Friday, November 13, 2009

Union newb!

Being the ignorant, baby freshman that I am, I’m slightly intimidated by the whole Athens music scene. Perhaps it’s because -- for such a small town -- the scene is bewilderingly flush with bands. Or perhaps it’s because I’ve never seen a prouder group of followers. Last night at The Union proved this point beyond belief in a form seemingly much less threatening -- dance.

I arrived too late, making it in time for only one and a half songs by In Silent Movies... and "silent" they were not. Only three guys cultivated a massive sound as people swung their heads with satisfaction. Then came Whale Zombie, and that’s when it all began.

There was so much dancing. Never in my life had I seen such movement. This wasn’t your junior year Homecoming kind of dancing. This was the real deal. Arms were flailing wildly. Legs were kicking recklessly. Hands were flicking to and fro, and faces were scrunched up into a whole new level of dance face. It was a combination of moshing, ballet, maybe some jiving. It fit the sound of Whale Zombie quite well though, with their mostly wordless creation of loud and animate discords.

The final band, Manor Animals, was a fine finish to the night. They were slightly off but had very well-placed vocals. The quintet collaborated well to produce a jumpy yet intense sound to which the whole crowd continued to dance.

The whole night was a great first impression of the Athens music scene. If one thing is for sure, it was a night that many people felt drunkenly content with the friends they were hanging on as they sang the familiar lyrics. People were there to support the music, and that was completely obvious and admirable, from my somewhat outsider point of few.

-- Hannah Cook, ACRN contributor

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Manor Madness

St. Louis-based Theodore opened its set Friday night with a multiple-part harmony and slid gently into its first song. Students and locals continued filing down the steps, filling Bruce Manor’s basement to maximum capacity. An elderly man in a red leather jacket and a Blue Eagle cap stood at the forefront of the crowd, leaning stoically against a support beam.

Theodore permeated serenity in its twangy tunes, the apex of its love songs lyrically urging, “Baby, break the law for me,” and the crowd swayed in a drunken haze. Well, swayed as best it could; the audience pulsed in extremely close proximity, individuals politely attempting not to spill beer or jab others.

Outside I smoked cigarettes with the bassist, who disclosed that he used the upright bass in several songs for mostly aesthetic purposes. Theodore played Athens once before, at the Union. I tell him the house shows pretty much dominate the scene around here, and local support for this show was indicative of that participation.

-Dani Purcell, ACRN Senior Writer

Manor Animals, Theodore and Duke Junior and the Smokey Boots played to house show revelers Friday night at the Bruce Manor.

ACRN's own Aaron Lemley featured prominently on the drums in Duke Junior. Their folksy blues-rock sound was the perfect introduction to a night filled with the lo-fi sound that we here in Athens have grown to know and love.

Later on, St. Louis locals Theodore played an intimate acoustic set to the ever indulgent crowd.

Manor Animals closed the night to their own packed basement. The band comprises the inhabitants of the Bruce Manor and their angular pop rhythms are fast becoming sharpened with each passing show.

All told, an all right Friday night. Those keen to get into the local music and house show scene realized quickly that the Manor is among the premier venues around town. On the same token, those looking to have a drunken good time with friends and possible new friends (like this guy) realized quickly the Manor is among the premier fun-spots around this blessed old town.

-Paolo Balboa, ACRN contributor