Photos and Review by Chandler Mays
After spending all day recovering from Friday night, I grabbed my keys and jetted back to East Atlanta Village for another killer line-up at the sixth annual Nophest festival. I was so distracted looking over the schedule that halfway there I realized I was wearing the same outfit from the night before… Quick smell check, I’m good to go. What’cha really know about the dirty south?
Sneaky Hand @ The Earl
After mulling it over a bit on my drive home, I decided that my absolute greatest musical surprise of the year, thus far, is undoubtedly Sneaky Hand’s rabble-rousing performance at the East Atlanta Restaurant and Lounge, Nophest 2012. Talk about being caught off-guard! Before the show, I looked up what I could find on this relatively unknown band, and found catchwords like “energetic”, “danceable”, “groove-based”, and “avant garage post punk funk against the machine”. Needless to say, my curiosity was pricked. Starting right on time, Sneaky Hand did not waste a single moment to get the crowd moving. Their music is indeed a garagerock dance party. The bassist stomped and funked his way around the stage while the drummer pounded out rhythms that immediately compelled me to shake my moneymaker. The two guitarists delivered jagged, skittish guitar riffs reminiscent of the most aggressive songs by Franz Ferdinand or Modest Mouse.
By midway through the first song, 90% of the crowd was jigging. The last 10% eventually fell in line after the lead singer, Matt Maher, jumped into the audience, passed out tambourines, danced like a possessed voodoo witchdoctor on acid, and gave out shirtless, sweat-drenched hugs to anyone willing to receive one… which was everyone. Given the entire history of rock music, Matt clearly belongs to the upper echelon of charismatic frontmen. His energy is boundless, and I suspect that ingesting one drop of his sweat would tweak you out for a month. Even the most introverted music nerds, which are abundant at The Earl, couldn’t help but surrender to his intensity and start dancing. On top of being a vibrantly vivacious vocalist, Matt’s lyrics are intelligent and compelling. Instead of catchphrases, he imparts clever musings that are all at once whimsical and thoughtful. During the song ‘Crawling Towards the Future’, he chanted, “What’s right and what’s wrong, it ain’t in a song. It’s not in the shit that you think is the word. If I don’t deliver, it ain’t in no picture.”
Only having seen one Sneaky Hand show, they are already on my top list of Atlanta must-see’s, and I must definitely see them next Thursday, September 6th, at Eastside Lounge. If you know what’s good for you, and you want to exorcise those dance-demons inside you, I’ll see you there.
The FountNHead @ 529
This Atlanta afro-punk hip hop act put on a fierce, hard rocking show that invigorated the packed crowd. They consist of a guitarist and keytarist, who, in addition to contributing vocals, create songs that blend Orange County punk with electronic dance, and a splash of Rage Against the Machine. The ringleader of the band is a talented female MC who has a punk rock attitude and seems to be experienced at inciting riots. Did I mention she’s gorgeous? The FountNHead gave us some extremely entertaining numbers about being drunk on the dance floor and hitting the bong, but they also delivered lyrics that were socially and politically conscious, and I appreciate that they can walk that line. The FountNHead knows how to party, and I look forward to their next show.
Jungol @ The Earl
The ever-impressive psychedelic dance experimental synth rock group, Jungol, once again tore the house down over a large crowd at The Earl last Saturday. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I can’t stress enough how great these guys are as a live act. Their compositions are expertly written and the vocals of Josh and Graham Yoder create gorgeous harmonies over captivating melodies. As I said in my last review, this band is clearly on their way up, and they are definitely one of the hottest local acts around right now. If you haven’t seen Jungol yet, I highly recommend them.
Between face-melting post-rock and a series of sweaty dance parties, I can’t decide which day of Nophest was my favorite. Regardless, our friends at Nophi Records booked an amazing line-up of independent music, and I look forward to what’s in store for next year. Until then, so long, farewell, goodbye.
Full Gallery after the jump…