Monday, June 4, 2012

ACRN Lobsterfest 2012 / Day Three / June 2 / South Beach

To Be Determined
By: Amanda Norris, Staff Writer

The morning crowd on South Beach was decidedly split between middle aged proud parents and classmates of To Be Determined, one of the winners from the Athens High School Battle of the Bands. Their set was mostly made up of covers -- the standards: Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sublime -- mixed in with a few originals. Your typical high school jam band, complete with joking rock goddery on the part of their lead singer, but it was some good background music to start the day. Except for that "Call Me Maybe" cover. Not cool, boys. Not cool.

Cop Hugger
By: Matt Bemer, Copy Editor

The former post was retracted because of a miscommunication between the author of the post and the reader. In it, the author led the reader to believe that Max Wheeler was indeed the frontman playing Cop Hugger's Lobsterfest 2012 set.

I was excited to see Cop Hugger take the stage. The band isn't known for playing places outside of bars or houses because of their hardcore sound. It's always interesting to me to see how that sound translates into a different atmosphere.

Max Wheeler, the band's lead singer, was out of town for the set, so Spencer Radcliffe (a friend of the band) took the stage in his place. Radcliffe's most notable accomplishments come from his electronic project Blithe Field. But to the passersby and to those unfamiliar with the music of Cop Hugger, Radcliffe was a fine substitute. 

Cop Hugger played with great gusto. The set lasted around 15 minutes, but to those familiar with the band, that is not an uncommon thing. It's an aesthetic of the genre -- straightforward frustration expressed through yells over three power chords lasting only a minute or so in length.

Despite being somewhat out of their element at two in the afternoon in the middle of a residential green, Cop Hugger adapted.

By: Hannah Cook, Editorial Director

It can never be too early for Scubadog. The band (though missing their other guitarist this time 'round) took the ever so slightly raised stage on South Beach around 1:30 p.m. with the sunshine glimmering behind them. Not many were there yet to see the beloved Scubadog in an abnormal setting compared to their frequent bar shows. But the band proved that no matter the audience, they boast the most delightful of musical integrity (even with a missing bandmate). 

Most things about the band's set were fairly typical in the realm of Scubadog -- comical stage banter, authentic energy and all-around indie rock excellence. But frontman Jake Householder did change things up more than a bit when he invited a lone audience member up on stage to sing with him. Her name escapes me, but her voice does not, as it weaved with Householder's cracked falsetto perhaps flawlessly. And to think we just thought she was there to enjoy Lobsterfest.

Fat History Month & SIGN-OFF
By: Scott Smith, Staff Writer

I couldn't help but notice the nice family sitting in lawn chairs at the back of Lobsterfest. A mommy, a daddy and a young girl enjoying the picturesque June day and the sweet sounds of...Fat History Month? SIGN-OFF? Something's not right here.

While there's a fair deal of screaming about these acts, nothing about them necessarily screams "family-oriented," at least in the traditional sense, anyway. 

But they stayed through all the noise, all the lyrical F-bombs and crowd-attributed F-bombs. They even looked like they were bobbing their heads ever so slightly. Were they residents of Athens who just attend Lobsterfest every year? I couldn't figure it out, but I was happy they were there.

We all caught Fat History Month first. A duo who came over from Boston, the band seemed to be enjoying themselves more than any other act at the festival. They embraced the crowd, who in turn responded similarly. The love affair with Athens continued even after Lobsterfest when the group played a second house show later in the night.

Next was SIGN-OFF, another noisy duo that is more familiar to the area. They were about halfway through their bare-bones, bass and drum set when bassist Morgan Garrett announced, "My parents are here," and BOOM, it all made sense. 

What made this even better was that Garrett didn't change his performance one iota just because his parents were there. He hopped around sort of awkwardly and screamed so loud his voice cracked. He even let his eyes roll into the back of his head. Some young performers might feel anxiety with a performance like that. Their style of music might be seen as taboo by a more traditional set of eyes and ideas, but that's who Garrett is as a musician and nothing is going to (in fact nothing can or should) change who he is or how he performs.

Or maybe he just has rad parents. I would bet the answer is both.

Reading Group
By: Ben Haager, Contributor

Reading Group, from Louisville, was one of the bands that Kory Kasler, Matt Bemer and I really could not wait to see on Snaturday. They describe themselves as "pop-punk, maybe," and the "maybe" portion of that is quite accurate because I don't really know how to place them in a genre. Their guitars were loud, drums spot-on at driving the tempo and Lacey Guthrie's vocals were just downright gorgeous. They even took a request from Matt to add the song "Holy Kisser" on to the end of their set. I'm not usually a fan of female singers, but when it comes to Reading Group, I make quite the exception. In fact, I bought a t-shirt, pack of buttons and cassette tape (yes a cassette tape) following their set. Reading Group, you guys (and gal) rule.

By: Katie O'Leary, Art Director

Evolve, also know as Colin Murray, daintily took the stage after Reading Group in a pink dress and a table full of flashing switches and beat mixing equipment.

Most of the audience wasn’t sure what to expect. He had yellow-tinted hair piled on his head and introduced himself as “Nancy." The crowd laughed a little uncertainly and Evolve began the show. 

Personally, I had just heard he played electronic music and mixed beats. After about two minutes he began rapping. Not at all what I expected.

His songs covered everything from total anarchy to intense drug use. I found myself enjoying all of it. He had an awesome flow to his words that was completely different from the voice of “Nancy” he had taken on before.

He complained of minor technical difficulties due to the sun hindering his ability to see the lights on his mixing boards. However, he managed to put together a stellar performance for Lobsterfest. 

Xray Eyeballs
By: Amanda Norris, Staff Writer

Xray Eyeballs: garage rock suited to your favorite underground night club, decked out in slick black and white complete with ultra-hip style and demeanor. Their relentless shoegaze-esque sound would own The Union and the night, but it wasn't as well-suited to a midafternoon outdoor festival as we might have liked. That aside, this is a band to watch and the fact that their guitarist wore the Snat costume the rest of the day made me proud as hell to have them at Lobsterfest. Come back through and play The Union Xray. We'd love to see it. 

By: Amanda Norris, Staff Writer

Though I am always hesitant of making committed statements about which bands will blow up and which bands, though possibly deserving of fame and fortune, will disappear into obscure indie rock history, I'm going to make an exception. I can't help but feel like a few months from now we'll be telling people, "Yeah, we booked Pujol for Lobsterfest..." Why? Because exactly one week from gracing our humble stage on South Beach, they will be playing Bonnaroo -- not exactly a small feat. They played to a small crowd of dedicated ACRNites, but they didn't mind. Cracking jokes and making conversational banter with the intimate bunch, this down-to-earth trio put on an entertaining closing set. Their tunes were great, but so was their attitude. They even stuck around afterward to talk to the crowd and stage crew, genuinely interested in learning about what makes Athens special. You probably won't get that interaction in Tennessee next weekend. Come at us Bonnaroo.

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