Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Indie rock wonderland

So, the Athens Popfest 2005 was pretty darn fun. Robert was recording/mixing/whathaveyou with Will Hart for most of the time during the days so that equaled into lots o' Sam y Marci time. This consisted of activities such as watching Lifetime movies in our hotel room, napping, giggling, laying by the pool, eating soft batch cookies, and other things of that nature. I got into Athens at about 9pm on Thursday. Marci and I quickly slipped into our party pants and matching dancing shoes and went and ate dinner at Michael Stipe's bitchin' vegetarian restaurant, The Grit, before hitting the town. Here Marci and I both had two of the best sandwiches of our entire lives. I love eating at vegetarian restaurants and my food NOT tasting like it's been all ghetto-rigged together. I mean, that chick'n parmesan sandwich tasted like chicken parmesan is really supposed to taste. It was so yummy! There is a plethora of good veggie food in Athens thanks to the high concentration of the hippie/green/weird folk. Athens actually reminds me a lot of Lexington in certain ways. They are very close in size and when you go out you get that incestuous vibe that Lexington has. Everyone knows everyone else, everyone is intertwined in some way. Except of course, their music scene is much bigger and better, mostly due to the aformentioned higher concentration of weirdos there. So many people in Athens like good music! It's so refreshing.
The only band I remember really listening to on Thursday was The Visitations. I must have been loaded or something. Actually, I know we saw The Late BP Helium at some point. I'm thinking the schedule got switched up a bit and it was on Thursday just prior to The Visitations. Brian Helium is really attractive in a "he slightly resembles a goat" sorta way. All I could do throughout their whole set was stare at his goat head. They are very good though. We spend the rest of the evening at the bar nextdoor having to explain to Scott Spillane why we do not do drugs and do not like to be high. He couldn't fathom that at all.
Friday, Poison Control Center apparently were super fun and awesome. I met one of the guitarists, Patrick, at Marci and Robert's wedding in April and he was extremely fashionable and danced all night long. All three of us wanted to see his show but, no dice; we were too busy sitting on our asses in our hotel room and watching Arrested Development to get ready in time. But we did manage to see We Versus The Shark and Casper And The Cookies before Robert played and they were both semi-fun. Not enough so that I concentrated more on them than on my red bull and vodka though. During the acoustey part of Robert's set Will Hart and Bill Doss got onstage with him and they sang the old school song "Warm Milk and Chocolate", which was originally released on cassette in 1993. It was magical just seeing them all onstage together, let alone singing that song. Robert's Marbles show was extremely spirited and all of his E6 pals totally dug his theatrics, esp his I <3 MATH sequined jacket. Then Pylon pretty much brought the house down. I had never heard them before but had researched them a bit when I found out that they were the secret special guest. They were most popular in the early 90's and came out of the scene as R.E.M. That's exactly how they sound too; early 90's intellectual rock, the good kind. The lead singer is this woman who looks just like Marci's mother (and screams like her too) who is turning 50 this year and man, that lady sang her ass off! It was bizarre. The other guys in the band are all still skinny and lanky and just look like older dudes in a band but the lead singer looks like somebody's mom. But I really could see why people love them still after all of this time and were excited to get the chance to see them again after all these years. After the show Vanessa, the lead singer of Pylon, was fawning over Marci and Robert and telling them how great the Marbles show was and we were all backstage and she told us this riveting story about being in NYC in the 70's and meeting Andy Warhol in The Factory. God damn if I was too drunk to retain that memory. All I know is I was completely enthralled. Marci doesn't remember either; we are such drunk bitches. Oh, then we totally went to the lead singer of Elf Power's house because it was his birthday and he was having a party. I do not remember his name or how old he was but I do remember discussing how he looked like a Muppet with Marci, stealing his beers with Marci, and telling him Happy Birthday with Marci. We couldn't stay there for very long though because everyone there reeked of b.o. and we were loaded and tired. Seriously, I decided that 1 in 10 people in Athens just smells bad all the time. Pretty much I was constantly smelling body odor the entire time I was in the 40 Watt, just sometimes it was more potent than others. Don't those hippies know that they can get all natural soap? My Lush soap doesn't have animal fat in it and it makes my body smell like Pledge. I'll learn those darn hippies one day.
Saturday night Marci and I made a point to go out early, 8:30pm, to catch The Love Letter Band per the suggestion of d. But they had cancelled and Superfallingstars were filling in instead. They were fun, even though there weren't too many people there since it was so early and all. They finished it all off with a fun cover of "You Won't See Me" and had some awkward, little boys come onstage and assist with backing vocals. The lead singer, Mike, and I totally bonded later in the evening and talked about funny things. We also saw Elekibass, 63 Crayons, Circulatory System and Of Montreal that evening. Elekibass are 4 Japanese guys dressed in 3 piece suits who are totally hilaaaarious. They totally play up the fact that they are all asian and "don't speaka the engrish" so much. They were jumping up and down, playing their japanese regional art kazoos, tossing their top hats in the air, crowd surfing...I've never seen such a spectacle in the 40 Watt. Due to the fact that I had to go purchase their cd after they were finished, probably get some more alcohol and then talk to Marci about how funny those asians were I guess I missed most of 63 Crayons. Oh, I do remember though that I thought the lead singer vaguely reminded me of Clint Colburn. They look alike in the face a little bit, they do not sing at all alike though. I was super excited to see Circulatory System play; Will Hart is super anti-social so I never really thought I would ever get the chance to see him perform. They did not disappoint either. They were mesmerizing. CS is one of those bands that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and right, like their music is filling up the room. Perfection really.
Of Montreal was the final band of Popfest. They were good and all but I just saw them recently and I have realised lately that there are at least 2 members of the band that I think are complete dickheads and that really makes me give a shit about their music less and less. I don't know, it's unfortunate when that happens. I'll have to decided to get over it or let them go the way of GBV and no one really wants that.
I met about a million new, fun people and got the chance to get to know a bunch of the fun people that I've met already a little better. I was actually able to have a conversation with Bill Doss's wife Amy, who is so cool I can barely see straight. Talking to her, Kelly (one of Will's roommates), Eric Hernandez (one of the HHBTM guys who organized the whole Popfest) and Mike from Superfallingstars were probably my most enojyable interactions. Well, Marci and Robert too of course. Oh, John Fernandes is also fun. There are just fun people running around all over the place down there, eating good vegetarian food and playing tons of good music. It's a wonderland of sorts.
Oh, one thing I found out while in Athens, red bull is so not vegetarian. It has taurine (bull juice) all in there, as does apparently every energy drink. So, there go my energy vodka cocktails. WHY IS THERE MEAT JUICE IN EVERYTHING?! God!

