It’s been a hot minute since the last post about Myriad Interactive Arts & Music Exhibition, and now it’s time to give the rundown on what’s gone one, going on, and where it’s all going.
On September 29th, Under Water Radio was the featured artist of the night – an Athens-based trio comprised of Robert Martinez (Vocals, Drums & Productions) Nick Maestro (Guitar, Vocals), and Will Angel (Bass, Synth, Samples, Vocals). Simple in appearance, these guys put on quite an impressive show. Their musical style ranges from hard, anthemic metal, to slow and spacey reggae-rock, demonstrating great control in an ability to pair hard-driving aggression with a liquid and laid-back sensibility. In this sense, they seem channel Umphrey’s McGee in their playing.
The complexity of their sound doesn’t stop there, though. Under Water Radio describes themselves as “experimental/dance”, which comes through in some of their more up-tempo and hard-driving moments, but they are excellent songwriters. Some pop elements shine through, but are kept in check by the conscious nature of the lyrics and the interesting blend of sounds and rhythms employed. The bass is so slow an enunciated, almost teased out and rubbery at times, letting it shine through in seriously heavy way and hinting at some influence from shoe-gaze. The guitarist solos with the robust, free-wheelin nature of J. Mascis (of Dinosaur Jr.). The overall feel of their music really begs a comparison to Built To Spill. With the combination of just bizarre enough lyrics, easy tempo, and maintenance of high energy throughout, it almost feels certain Under Water Radio would draw influence from them, but oddly enough, none of the band members are particularly familiar the band.
The following week featured up and coming local jam band, Satsuma, which features musicians from another Athens-based group, The Freshtones, and other local acts. Members include: Jimmy Hadaway (Guitar/Vox), DJ Rees (Guitar/Vox), Evan Williamson (Bass/Vox), and Bob Constable (Drums). Their set included a mix of originals and covers, including some fantastic renditions of Grateful Dead songs, such as “China Cat Sunflower,” “I Know You Rider,” and “Deep Elem Blues”.
Satsuma takes on more of the gritty, hard-edged americana side of jam music, but has no problem keeping things a little funky for some serious grooving. In their jams, they have an excellent breakdown of style, keeping smooth and unpredictable transitions. Williamson on bass and vocals is similar to Ethan McBrien of Dublin/Peterborough, NH based band, The Youngest Sun. The band sounds tight! They hope work their way further up in the Athens circuit, and it’s likely that they’ll do just that. They give a lot to their audience through their music and they love to see the energy go to good use, so get out to a show of theirs and dance yourself silly!