OYSTERFEST 2015

Saturday, February 7th at 1pm

Location: Park Tavern

FOR MORE INFORMATION:http://spiralentertainment.com/

AS WELL AS:  http://www.parktavern.com/

By Liz and John Attaway

You would have thought it was a late springtime day with the sun shining bright and the light, warm breeze coming over the park. There’s no denying Park Tavern at Piedmont Park is a beautiful venue with a striking skyline and park view. You notice the second you walk in that you’re in for a treat. This rarely beautiful February day, and Oysterfest was brought to you by Spiral Entertainment. They know how to gather people for one great party.  Let’s pull out our shuckers and get shuckin’.

What would an Oysterfest be without the stars of the show? Oysters. I admit that I don’t eat them for many reasons, but there are thousands of people out there that obsess over them and what better way to gather a few thousand friends and fawn over these rock-like delicacies.  Inside the cold, hard shell there is a gooey-ooey center, be it steamed, raw, fried, on crackers, with hot sauce or simply naked, Oysterfest at Park Tavern are one big shucking party. And when I say big, I mean packed to the gills, people sat outside in lawn chairs or waiting in lines to get their Oysters the way they want them. Who knew there were so many Oyster fans?

Another ingredient as important as the shucker is the Oyster’s companion drink. For many and myself it’s beer, but there were Bloody Marys and many other Oyster friendly cocktails. Something you may not know about Park Tavern is that they brew their own beer. The one I like the most is the Amber Ale. It is very malty with caramel notes. They also have a good IPA that just the right amount of hops, which is the one John prefers. They have many others, as well as a good food menu, as well as $1 draft when it rains (or snows). That’s a pretty good deal if you ask me.

The event was held on Saturday, February 7th. Bummed you missed this event? Don’t worry: Park Tavern and Spiral Entertainment have another upcoming event called LuckyFest. It’s a St. Patrick’s Day kick-off extravaganza. Luckyfest will be held on Saturday, March 7th.

ATLANTA WINTER BEER FEST 2015

Saturday, January 24th at 1pm

Location: Masquerade Music Park

FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://atlantawinterbeerfest.com/

By Liz and John Attaway

After 5 years and dozens of beer festivals, Atlanta Winter Beer Fest sold out! It was filled to the brim, to the max, no Vacancy, packed like sardines, no Dogs Allowed (or Birds)! Alright, that last one was taken from one of my favorite Snoopy movies, but you get the drift. What was amazing was that it didn’t feel cramped with several areas to hang out including the local tent, swag and food tents, outside, and then the three Masquerade inside areas. I think the only place I felt like I couldn’t breathe was in Hell and that’s another story for another time. Wink. Let’s dive in.

More and more festivals are in Atlanta are integrating the blooming, ballooning local brewery scene, and I love it. One of the newer breweries that is contracting out of North Carolina but coming soon to Chamblee/Brookhaven near you, is Pontoon. They have a Tiffany Blue color that reminds me of the lake on a calm Sunday. Beyond that, John has an affinity for their Pilsner, which is called No Pants Pilsner. It’s a little hoppy for me but he always gets it at a local bar. Another one we’ve seen for a while now at several beer festivals but without product is Southern Sky. I love their slogan, “a little bit out there.” Being in advertising by day, I find it snarky and fun. Along with their slogan, they are going to go against the grain and permanently offer a porter that they claim can also be categorized as a stout. I can’t wait to try it because with chocolate and coffee notes; it could be right up my alley. Finally, they are going to open their brewery and tap room right around the corner from my office in Kennesaw. Happy Hour, anyone?

It wouldn’t be an Adventures in Atlanta beer festival blog without my proclaimed best beer of the festival. This one was tough because believe it or not, I’ve tried about everything out there that was offered! That being said, drum roll please. The best beer of the festival:  Mac Daddy Porter from Monday Night Brewing!  Confetti falls. A band plays. A trophy exchanges hands. What I like about Mac Daddy Porter is its smooth and light but has big, bold coffee taste with a little bit of earth and chocolate. It’s right up there with Drafty Kilt and I love Drafty Kilt.  Other local brews we found interesting to name a few were Second Self’s Thai Wheat, Jekyll’s Stout, and Eventide’s Nitro Stout. Yum.

