Photo Credit: Julian Fort
As the weather cools down, Athens’ concert calendar starts to sizzle, and the coming months will bring a steady flow of gotta-see touring acts to town, including pot-stirring punks, alt-rock innovators, chart-topping indie darlings and Bruce Springsteen’s right-hand man. Here are 10 upcoming shows we’ve got our eyes on. For your sake and ours, nab a copy of Flagpole each week or check the website to get the lowdown on these and lots of other local happenings.
Monday, Sept. 23, 40 Watt Club
After a stint with Portland, OR, weirdos Jackie-O Motherfucker and another with Baltimore noise collective Nautical Almanac, singer-songwriter Natalie Mering struck out on her own as Weyes Blood, putting an eclectic, orchestral spin on traditional pop and folk. Her breakthrough, this year’s Titanic Rising LP, out on Sub Pop, finds Mering conjuring the ghost of 1970s soft rock with baroque arrangements and tender, transformative melodies.
Saturday, Sept. 28, Flicker Theatre and Bar
With power-pop influencers The Posies, Ken Stringfellow built on a template laid by Big Star, the dB’s and other jangly forebears to create classic albums like 1993’s Frosting on the Beater. A de facto member of R.E.M. during the band’s divisive turn-of-the-century era, Stringfellow contributed to the synth-heavy sound of records like Reveal and Around the Sun. In the years since, he’s followed his muse from country to film music and beyond.
Rainbow Kitten Surprise
Tuesday, Oct. 1, 40 Watt Club & Thursday, Oct. 3–Friday, Oct. 4, Georgia Theatre
After forming a few years back at Appalachian State College in the unexpected rock mecca of Boone, NC, the members of Rainbow Kitten Surprise saw their star rise swiftly as their Reddit-ready band name and fourth wave indie pastiche attracted fringe-jacketed festival-goers by the thousands. Last year’s How To: Friend, Love, Freefall was a smart and polished outing that established the group as a mainstream mainstay.
Little Steven & the Disciples of Soul
Wednesday, Oct. 9, Georgia Theatre
You may know Steven Van Zandt as the guitarist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, or as the charismatic consigliere Silvio Dante on HBO’s “The Sopranos.” Since the 1980s, Van Zandt has fronted his own group, the Disciples of Soul, delivering politically astute explorations of blues, soul and global sounds. Earlier this year, Van Zandt, who also hosts the long-running satellite radio show “Little Steven’s Underground Garage,” released his first album of new work in two decades, the widescreen Summer of Sorcery.
Melvins, Redd Kross
Friday, Oct. 18, 40 Watt Club
Aging townies, assemble: This mid-October bill is a double shot of vintage goodness, as sludge masters Melvins share the stage with power-pop eternals Redd Kross. (The two bands share a bassist and drummer—Redd Kross founder Steven McDonald and Melvins stickman Dale Crover, respectively—explaining the mildly incongruous pairing.) The Kross is hot off the release of its seventh LP since its founding in 1978, the hook-filled Beyond the Door.
Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
Saturday, Oct. 26, Hodgson Concert Hall
One of the many highlights on this season’s UGA Performing Arts Center calendar, bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs brings his Kentucky Thunder ensemble to Hodgson Hall for a pre-Halloween hoedown. Mandolinist Skaggs will lead his multiple-award-winning group through faithful renditions of traditional favorites by names like Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, as well as fast-burning originals.
Monday, Nov. 4, Caledonia Lounge
Outlasting the buzz-band designation to become one of the steadiest presences on the indie touring circuit, New Jersey outfit Screaming Females has released seven albums of righteous rock and roll centered on the considerable guitar and vocal skills of Marissa Paternoster. Singles Too, an upcoming rarities collection, features early singles, B-sides and covers of everyone from Neil Young to Annie Lennox.
Thursday, Nov. 7, The Foundry
As the leader of alt-rock odd duck Soul Coughing, Mike Doughty folded folk, electronica, funk, jazz and hip hop into an occasionally amorphous sonic stew. The group, known for the minor FM singles “Circles” and “Super Bon Bon,” called it quits in 2000, though Doughty has gone on to enjoy a fruitful solo career. Now, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Soul Coughing’s debut, Ruby Vroom, he’s on the road playing the landmark LP in its entirety.
Photo Credit: Cara Robbins
Saturday, Nov. 9, 40 Watt Club
With his 2010 album Gemini, Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum helped kickstart a then-percolating dream pop renaissance that would soon overtake the indie world. The group—essentially a solo recording project that takes the form of a full band on tour—has since released three other full-lengths, including last year’s Indigo, a neon-lit mood piece straight out of the “Stranger Things”-verse. Former Athenian Tatum brings Wild Nothing back to town in early November.
Saturday, Nov. 16, 40 Watt Club
As impenetrable and hot-blooded as the Shakespeare tragedy from which it takes its name, New Jersey band Titus Andronicus has used its studio albums to tackle America’s violent past (2010’s The Monitor) and frontman Patrick Stickles’ mental illness (2015’s The Most Lamentable Tragedy). Its last two records have found the group exploring stripped-back balladry (2018’s A Productive Cough) and razor sharp pop-punk (An Obelisk, released in June).