ATHFEST 2011: Saturday Sunday Roundup

I got a late start on Saturday, opting to cook something up at home despite the insanely good smelling food in front of the stage. No worries, I ended up getting some later. Can’t. Resist. Mergh. But I managed to find a decent parking spot and my companion and I walked towards the Hull Street stage in order to see our friends in Monahan perform.

I’ve been invited to introduce bands at Athfest before. It’s always a real thrill to get to stand in front of a crowd and wind them up a bit. When you’re used to having one way conversations, it’s nice to have some responses. I haven’t been shy about my love of all things Monahan lately. It’s hard to ignore something that good. Obviously, the crowd felt the same way.

After a brief, almost Howard Dean-esque announcement, the band got underway and captured the audience’s attention immediately. It may have been the Ryan Monahan pajama bottoms but I think it was the music. Probably most inspiring was when the crowd surged toward the merch booth, picking up copy after copy of his new (and free) album. They were impressed, for sure. If Monahan isn’t big by this time next year, I’ll eat my hat. Button and all.

We made our way backstage to get some food and drink before scurrying off. I managed to get back to the outdoor stages in time to catch Don Chambers in full flight, howling at the moon with his band GOAT banging away behind him. He mentioned that this was his 11th Athfest. Wow. The heat was nothing compared to the day before. I’m thankful for that.

I was really excited to see the Chickasaw Mudd Puppies. My friend Wes was running the soundboard when I made my way over to the main stage.They were pretty darn good. The crowd was responding well, including a cluster of little kids who were just dancing their feet off near the new Ted’s Most Best. That was adorable.

I missed Bloodkin and I’m still bummed about that. But I suppose it’s ok because I got prime real estate in front of the stage for Guadalcanal Diary. Ran into some of the Crowe folk in the audience. I had on my Pylon “cool” shirt so we riffed about that for a good while. Finally, the band cranked up and started blowing minds.

Since I promised myself this year to get out more, I made my way towards New Earth and the Wired dance festival. The place was still pretty open on my first go round so I headed off towards Cine instead. Cine, which I will now affectionately refer to as “the icebox,” was full of people who had just gotten out of the rock doc showings. Hug Abuse, Mike Turner’s band, was setting up in the Lab, so I chatted with some familiar strangers until they began.

I’ve been trying to see Hug Abuse ever since I heard Turner formed it. Finally, I catch a show. They sound a bit surfy, no vocals (let’s hear you sing, Mike!). Well worth the walk over. About this time, I started getting texts from people at the 40 Watt. The place was apparently jam packed with people wanting to get in to Reptar. Ironically, it included Reptar themselves. The story goes that Reptar was trying to get in through the main entrance, couldn’t wade through the crowd, and so had to be let in a back way. That’s the word on the street anyway.

I ran back over to Wired at New Earth and found it jammed as well. At least they were all dancing. Not how I dance but to each his own. I kinda shuffle….

Anyway, back to Cine for Tunabunny! They’ve gotten a new drummer! But they still rocked pretty hard. I think I’m in love with Scott’s butterfly bass. Quite possibly the most unique looking instrument at Athfest. After a short break, Flash to Bang Time took the floor with an impressive projector set up. Lynda uses an auto-cad system that creates some cool effects. The show went over well and so I stumbled home tired.


Talk about a late start. I guess the weekend had finally caught up with me. After staying up all night to get footage loaded onto Youtube, I suppose it’s amazing that I got to the festival in time to catch Dank Sinatra. Not really my thing either but everyone seemed to enjoy it. I heard Col Bruce starting to tune up so I half-ran towards the main stage.

I’m never sure whether to call these guys jam or jazz funk or what. All I know is that bands like Col. Bruce’s are the reason why I keep a ton of camera batteries on me at all times. I saw the red flashing light of death on my camera in the middle of a song. A ten minute long song. Times like those you get a bit nervous.

I was curious about Dr. Arvin Scott so I skipped the last bit of Bruce to see him. Man, if there was a prize to find this weekend, it was him. Surrounded by his many electronic drum kits/machines, the man managed to weave intricate patterns of rhythm using influences from hip-hop to middle-eastern. It was truly a sound to be heard. And he was so nice.

My Athfest ended with one of my favorite performers, Kevn Kinney. Having seen what he could do back in March, I was really, really, really happy that he was playing the outdoor stages. I hummed and swayed and just generally enjoyed myself as the sky seemed to get a bit darker, heralding the incoming storm. But all in all, it was a great weekend. Hope yours was too.


  1. “Let's here you sing, Mike!”

    I imagine it's only a matter of time before the amicable Mister Turner lays into you for that. He smells weakness a mile away, and typos are a sure sign of vulnerability.

  2. Those are my boys!! Thought you might like to know what Col. Bruce's long-time collaborator and co-founder of AARU Dr. Dan Matrazzo is doing these days…here's a live MP3 with his backing band THE LOOTERS.

    You can also find his guests appearances with The Allman Brothers here:
    And his podcast with Widespread here:

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