Carolinian – Features
Issue: 2/3/03

The Friday Night Special
By Joanna Yu

“Sorry I keep stepping on you people,” was the perfect, albeit apologetic, summation of Friday night’s show at the Guilford College Underground featuring local bands Disband and Kudzu Wish and Jet By Day, who hail from Athens, GA. It was, in all respects, a solid show–no charge, three bands, and loads of fan support. Disband kicked off the night with fantastic hard-edged melodies tinted with shimmering reverb that immediately put the crowd in motion–plenty of fist-shaking/emphatic nodding/and lip synching went on that night. There was definitely an easygoing camaraderie that all the bands had with the crowd, as was witnessed by the slightly abashed but unfazed, “Sorry guys…I started that one…and I forgot I didn’t have lyrics for it,” from Disband frontman Greg Collins. At times hitting math rock-like crescendos with their almost discordant harmonies within their lushly layered songs, Disband was one of the best local bands I had seen in quite awhile. The vocals were a bit on the reedy side, but I’ll attribute that to technical difficulties, as the following band, Jet By Day, couldn’t hear themselves very well either.

After the terrific Disband show, it’s easy to see why people chose to step outside during Jet By Day. Sure the frontman got some fantastic height on his perfectly timed scissorkicks, but c’mon, weren’t those windmills a bit over the top? Gate City Noise had the Athens band, along with The Agenda and locals The Children play about two weeks ago, and I remember wondering if they would be better a second time around. The talent is there, the apocalyptic climaxes twisted with abrupt time changes keeps you on your feet, and those acrobatics sure are fun to watch, but perhaps they should change their name to “Minus the Vocals?” Their frontman seems to have just finished Ulysses, if the plethora of his breathy “O’s” is any indication. But truth be told, Jet By Day do have their posturing down to a tee–their last song left the guitarist on his knees and the lead singer looking like a triumphant Viking conquering the drum set with one leg propped atop it, red-faced and mike in hand. Hard workers, they are, but they left me staring at the scenery more than listening to them.

Next up were Kudzu Wish, from whom the opening quote springs from. Even before their set had begun it was easy to see that they were the crowd favorites–and once the show began, it was nearly impossible to tell where the division was between the band and the crowd. There was a good ten feet of empty space in the back during the entire show from where everyone pushed themselves up to sing along right up there with lead singer Adam Thorn. Thorn’s strident voice, alternating between anguished and throat-tearing yells lends itself perfectly to Kudzu Wish’s frenetic, indie-punk sound. Their stop and go beats were often punctuated with an almost spoken-word poetry type of diatribe which inevitably ended with a thrash of sound and the crowd enthusiastically yelling along.

If you want to check out any of the bands, look for them around this area, or run out and get one of their CD’s–Disband and Kudzu Wish have a split CD, “At the Scene of the Accident” and Jet By Day have a new one, “Cascadia,” coming out in May.