By: Cassie Whitt, Blogs Editor
"UP DA PUNX," the flier for this event jokingly advertised, something refreshing to see in the Athens scene, which is dominated by a more quiet, happy-go-folksy sound that just doesn't do the trick for me.
So, what could be a better environment for a punk show than a shady-looking basement filled to the brim with some of Athens finest shady-looking-but-harmless characters?
A late start, a full basement and a mob of people outside the house signified that not everyone would get to experience the music up-close, but few seemed to mind that as Mom's Weekend (who seemed to be having an identity crisis at the start when they introduced themselves as Sign-Off) took the floorspace designated as the stage area.
"You guys can get all up in my grill. I don't mind," the vocalist proclaimed, coaxing the crowd closer before they launched into a set riddled with a mixture of old-school punk flavor, something more reminiscent of bands like Touche Amore or La Dispute and plenty of "weird Freudian shit."
"Did he just sing, 'I hate my hot mom.'" Yes. Yes, I believe he did.
Following Mom's Weekend, unexpectedly by most of the crowd, Snake Head (or Snakehead, or Snake-head; get a web presence, dudes), a hardcore band that mixed upbeat guitars with earth-rattling guttural growls drove people out of the basement by the dozens. "Fuck that," a few muttered, as they escaped the small-but-rowdy moshpit that dominated the tiny basement space.
Many went outside, where a practicing vocal trio (or quartet; it was too dark to tell) in the backyard became a more interesting and safe focal point.
The screaming stopped, the old crowd parted and a new one packed in for Emily and The Complexes.
It's all fun and games, you see, until the mosh pit breaks the window. Mosh they did, and window-break they did, an incident that cleared the potentially-guilty from the basement at the halfway point of Emily and The Complexes' set.
That's their drunken, shove-happy loss; as, Emily and The Complexes as a full band is well-worth watching. Formerly in Athens, Emily vocalist/guitarist Tyler Verhagen had performed only as a solo act, working his way from acoustic at the Fern Gully to electric at Casa before filling out his sound by adding drummer Tom Konitzer and bassist Jordan Finke at this show.
Having seen them in Columbus over Winter break as a full band, I can say that since then they have improved greatly. Even in the sub-par basement sound conditions, they sounded great: hands-down the best of the night.
Along with past crowd-pleasers like "I Don't Want To Brush My Teeth" and "Styrofoam Plate Blues" (with a full-band-given facelift beyond the version one may know from The Efficiency Demo), the band debuted a couple new songs, one of which was titled "Trailer Home" and introduced by Verhagen as being about Nelsonville. They also did not disappoint yours truly, a hardcore Alkaline Trio fan, with their cover of "Fuck You Aurora."
Next time Emily And The Complexes are in town, be there. And don't be the window-breaking asshole who ruins it for everyone. Seriously.
I skipped out before Difficult Dogs, but I overheard recently that they "bring out the indie bitches" and evoke the mosh. So, there's that.