Snacking on Bragg Jam: The Aftermath

I didn’t drink too much, although whatever was in that punch that Gary Schechterle was selling outside of his restaurant, Lemongrass, pretty much guaranteed that I didn’t need to spend any more money on drinks. The drink was delicious – not too sweet, the taste of cloves lingering on my tongue, the vodka was so hidden that when it hit, I almost forgot where it came from.

That drink is the perfect description of this year’s Bragg Jam. It was delicious and when I got through the whirlwind that was great music, I almost couldn’t pinpoint where all that radical came from.

It was hot. Hot as hell. The hottest day of the year it seems. I caught up with Savana Cameron at the end of Magnolia and we stalked our way down Cherry Street towards the festivities. With $20 and a wristband, I was able to walk into 6 venues downtown – and if I had chosen, gone to three other venues by way of trolley. But my destination, since it was after 5:15, was The Hummingbird Stage and Taproom. My intention was to catch Al K!ng, since I hadn’t seen him since the beginning of the year, then head back into the heat to watch DJ Dirt Dog mix in Third Street Park but something happened at The Bird…

It got really awesome.

I always say Al K!ng is the weirdest person I know. Really, he’s just a very dynamic guy who also happens to be a little shy. Okay, so it’s the “you worms” bit of his call phrase that starts it and the extraterrestrial sound that he puts into his music that makes me think he’s weird, but I do enjoy watching “The K!ng” on the stage. I missed the first song, obviously something he did with Floco Torres, but came in on some of his new stuff. I always love his weird sensibilities, especially when it comes to hip hop. However, I got my most excited when he went into his old stuff. I pretty much screamed like a little fan-girl when I heard the synthesizer to Freak Show. Of course, at the end, we all got to drink him up as he gave us a great finale to Beer in a Wine Glass. The best though, was This Is My Shit, the song we came to identify him with and then his remix of the remix was appropriately out of this world.

Next up was City Council and I have to say they were the best I’ve ever heard them. The first song was the jam and Valentyne was a madman on the mic. Does that mean anything to anybody else? Maybe. I wish I had more pictures, but they move around so much, I just gave up and started dancing. They also gave us a snapshot of the group Sophisticated Misfits, of which Jubee and Valentyne are a part. I had the best time with their set and I’m really excited by what Sophisticated Misfits are going to do.

Floco Torres came onto the stage like a Rock God! The first song had him calling himself and asshole and it was probably one of my favourite songs of the night. Snippets of the song was from something he did on the mixtape he did with DJ Tagg. It was fantastic. He pretty much maintained the high energy throughout his set. He and his band are beginning to mesh really well. This was the first time they seemed like one entity.  I am so excited about Floco’s Modern Life! So if you don’t see Floco on the street, you know it’s because he’s grinding in the studio getting this CD out… and if the rest of the album is as good as the two contenders for a spot on the album (the first and last song from his set), then we are really in for something wonderful.

After some haggling with Gary Scherterle from Lemongrass over a drink he didn’t even have a name for, I headed over to the New 567 with Doski Wo, Shawty Slim, and Duo Maxwell *cough*. They left me to get food (rightfully so) while I got my Americana on with American Aquarium. The first time I heard the group, it was a Monday night and they played with Romantica, but I stayed after they performed. If I say a Gram Parsons sing-a-long occurred, I am not kidding. It was awesome, beautiful voices raised in song, the first time I heard the beautiful voice of Abby Owens and I have loved the group ever since. They did not disappoint at the New 567. After apparently ingesting an entire bottle of whiskey, the band was pretty giddy on stage, but the music was ROCKIN’! Maybe it was the sweet irony of BJ’s dirty mouth in the music loving church venue or the love of Jesus soothing their heathen souls, but this is the best I’d ever heard them.

I tried to make it to Citizen Insane, but right as I walked in, I heard the final strains of their last song. Boooo! I talked to Floco about his show and we decided to walk over to Greek Corner Deli for a gyro, that wonderful deliciousness that soothes the late night drinking music hopper. Greek Corner Deli has pretty much become a mainstay in the Saturday nightlife. After a night of dancing to some great music, it’s always good to be able to quench your hunger there. A gyro from Greek Corner Deli always hits the spot. After grabbing a bite, I walked back to Bottom’s Up to watch The Moaners. I love the duo. While the music is indie rock, they have a punk rock sensibility to how they play. I wanted to catch the Dirty Guv’nahs as well, so I left the Moaners. The Bird was so crowded, it was uncomfortable. The music sounded good, but there was no way to enjoy it. I headed down to the New 567 with Heidi Clinite to catch Sonny Spoon. He did a rendition of his show from the 11th Hour Reader’s Choice Awards, but that was so good, it was great to see it again. Of course, my favourite part was the drumline and the drumline dancers. The other acts were great, but I love the drumline. My favourite member is this kid with a curly, blonde fro. He acts like there are springs in his shoes. Yet the palpable excitement I get from all of the kids doing the drumline is beautiful. I think some of the dancers are really surprised by how much we enjoy them. When Sonny Spoon and crew were done, the crowd followed the drumline outside and begged then to perform. If they had not stopped, who knows how long we would have stood in the rain egging them on. Sonny Spoon also brought in Todd Bridges – that’s right, The.Todd.Bridges. What you talkin’ ’bout, Willis. Glad I never said it.

Afterwards, I ran back to the Bird to give an ear to Tron Jackson, but the crowded (awesome for the Bird) condition sent me back to Bottom’s Up for Roly-Bots.

Now, in all of this running back and forth, especially after I came back to Bottom’s Up from the Dirty Gov’nahs, I found myself in the main bar and dance stage listening to DJ Shawty Slim (that’s my DJ!). The dance party was off the chain, an expression that I never use and no one has used since 2002. Yes, it was that rad! It wasn’t just the heat of July 31 that had us sweating. We were all dancing our asses off, a whirl of arms and legs and hair. Each new song spurred different people to move front-ward and dance, even if they had only been moving along in their seats. Slim knows how to get a crowd moving and keep them there. I know I enjoy it every time I go.

Roly-Bots were to go on at 11:30, but Royal Fireworks became their warmup act. They were plagued by sound issues but they played through it. Roly-Bots started off with the same problems. It was enough to make one member leave the stage. Casey from Royal Fireworks stepped in on bass, but they only did two songs before ending the show. I was sad that I didn’t get to hear Doomsday Death Dance, but I would be even more sad if Roly-Bots don’t stay together. While I don’t know what was going on, it was pretty abrupt… Hopefully, the “just kitten” message on Roly-Bots facebook page was letting us know there will continue to be more Roly-Bots goodness in the future.

Bragg Jam was not without issues for me and some others. There was a lot of lag time, time when I wasn’t watching a band and had no band I was missing. Last year, the fest was so chock full of music I wanted to see (both local and visiting) that I barely had time to breathe. There was some advantage to this, since I was able to have a leisurely sit down dinner with Floco and others, but when I wasn’t hungry, it wasn’t great. I have to say, this Bragg Jam has some of the best shows I’ve seen in Macon. The musicians out-did themselves. My favourites of the night belong to Al K!ng, City Council, and Floco Torres. All three groups blew me away, which is surprising, considering how much I love rock ‘n roll. Admittedly, I missed Citizen Insane’s set and I did enjoy myself immensely at American Aquarium, but the night belonged to hiphop.

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