Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones
It’s a new year for Athens music and, as has become tradition, we’ve rounded up everything that will happen in the coming months and presented it in convenient digest style. Enjoy!
JANUARY: After thanking a variety of higher powers for a New Year’s Eve that fell on Saturday, gratitude quickly turned to curses as no one was able to get his or her brunch shifts covered the following day. Later this month, the punk and hardcore communities gathered at a house show and patted each other on the back for steadfastly refusing to perform at any of President-elect Trump’s inaugural events. As the first in a four-year series of such empty gestures, Athens was shown yet again that “fighting this shit” has never been easier.
FEBRUARY: An early-week Valentine’s Day made easy work for local party DJs, who felt quite clever when playing Drake’s “Goin’ Up on a Tuesday.” In a rare showing of contrarianism, Dan Geller of the Booty Boyz would only play the pre-remix track “Tuesday,” and spent the night informing people that the ILoveMakonnen song was “the original.” Zack “Z-Dog the Booty Hunter” Hosey was overheard saying, “Aw, hell yeah, dog. Makonnen is my dog, dog!”
MARCH: As Athens is accustomed to anticipating both heat waves and snowstorms during this month, the only thing left to do was for everyone to practice what they would tell to touring bands coming through at this time. “Yeah, spring break can be really rough! The kids are gone,” said everyone to anyone with an out-of-state tag. Slyly, no one ever let on that spring break is only a week long and the “kids” are largely made up of people that are here all year long.
APRIL: This was the month in which every music-scene couple containing two actual musicians decided it’d be cool to form a “side project” together. Each was insistent that these new combos had nothing to do with their members being romantically intertwined, but were rather an opportunity to try new things. All of them caused a run on consignment slips at area record stores as they rushed to get their cassettes to market.
MAY: Just like that, half the aforementioned duos broke up this month, leaving a trail of plastic boxes, magnetic tape and abandoned Bandcamp accounts in their wake. In other news, the spurned parties of each now-defunct group started a solo noise project facilitated mostly by free software and the second floor of The Globe.
JUNE: Seeking to further maximize both community involvement and ticket revenue, AthFest turned the volume up to 11 on its wristband-only events. This year, the nonprofit successfully persuaded the Athens-Clarke County government to establish checkpoints at all entrances to the county to enforce wristband compliance. Citizens were given the option of purchasing a pass into town on the spot or just waiting it out. When asked about the new policy, one local commissioner remarked, “We’re happy to provide the wait-it-out option. I mean, we’re not philistines.”
JULY: This was the slow business month that local clubs blamed on everyone being exhausted from the aforementioned AthFest. Local bands went on tour to equally empty college towns, and this year’s secret sneak-in pool was ruined because you let your stupid friend from high school come along one night and he invited all his bros. Smooth move, buddy.
AUGUST: Although it was definitely too hot to fish, it was nowhere near too hot for a solid 75 percent of local bands to become simultaneously unavailable for booking and totally available for secret riverside day-drinking jams. Discoveries made during this annual display of translucently pale skin included how many really bad spring break tattoos existed and that, actually, no one knew who invited that crusty punk kid named Tarmac who kept shooting a BB gun into the water and laughingly saying, “It’s just BBs, y’all!”
SEPTEMBER: Due to our generally polite nature, the music scene dedicated this month to informing newly-arrived UGA students that all the good stuff had pretty much already happened, but that they were still cool and we’d be happy to tell them all about it.
OCTOBER: Timi Conley’s Wild Rumpus parade surpassed the public-event attendance record previously held by Widespread Panic. An estimated 200,000 people crowded into downtown, as more than 90 percent of Athens residents in attendance went out at night for the first time since the last Rumpus. Everyone had a good time talking about how much they contributed to the scene, and how much Athens was changing but they were the ones keeping it alive.
NOVEMBER: The Athens music scene celebrated its particular brand of charity and inclusiveness by hosting multiple benefit shows this month. All financial records were, of course, taken to the scene's accountant, and costs such as labor, materials, lost time from work, hospitality and transportation were deducted from proceeds. In the end, we raised approximately 25 cents for every man-hour spent, which is about 3 percent of the current minimum wage. Even while operating at a 97 percent loss, we all felt pretty good about ourselves, and you can't put a price on feelings.
DECEMBER: Seeking to redress grievances over what some readers felt was an unrepresentative list of honorees in Flagpole’s 2016 year-end highlights, the local arts weekly went to work. It took a solid year of planning and fundraising, but the annual Parade of Lights featured 45 flatbed trucks sponsored by the paper, as well as marching bands from local high schools. Every single Athens musician was rounded up, put on board and provided with a microphone and/or amplifier. The ostensibly religion-free event was nonetheless edified by an enormous pre-parade circle of hand-holding, while scene spokespersons led the gathering in chanting the sacred rock and roll prayer: “Gabba, Gabba! We accept you! We accept you! One of us!” Oh, holy night, indeed!