Went Out On A Whim, Danced My Ass Off!

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Last Thursday (October 9th) I was driving home after a long day and as I passed by the Green Room, I saw that Cosby Sweater was playing with local DJ Andy Bruh, and duly noted my night was far from over.

Andy Bruh is an animal – a real bass head who spins those low, juicy beats that rock you to your core and make you whomp around on the dance floor. I first caught him at the Umphrey’s McGee After Party at New Earth Music Hall back in September after emerging from the back room where the Kinky Aphrodisiacs were playing. I posted up in front and got down… way down.

Bruh works hard to deliver notable original content with some great covers and remixes of hard rolling standards. Still developing, some of his transitions aren’t quite there yet, but the quality of what he’s giving his audiences is so good that any (unintended) glitches are immediately excusable. He definitely holds roots in dub step – particularly from industry giant, Bassnectar – but Bruh clearly brings his own unique spin to the music he produces. I fucking love the grumbly lion growl he throws in throughout his sets! I’m looking forward to catching a lot more of him in the future!

I first saw Cosby Sweater in Burlington, VT at Higher Ground‘s Showcase Lounge back in June of 2013 and I must have got hooked on a loose thread, because man did I unravel that night. They throw down a pretty awesome show with a distinctive sound that has only been developing since then. At the Showcase Lounge show, they were still very DJ oriented, with their general feel leaning towards heavy, pounding beats embellished by some gritty sax and live drums. Because they’ve split the roles over three musicians, they are able to take on little more distinctive interaction between the instruments elements and keep more of the music mixing without looping or using prerecorded tracks.

I caught them again at Camp Bisco X (RIP?) and enjoyed a similar sound, but at the Green Room, I noticed a different, somewhat more mature dynamic in the group. These days Cosby Sweater seems to have found a greater balance between its members, giving them much more of a livetronica/jamtronica than they used to have, and it sounds fantastic! The drums (Jeff Peterson) really shine through as an aggressive participant now and the sax (Nicholas Gerlach) takes on lengthy, raging solos on the tenor and the EWI that are an absolute blast. David Embry keeps the energy high with his mixing, production and vocals, and knows just when to bring the energy up and down.

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I Can’t Go… But You Should!

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Painful as it may be to let something go, sometimes there is no way around it. This week I find myself departing for a week-long adventure to New York and then to Boston for the English Institute at Harvard. While I can’t say I feel I’m making any compromises here, I will be unable to attend some great shows coming to Athens this weekend.

Thus, Sharing in a Groove celebrates the rise of a new segment, which we will call for now “I Can’t Go… But You Should.” In these posts – of which I’m sure there will be many more of as I continue to fill in my schedule – I will bring attention to the events in town I think should be checked out, but that I cannot make. It would be awesome for anyone who takes me up on these suggestions to leave comments about their experience at the show, share pictures, or tell about any other interesting music and arts events they attended that I failed to mention.

First up, on Wednesday, September 18th, The Heavy Pets are playing at New Earth Music Hall with The Fresshtones and the Halem Albright Band. The Heavy Pets have been on my list for a while now, but I recently saw the Halem Albright Band at the Green Room and they were a great time! You can read a review I did on them here. The show is only $5, so it’s a great deal too!

http://blog.newearthmusichall.com

Speaking of the Green Room, another new favorite local band of mine, The Kinky Aphrodisiacs, are playing there on Saturday, September 20th with Andy Bruh and and Robbie Dude. I saw the KA’s and Andy Bruh at the Umphrey’s McGee after party at New Earth a few weeks ago and had a blast! This is not one I would miss if you’re in town. It’s sure to be a raucous and dance-happy time, and it’s fo free! Thank me later, thank the musicians first.

http://greenroomathens.com/calendar

I’ll be sure to update this post if I find more going on, but those are my current highlights. Get out there and share in a groove!

Full House for Myriad

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Myriad Interactive Arts & Music Exhibition, previously known as Perennial Fest, experienced a huge turnout this past Tuesday night. New Earth Music Hall was packed; finding a place to stand proved quite a bit more difficult than weeks past. All in all it made for a very different atmosphere, a feeling of being inside an event rather than an intimate open mic. When I say “inside” I mean it! The perception of a barrier between the stage and the audience was broken down, adding to the interactive nature of the event.