The Popfest website has little bios for all of the bands that played over the weekend and an mp3 for about a 3rd of them. I've been listening to them all day.


justin said...

nicely done review. i was there the same days as you, it was a freakin blast, yeah?

samantha fay said...

it certainly was.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure all four of the "awkward, little boys" were from other bands, too -- Ricky and Mike from The Galactic Heroes (hey, why didn't they get a mention in the review?), Sean from The Cocker Spaniels, and one of the guys from Red Pony Clock.

As an astonishing (not really) coincidence, I also got a fake chicken sandwich from The Grit that night.

samantha fay said...

if that's so then i don't get it. 3 out of those 4 men looked so fucking uncomfortable to be onstage. they were all cute though, don't get me wrong! i love awkward little boys.
i only mentioned bands that i actually saw play, with the exception of PCCenter. my roommate and i left the 40 watt and ate dinner after we saw Superfallingstars on sat night so we missed The Galactic Heroes and Red Pony Clock. so, deal.
feel free to provide your own recount.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't trying to tattle or anything with that post on the Galactic Heroes board -- just quoting references to the band that I found on IceRocket. No offense was intended. (I don't think Ricky's comments were directed towards you specifically so much as the posts I quoted in general, although I don't think any of those quotes were mean-spirited.)

I think the awkwardness in those backup vocals were probably just because of the impromptu-ness of the whole thing, along with the fact that you have four guys who (mostly) don't know each other, crowded around a single mic and trying to maintain a heterosexually-safe distance from one another while singing a song they were yanked out of the audience to do. The fact that it was a super-extended cover of a two minute-ish song probably didn't help. So...yeah.

samantha fay said...

point taken.
and it's cool, i wasn't trying to offend either. sorry if it came off that way.

DJ said...