By: Katie Pinter, Staff Writer
Photo By: Katie Pinter
After trekking into the unknown territory that is downtown Nelsonville, I was pleasantly surprised to find an entire block party centered around a last minute Southeast Engine show.
Friday's show was part of the free summer concert series held by Stuart's Opera House. Obviously, it's now sweater weather instead of summer, but this change of season seemed to fit better with the tone of the band. The event was also part of the town's Final Fridays on the Square, an art event that closes off the center of town so that people can walk around to the different galleries and art shops. Overall, the sense of community was really strong since a lot of people came out that night, with the largest group centered around the stage.
The show was set up outside in a small, empty parking lot across from Stuart's, which is not exactly ideal for a chilly fall evening. People just camped out on blankets or folding chairs or the cold asphalt, like myself. It's interesting to note the number of families that were present. Although there were a lot of aging hipsters and college age kids present, many young families with hyper toddlers were there as well. Good to known they're keeping them cultured while they're young.
I arrived about four songs into the band's first set, and it was very apparent that the crowd was feeling it. All of the children were dancing and playing close to the stage as Southeast Engine charmed on with their folk rock. Seeing the kids bop around created a nice vibe - you could just feel everyone letting themselves take the time to enjoy the show.
The band's line-up did not include bass player Jesse Remnant, but had a cool-looking guy wearing a blazer sub for him. The only downside to this was that the harmonies were not as prominent throughout the tracks as they usually are. Instead, lead singer Adam Remnant carried the vocals, starting off with songs from their album Canary.
After the next song, drummer Leo DeLuca started giving some background information about their group. He mentioned that he and Adam started the band as teens back in Dayton, OH and they listened to a lot of another band from the area. That band was Guided By Voices and Leo added that the next few tracks would be from GBV, off their album Bee Thousand.
Leo and the band quickly played through two of the GBV tracks and then took a break before their second set. In this time, everyone wandered around to the shops and galleries and I managed to snag some hot chocolate and a grilled Nutella and banana sandwich. Needless to say, I was having a great night and eagerly headed back to the lot as the band dove into its second act.
Continuing on with more GBV tracks, Southeast Engine really connected with the crowd because everyone around me seemed to be either singing or just grooving along to the music. The guys' cover of "I Am A Scientist" was just perfect - so sweet and simple.
The night finally came to an end with one last cover, "Down By The River" by Neil Young. Halfway through the song, the band turned the song into a jam session, with each member showing off their chops while Adam laid out his killer guitar skills with an impressive blusey rock solo.
As the band wrapped up its set, I thought back to something Adam had said earlier that night: "We'd been looking around for the ideal place to play around Athens, and I think this is it." Looking around the crowd, I don't think anyone would have disagreed.
Saturday, September 29, 2012
By: Kyle Rutherford, Staff Writer
Photo By: Kyle Rutherford
The first of Cumulus Entertainment’s dubstep 'n bass music tour, DUB101, came through Athens Friday night. The Union was infiltrated by two up-and-coming dubstep DJs/producers, Eric Evasion and Sean 2:16 of Cleveland.
Next out was Easty of Athens. Personally, I have seen Easty perform many times with his intense dubstep style, but this evening was something different. The man had to have been touched by Zeus because he brought it hard. The energy was intense as Easty faded in and out of each song, mixing through remixes of Diplo & Lil’ Jon and SKisM. Easty, whose real name is Matthew Roberts, was bombastic while on stage, moving from mixing to speaking into the microphone to jumping around like a madman.
Next out was Eric Evasion. Eric played one of the first DUB101 shows in Athens about a year ago, and he certainly brought back his same intensity. Having played The Werk Out Festival this past month and the Big Dub Festival in August, Eric has a lot following him. His music choice is heavy, grimy, dirty and pretty much any other word that is used to describe dubstep these days. He had the feel of producers like Datsik and Excision, with crazy bass throughout the set, which was sometimes difficult to dance to.
Out to clean up was Sean 2:16. While focusing on the American side of dubstep, Sean also had a heavy trap side to his set. Songs like “Booty 2 the Ground” by ƱZ x CRNKN, as well as “Original Don (Flosstradamus remix)” by Major Lazer were mixed in for the trap side, but Digiraatii’s remix of “Cleveland” by MGK brought the crowd to the more dubstep side of his set. At one point during Sean’s set, a college age student repetitively asked Sean to played the ever so popular “Gangnam Style.” The night’s MC promptly replied with, “Ya’ll want some K-Pop?," to which I repeatedly replied “Hell no!”