Atlanta Winter Beer Festival also offered more food and samples this year than in year’s past. It was a good thing that Knotty Pretzels was around, not only to fill some tipsy stomachs, but to save one of our friends from Savage Jerky’s Ghost Pepper Buffalo Jerky. It was tasty, just a little spicy (ok, a lot spicy). I wouldn’t even think of trying it! Ghost Pepper? I don’t think so! Not only was the food abundant, but so was the entertainment. The two that stood out to us were the duo that dressed as Captain America and Batman and Kara Claudy. The comedy-singing duo gave away swag for correct trivia answers and even sang a song or two including Karma Police from Radiohead. I think they may have been Dad’s Garage, but I’m not sure.  Kara Claudy got a tip from us because she had a great range that included favorites No Rain by Blind Melon and Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd.

After a cold day, everyone went home happy with beer in their bellies and a good time in their memories. I bet you’re all ready for your next festival? Hogs and Hops is coming up in April, and don’t miss Atlanta Beer Fest’s newest venture: Atlanta Wine Party in March.

http://atlantabeerfestivals.com/
http://www.hogsandhopsatlanta.com/
http://atlantawineparty.com/

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ROCK 105.7’S 404 CHRISTMAS WITH BUSH

Tuesday, December 16th at 8pm

Location: Smith's Olde Bar

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ROCK 105.7:http://www.radio1057.com/main.html

MORE INFORMATION ON SMITH’S OLDE BAR: http://www.smithsoldebar.com/

By Liz and John Attaway

There is a lot that can be said about the holidays: a time for family, spreading holiday cheer, celebrating Christ, decking the halls, walking in a winter wonderland, looking for Rudolf’s red nose in the night sky, or sitting on Santa’s knee. If you could talk to Santa this year, what would you ask for? A good concert would be high on my list and one this intimate at the top. So, this year, on a mild December night, situated between Moreland and Piedmont at Smith’s Olde Bar, Rock 105.7 played Santa by treating its loyal listeners and friends to an intimate evening with Gavin Rossdale of Bush. It was a perfect Christmas present for any avid Bush fan. Thanks, Rock 105.7 and sponsor Heineken, you rock!

Onto the concert experience, opening Rock 105.7’s 404 Christmas was Twin Atlantic from Scotland. They just released their third album, Great Divide, and will be touring soon. Melodious with loud guitar riffs, this alternative rock band spent a few songs acoustically with us but was impressed with the American way of spending the holidays. They said people in Scotland should enjoy the holidays like us! Cheers! Once they made way for Bush, the ladies started swooning and out came the smartphones for frantic picture and video taking to forever remember the night.

Starting with “Everything Zen,” accompanied by “Comedown”, “Glycerine,” and a handful of other Bush greats, Rossdale strummed and crooned his way through the night with heart and soul. He was humble and grateful for the loud sing-a-long like atmosphere encouraging the audience to interact with him. Even though billed as Bush, it really became The Gavin Rossdale Show with all the focus on his voice and performance. Chris Traynor, Bush guitarist was also on hand to accompany Rossdale. I’d like to note there’s something to be said about a performer that can take grunge rock songs and turn them into guitar solos and perform them almost totally acoustic.

Beyond Bush classics, Rossdale treated the intimate gathering of Bush fanatics a special holiday treat: two covers that will probably never happen again, so it truly was a once in a lifetime performance. The first was “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd which got the audience singing. Again. After ending with Comedown and taking a bow, Rossdale came back out for his encore, Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” He stayed true to the Mac version of “Landslide” and it was mesmerizing and beautiful to behold.

And with that, to all a good night.

