Friday, October 26, 2012

ACRN Presents: Evolve, Chemical Committee & Emcee Kilgore / October 25, 2012 / Fern Gully

By: Kyle Rutherford, Staff Writer

Fern Gully was gettin’ gangsta Thursday night when an eclectic hip-hop lineup stormed its doors. The small room was packed with listeners who were eager to hear what the three men were able to bring to the music world.

The first artist was Emcee Kilgore from Parkersburg, West Virginia. Kilgore was very humorous and energetic in his first performance, occasionally getting into the faces of attendees and spitting his lyrics. His vocal style is very loud and aggressive, yet his humor and vocal prowess are what make his music into the quality form that it is. Also, his instrumental tracks sounded more like something one would hear in classical music.

Next was Chemical Committee from Cincinnati. Much of his set was spent standing with his eyes shut, expressing his poetry over heavy bass instrumentals. Lyrically, he was very deep and his presence was an odd, but original way of expressing his inner self.

Last to play was Cincinnati’s Evolve. The Realicide Youth Records signee brought his original, powerful music to  Fern Gully, along with a sort of, how the kids say, "swag" that included delivering his poetry through closed eyes. The music was moving and drawing, with vocal elements on the punk side, layered over electronic-based hip-hop beats. The small room was a perfect element for Evolve, who even had a projector pointed at him. Audience members could only stand and bob their heads as Evolve went between manipulating multiple samplers and synthesizers to laying down vocals that spoke of near anarchy and a lack of understanding of the world.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Andy Grammer / October 23, 2012 / Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium

By: Matthew Bemer, Copy Editor

I showed up late to this show. Late and alone. Apparently my friends are anti-pop music nerds that are too good to accept a free ticket. I'll admit it, I showed up with a negative attitude as well. An attitude of an unpopular kid at the high school lunch table alone and staring at the cool kids singing their poppy, nonsensical lyrics while I poured over whether or not "Letter of Resignation" is about a woman killing herself or a bad drug trip that takes her to a place she doesn't want to go. Or maybe it really is about her resignation. 

So I was bitter about not being there with anyone, about sitting alone to the side of MemAud while middle-aged women sang every word of Andy Grammer's every song. Every word. Every song. They even danced along

And while that spectacle was happening, Grammer was singing out to the first 30 rows of MemAud who were actually singing back to him every single word of every single one of his songs. 

Back it up. Grammer's popularity didn't spike until he wrote and recorded his debut single, "Keep Your Head Up." It's a song he wrote after a long day "slinging CDs" in the tough streets of L.A. Grammer was so devoted to playing and performing in the streets to gain popularity that to this day he still calls those people that stopped and listened his coworkers and his CD slinging days his full-time job. "Keep Your Head Up" was a song he wrote to himself about not giving up after those long days where no one listened and no one stopped. 

And then he released his self-titled debut full-length which has seen three singles, two of which charted and one that is destined to be in a couple weeks max. 

Sometime between me tweeting about feeling out of place (shameless) and Grammer's (actually pretty awesome) cover of Rihanna's "We Found Love," it hit me. This guy is doing what he's wanted to do all his life. He's been promoted from working the streets to working this college crowd and he's loving it. Trust me, he told us at least 10 times that he's loving it (and that Ohio is his absolute favorite place to play). 

I put on a new lens and adjusted to the uncomfortable feeling that I am standing in the corner alone. I put aside my longing to make some commentary about verses like, "I've got five bucks waiting on a matinee / I love to see films in the middle of the day / Same movie seen a different way / I don't think that makes me crazy." Instead, I sat back and enjoyed his set. And you know what? He's got a pretty good back story, he keeps the crowd engaged and he can beatbox pretty well.

Words of advice from the man himself: "Keep Your Head Up." (You should seriously check out that link. He made the first interactive music video ever, or at least as far as we know.)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Old Lights / October 18, 2012 / Casa Cantina

By: Hannah Cook, Editorial Director

It’s a damn shame when a band travels great lengths to play a show in Athens and finds itself greeted by a half-enthused, shrimpy Casa crowd. It’s even more of a shame when the band is actually good.

Old Lights, from St. Louis, were more deserving, but they didn’t shove it in Athens’ face or anything. Instead, they powered through the awkwardness that desolate bars inevitably create for an energetic show full of dual harmonies and catchy hooks. Had there been more people, it would have been a wild time, but since there were only, like, eight of us, it was a little anticlimactic.

My friends and I did our best to pick up the slack of the invisible audience, but there’s only so much three stupid, drunk 20-somethings can do. At one point, we harmonized with the bassist when he did a solo song. He didn’t know it was happening, but I really felt like we had some great musical chemistry going on.