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Live Review: Dreams So Real at AthFest, June 28

[ 0 ] June 30, 2009 |

DreamsSoReal By Scott Roberts; photo by Sue
Volkert

During the initial heyday of Athens
music back in the early to middle 1980s, most of that city’s bands were
purveying either a sort of quirky, danceable artsiness (Pylon, Love Tractor,
Method Actors) or a folk-fueled, Southern jangle-pop (REM, Buzz of Delight, Art
in the Dark). One band, however, opted for a more muscular, classic-rock
approach to their still melodic music that made them stand out from the crowd.
That band was Dreams So Real, who reunited for the first time in nearly a
decade to play AthFest 2009.

Even in the ‘80s, lead singer/guitarist/songwriter Barry Marler somehow
seemed slightly older than his musical, college student peers (both in look and
attitude), but it was still a bit jarring to see the once classically-coiffed
front man now sporting a nearly-white van dyke beard and wearing a porkpie hat
over his hairless head, looking more like what you might imagine his father to
look like than the quintessential rock star figure he used to cut. Appearances
aside, though, the band launched into its opening song, “California,” with verve and enthusiasm, and
as soon as the signature harmonies of bassist Trent Allen kicked in, still as
perfect and youthful as ever, the hundreds of fans braving the oppressive 100-degree heat of the outdoor stage on Washington
Street knew this reunion would not be a
disappointment.

As expected, the band treated the appreciative crowd to nothing but
favorites during its too-brief 40-minute set. Other than the haunting “History”
from their independent Peter Buck-produced debut Father’s House, the rest of the afternoon’s selections came from
their two Arista records. Songs such as “Bearing Witness” and the semi-hit
“Rough Night in Jericho
(several of which were augmented by keyboardist Chris Queen and Sheryl Crow
guitarist/former DSR member Peter Stroud) came across with the same
anthemic energy as when they were first heard nearly 20 years earlier. The
chemistry between Marler and Allen, along with the dynamic drumming of Drew
Worsham, has served Dreams So Real for many years and will hopefully continue
to serve them during more reunions to come.  
  

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Category: Live Reviews

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