"I'M nicknaming this 'Concert Impossible," laughs Tim Walls. "If we can pull this off, it's gonna be really awesome."
It’s been a decade since the last All Underground Rock All Day (A.U.R.A.) Fest, and Walls, the force behind Coastal Rock Productions, is resurrecting the tradition he started. For two days, Bigshow’s Burgers and Bar in Statesboro will be taken over by regional and local bands playing a blistering range of hardcore, metal, emo, and just good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll music. Some acts you may have heard of—some, like The Independents, have played Coastal Rock events before, while others, like Bear Fight! and Sins of Godless Men, are Savannah staples. Those you haven’t heard yet are just waiting to become your new favorite band.
In a roundabout way, it’s a Coastal Rock return to the Bigshow’s space.
“Actually, the first festival I did was in the same building back in 2001,” Walls recalls. “It was a different establishment then, and it was one of the best shows I probably ever did.”
With the good vibes of yesteryear and a hell of a lineup, it’s looking to be a fine return.
San Antonio metal/deathcore band Upon A Burning Body headline A.U.R.A. Fest. With pummeling gang-vocal choruses and disintegrating breakdowns, they can even take a club hit like “Turn Down for What” and make it brutal and pit-ready. With a home on Sumerian Records (Asking Alexandria, Body Count, Circa Survive) and some big festival dates coming up, the band is creating something new in mainstream metal, alongside acts like Of Mice and Men and Sleeping With Sirens.
The fest boasts a great array of Georgia bands: fans of noise rock with a little southern sludge dripped over it ought to check out The Powder Room from Athens. They aren’t strangers to Savannah, having played The Jinx with Bear Fight! back in October; the complementary bands play back-to-back on day one of the fest.
Walls brought Atlanta’s Spray Tan through last month to play a fantastic set at The Guild Hall; if you like tongue-in-cheek, ‘90s Gainesville-style punk rock, you’ll dig ‘em.
Augusta’s Lost Boy falls on the post-rock/indie-emo side of things; to say they’re one of the lighter bands is only a testament to how heavy things are getting over the weekend.
Walls has thrown a few shows at Bigshow’s; its 18-and-up rule, scrumptious burgers, and wide drink selection (including plenty of brews from sponsor Southbound) makes it a great crossover venue. Making shows as accessible as possible has been a priority for Coastal Rock Productions since its formation, and, really, is the entire reason why Walls got into the booking and promotion game in the first place.
“I was in bands when I was younger,” explains Walls, a Savannah native. “I couldn’t get in to see my favorite bands because of the age problems. It was 18 and up in 2004—I went off to college after that—but it was frustrating. That’s why I started doing concerts.”
While Walls wishes A.U.R.A. Fest could be all-ages, 18 and up is still one step closer.
“What’s nice about Statesboro is, it’s so centrally located,” says Walls. “It’s not too far from Savannah, Jacksonville, Charleston, Augusta—and we even have a few Athens bands.”
Besides giving fans a chance to see a slew of talent, Walls looks forward to giving bands the chance to connect and have a new performance platform.
“‘Underground’ is more about the attitude: being original and independent,” he says. “These are local, regional artists who maybe don’t have a chance to be showcased.”
“Personally, I’m looking forward to every single band,” Walls attests. “It’s definitely going to be a marathon—and I definitely have my earplugs ready!”