Sunday, May 9, 2010

Palmer what? Oh. No thanks.

I’ll ditch Palmer Fest for a show at the Manor any day.

First off, getting maced by almighty cops and witnessing people throw beer bottles at the police horses doesn’t sound like something I want to be a part of for very long. Besides, watching a horse get shot and killed in war movies is always the most heartbreaking part. They just cripple at their joints and fall to the ground. Not that a beer can is as forceful as a bullet, but still. So freaking sad.

Second, it’s an intimate solo show at the Manor. Need I say more? I will. Tim Race, Wooden Wand, and some local technology-embracing wonders. There.

It was a show made for a full house.

Unfortunately, the Manor didn’t have quite the turn out I think we were all anticipating, which is a shame because it deserved everyone in town’s undivided attention.

I hate not knowing the names of people whom I’m watching. I believe that the first act of the night was a man by the name of Tyler, who produced noises made for murder movies. It’s not that it’s bad: it’s that it frightens me and makes me feel like something awful is going to happen at any moment. Perhaps that’s the point though.

Following that somewhat daunting, yet neat performance was Tim Race of Manor Animals. He sat in front of the sparse crowd, wearing his Poppa Johns uniform (he still had pizzas to deliver to all the drunk, hungry people across town) and played for us some tunes he’s written throughout his years. It was quiet and personal and I felt so bad when my friend’s completely illegible drunk text message made me laugh (and snort, I feel forced to admit) during one of his songs. That teaches me to never look at my phone during a set again. Anyway, as it was my first time seeing Tim play away from his fellow Manor Animals, I was incredibly impressed with how well he was able to carry a unique tune that perfectly accompanied the acoustics. I think some people, including myself, were even getting a little emotional over it.

The man of the night, James Jackson Toth, or Wooden Wand, came on next and laid out some delicate acoustic for the welcoming Athens crowd. His folksy, somewhat unrefined voice fit nicely with the simplicity of the night. It seemed he settled pleasantly into the living room of a stranger’s home. To my dismay, I had to leave and find my out-of-town friend, who had sprained her ankle and was limping across Athens by herself. But, luckily, we made it back in time for a few more songs.

Last was another person I was unfamiliar with, but it may have been my favorite of the night, given the mood I was in. In front of a suitcase with two electronic boxes on top sat a young man, legs crossed and fingers ready. It honestly sort of amazed me how such neat and cohesive noises came about with the simple touch of some buttons. It was honestly one of the coolest things I’ve heard. Sometimes he played samples of people talking and other times he let the noises say it all. I don’t know. It’s hard to explain now that I’m not there. But I do remember quite vividly just being transfixed on the buttons he was pressing turning red, then off, red, off, synchronizing with the beat.

Yet another successful night at the Manor, topped off with a Union Street Diner midnight snack. All was well in Athens last night.

--Hannah Cook, News/Live Reviews Editor


  1. the first band was Programs (Ty Owen and Andrew Lampela). The last was Blithe Field (Spencer Radcliffe). Thanks!