MORE INFORMATION ON BUSH: http://bushofficial.com/

MORE INFORMATION ON TWIN ATLANTIC: http://twinatlantic.com/home/

ANDREWS MOONSHINE FESTIVAL 2014

Saturday, October 18th at 1pm

Location: Andrews Entertainment District

FOR MORE INFORMATION:http://www.andrewsdistrict.com/events-2/tickets/

By Liz and John Attaway

Out in the woods of North Carolina, Wayne Nix of Discovery’s Moonshiners show is hauling moonshine to his clients in an old pick-up truck with some clear bottled liquid in the back, rocking to and fro as the tires hit the cracked, dirt road. That’s kind of what it was like on this fall-like October day, Andrews Entertainment District started a new tradition: Andrews Moonshine Festival, but without the dirt road (yes, there was a pickup truck)! With celebrities and moonshine aficionados in tow, everyone got to rub elbows with distillers and explore the world of ‘Shine.

Speaking of Wayne Nix, he was in the house taking pictures and promoting his own brand of moonshine, Hanging Dog Moonshine. The curious thing is that one of my clients at my day job is Discovery’s off-air and we helped promote the show Moonshiners last year. After talking shop with Mr. Nix, and taking a much needed picture for my office, he explained that Moonshiners is legit and to not lump them in with the other “reality shows” out there. He also came bearing ‘Shine gifts: you could buy a Wayne’s World T-shirt or simply try his ‘Shine. It was pretty good and I know it might not be the ACTUAL ‘Shine from the show, but I can pretend it is! Keep on truckin’ Wayne, you were a pleasure to chat with!

In the same vein as other ‘Shine celebrities was Bill Elliot. When I was young, my parents and close extended family used to travel every July to the Firecracker 400 in Daytona Beach. The adults would go every year to the race, while for us kids, it was the annual beach trip. I’d heard of Nascar greats like Petty and Allison, as well as Bill Elliot every year, as my uncle was a huge fan. Secret: my cousin Allison was named after Bobby Allison. But, I got the pleasure of talking to Billy and told him the above story. He was there as the face for his own brand of moonshine called Dawsonville Moonshine. He had an apple pie moonshine that was a little sweeter but it tasted like apple pie in a glass. Yum.

One thing I didn’t know moonshine could be was inspirational. I talked to Charlie Ball of Troy & Sons Distillery. His wife and he moved to North Carolina to help their sons, whom have a rare metabolic disease. Little did they know that the move would result in a moonshine business that would bloom out of housewarming gifts made by their mother, Troy, for their neighbors. The Today Show covered the story and lovingly call her the Moonshine Mom. Check out their story here:   http://www.today.com/food/mom-honors-her-ailing-sons-moonshine-making-business-2D79607492

Finally, I went into Andrews Moonshine Festival believing that moonshine is a million proof alcohol that you have to drink out of a thimble or risk overdosing on alcohol. I learned something new! Let’s get to my favorite moonshine of the event was Moon Pie Moonshine that has a hint of chocolate with the obvious kick at the end. It was sweet and good on its own but when they added A&W root beer to it and all of a sudden it tastes like a tootsie roll.  Awesome. The other one I was impressed with was American Born Moonshine and their sweet tea flavored beverage that was brewed with a mix of Earl Grey and English Breakfast tea. It literally tasted like tea. They had lemonade added to it in a mixed drink that was also good, but the moonshine itself made the drink!

Thanks, Andrews Moonshine Fest, for setting me straight on moonshine.

KENNESAW CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL 2014

Saturday, September 27th at 1pm

Location: Downtown Kennesaw

FOR MORE INFORMATION:http://kennesawcraftbeerfest.com/

By Liz Attaway

In the hills outside Atlanta is a small, sleepy town with an up-and-coming vibe, and recently has several restaurants popping up in its charming downtown. That being said, wouldn’t it be fitting that one brewery has located there and a second is about to open? I wish we had ONE brewery in our inside the perimeter city! What’s a girl gotta do to get one? Ok, don’t answer that. But, in its inaugural year, Kennesaw Craft Beer Fest, highlighted a variety of fall beers in delightful small town atmosphere.

