13th Annual Blackout Fest Assembles in Athens

Terrible Twos Live 2007 at Hemlock Tavern, photo by <a href=
Terrible Twos Live 2007 at Hemlock Tavern, photo by Canderson
posted Thursday Apr 17th, 2008

As the warm spring air wafts across the country this week, with it comes the music festival season. Two of this year's earliest festivals get underway this weekend, Horrible Fest in Cleveland, and The (other) Blackout Festival in Athens, Ohio. The Blackout Festival, curated by Blackout Booking, is now in its 13th year running, and this year's line up boasts quite an array of underground acts featuring 33 bands playing today through Saturday.

Thursday night starts out with an interesting act, Mishka Shubaly, who hails from Brooklyn and plays a down tempo, country/folk sound that is reminiscent of Jack Logan's output in the early 90s. As an opening performance for the three day rock'n'roll bender, Shubaly will be a nice way to slide into the weekend. The Athens band, Spooktober also have an opening slot on the Thursday bill and are miles away from the first act playing more fuzz laden songs that sound like they're recorded on stone tablet. Incorporating drum machines under pop oriented song structures and even sliding into hip hop territory, they should be a pretty interesting band to see. Pink Reason along with Psychedelic Horseshit, are blazing through and making appearances on Thursday's bill, then Pink Reason is off to Cleveland to perform an acoustic set of hardcore covers on Friday as part of Horrible Fest. Headliners, the Oxford, Mississippi outfit the Preacher's Kids are always a good bet for a fervid set of southern-style whiskey-fueled rock'n'roll.

The line up Friday night is equally impressive, featuring sets by local acts Goodbye Goats, Paper Machetes and The Makebelieves. The Columbus get-up, El Jesus De Magico have a slot on the bill, ushering in their strange concoction of airy bedroom laments and buzz-stuffed romps, fits right in line with the rest of the Columbus Discount Records catalog. The highly regarded sounds of Greg Cartwright have a slot on the night's bill too, right before This Moment in Black History which is another total sonic turnabout, and is always a great way to keep the evening interesting.

As the final night of the fest comes upon us, Saturday is packed with even more that you can imagine. The Columbus trio, Grave Blankets have a slot on the bill, and as their murky noise builds to a crescendo where blues smashes into the swampy folds of psyche, it's easy to see why these guys are onto something good. Keep an eye out for an upcoming single on HoZac Records sometime in the near future. Kurt Vile, the psychedelic folk centered strummer from Philadelphia is playing a set, too. Recently releasing Constant Hitmaker on the legendary Gulcher Records recently, Vile hits a stride that fits in perfectly between Greg Ashley's material and Pink Reason. The always entertaining and borderline dangerous, Birthday Suits close out the evening, along with the never dull Detroit slob-synth sound of the Terrible Twos.

check out a video of El Jesus de Magico, courtesy of irishshame right here...

and check out a clip of Birthday Suits, courtesy of Downtown Records, right here...