The rain in Spain might fall gently on the plains, but the rain in Athens pounds the bricks with more force than the hooves of Athens P.D. at Palmer Fest. Be that as it may, Athenians will get down rain or shine and, when they do, staff writer Hannah Cook and I will be among them.
After partaking in some pre-gaming...er..."snacks," we headed to the Smiling Skull to catch Emily and the Complexes. The atmosphere at the Skull was lively and we danced and twirled amidst friends and townies to the sounds of Tyler Verhagen's outlaw-acoustic-folk-blues-indie creations. He bantered with the crowd and made Harry Potter references and gave his all on every tune. Those who made their way down Union Street despite the weather were not to be disappointed. But it is not for Hannah Cook and me to stay in one place. When Verhagen (a.k.a. Emily and the Complexes) strummed his final note, we were compelled to move on.
As we made our way back to Athens' favorite crossroads (Court/Union), we ran into a few characters—including Zak, the emcee of Donkey Coffee's beloved Designated Space—and convinced them to join us at Casa Cantina for Duke Junior and the Smokey Boots. After coughing up two dollars for the cover, and receiving two frowny faces on each of our hands courtesy of the doorman's Sharpie, we positioned ourselves in front of the stage as the band set up all of its equipment. While I was rocking keen hiking sandals (monsoon season is no time for heels, ladies—certainly not in the city upon many hills), Hannah Cook's boots were itching to start smoking—and smoke they did. Duke Junior brought its A-game, playing roots so lively no toe in Casa was immune to tapping. We stayed and boogied for most of the set, but 12:45 rolled around and it was, again, time for us to be moving on.
With the Skull and Casa already covered, the only logical ending venue to our night of show-hopping was, of course, The Union, for whatever was left of Blackoutfest. We made it just in time to catch the end of an experimental band whose name I do not recall... So what I mean to say is, we made it just in time to loiter outside while we waited for word that Buffalo Killers were setting up. When word came, we were up that staircase in a hot second and positioned right at the front of the stage, ready to get our blues rock on. The Buffalo Killers started off a bit slow but once they got their momentum going, there was no stopping them. What began as a mediocre set ended with multiple bangs and an enthusiastic crowd that showed its appreciation by jostling until the law would let it jostle no more, and the bar had to give the traditional "You don't have to go home, but you do have to get the fuck out of here"—always a boost to a band's ego. Luckily, the Buffalo Killers deserve such an ego boost. I hope they enjoyed their Goodfellas and return again soon.
They say that rainy days are meant for staying in. They say that nothing good happens after 10 p.m. They say a lot of things. Hannah Cook and I refuse to take stock in such nonsense. Next time, I suggest you join us. The Athens music scene is alive, and we are all alive within it.
--Amanda Norris, Staff Writer