June 22, 2014

AthFest in Review: IATWTC, The Powder Room, Cinemechanica and More


Photo Credit: Mike White

I Am the World Trade Center

The Georgia Theatre rooftop was a great place to start the evening again, this time in a more intimate show with Sehrmann. An eclectic rock group that formed in Athens in January and is led by Gresham Cash (who performed previously as Gresham’s Disco and Cedar Waxwing), the band creates a dance-y synthesis of indie, psychedelic, grunge and folk. Standing in the front row, the mix sounded noisier than usual, masking Cash’s voice at times. Back by the rooftop bar, I gleefully found the mix that I was more familiar with and stayed there for the rest of the set. 

After I Am the World Trade Center performed a few songs on Georgia Theatre’s main stage, Dan Geller looked over the crowd and said, “This is weird.” Performing for the first time after eight years to a mostly new audience may have felt strange, but Geller and Amy Dykes brought a synth-pop set that was extremely fun. Geller’s impressive energy was infectious as he danced across the stage, and Dykes’ vocals were great. Unfortunately, the crowd didn’t feel the dance groove until the duo covered Human League's “Don’t You Want Me,” but the real magic was watching the chemistry when the two laughed while mixing sounds or sang facing each other, bouncing in unison.

At midnight, The Powder Room gave me exactly what I was craving for all of AthFest—a throbbing, low-end bass you can feel in your bone marrow. The sludgy but intricate sound is satisfying in a way that makes you grin like an idiot at the end of every song. Frontman and guitarist Gene Woolfolk, who saucily accepted the Flagpole Athens Music Award for Live Engineer on Thursday, deepened the sense of community by stringing the set together with his self-deprecating sense of humor and fuck-you attitude. The packed-out Caledonia Lounge moved in rhythm with pure enthusiasm, signaling a sparkling gem in Athens’ declining heavy scene.

Then Cinemechanica closed out the night, promising not to “get it in your hair” and to offer up the Plan B pill after the show. Cinemechanica never disappoints. Drummer Mike Albanese blasted unreal energy song after song, leaving audience members mouthing “oh my god” to each other more than once. The group’s signature mathy-ness spurned a mosh circle by the second song, which lasted through the rest of the set. The best moments hit in those “This just got real” frenzies, when the mosh explodes in all directions, the entire crowd moves in unison, and you don’t mind getting your feet stomped. It was the perfect way to end the night.