This was my second weekend night in Athens by myself, and I could not thank enough people that I had already found a show to go to. I had not really envisioned myself getting seriously into the local scene of Athens but after this show, I was a firm believer in the talent this city has to offer. I walked into the 40-Watt Club, one of the most prolific venues in Athens, and was instantly impressed. There are tables on one half of the room and a standing area right up on the stage with a long extensive bar along the right side of the whole venue. The stage was fairly big, in between the Launchpad and the Sunshine size and there was a little lounge area alongside the left of the stage with comfy couches and a coffee table in the middle. There was a little poolroom farther ahead and the whole venue was lit very dimly, giving off a very club like vibe.
The first band didn’t actually play on the main stage. I had been waiting close to the stage, getting impatient because of how long everything was taking when all of a sudden I heard music coming from behind me. A guy with a keytar and a guy with a guitar had set up and were blasting dance music. The guy with the keytar was seductively/ obnoxiously saying “Everybody shake your ass” over and over and I instantly knew this was going to be a city to live in. They proceeded to play an insanely catchy set full of dance anthems with a level of immaturity that reached hilarity, making me love them even more. The songs were easy to “shake your ass to” and the crowd had a hard time not moving. As the set went on, they announced this was their first ever show and this impressed me even more because there were a lot more people than just their friends dancing. It was electro pop funk in simple terms and I cannot think of a better combo. Looking back, I can say that Programs is my favorite act I have seen in Athens, but that might just be because they were who welcomed be into this wonderful city and reminded me that one of the reasons I came to UGA was for the music scene.
The rest of the bands that played were all clearly talented and I enjoyed all of the sets. There was a mixture of rock and punk. One band sounded like a harder version of the Strays, one had a woman singer that reminded me so much of the main girl in the Sherlock Holmes movies. There was screeching and soloing and dancing and just good rock. There was a rotation of two stages, the main one and the one that Programs performed on so I felt like I was at a miny festival with all the walking I had to do. I left feeling so impressed and honestly astounded with how good of a local scene existed. I love the local bands of Albuquerque do not get me wrong, but there is a clear distinction between local bands and bands that have made it in Albuquerque and here, at this show, I honestly believed that any of these bands could make it big time one day if they catch the right break.
Ah, but I forgot the most entertaining part of the night, even if it wasn’t the most musically satisfying moment. There was a hard-core band that performed in the middle of the festival on the little stage that alarmed and frightened most people in the 40 Watt. It was nothing I hadn’t seen before though. They were very loud, had an unpronounceable name, screamed a lot and got very dramatic. That was the beginning of the set though. As the set progressed, the lead singer began wrapping the microphone chord around his neck tighter and tighter and was starting to act more and more erratic with his stumbling around on stage, knocking over equipment and just over all acting more and more unpredictable. He even went into the crowd and moshed, but before he was done he had put one crowd member into a headlock and dragged him to the ground forcibly.
This was about the time people starting exiting and as the lead singer saw this, in his performance induced rage/haze starting chucking full beers into the crowd and towards the bar. I looked and the employees were NOT PLEASED and I knew there would be some serious repercussions. I had not problem with anything that had been going on, all I did was move considerably back when he tackled that one guy, who in everyone’s defense kind of was down. My only issue was that it was so loud and I had foolishly not packed earplugs. So I was glad when it was done just so I could uncover my ears. I had been fairly entertained so I went and tried to talk to the lead singer after, but he was still in too much of a state to really talk, and I am assuming he had just gotten reprimanded for his actions. He looked at me like I was an illusion, thanked me for my well wishes and apologized for his state and then kind of just walked away from me. It was all I really expected but it felt good to support someone who really looked like they needed it. I listened to a couple more sets after this, but I was growing fairly tired, still getting used to the idea of shows going into the wee hours of the morning in Athens and needed some rest. I left feeling excited about my prospective concerts in store for me, and what this city had to offer.