Sunday, April 8, 2007
Athens Ohio's booker/musician extraordinaire Scott Winland has been a staple in Midwest garage rock circles for as long as I can remember. He gives us a peek into the upcoming Blackout Festival in his fair city.
"The show started about 12 years ago, as a birthday party for a handful of musician friends in Athens. When I took over booking The Union, and eventually started Blackout Booking, it grew to a two-day event, then three. In it's earliest form, Blackoutfest pretty much hosted local and regional bands and has since shifted to more out-of-state stuff, including many bands from the Blackout roster. Some highlights over the years were: The Real Kids, The Reigning Sound, Dirtbombs, Lost Sounds, The Ponys, Gris Gris, Demolition Doll Rods, Tearjerkers, Cool Jerks, This Moment in Black History, High Strung, etc, etc.
This year's fest will include the following bands (and more)-- (editor's note: please don't expect me to make links to every band...):
TOUGH AND LOVELY
EL JESUS DE MAGICO
THE NEVER EVERS
GREG ASHLEY'S MEDICINE FUCK DREAM
DAN MELCHIOR UND DAS MENACE
THE HIGH STRUNG
BEAT THE DEVIL
LIVE FAST DIE
WHEELS ON FIRE
RIVER CITY TANLINES
MISS ALEX WHITE & THE RED ORCHESTRA
THIS MOMENT IN BLACK HISTORY
BIRDS OF AVALON
For anyone hoping to make the treck down to Athens the doors open at 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday (April 19th and 20th), and at 4 p.m. on Saturday (April 21st). Tickets are $10 a night and $25 for all three nights. Out of towners who want to reserve tickets can do so through the myspace page (myspace.com/blackoutfest). There you can also find up-to-date info on the nightly schedules, and extra info on Athens (hotels, record stores, thrift shops, places to eat, etc).
But with so many festivals going on this summer, why should people be sure to catch what Athens has to offer, aside from the fact that it rules?
"Athens (and more specifically The Union), is a great place to play and see a show. It's rare to find a place with such an enthusiastic crowd. It's super cheap too. A cheap place to live, and a cheaper place to drink, if you're into that sort of thing. The fest is also a bit on the eclectic side, compared to others of its kind. It includes everything from experimental noise stuff, to hardcore, to rocknroll to some more mellow stuff," he said. "Being such a small town, some of the best shows in Athens are like this. It's ok to have a hardcore band play with a folky/psych band. There are less attitudes towards what lineups are 'supposed to be like,' with an emphasis on having a fun show. Maybe the town's size keeps bands from wanting to sound the same. If you had to pick your three favorite albums to take with you to the deserted island, they probably wouldn't all be Ramones albums, right? Ok, I guess that one's arguable, but hopefully you get my point! Athens is a bit isolated, and we try to keep it interesting."
Another great aspect of the Blackout Fest is combining national bands with local greats.
Winland said Athens bands such as: Wheels on Fire, The Makebelieves, Dropdead Sons, Chingar Mimi, The Never Evers, We March, Southeast Engine, Paper Machetes, the Dragline Bros., Loaded Revulvas and more will also take part.
"None of these bands sound alike, and all of these bands drink together," he said.
For regional acts playing the fest, The festival will feature This Moment In Black History (Cleveland), Buffalo Killers (Cincinnati), Tough and Lovely, El Jesus De Magico, Psychedelic Horseshit, and Grafton (both Columbus).
"None of these bands are strangers to the Union stage, and in my opinion are some of the best bands in the state," Winland said.