Monday, November 25, 2013

Sal Lake, Busy Busy, & Vagrant Beat / November 24, 2013 / The Pink Mistress

By: Garrett Bower, Contributor

Those who made the frigid trek to The Pink Mistress Sunday night were treated to a diverse show of local staples Sal Lake and Busy Busy, a solid set from former Athens dudes Vagrant Beat and even a dash of comedy thanks to The Blue Pencil Comedy group.

The comedy acts opened up the evening with a slew of crude comedy ranging from social networking harassment to the tale of a drunk dude in Alden, armed only with a handle of Jack and a bag of Doritos.

Next up was the infamous Sal Lake, who crouched down among his keyboard, looper, bass and trusty bicycle wheel. He attended to his instruments with clinical precision, conjuring up hypnotic, ambient walls of sound before tearing the pieces apart in fits of screaming and distortion.

Next up was Vagrant Beat, a noise rock band from parts all over. They incorporated the best of classic rock riffs and new experimentation as well as their vocalist, who filled the soundscape with eerie wails and energetic screams, jumping and dancing all the while. The Pink Mistress here in Athens was a halfway point for the group, as they continue on their 10-date tour, setting sights on Kent and Mansfield next.

Finally, Busy Busy rounded out the evening with their signature touch of full-bodied ambience and encompassing sound, filling up the tiny venue and sweeping up all those in attendance.

It was a calm, chill night (figuratively and literally) and was a treat for anyone in attendance. The atmosphere was rare and highly underrated in a sea of drunken nights in crowded basements with kids bigger than you always starting fistfights.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

ACRN Presents: Small Steps, Frankie Teardrop, Shower Beers & Stella / November 23, 2013 / The Union

By: Garrett Bower, Contributor

Saturday night at The Union was a departure from commonality for those who attended. With scene staples Shower Beers, Frankie Teardrop and Small Steps, as well as the lesser-known Stella, the show was a disorientating blur of screaming, violently bashed guitars and furious drums with a hell of a lot of noise to drive the whole thing over the edge.

It felt like too much Dramamine or some other dissociative. Listeners were thrown into this abrasive world of sound, wholly disorientating. The members of each band slowly succumbed to the delirium as the night drew on, with brief fits of sanity where the music reformed into tangible cohesiveness before being beaten back down with a scream or beat that bled the entire spectacle back into one inescapable din.

I’m not entirely sure what’s to be taken away from nights like this. To me, it felt like a showcase of subversive anger, with the bands demonstrating violence for violence’s sake. Perhaps that’s the point--to leave preconceptions at the door and be buried in something alien and think outside of what you know and what’s familiar.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Scubadog / November 21, 2013 / Casa Cantina

By: Abbie Doyle, Copy Editor

Rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well in Athens! Last night at Casa Cantina, I had the extreme pleasure of watching Scubadog perform its first show in nearly a year. Scubadog’s guitarist happens to be Ohio University’s beloved professor Josh Antonuccio. I’ve never had Antonuccio for class, but he is my advisor, so to see him become a rock star onstage was simultaneously epic and hilarious.

Casa was overflowing with people, a majority of the spectators being media students. There were a few professors spotted in the crowd, wearing nondescript clothing and hats pulled down over their eyes. Nice try, but we see you and we are going to slyly send a Snapchat of you to all our friends.

The crowd for the first band, Maza Blaska (who was very good, check them out), was sizable and grew during the show, but when Scubadog took the stage, the crowd had more than doubled in size and rowdiness. A lot of people were especially jazzed to see Antonuccio onstage--there were shouts of love and praise from the audience for the professor, and he played it very cool and acted like he didn’t hear any of them.

As soon as Scubadog played its first explosive notes, people were going crazy for them. They laid out such fun, fast beats that you couldn’t help but move along with them. The gig started with a few people dancing, and ended with almost everyone in the audience getting their groove on.