I cannot say enough about the beer selection at the Kennesaw Beer Fest. Maybe it was the time of year or maybe it was a miracle but this was the best beer selection at a beer festival that I’ve ever been to and that, my friends, is saying a lot. From, pumpkin beers flowing from real pumpkins, stouts, porters, to specialty beers I was impressed with what the breweries had to offer.

My favorite beer of the festival and the best brewery showing was Burnt Hickory Brewery out of Kennesaw. They had at least three beers that I would drink on a regular occasion and that was just what they brought! Starting with my favorite beer of the festival: Gourd Knocker Imperial Pumpkin Stout. It was a delicious, sweet milk stout made with eggnog and strong pumpkin notes. The two together were divine. Yes, divine. I know I shouldn’t have any of it but it was so good, would you blame me? I talked to Scott who owns the brewery and he explained that the beer was a take on their Christmas beer that is brewed with eggnog that they showcase every year over the holidays. They simply added pumpkin to it. This was probably the only time they would EVER have this beer and it was an honor to get a few tastes of it! They also had two other beers that I would have seconds of: the Graham Cracker Stout and a Pumpkin Porter. The Graham Cracker Stout has hints of honey and graham cracker on top of a malty stout.  The Pumpkin Porter isn’t as dark or sweet as the Gourd Knocker but it had a good pumpkin kick at the end of a smooth porter. Want to try Burnt Hickory? They are having an open house on October 18th with some specialty beers.

While perusing the rest of the beer selection, I came across Cherry Street. I’m not sure who I talked to but he was from the Cherry Street Brewery and recommended two beers to try that were not at the festival: Pumpkin Pie Porter and Coconut Porter. He explained that the Pumpkin Pie Porter is like pumpkin pie in a glass. The Coconut Porter is not too thick at 6.3% but tastes like a slice of chocolate pie. I wonder if it really does. I’ll have to give them a try. Not only were these recommended to me but about five independent groups of people recommended Southern Tier’s Warlock. It is a stout but that’s about all I know about it, but that’s enough for me with all the rave reviews. Elsewhere, Terrapin’s Liquid Bliss was a peanut butter cup in a glass, which I bet is delicious on tap. I’m not huge on peanut butter as a drink but it’s pretty good, all around beer for after dinner or as dessert. That brings me to PumKing. I found it in the back room of VIP. A good way to top of the afternoon, If I may say so myself.

At the end of the day, Kennesaw Craft Beer Fest, was an all-around fun event in a great location. I’m sure it will be back next year. Feeling sad you missed the event? Don’t worry, there’s Boos and Brews on October 25th and Acworth Beer Fest on November 8th to enjoy your favorite fall beers. Check out the below links for more information.
http://atlantabeerfestivals.com/boos-and-brews/

http://acworthcraftbeerfest.com/

GREAT ATLANTA BEER FESTIVAL 2014

Saturday, September 6th at 3pm

Location: Turner Field

FOR MORE INFORMATION:http://greatatlantabeerfest.com/

By Liz and John Attaway

America’s pastime holds a special place in everyone’s heart and nothing could make it any better, right? Wrong. Take the breathtaking view of the field, beer samples, good friends, and open the alley games to the attendees and what do you get? Great Atlanta Beer Festival. It makes baseball better. This year we discovered two new pumpkin beers, reconnected with a few old beer friends, and had fun dancing in the rain (ok, not dancing, but close).

