Photo Credit: Mike White
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]
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]
Photo Credit: Mike White
I would like to tell you now about the final concert of Prince Rogers Nelson.
Last weekend while Slingshot was slinging its thing to Athens, its big sister, Big Ears, was conducting its fifth incarnation up in Knoxville, TN. This transcendent, semi-annual event consistently offers one of America's premiere gatherings of the musical avant-garde. 2016 was no different in this respect and the fest exceeded its precedent by continuing to expand the diversity of its programming. Check out our full report within…
Part of the way through Bombino's set on Thursday night, his bassist told the audience that the Tuareg guitarist was under the weather. Could have fooled me. Though the acoustic bits at the beginning of the set had some trouble competing with noisy bar patrons at the back of the room, Bombino's virtuosic riffs were so mesmerizing that even he seemed to get lost in the blaze. Music in Athens can sometimes feel like a museum of itself, but Bombino's imported tishoumaren six-string shredding proved absolutely vital, evocative even though I couldn't understand a word of his lyrics. I can only imagine what he would have sounded like at 100 percent. [Adam Clair]
The Wrecking Ball ATL festival was held at the Masquerade on the weekend of Aug. 8 and 9. A huge number of emo, hardcore and pop-punk bands gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the historic Atlanta venue and its enduring legacy.
Photos by Jessica Mickey
For years, it's generally been considered poor form for a visiting act to cover an R.E.M. hit in the band's hometown, but if anyone could do it with festive authority, it's singer and bandleader Kate Pierson. Standing center stage in front of her own backing band, she closed a lively and intimate set at the Georgia Theatre on Saturday night with a three-song encore that featured a rousing version of "Shiny Happy People."
Friday on the main stage, The Whigs played the kind of enthusiastic rock and roll that forecasted the weekend ahead. With big-name pizzazz and homegrown familiarity, The Whigs set a backdrop for Friday night’s possibilities. Old friends hugged hello, light breezes blew through the crowd, and rainbow stickers celebrated momentous news. Plus, I’ve always been partial to “Kill Me Carolyne.” [Carolyn Crist]
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