A generation or so ago, back in the year 2000, I covered a concert as a photojournalist for the first time. The band I was photographing was KISS. They were on their farewell tour. I was shooting for Flagpole, which had recently taken a chance on me as a writer. I had never written. I had never studied writing. I did, however, love music, and had a massive interest in covering what was out there. After a few shows, Flagpole Music Editor Ballard Lesemann encouraged me to start taking a camera and reach out for a photo pass. So I did. I didn’t even have a professional camera and I’d certainly never studied that! But hey, why not?
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Everyone knows Carole King’s music, even if they don’t know they know Carole King’s music. The critically acclaimed songwriter wrote (with her then-husband Gerry Goffin) her first No. 1 hit at age 17—“Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” famously sung by The Shirelles. Her repertoire from the 1960s and '70s is full of hits like “Some Kind of Wonderful” by The Drifters, "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin, “Chains” by The Beatles and more. It wasn’t until 1971 that King released a full album, Tapestry, of songs written and performed by herself.
On Thursday night, the Caledonia Lounge transformed from a rock-centric party den into a homey, intimate, queer-friendly room full of quiet, respectful people. On night three of her tour, Laura Stevenson graced Athens with her soulful tunes and playful personality.
On Friday night, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit played their second of three sold-out nights at the Georgia Theatre. The room was packed to the brim with fans of Isbell—a rowdy yet entertaining crowd, similar to one you might see at a Drive-By Truckers show, only, perhaps, a little more sober.
Build all the amphitheatres, Athens. But the perfect outdoor venue already exists off Wolfskin Road, at Cloverleaf Farm, a painstakingly preserved pristine Southern property now in its third century of usefulness.
Sunday morning at Bonnaroo, I found myself sitting across from Sacramento-born musician Frank Lopes Jr. as he smoked a cigarette and reflected on his previous couple of days at the festival. Lopes, known musically as Hobo Johnson, along with his band The Lovemakers, got back from an Australia/UK leg of their last tour a couple of months ago, and have been working on completing an album and playing more shows since.
2019 was reportedly the first year Bonnaroo has sold out since 2013, with around 80,000 people filling the farm throughout the weekend. Once I got used to the crowds, the 2-mile hike to camp and the never-ending porta-potties, I had the time of my life.
The Georgia Theatre was a full house Friday night for internationally-touring multigenre group Lake Street Dive. The funky five-piece released their newest EP, Freak Yourself Out, in November, just six months after their latest album, Free Yourself Up.
Photos by Abigail Sherrod Sykes
Folks trickled in on a very cold Wednesday evening for Post Animal's openers, Shane T and Illiterate Light. Nashville-based Shane T, accompanied by bassist Taylor Cotton and drummer Matt Martin, gave a cohesive performance, with a fuller setlist than one might expect from an artist who has only released one single since going solo. A graduate of the Music Business Program at UGA and former frontman of Athens band Son & Thief, Shane gave a shoutout to the Georgia Theatre, where he interned before graduating.
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