performed by them, the time put into practice was evident. Overall, they made a great impression on the crowd, really working to raise the energy on the rooftop even though it wasn’t near capacity yet.
Convince the Kid
In contrast to the previous act, the four-piece synth rock band Convince the Kid performed mostly original songs. They started exactly at 9:00 with a mostly instrumental and exceptionally “synthy” song. With a band like theirs, it feels like a disservice to attempt to capture their essence in words. Instrumentation oftentimes took precedence over lyrics as the nature of the music (and synths) oscillated between being spacey, surfy, chaotic, and subdued. The dynamic between the live drum set and the drum machine was critical to the band’s tension.
Near the end of the set, Charlie Enter, multi-instrumentalist and member of the band Sex Cell, came up to play the lead guitar riff on the band’s cover of Radiohead‘s “Weird Fishes / Arpeggi.” This was a highlight of the whole show, with the band keeping the original character of the song and the synths coming to the forefront at the latter part of the song. In terms of attendance, the crowd approached its peak at this time. I think it is especially fitting that this atmospheric collection of songs was played as the light faded completely from the sky into total darkness.
While standing in the crowd before they came on, I heard several people and groups say “I’m here for Handholder.” Fortunately, my high expectations were quickly confirmed. Their set started with a polished boy band sound. The dynamic between the guitarist and the rhythm section was the driving force behind such a pleasant introduction to the band’s sound. The performance was soon elevated, however, as keyboardist Alex White brought out a soprano saxophone. He was shredding, particularly during intros and outros, and the crowd responded enthusiastically.
One of Handholder’s major strengths was balancing these drawn-out sax solos and riffs with the catchy and bouncy element present in several of their songs. This music concurrently served as easy listening for those at the back and something you could easily get lost in for those in the heart of the crowd. I was thoroughly impressed with the band’s consistent quality and songwriting ability, and am looking forward to hearing more of them soon.
Adeboye Adeoye is a student at the University of Georgia studying Economics, Sociology, and Music Business. As an avid playlist maker, he always looks for connections and themes across albums and genres. He listens primarily to Hip Hop but enjoys R&B, Neo-Soul, Pop, Afrobeats, Indie, and more beyond that as well.