Menu | Rating System | Guest Book | Archived Reviews:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

  THE ROCK*A*TEENS w/ Ashley Stove  
  The 40 Watt  
  Athens, GA  
Reviewed by:
Performance Rating:
Sound Quality:
Overall Rating:

When Ashley Stove took the stage at The 40 Watt, there were 11 people in the audience. I know: I counted them. What's up with that? Now I realize that not many people haven't heard of the band and I realize that probably even fewer know that they have a new album out. But still, on a Friday night at a major club, one would expect there to be at least a moderately sized crowd. Whatever.

But let me step back for a moment...

I've been a fan of Ashley Stove for a few years now. Although they're out of the same Chapel Hill scene that spawned bands like Superchunk and Archers Of Loaf, they're not quite as hard sounding. This is not a bad thing - the songwriting is, across the board, strong enough to support a somewhat quieter sound. And although their recording always strike me as uneven, there are enough quirky rhythms within the context of their music to induce me to drive from Atlanta to Athens to see them.

I was really expecting the venue to have a crowd - as I said before, it was a Friday night. But I was shocked when I looked around the club and saw only empty spaces, except for a few people by the bar. But, from the way Ashley Stove played, you would have thought they were playing to a packed, hometown venue. They rocked out, sounding harder than they do on their recorded material. The edginess was ever-present - lasting from their older material through to the new songs. In this live sound, I heard a jangle that isn't as present in their recording; it gave their music a hook which provided a countermelody to the vocals.

"Quite impressive," a friend commented. "They sound better tonight than I've ever heard them sound before." I had to agree - and after their set, I went up and bought an album, impressed by the way the band didn't let the emptiness of The 40 Watt effect them. I wanted more people to appreciate these people who didn't seem bothered by the fact that they couldn't see people in the footlights. All that mattered to them was the music. And that was a good thing.

Anyway, although my rating is based only upon the Ashley Stove portion of the show, Atlanta's Rock*A*Teens headlined to a larger group of fans, although the club was still mostly empty. I can tell you they played a tight, angry show - barreling through material at breakneck speed, not really distracted by small glitches in the set. Seeing them play is like standing in the middle of a maelstrom, with swirls of reverb, feedback, and drums surrounding you. Admittedly it's not for everyone, but if you get into their sound and their songwriting (which I do), it's an awe-inspiring experience, one which is hard to rate or even to compare from show to show. So I can't really judge The Rock*A*Teens. But suffice to say, they were there, and they were loud, and for over an hour, my world centered around them.

Related Links:
  Read a review of a Rock*A*Teens Concert.  

Return to the top of this page. | Return to the Concert Review menu.