On April 22, Afterglo held its second annual Earthday Everyday music festival at Live Wire Athens. It was a busy day in Athens, coinciding with Normaltown Music Festival, Highlight Athens, and Athens Twilight Criterium. Starting at 2 p.m., a multi-genre lineup of artists took to the outside stages, with attention turning to the inside stage at 9 p.m., as the party turned into a late-night rave with the Nightshade Family. We’ve decided to highlight some of our favorite acts from this wonderful day.
We arrived just in time to hear Rhymes with Japan and Selah Samarah. The two very different styles of these acts set the tone for the rest of the festival. Rhymes with Japan was a DJ, drummer, and rapper trio that put together a fun and lively performance, even taking some time to dance with members of the crowd. On the other hand, artist Selah Samarah, sang several original folk songs, backed by guitar, mandolin, endingidi, and cajón,
Punk band Commune took to the stage after several openers and brought the energy. The moment they began playing I felt the audience inch forward and from that point forward the moshing didn’t stop. They were really engaging with the crowd too, cracking jokes and offering context for some of their songs. One of my favorite moments was when they played their song about property, shouting in unison “Property isn’t real!” (which is pretty punk in my opinion). They also played a new song, “Fallin Down,” which rocked, and announced it would be releasing soon with a new music video. We definitely recommend checking them out and be sure to keep an eye out for their upcoming content!
5:00 p.m. was a hot time-slot because the upper stage saw the talented rapper Cardynal perform. They were a fan favorite, drawing the biggest crowd at that stage. Early in their set, the mood was set, as Cardynal paused their set to jump into the crowd and dance. A favorite song was “Mango,” where their lyricism and personality shined. They weren’t afraid to stray from rap, performing some R&B jams and showing off their vocal ability. The local rap scene is full of talent, and Cardynal is the perfect example. They had a great set!
Convince the Kid, a self-described “four-piece synth-rock band out of Athens” took the 9dk stage at 7:00 p.m. Ranging from spacey synths that make you feel like the world is ending to bass-heavy tracks that carried a lot more weight, the band held the audience attention well. A highlight for me was when frontman Trevor Thrift made use of a smaller drum kit and drum pads as drummer Vic Fisher banged away. Overall, the band had a lot of energy and a good understanding of song structure and tension, often having several members drop out to highlight a single instrument before reintroducing everyone with a bang.
Trvy & The Enemy were next up on the 9dk stage and had by far the most crowd participation of the entire festival. Rock instrumentation with rapping is usually best when performed live, and this was confirmation of that. Rapper Trvy, the recent Vic Chesnutt Songwriter of the Year Award winner, combined infectious energy with technical expertise to captivate the crowd. The performance ebbed and flowed from smooth and introspective to loud and heavy to jazzy and uptempo. “Gotta die a legend” and “Mama couldn’t you tell me where to go / I’m so sick and tired of being alone” were the lyrics that stuck most with us, out of both repetition and poignancy at that moment. Without a doubt, you should check out Trvy’s solo work and his work with The Enemy.
The outside stages wrapped up with Cassie Chantel, who we were impressed by. Before she even began, I was a fan, as she got the crowd hyped with needle drops ranging from Hiatus Kaiyote to Ice Spice. Her energy was infectious and she was a great performer. A favorite moment was when she played her song “Tennis,” causing the crowd to quickly realize why there had been so many rackets on the ground. It was pretty cool seeing everyone waving them in the air with the song’s chorus. She ended her set with a merch giveaway, earning her even more fans, if everyone wasn’t already.
As it turned to night, the crowd turned inside for a rave by Athens’ own Nightshade Family. They had a raised stage with stunning visuals, bringing life to the talented DJ’s music. From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Izzy, Karezza, Mystic Grizzly, Chief Kaya, and King Shotta took over, each with their own individual styles and feeling. From flips of popular songs to complicated, electronic buildups, not a single moment failed to impress us.
In the spirit of Earthday, local University of Georgia student Christian Aldama instructed festivalgoers on how to garden, going as far as to distribute ready-to-be-planted seeds to anyone who wanted them. The also event made sure to highlight and venerate Tortuguita, an environmental activist who was killed by police in protest of Cop City, a proposed Atlanta Police Department base that would see serious destruction done to the Weelaunee Forest.
The 2023 Earthday Everyday festival encapsulated some of the many things that make Athens special. Students, locals, and families alike all came out to enjoy music together. Vendors sold handmade rings, confectioneries, CBD- and THC-based products, and more. It was truly a wonderful day of music, cool outifts, and even better people. Thanks again to Afterglo for putting on such a fun festival, and please take the time and check out some great artists!