United Group of Artists successfully put on their fifth annual Athens Hip Hop Awards on Sunday, Mar. 26. Mokah and Knowa Johnson have worked since moving to Athens five years ago to begin and maintain the AHHA, sometimes against resistance.
SXSW in 2017 is, by far, the most chill it’s been in years. The biggest difference this year is a marked reduction in the number of previously huge free and public day parties. Longstanding, multi-day events like the Hype Hotel (presented by music blog aggregator The Hype Machine), Spotify House, Mess With Texas and others didn't happen this year. Even the hugely influential and exceedingly popular Fader Fort reduced its footprint from accommodating several thousand to merely a few hundred after losing its previously held location.
Not often have I stood amongst a group so diverse as last night at Athens in Harmony Redux, where people across a wide range of age, races and styles mingled and observed. Fittingly, the concert also offered a wide variety of music.
Photo Credit: Sean Dunn
It was little surprise that Jason Isbell sold out three consecutive nights at the Georgia Theatre last week. After his meteoric rise following his move to Nashville, Isbell has become a household name among those who consume popular music outside of Top 40 charts. It certainly didn’t hurt that he had former Centro-matic frontman Will Johnson in tow.
Photo Credit: Sean Dunn
Sometimes, it takes a while. This statement might be something of a mantra for Built to Spill, the perennially under-appreciated indie band (by virtue of its sonic aesthetic, not its business practices, of course). Now performing live as a three-piece, the Boise, ID-based group proved that less is, if not more, plenty sufficient to captivate a nearly sold-out crowd at the Georgia Theatre Saturday evening.
Photo Credit: Paul DeMerritt
A fundamental tension has defined the history of the Beach Boys. On one hand, there's the Beach Boys that have dominated the radio for the past 50 years—the band that honed a formula for accessible, sun-obsessed anthems behind hits such as “Kokomo.” And then there’s the Beach Boys with Brian Wilson at the reigns, where psychedelia, pop expertise and vivid harmonies play in unison.
Check out a Wrecking Ball photo gallery here.
Starting the day bright and early at noon, I made my way through the crowds of Misfits shirts and into the Masquerade’s signature black-coated building to catch some smaller acts. Despite the good intentions of Auspice and Abuse of Power, the execution of their sets left little curiosity to seek them out further. Not a good start. Thankfully, The Menzingers,Deafheaven and Touche Amore performed admirably to some of the largest crowds that I have ever seen for those bands, with almost every member head-bobbing along or screaming at the top of their lungs. In terms of crowd participation, these were three of the highlights of Saturday. [Maria Lewczyk]
Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones
Tug is a new local band that, even in its relative infancy, is already one of the more exciting prospects for the future of Athens punk scene. The sort-of supergroup is made up of three longtime local musicians: former Tonda leader Dick Hunsinger, Art Contest’s Garrett Burke and Monsoon’s Emmett Cappi. Their set at the 40 Watt Friday could be best described as a mix of experimental noise rock, traditional hardcore and metal. Cappi, though mostly known as a supporting player in past projects, shined as he took on the role of lead singer. His energy was the kind of stuff you only see in a band’s earliest days, as if he has been waiting years to get this intensity out in the open. Hunsinger continues to be one of the best instrumental musicians in Athens; his guitar playing in Tug is as powerful as it has ever been. Burke’s math-rock drumming skills translate fine to Tug’s harsher sound. Though I’m not sure if they would appreciate the comparison, Tug’s ability to blend a large variety of genres into a sound this accessible and genuine calls to mind the likes of ambient noise-metal megastars Deafheaven. While Tug’s recent EP, Cover the Earth, is a decent introduction to the band’s sound, its live set is required listening. [Nathan Kerce]
I would like to tell you now about the final concert of Prince Rogers Nelson.
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