10 Bands to Watch at AthFest 2013: June 19th – 23rd
Aside from actually packing my bags for the long weekend, I couldn’t be any more ready for AthFest 2013. The five day festival takes over the city each June, treating townies and visitors alike to more than 100 of the best local and regional bands – along with a few out of state acts that are worthy of gracing the red and black streets of Athens. In the spirit of tradition, Grafton (who has, since graduating, been accepted by the natives) and I wanted to share with our readers a handful of bands that we hope you’ll take the time to check out.
Listen to the exclusive stream of the 2013 AthFest Compilation HERE.
Read the 17 year history of AthFest HERE.
Tickets are still available for the festival (click above) and you can see the full line up HERE. Go Dawgs, y’all!
Grafton’s Top 5
Murk Daddy Flex – 6/21/2013 – 9:00pm @ Georgia Theatre Rooftop
Plumb the Athens music scene long enough, and you will eventually find Terence Chiyezhan. His name pops up in various places, from screamo (Nurture) to unabashedly un-serious pop (Music Class). But Chiyezhan will be remembered around here as Murk Daddy Flex, the local DJ specializing in instrumental hip-hop rooted in the styles of Madvillain and A Tribe Called Quest. The project began with a series of compilations on MDF’s Bandcamp page, each with the caption explaining that all tracks were composed using free, entry-level recording software called Audacity. To producers slaving away on more complex platforms, Chiyezhan’s comps were stunning in their execution, and his debut album MDF pairs whimsy with jazz age piano ditties to produce unforgettable old school beats. His DJ set on the rooftop of the Georgia Theatre may be less high-profile than his recent opening slot for DJ Shadow (that’s right), but it’s a set that should not be missed.
Cicada Rhythm – 6/22/2013 – 10:15pm @ The World Famous
Cicada Rhythm kicks off Saturday night at the World Famous, a newer venue that serves as Athens’ premiere listening room. It is a perfect place to see the Athens duo live and to properly take in all of their musical intricacies. Comprised of Andrea DeMarcus and David Kirslis, Cicada Rhythm offers picked guitar over gorgeous bass, and though the setup may sound familiar, their music is entirely novel. DeMarcus, who is a Juilliard-trained bassist, perfectly complements Kirslis’ guitar, and when their vocals combine, the effect is room-clearing. If you are looking for a break from rock and roll, do not miss their set.
DIP – 6/21/2013 – 12:00am @ Go Bar
DIP is about as wacky as a band can get in Athens, and to even call DIP a “band” would be a severe injustice. With songs like “Addicted to Dip,” “The Big Dipper,” and “Dipthong,” DIP is a hilarious rap and spoken word group whose live shows usually involve members rapping over galloping beats and bantering with the crowd between songs. It all makes for a rowdy experience, which Athenians are adept at having. Athens has its share of silly bands, but DIP never sacrifices a good time for their silliness. Their Friday night Go Bar set will be the best time you’ve ever had shouting “BOOM DIDDY BOOM DIDDY.”
DIP parties too hard to take the time to make videos. At least as far as we can tell.
Quiet Hounds – 6/21/2013 – 7:30pm @ Pulaski Street Stage
I stumbled onto Quiet Hounds’ set last AthFest at Little Kings, and theirs proved to be one of the best live shows I have ever seen in Athens. It’s hard to explain, but Quiet Hounds’ musical arsenal includes pop hooks within a wall of sound that can incite riotous dancing and (my initial reaction) slack-jawed amazement. Their latest release, Megaphona, is equal parts country, indie rock, and chamber pop all riding to epic heights on the back of their lead singer, an extremely powerful talent in his own right. If this all sounds familiar (see: every derivative of The National and the Avett Brothers), give their song “Hemlock” a spin and then catch them on the Pulaski Street Stage right before the Modern Skirts. Not many “indie” bands can pack this kind of talent on one stage.
Modern Skirts – 6/21/2013 – 9:00pm @ Pulaski Street Stage
AthFest 2013 will deliver a slew of talented bands but will ultimately be remembered as the last time any of us will get to see Modern Skirts live. Friday night on the Pulaski Street Stage, Modern Skirts will present their final show, thus wrapping up a career as one of the most musically adventurous indie pop acts to come out of the mid-2000s – and as the best live band in Athens. Their AthFest 2012 set at the 40 Watt was arguably a career best and showcased the band in full creative force, hopping from rollicking trash rock to piano pop all while maintaining that distinct Skirts sound. Their AthFest shows have always been memorable, and I am confident that this year’s will be no different. Though AthFest – and Athens – will not be the same once the quartet walks off that stage, we will never forget our time with these guys.
Sean’s Top 5
powerkompany – 6/22/2013 – 1:45pm @ Hall Street Stage
I Am More Than This, powerkompany’s expansive and haunting debut, explores the shadows of emotions triggered by acceptance or the overall lack of it. The Athens, Georgia duo seamlessly weaves new-era programming with classical techniques to create a sound that alternates between being heavily anthemic and unseeingly small, yet still powerful. Comprised of Marie Devon (Venice is Sinking) and Andrew Heaton (Packway Handle Band), powerkompany offers a uniquely Southern glimpse of the joy that is bred from everyday sorrows. Seeing them at 1:45pm outside should make for an interesting take on what is usually a dark and intensely personal set.
Lera Lynn – 6/23/2013 – 5:45pm @ Pulaski Street Stage
Yes, Lera Lynn was featured in 2012. No, I don’t feel like I’m doing anything wrong by including her in this year’s list. The girl’s got true grit and can sing like a bird. Since her PledgeMusic campaign was contributed at 111% of the the goal, fans can expect a brand new full-length album in the near future. Plus, some of that 11% extra that was raised is going directly to help Nuci’s Space, one of Athens’ greatest social resources.
Pacific UV – 6/22/2013 – 10:30pm @ Georgia Theatre Rooftop
Athens own electro-maestros latest release, After The Dream You Are Awake, is an enchanting, thoughtfully produced release that is heavily influenced by the idea of “music for a long night drive”. Now home from a tour of dates that included the duo heading overseas to Hong Kong and Taipei, Pacific UV should be the perfect soundtrack to spending a cool Summer night on the Theatre Rooftop.
DRGN King – 6/21/2013 – 11:30pm @ Green Room
The psych-rock outfit from Philadelphia must have done something right to get thrown into the mix of Georgia’s finest. Since their Bar None release of Paragraph Nights earlier this year, DRGN King steadily gained a listening base that extends far beyond the reach of the East Coast shows they’ve played. “Holy Ghost” happens to be one of my favorite videos & songs released in the past year and I genuinely cannot wait to see this band live again.
Eureka California – 6/21/2013 – 10:50pm @ Cine
Garages were meant for rocking. And that’s just what Eureka California will do. One of these days Eureka California is going to come rock your garage for you. That turned out much better than I expected it to when I started writing it. Yet another Athens-based duo (two’s company, three’s a crowd?) that is well worth spending some time with during this festival, EC like to celebrate the finer things in life; pizza, swimming, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and cats. Party on.