Curtis Vorda

Curtis Vorda

American Mannequins‘ frontman Curtis Vorda felt no hesitations jumping down off the stage and strolling through the crowd during their performance. The group, a five-piece  “from Athens, GA… mostly,” started off the evening with a set of expressive and driving rock. While they definitely have a harder edge to their sound, American Mannequins are difficult to pin down. Their music is at once alternative as it progressive, indy, and punk as well. Influences seem to come anywhere from the raw to the exotic, from the heavy and rhythmic to the melodic. They never quite reach a transcendent state, but bring about at times an uplifting sense with their soaring and sweeping melodic capability. The lyrics play a big role in their music, touching on a number of topics on all things cerebral and personal; from growing up, to the dangers of methamphetamine. As he sung, Vorda has an quirky stage presence, somewhat reminiscent of Thom Yorke. Throughout the show he prowled the stage and worked himself into the occasional shaky fit. American Mannequins brought a great energy and set the tone for experimentation with sound for the night (Vorda occasionally plays on a machine that amplifies feedback and frequencies).

IMG_0967Out on the patio, featured artist Marc Lineberger had some of his paintings on display as he worked on a new piece. Watching Lineberger paint was a treat in and of itself. His process feels improvised, on the fly, but at the same time is painfully exacting and calculated, often employing the use of a ruler to get perfectly straight lines and correct measurements. This comes out in his finished paintings as a captivating and divine harmony of the natural, the cosmic, the geometric, and the surreal. If Escher and Dali candy-flipped together and collaborated, Marc Lineberger’s work would be the end result. His sense of fluid in motion throughout the mathematic, interlocking patterns he creates is inspiring, to say the least. Each painting is an adventure, a discovery of a path through the cerebral chaos that permeates the natural world.

IMG_0976The open jam started off with a customary Talking Heads jam before diving headfirst into an evening of super funky, rock oriented, and blues-heavy playing. The turnout for this week’s jam was fantastic! New Earth was teeming with musicians; it seemed like everyone there could play something. The variety was excellent as well! Thrown in the mix were two harmonicas, a trumpet, and a saxophone, and Curt Vorda even jumped in briefly on his noise machine. It was a truly interactive night, with musicians jumping in and out of the jam throughout. You never knew if the person next to you was going to get up and grab an instrument.

This Tuesday’s Myriad was an amazing event! Don’t miss out on next week. See you there!

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I even wrote and recorded a poem at the end of the night. Check it out:

Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

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source: Facebook

source: Facebook

It’s worth noting that Perennial Fest has undergone a transformation in the last few days. The weekly event, still held Tuesday nights at 9:30pm at New Earth Music Hall will henceforth be known as Myriad Interactive Art & Music Exhibition.

This week’s exhibition will feature live music from American Mannequins and artist Marc Lineberger as he works on a new creation in-house. Other pieces from Lineberger will be on display and possibly for sale.

An open jam will follow the performances as usual. See you there!

 

9.10.2014 || Greenhouse Lounge w/The Main Squeeze Tickets on September 10, 2014 at New Earth Music Hall in Athens, GA from New Earth Music Hall

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Since moving down here to Athens, I’ve seen some DJ’s, and I’ve seen some bands, but it’s time to combine them into that genre that feels so good. I need some of that livetronica! Time to pump up the beat and get some of that ol’ euphoria going.

Greenhouse Lounge of Jacksonville, FL will be bringing the beats to Athens on Wednesday, September 10. Self described as an “electronic musical trio that combines the computer based production of a DJ with rock guitar leads, staggering sample manipulation, [and] heavy analog bass accompanied by a live drummer” (Soundcloud) the group sounds too good to pass up! They will be accompanied by The Main Squeeze.

9.10.2014 || Greenhouse Lounge w/The Main Squeeze Tickets on September 10, 2014 at New Earth Music Hall in Athens, GA from New Earth Music Hall.

It’s at New Earth Music Hall too, so it’s bound to be a good show. This venue has yet to disappoint. I’m bringing my dancing shoes. Hope to see y’all there!

A review will be forthcoming following the event.

 

Don’t Listen to Me? I Think I Will!

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Halem Albright Band, source: Facebook

Halem Albright Band, source: Facebook

Thursday night I missed both Moon Taxi shows in town, but things turned out alright in the end… or should I say Albright! Later in the evening I strolled into the Green Room and caught a good chunk of a set from the Halem Albright Band (H.A.B), who absolutely lit the place on fire. The shear number of jam bands in Athens never ceases to amaze me, and still more amazing is that each of them have their own distinct sound; not once I have found myself saying, “This sounds just like…” or “Didn’t I see these guys last night?” H.A.B. was no exception to that trend, and by the time the show was over, I found myself, jaw dropping, loving another band.

3462After the show I spoke with guitarist and frontman, Halem Albright, who hooked me up with a copy of his 2012 album, Don’t Listen to Me, which has now been on repeat the last few days. Predating the 2013 formation of H.A.B, Halem’s solo release is a work of major collaboration between some top-notch local musicians and producers (John Keane, Jeff Mosier). The results are an impressive, highly polished sound that presents an eclectic, but masterful blend of instruments and styles that takes listeners on a kind of musical road trip.

