29 Dec Athens, Georgia
I love live music. There’s nothing quite like planting myself at the center of the floor, close enough that I can see the band and far enough back that I hear both sides of the mix well, beer in hand, to take in the sounds of an old favorite or a new discovery. When I visited Athens yesterday it was 11:30 in the morning. There weren’t any concerts happening, but chatting with the bartender at the Rook and Pawn, and talking guitars with the owner of the Musician’s Warehouse, I could tell that this town was my kind of culture.
We’ve all been hit hard in one way or another by the pandemic, but live music has been one of the major casualties. It’s nearly impossible to have a true concert experience when social distancing, wearing face masks, and living with the paranoia of getting sick. I dream of the day we can go back to dancing freely and without worrying about our sweaty bodies and exhaled droplets mixing together to the beat of a drum kit spanking out a rockin’ 4/4.
Athens is clearly one of the places that lives and breathes this culture. A music walk of fame celebrates the bands that have been founded there, including R.E.M., the B-52’s and Widespread Panic. Two famous music halls grace this small town of 130,000, the 40 Watt and the Georgia Theatre, as well as one pub after another that host live bands of various sizes and claims to fame. The bartender raved about AthFest, a summer music festival that adds two outdoor stages to the variety of offerings hosted by the local venues and that brings the musical simmer to a boil in the heat of the University of Georgia’s off-season. Gotta do that sooner or later.
So, it’s pretty clear. We Need2Go there together! It will definitely be a stop on the Music Makers US itinerary. See you soon on tour.