10th Annual AthFest
This non-profit music and arts festival in the Classic City has become one of the most eclectic, impressive and homegrown events of its type in the U.S.A.. Featuring more than 100 rock, punk, jazz, gospel, swing, Americana, blues, jam and pop bands (most from the Athens area), scores of craftspeople, indie film screenings, seminars and panel discussions, and an entire roster of activities geared towards children, it is a massive undertaking designed to educate citizens and visitors on music and the arts in general, and Athens’ contributions in particular. Whether it’s catching Drivin-N-Cryin, Jason Ringenberg, Dexter Romweber or the reunited Time Toy (!) on a free outdoor stage, or seeing Love Tractor in a club, this is the place to be — and most of it’s free! For complete info and schedules, go to www.athfest.com. Wed., June 21 - Sun., June 25, downtown Athens, Ga..
The Defilers, Straight 8’s
This double-bill of Carolina greaser punk and retro rockabilly has packed ‘em in at this indie-rock venue many times in the past. Charleston’s Defilers and Hillsborough, N.C.’s Straight 8’s tour together often and are cutting a live album together in a few days. This should be a sweaty, raucous night of slap bass, stand-up drumming, and Social Distortion-style updates on classic juvenile delinquent subject matter. It’ll likely be a sea of “wife-beaters.” Sat., 10 pm, The Jinx.
Ensemble Con Spirito
The Rev. Joan Kilian of Statesboro’s Trinity Episcopal Church officiates this traditional Evensong, an evening worship service featuring sung and spoken prayers, service music and religious anthems, courtesy of this acclaimed local group of female choral singers. Wed., June 21, 7:30 pm, St. Paul’s Episcopal (Abercorn & 34th Sts.).
Joshua Fletcher & The Six-Shot Romance
Ask guitarist and singer Joshua Fletcher what his influences are, and he replies, “Love, heartbreak and revenge.” If that sounds a little melodramatic, then wait till you hear his songs. The Atlanta-based artist is doing the DIY thing, pressing his own CDs, playing everywhere from coffeehouses to hard rock bars with his current backing band, and networking via MySpace. Should the acoustic guitar-based ballads and rave-ups he pens be labeled alt.country, neo-Southern rock, or twangy pop? Truthfully, they’re a little bit of all three. Fans of the almost painful earnestness of Counting Crows, the studied forlorn of Ryan Adams, and the bourbonitis blues of the Black Crowes will find solace in this newbie’s straightforward efforts. Fri., 7 pm, Coastal Coffee (2100 E. Victory Dr.).
Little Green Chairs
A refreshingly mature and diverse jam-pop group from Athens (featuring Dan Roth of Dan K Theory) that looks to everyone from Bruce Hornsby and Ben Folds Five for inspiration — along with such genre stalwarts as Primus, James Brown and Phish. Their extended workouts are based in solid song craft, leading to comparisons with the meticulous, complex arrangements of both Steely Dan and Cat Stevens. They flit from ‘70s-style AOR to funky grooves to outsized arena rock with ease. Sat., 10 pm, Locos Deli & Pub.
Self-confident, confessional women bearing acoustic guitars are a dime a dozen these days. Some have plenty of fresh insight or new perspectives to offer, but most don’t. In fact, most should channel that energy into something more idiosyncratic and less cliché. The award-winning Sam Shaber’s one who deserves as much support and celebration as she can get. Almost every aspect of her talent: solid fretwork; memorable melodies; ace vocal control; and a lyrical sense that’s rarely trite give her an edge over most of her ilk. She’s currently touring nationwide behind a captivating live CD, and has become a regular favorite at this venue, which says a lot. Wed., June 21, 8 pm, The Sentient Bean.
Sinister Moustache, Hematovore
Gravy was without a doubt one of the most criminally overlooked original rock bands in the area. Of course, a lot of that was their own fault. Their style of confrontational, technical, mostly instrumental art-metal is just about the opposite of commercial. A new lineup and moniker (Sinister Moustache) hasn’t altered their carny prog-rock much, though, and anyone interested in one of the Savannah music scene’s best-kept secrets should make this gig. Auburn, Al.’s Hematovore opens with a set of three-guitar instrumental thrash metal that’s loaded with melodic passages and local color. Fri., 10 pm, The Jinx.