Antonuccio is a damn good guitarist, and if you don’t believe me, you need to get your ass out to a Scubadog show. He shredded and wailed away on his guitar so passionately he broke a string. Lead vocalist/guitarist Jake Householder was the frontman of the group, so naturally it was up to him to suck up the audience’s attention while Antonuccio hurriedly replaced the string. Householder talked to the audience about giving thanks (he was clearly pulling it out of his ass, as he doubled over in laughter several times during his rambling), and ended up throwing beef jerky into the crowd. He was so engaging with the audience it felt like he was an old friend. His stage presence was excellent, and he kept everyone excited while Antonuccio rushed to get his shit together.

In tribute to the late Lou Reed, Scubadog played four Velvet Underground songs. The first they played was “Sunday Morning,” which is about ten times slower in tempo than all of Scubadog’s songs. It was a great change of pace and mellowed out the crowd, which was a little necessary at this point in the show. BAC levels were high and there were some assholes moving about, which detracted a little from my opinion of the evening, but that’s not Scubadog’s fault.

Scubadog doesn’t play too often, which is quite a bummer because they’re so damn good. Next time you hear about a Scubadog show near you, you better get the hell to that show because it’s definitely worth seeing. You’ll dance, you’ll laugh and you’ll have a rocking good time.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My Ticket Home / November 11, 2013 / The Barn

By: Kyle Rutherford, Staff Writer
Photo By: Kyle Rutherford

Intimate house shows are kind of a rite of passage for bands. Luckily for Athens residents and OU students, the area hosts many of them. So when Columbus metalcore act My Ticket Home announced it wanted to play some house shows on off-days from touring, it was no surprise that someone from Athens decided to get them down here.

Monday night, about 25 people met at The Barn to see the Rise Records four-piece play a fairly intimate show. The band is on tour supporting its new LP, Strangers Only, and has been on tour with Nonpoint for the last few weeks.

The space in The Barn was just big enough for the small crowd and band setup, so attendees were fairly up close to the band. Being the fan that I am, I made sure to park myself right in front of lead vocalist/bassist Nick Giumenti.

The band started with “Teenage Cremation,” bouncing around the small area while the crowd did the same. Compared to its older melodic metalcore sound, the band has morphed into more of a nu-metalcore sound. The new album gives off the same vibe that Slipknot’s first record did, but with even heavier vocals. Live, Giumenti is just as aggressive as Slipknot’s Corey Taylor while guitarists Derek Blevins and Matt Gallucci work together just like Jim Root and Mick Thompson.

Since the band was only using studio monitors, the vocals weren’t very clear. Fortunately for fans of the band, they knew every word to their set. From “Keep Alone,” “Painfully Bored” and the first single off the album, “Spit Not Chewed,” the band and the small crowd were energetic throughout the set and gave the band a memorable first house show and a great Veteran’s Day. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

ACRN Presents: Giant Claw, Summer Sausage Sanders & Dead Pigs / November 7, 2013 / The Smiling Skull

By: Xavier Veccia, Staff Writer / Rap Mixtape Blogger

Note: This is not a real conversation. This is just what I imagine I would say to a bro if he came with me to the Giant Claw and Summer Sausage Sanders show last night.

“Bro. Bro. Bro. Bro.”


“What's going on?”

“I don't know, dude. We just got here.”

“Why's this guy just, like, chilling on the floor screwing with his synthesizers?”

“Dude, shut up. We just got here.”

“What am I supposed to do?”

“Just listen, bro.”

“But, like, do I bob my head? Tap my foot? Interpretative dance?”

[sigh] “Just bob your head or something.”

[awkwardly bobs head] [head bob doesn't cue up with music] [stops bobbing head] “It's not working.”

“Let's just step outside.” [steps outside] “What are you doing in there, bro?”

“What am I doing in there? What about those guys?”

“They're playing their music. It's a show.”

“But it's, like, weird.”

“What did you expect? Mumford & Sons? This is the Skull.”

“Oh man, I love Mumford & Sons.”

“They's sooo good. Can we just talk about...wait, no, stop. That's not the point. Just go back in there and listen to the music.”


“Just do it!”


Moral of the story: Athens music isn't for everyone. But for those people who do enjoy it, it's hella awesome. Giant Claw and Summer Sausage Sanders put on a good show of trippy-ass, synth-heavy songs. And even if I couldn't bob my head, it was still pretty cool.