Monday, September 24, 2012
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Sunday, September 9, 2012
By: Kyle Rutherford, Staff Writer
Photos By: Kyle Rutherford
The Union was straight up funky Saturday night with a night of bumping music. There were saxophones playing, DJs DJing and the floor quaked from the amount of dancing.
The night started out with a set by DJ More. The OU sophomore kept it down tempo, mixing through a variety of hip hop, bass music and trap. The empty dance floor was a downer, but More still played through a great set.
Next out was DJ Pro Bono, keeping it funky with a variety of genres. He started his set with a bit of classic Top 40, throwing in some Michael Jackson and other funky stuff. As his set moved along, Pro Bono spun some harder electro house, making the venue’s floor vibrate. This vibration was only a test for what was to come. Pro Bono also played a heavy bass and house set during the later set change.
Skeetones, the night’s headliner, were an interesting Cincinnati five-piece. They had the style of a jam band with very minimal vocals, but with a very heavy electronic influence (four of the five band members had laptops in front of them). Much of the music was upbeat to ambient dance music, with songs that typically ranged from 7-10 minutes long. The band’s drummer had an energetic style, playing from simple backing to beats to a near drum 'n bass style.
Last out was Sassafraz from Athens. The six-piece group played the funkiest set of the night, with a sound that mixes funk, hip hop and just a bit of jazz. The heavy bass parts, inclusion of saxophone and trumpet and rapped vocals gave the band the feel of Flobots and even Elemental Groove Theory. Emerson, the band’s lead vocalist, led a well-orchestrated set, able to go from soft, jazzy vocals to up-tempo rapping. The dance floor was shaking through the whole set, definitely making The Union the funkiest place to be in Athens.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
By: Nick Rose-Stamey, Contributor
While West Virginia-based 600 lbs of Sin fumble through the electric menagerie in the back of their tour van, a faint thump pulls the listener away and up the street from the cover-charged Casa Cantina
gig. A block away, a ragtag bluegrass band known collectively as Hunnabee & The Sandy Tar Boys lit up the night. Or was it just the fluorescent lamps that they played under?
Reformed from the ashes of (the now dead) Mbanza, Hunnabee & The Sandy Tar Boys features Hunnabee Simonetti on fiddle, Jake Loew on four-string banjo, Ben Kain chunking away on a ¾ guitar, Sweet Baby Jake (the group’s everyman) and Aaron Smith providing the thump on upright bass. This smaller setup works to the group’s advantage (Mbanza, in its prime, shifted between 9-11 members), offering an intimate and mobile experience. Blazing through bluegrass standards such as “Hey Black-Eyed Suzy," “The Craw Dad Song," and “Little Bird,” it took no time for the group to generate an audience. Did I mention that they were busking?
For whoever it may concern, busking is the art of spontaneous street performance by either an individual or, in this case, a group of individuals for “gratuities.”
The group’s performance, being about as planned out as the album Free Jazz, delivered. Why? Well, for one, the group is tight. Not one rhythm or melody line fell out of place during their hour plus-long set. This is a bunch whose efforts during their rehearsals show because of the relative comfort that they have with their material. It is because of this that their comfort then translates into the audience’s comfort, which pulls everyone into the bluegrass sound, the heart of the experience. When the band can have fun throwing a series of songs out in the same key (“D-songs” as bassist Aaron Smith called them) and motivate an audience to move to them all, that proves the band’s second greatest feature: their X factor.
“We all sing,” explains the group to a passerby. Confused, the young man with his gauges tries again. “Yeah, but who's the singer?” It’s a fair question given the group’s name. Anyone would assume that Hunnabee leads the crew, but that isn’t the case. And that is the only stumbling point of this potential-endowed band: not one of its members will take the reigns for longer than a chorus. So, even with just five members, the group has too many voices. But this is a minor complaint and could be a case of over criticism. Thoughts?
Anyway, it would be unfair to critique Hunnabee & The Sandy Tar Boys' performance by a paid gig standard because payment was optional. But they have earned a professional review because of the bluegrass soul that they fearlessly expressed and the sheer joie de vivre that they created on a lonely street corner one night in Athens, Ohio.
Now, look up Hunnabee & The Sandy Tar Boys on Facebook and check them out on Saturday, September 15 at the Pawpaw Festival!
Get hit in yo’ soul!