As the album plays through, one can imagine gazing out of a car window at the changing environment rolling by; being aware of the distinct environments, but understanding the whole picture as part of one journey. The pacing of the album matches this sentiment well, driving forward with relaxed, but energetic drum beats that fall anywhere on spectrum from dance to rock steady, but aren’t afraid to get real tight and complex when the moment is right. Over this, the range of melodic influences are just as vast, using a blend of electric and acoustic to play blues, reggae, southern and classic rock, and even a little bit of that wistful western sound, too. Featured instruments include flute, banjo, violin, several types of organ, harmonica, and a horn section, broadening the diversity even further.

10600624_911700295511079_2470095596923669479_nHalem Albright shows his versatility as a guitarist and singer on this album, showcasing his talent without showing off. The melodies and soloing achieve a more structured tone than plain noodling on the guitar, keeping things interesting and grounded through some of the more lengthy tracks. He also creates some wild noises; every now and then a siren will scream through the music, and it takes moment to realize it came from the guitar. The vocals are well harmonized and pristine, allowing the lyrics to be just as relevant as any other part of each song. While Halem shines through, every instrument featured gets to have its moment, making for a tasteful and balanced total composition that keeps the album interesting over multiple listens. It can be dangerous to give comparisons to bigger names, but for anyone who needs a little orientation, blend up Phish with String Cheese Incident and some of the jazzier Lotus, throw in the lyrical consciousness of Twiddle, and you’re in the right ballpark.

Don’t Listen to Me has been thoroughly enjoyable so far, and I look forward to catching more of H.A.B. in the future. Their live presence is much different. As a four-piece, they ramp up the energy to a much more heavy-dancing level, taking time to do some serious shredding and extended jams. Worth mentioning is that the Green Room was fairly empty when I saw them, and they still raged their set. Respect to bands who still give everything to tiny crowds; they got me moving! It would be interesting to see what an album from H.A.B. would sound like after performing together for a year or two now.

The Halem Albright Band plays next at New Earth Music Hall on September 18th with The Heavy Pets. Don’t miss it!

http://www.halemalbright.com/index

 

Perennial Fest V

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I am the student of my teacher, and my teacher was a master

Carl Lindberg of Grogus headlined the fifth happening of Perennial Fest on Tuesday night. Attendance down at New Earth was larger than the previous week, with more members of the audience there as viewers and not just participant musicians there for the open jam at the end. Anyone who missed this week should start rethinking their Tuesday nights!

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Carl Lindberg, JANKA!

Lindberg’s solo act, JANKA, is a special kind of musical experience. He poured his soul out into his simple, but profound songs, giving the audience what could be the definition of an intimate performance. The depth and consciousness behind his music is a force, not to be reckoned with, but a force of communication and spirituality. It’s earthy, worldly, and matches the pacing of his surroundings, giving it a very natural energy. The heat and the humidity can almost be felt swirling through his songs. “With this,” he says of JANKA, “I can really fulfill my blues entity.”

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Adriana Thomas

Sure enough, the music strongly rooted in a blues sentimentality, but there is more to it yet. Images, ideas, and influences were pulled from sources such as “a love poem written by a tai chi master”. His voice is incredible too, and he can wail the blues like on other, with all the rawness bellowing contemplation of an old master. It really shined on his song about a caterpillar’s transformation, roaring at the end, “fly free butterfly fly, fly free!” It cannot go unmentioned that Lindberg can play just about any instrument under the sun. Where did he learn all of this? Well, as he told the audience, “I am the student of my teacher, and my teacher was a master.” Adriana Thomas, host of the event, accompanied Lindberg for a few songs, sitting in on drums.

Ember Fox

Ember Fox

Also accompanying the music this week were two dancers. Ember Fox, of Ember Fox Fire Arts showed off her hooping skills, while Bex put on a lovely display twirling cloth and fans. They added a perfect touch to the music, providing very natural and organic motions and visuals.

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Bex

The open jam this week went down a bit of a funkier route than last last weeks’s jazzier feel. Aside from the fun of watching the rotating musicians keep up some fairly extended improvisations, there were some nice covers in the jam including some Talking Heads and even a brief “Inspector Gadget” theme. Bartender Andrew, formerly of The Royal Noise also sat in on the congas again.

Next week will feature American Mannequins. Be there!

“In the spirit of creative abundance,” get involved: drithomas@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Perennial-Fest-Arts-Music/956954664330781?sk=timeline

http://www.reverbnation.com/grogus

http://www.emberfoxfirearts.com

http://www.reverbnation.com/americanmannequins

http://www.reverbnation.com/theroyalnoise