October 02, 2014

Red Bull Sound Select (Athens, Ga)

At the price of $3 and having to drink liquid that tastes like piss in a can, I saw a crowd surfing yeti, a man pop balloons on his disco ball codpiece, and rocking headliners Reptar and New Madrid.

On Friday September 26th, I sold my soul to the Red Bull corporation and attended their Athens, Ga Sound Select Event at the Georgia Theater. In total, five bands performed, and I was there for all its four hour juiciness.

Opening was Atlanta based band, Jungol. Led by Josh and Graham Yoder, the band’s sound centers around experimental electronic rock. It’s full of synths and live looping, and in songs like “Full of Chemicals”, the brothers belt out breathy but danceable melodies. Jungol’s show was ethereal even with its bouncy rhythmic variation.

Next emerged Cousin Dan, wearing a playboy bunny shirt, a jean jacket, a knockoff mink scarf, leopard leggings, and a disco ball codpiece. He spun out electronic beats paired with synthesized vocals. In songs like, “F Bomb” he jumped around stage throwing balloons all over the crowd. His set was a crude version of Chromeo mixed with the showiness of LMFAO. And if that doesn’t make you cringe, every few minutes, he would pop balloons on his crotch disco ball. At least it was entertaining.

Baby Baby took the stage next. With just as much energy as Cousin Dan, the five piece sang upbeat drunken anthems like their most notable song “Fire”. While it wasn’t the most original music, they pumped up the crowd and created a really fun atmosphere fueled on their Kings of Leon-esque choruses. Their confidence, especially lead singer Fontez Brooks’, carried them through the show. The performance was highlighted with their in-song commentary about nothingness like bad dates and the greatness of their band. A giant Yeti came out occasionally and crowd surfed, pumping the crowd up even more.

After Baby Baby was Athens band New Madrid. New Madrid’s performance was intoxicating. Coupled with psychedelic visuals, they performed an hour set of mostly songs from their 2014 release Sunswimmer. Although always centered around a twangy guitar that could only come out of Athens, Ga, there was so much diversity in their music. New Madrid’s song structure varied between lyric based jams like “Country Moon Pt. 1” and more instrumental songs like “All Around The Locust (out on the pavement)”. Unlike previous acts, their music drove the performance. New Madrid is an original voice in the psych rock world that is definitely worth listening to.

Then, Reptar performed to close the night. Beloved by the Athens community, the four piece delivered a high energy set that had the whole theater cutting up the dance floor. Lead singer Graham Ulicny’s unique nasal voice and their danceable funk rang through the venue. The crowd surfing yeti made another appearance and Ulicny joined, tossing himself into the audience. To the crowd’s delight, they played classics like “Rainbounce” and “Stuck In My ID”. Reptar, like many other Athens bands, is a party band; Their music is, at its roots, nothing more than a some synthy belts meant for the cliché self-proclaimed ‘alternative’ college kid. Yet, their show’s enthusiasm justified their popularity, creating an energetic end to a night of music.

Photos: Camilla Grayson

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