By: Katie Pinter, Contributor
Deep in the urban jungle that is downtown Athens, lies the mystical venue called Fern Gully. While it may not include fairies, fruit bats, and an Elton John soundtrack like its '90s movie namesake, the venue did feature the musical stylings of Emily and the Complexes, Dan Lurie, and Kyle Sowash, all of which were pretty magical.
Starting off the night was Tyler Verhagen's Emily and the Complexes, a singer/songwriter act from Columbus. From the beginning of the show, Verhagen enraptured the audience with his croons about longing and heartache with a healthy dose of angst here and there. The folk rock set was closed with a cover of Against Me!'s "Sink, Florida, Sink," with which the crowd was more than happy to help sing along.
Following the solo act was the trio Dan Lurie & the Quarter System. Coming in all the way from Portland, this indie-pop rock group dished out songs on every topic from chicken sandwiches and trampolines, to reminiscent tunes about OU's Jefferson Hall and South Green. Lead singer Dan Lurie was happy to be back at his alma mater with drummer/"snuggle bunny" Daniel Mancini and singer/wife Vanessa Rehder, but even happier to have his Athens references understood.
Soon after their crowd-pleasing rendition of "Robocop" by Kanye West, the band was accompanied by Kyle Sowash for a few electric guitar soaked numbers, which nicely complemented Lurie's lighter style.
And then there was one, just the solo sounds of Kyle Sowash to finish off the night. Also from Columbus, Sowash played his indie rock with a rougher tone than the other acts that made his set feel right out of the '90s. One of the highlights from his act was his version of the FreeCreditReport[dot]Com jingle, which his band actually recorded for a contest, and definitely kept the crowd laughing.
But just when everyone thought the show was over, Sowash dusted off an old track with a great story behind it. As told to the crowd, Sowash and Lurie were at an ice cream shop in Portland when an antsy tyke in front began morosely singing about the ice cream clown sundae he was desperate to eat. Lurie and Sowash took the boy's words and made separate versions of what is now "Vanilla Clown." Their collaboration couldn't have finished the evening on a funnier note.
In the end, the show delivered a massive amount of laughs and cheers from the crowd, all thanks to Emily & the Complexes, Dan Lurie & the Quarter System, and Kyle Sowash and their rocking beats. With Hope, there will be more nights of magic and entertainment in the future at The Fern Gully, Athens' most elusive and enchanting new venue.