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Thursday, December 9,2010

Athens Music Scene

By Eric Leighton

Photo Caption: Rachel Pearl
My mind seems to erect a wall when I start straying too far into intellectual enemy territory. If I try to wrap my mind around the state of the world, it balks at the prospect and shuts down.

I realize this is a defense mechanism that I built in the first place. Years ago, when I first moved out into the wilderness to live with no electricity or running water, deep in Meigs County, I had a bit of a meltdown. I was just discovering Robert Anton Wilson and living in Mothman country. UFOs were not uncommon in the night skies and the yeast was attacking me. I melted.

I made a concerted effort to put certain things out of my mind. It was a matter of my mental health. It seems, as applied to my current situation, I am doing the same thing. The world is wobbling in some sort of mammalian-driven economic fratricide. Opiates for the masses proliferate. Honesty has hidden herself away and sincerity lies bleeding on the floor. The Earth suffers a fever but will survive, though we may not.

When faced with mind-bogglingly big concepts that take control of your world out of your hands, there has to be some sort of defense mechanism in place to compensate. I had to deal with aliens. They were either real, or the product of an overactive adrenal gland. Either way, there was little I could do to fix the situation on my own, and I had to find a way to deal with that fact. Either the aliens were going to get me or they weren’t. There was no point in worrying about it until the situation presented itself.

Being free from worry is a goal, I suppose. At least being comfortable with feeling powerless. Jesus said the meek shall inherit the Earth. I hope he is right (I’m friends with Bradley!), but I think he was just trying to make us feel better.

Again, as I always say at this point in the article, music is the one thing that keeps me tied to the world whilst freeing me from it; hence it is my great refuge. This weekend is packed with great music thanks to the dedicated and chilled musicians who remain here year-round to entertain us. Please help us out and go to hear live music this weekend.

Casa Cantina

Bram Riddlebarger & His Lonesome Band (featuring Johnny Borchard on steel guitar) will play a free show at the Casa tonight. Bram, known widely for his work in the Wailin’ Elroys, is always good for a beer-soaked twang or two and that’s a good bet.

The whacked-out timing of Zapano will ring throughout the Casa Cantina on for a free show on Friday night. Tribe of the Mountain adds their psychedelic twist to the night while the Fayble Family Band folks things up.

There will be a free Dubstep Dance Night with Thoughtbeat on Saturday night.

The Union

The Union takes part in Saturday’s Lennon Fest for the 11th year in a row (10th annual, 11th actual). The benefit for the Johnny B Fund continues to thrill fans of Lennon and Beatles music. Troy Gregorino will start the night, followed by the Nate Brite/Matt Box Band, Southeast Engine & friends, Dropdead Sons and the Lennon Orchestra, in pretty much that order and beginning at 9:30 p.m. (Scott is better organized than I am.)

Jackie O’s

Rachel Pearl will stop by Jackie O’s tonight to perform her playful, sultry tunes on the ukelele. She could pull off any kind of Billy Holiday jazz that she wanted. Girl’s got skills. Corbin Marsh has a new band; I’ve been calling it the Corbin Marsh Band, but they may have another name by now. These guys are really coming together and have a fun, energetic roots-blues-rocking groove.

Katty Whompus brings their particular brand of bluegrass back to the Jackie O’s stage on Friday night. They mix all manner of tunes into a tasty hippified hillbilly melange.

Saturday night, Jackie O’s is happy to be taking part in the 10th Annual Lennon Fest. The music begins at 7 p.m. in the Public House of Jackie O’s (and at 9:30 in the Union) and will feature (in some particular order): Coolville Hotclub, Dan Dougan, Johnny Marathon, Broken Ring, Lennon Orchestra (performing Abbey Road in its entirety –  I think), Steve Zarate, Jeremy Wooddell Woody, Leah Nairn and Craig Pinkerton (Check for the official line-ups for Lennon Fest.)

Market on State

To improve your holiday shopping experience, the Market on State is hiring some musicians. This Saturday you can hear John Horne, along with some of his students, followed by the delightful holiday stylings of Bruce & Gay Dalzell and the fabulous Silent Lion, who are always going for Baroque.

Uncle Buck’s

They are trying to do something new at the Lady Buck Saloon this winter: they are going to have live music. Kicking things off this Saturday with a Christmas BBQ will be The Blues Cowboys: Unplugged. You can enjoy the tunes, eat some grub and have a few beers in the warm comforts of the saloon. Sounds good.

Donkey Coffee

Rachel Figley drives that piano like a sports car, and she makes a welcome return to Donkey on Friday night. Molly Jo Stanley has a fun and spunky approach to the acoustic guitar and singing. She’s starting to make more appearances in the area and we’re glad of it.

Rob Powell and Josh Richardson both just completed new albums, and they will perform select cuts from those albums, both together and alone on Saturday night. These guys are real song-crafters. It should be an interesting show for sure.

Court Street Grill

Bobaflex goes back to the Grill on Friday night. They rip things apart and don’t bother with reassembling them. Theirs is a hard-rocking metal with melodic vocals and a loyal fan base.

Saturday night, Detroit rockers The Muggs return to the Grill for another night of fine, stripped-down rock and roll. These guys evoke MC5, Buffalo Killers, Joe Walsh and more with their original music. A great band for sure.

Smiling Skull

This just in: Empirian gets their metal-god status upgraded Saturday night at the Skull. Other acts may materialize, but for metalheads in this region, this weekend is a good one.

Nelsonville Eagles

Slaughterhog brings their new EP with them on Friday night when they play at the Nelsonville Eagles. Growling and prowling, their music is fast, furious and riff-tastic. Sothoros, Chronicles and Watch Them Rot add their angst to the evening. If you are looking for a place to get yer ya-yas out, go north, young individual.


Dale Kulchar is performing some not-so-background music at Cultler’s in the OU Inn on Saturday evening. His fine voice and fluid guitar work should be a pleasant addition to any meal.

Stuart’s Opera House

The Winter Wine Train is gonna leave the station Friday evening to benefit Stuart’s Opera House: wine, cheese, crackers and a rain ride! Happy X-mas indeed. Check the website for more information and upcoming shows.

That’s about all for this week. Don’t forget to check out the open stages and regular music (like Rattletrap on Mondays at Casa, and DJs all week at Red Brick) that continues – largely free – almost every day of the week somewhere. It’s worth your time. As John Lennon once said, “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted,” though you may have been. See you at the gigs.


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