Saturday, February 5, 2011

Nelsonville Music Festival Headliners Announced at Benefit Show

Duke Jr. and the Smokey Boots undoubtedly stole the stage last night at Casa Cantina as Scubadog, Whale Zombie, and Chris Biester opened, but the real show-stopper was the announcing of Nelsonville Music Festival’s headliners.

Chris Biester’s soulful voice and blues/folk guitar got the crowd going early in the night. His onstage banter was not only heartfelt, but also hysterical. Sharing personal experiences of near car crashes and more, he got the crowd laughing and ready for the show to come.

Scubadog’s set was fun and energetic, playing mostly the band’s own material. The band covered Bruce Springsteens’s “Dancing in the Dark,” which got the lights off and the hips shaking at Casa.

After Scubadog’s set, the headliners for Sunday and Friday of the festival were announced. On Friday, the festival will welcome country music legend George Jones. Jones has had 14 number-one country hits, including his 1959 song “White Lightning.” On Sunday of the festival, Neko Case will bring her indie fury to Nelsonville. Known for her solo work and work with the New Pornographers, Case is among the best female singer-songwriters in the world.

Whale Zombie played next with their ambient, flirting with shoegaze, style. Every band that played seemed to have a little extra vigor in their set, excited at the thought of Nelsonville’s yearly extravaganza.

After Whale Zombie’s set was the moment everyone was waiting for. The announcement of Saturday’s headliner was here. The crowd grew almost silent and then the words were spoken. The Flaming Lips will be headlining Saturday of the festival, and the crowd erupted.

The Flaming Lips have been kings of the indie scene for almost 30 years now. The Flaming Lips are most known for their album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, which is not to lessen the band’s 12 other albums.

Duke Jr. and the Smokey Boots took the stage after that. The band played a mix of new and older songs, each of which as earnest as the last. The sultry Jessica Kauffman got the crowd going with the band’s rendition of “Shaking All Over,” and Kyle Martin’s vocals also captivated the crowd. Matt Horne’s fiddle and banjo combo brought it all together as Aaron Lemley and Casey Davis mesmerized as well.

This very well may have been the show to see this quarter in Athens, but Southeast Engine may prove otherwise opening sibs weekend Friday February 18th at Casa.

--Brian Bound, Staff Writer


A second perspective:

“What is happening in Casa Cantina right now?!?”
“I think... I think it’s a mosh pit”

Friday Night in Athens marked what was perhaps a first for beloved Casa Cantina, a full out mosh-pit (complete with token mohawk-dude) brought to you by Whale Zombie. That hard wood floor has never seen so much action. I hope someone got those kids some tofu fries. They looked exhausted by the time Whale Zombie finished their set.

Scubadog killed it, as always. I’m not sure anyone represents a college town band better than Scubadog and that’s why we love them. Well, that and that Bruce Springsteen cover.

Duke Jr. and the Smokey Boots closed the night. Unfortunately I had to book-out part of the way into their set, but from what I saw they we’re playing great and by the looks of the crowd they would carry on without me just fine.

All this being said, maybe you heard it mentioned that last night at Casa marked the announcement of the Nelsonville Music Festival 2011 headliners. Neko Case Sunday night, George Jones Saturday night (apparently I was the only college kid that knew who George Jones was. Let me school you: Elton John’s glasses, the rugged "badassadry" of Johnny Cash, and a sad sad soul. He wrote country songs when they were still worthy of a listen. I swear, there was a time when that happened), and--hold your breath indie-kids--THE FLAMING LIPS Friday night! Now I’m not a big Flaming Lips fan myself but I’m still darn proud that our Nelsonville Music Fest can attract such a big act. Great Job, fest-planners.

Now, someone help that mohawk-kid. I think he hurt his arm...

--Amanda Norris, Staff Writer

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