Athens Popfest has become a staple of the Athens music scene after a several year hiatus. It marks summer’s end (or, if you prefer, football season’s beginning), the end of no college students, no traffic. The lineup this year was good as always–I was bummed that I had other engagements and was not able to make many of the acts, but I enjoyed many that I saw! I miss when 40 Watt was one of the venues–I feel like its dive bar atmosphere perfectly complements the less-polished-than-Athfest vibe that Popfest goes for.
The first act I caught was Buxton, a twangy alt-rock group from Texas. I loved their sound–they were actually one of my favorite artists I’ve ever seen at a Popfest and I’ll definitely check them out in the future.
The next artist I saw was Antlered Aunt Lord, an act that’s become a staple of the Athens music scene over the past decade. Sometimes a billing of Antlered Aunt Lord is a solo performance of Jesse Stinnard, but typically there’s at least one other musician on stage, and for Popfest, he had three accompanying him. They harmonized very well and each song was a roller coaster of emotion; there was genre switching even within a single song.
Next up was Ampline, a three piece from Cincinnati who formed almost 20 years ago as an instrumental group, but has gradually added vocals to their performances.
Ganser, a four piece from Chicago, was next on my list. Their performance was super manic, with occasional sound effects and two very lively female singers who really knew how to use their voices as instruments.
Next up on stage was another group from Chicago, Izzy True. Izzy sometimes performs alone but had a backup band at Popfest. The crowd loved their between song banter, which mostly revolved around anxiety and needing gas money to get to the next show.
The final act I caught was Lingua Franca, an Athens-based rapper who’s been killing it lately, quickly becoming one of the most popular musicians in town while also having been elected county commissioner and becoming a minor internet celebrity when a photo of her being sworn into office on the autobiography of Malcolm X went viral. Her performance was as great and energized as always.