As the downpour of rain deluged the open spaces outside Turner Field, we got to hover under the O’Dempesy’s tent who had already run out of their Your Black Heart Russian Imperial Stout, which made me sad, but I got to stand next to the truck with the Harpoon UFO Pumpkin. Yum. That brings me to what this festival is really about: beer. My favorite two beers of the festival were Harpoon UFO Pumpkin, which they categorize as an unfiltered pumpkin ale. The other was Terrapin Pumpkin Alethat Terrapin says is actually a malt beverage brewed with pumpkin and spices. They were both similar with a pumpkin fruit forward start and slightly sweet but smooth aftertaste. It was like having pumpkin pie without all the sugar in a glass. If you know me, you know I love pumpkin. So, if you like pumpkin beer like I do, I would recommend these two beers any day of the week. Not a pumpkin fan, how about another beer that I enjoyed called Blue Point Toasted Lager? It was smooth and a good balance of hops and malt with a toasty finish. It reminded me a little of Shock Top’s Pretzel Lager (also present at this festival and well enjoyed by me!) for it’s almost pretzel feel but not as strong as actually eating a pretzel. Lastly, but not least by any means was Your Black Heart Russian Imperial Stout by O’Dempesy’s. It was my overall favorite beer, again, this year, so I thought I would give it another shout out. Run to your bartenders and tell them to stock this: stout lovers will help it fly off the shelf. So. Good.

Let’s not forget there was more than beer at Great Atlanta Beer Fest. The pitching games in Scout’s Alley were open and a few people (ok, a lot) took their shot at seeing how fast they could pitch. I saw everything from 20 mph to 80 mph. Why isn’t that guy a baseball player? Also, there was a booth for the Proud Beer Drinker that was a crowd favorite with a “Strong man” Standin (thanks Yahoo Answers). My friends and I all took our turn with our faces in it and taking our pictures. See my shenanigans to the left. Finally, there was also music by The Geeks that had a large crowd dancing and singing by about 7pm, as well as lots of football on the TV’s of the chop shop. With that the lights dimmed over Turner Field and the Uber drivers lined up outside the gate, the Great Atlanta Beer Fest 2014 was in the books and the home team won.

Missed Great Atlanta Beer Fest? Don’t worry, Atlanta Beer Fests have another one on September 27th in Kennesaw and then again October 25th for Halloween called Boos and Brews. Get your tickets now.

http://kennesawcraftbeerfest.com/

http://atlantabeerfestivals.com/boos-and-brews/

The Field at Turner Field

Proud Drinker Standin

Braves Statue

ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATO FESTIVAL 2014

Saturday, July 20th at 1pm

Location: The Goat Farm

FOR MORE INFORMATION:http://killertomatofest.tumblr.com/

By Liz and John Attaway

How do all the good, classic horror novels start? It was a dark and stormy afternoon at an urban Georgia farm. The lights flickered and then faded leaving the goats bleating and stirring in their pens. Small red dots start to liter the horizon spilling over the distant hills as far as the eye can see. What the urban Georgia farm didn’t know was this was the end, the end of life as they knew it because the Killer Tomatoes were coming and they were hungry. Ok, so maybe killer tomatoes aren’t scary but they are mighty tasty and pair well with food and drinks more than you can ever imagine. That brings us to the Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival where everything and I mean everything is diced, chopped, pureed, relished, jammed, pickled or stuffed with tomatoes. Take into the account the eclectic site filled with goats, filing cabinets built into a wall, several large barn-like rooms with rustic and odd décor, the festival was primed for festival goers to explore and enjoy this unique festival.

Over its six years this was the festival’s first year at The Goat Farm Arts Center after outgrowing its home at JCT. Kitchen & Bar in years past. This year boasting 70 chefs and mixologists that made everything from bourbon and tomato concoctions for the attendees to shot, to tamales, to tacos, to desserts, to popsicles and so on and so forth, I could go on for hours.  There were several special eats that I thoroughly enjoyed, while my favorite was Milton’s Cuisine & Cocktails’ tomato tart with tomatoes from Milton’s Acre. This pizza-like tomato tart was topped with Green Zebra Tomato chow-chow with a little tomato crème fraiche to accent the sweet with the creamy. I went back for seconds because it was fresh, hot and just plain good. Another one of the tomato food invention was Miller Union’s gazpacho that mixed heirloom tomato watermelon and cucumber into a wonderful tasty, dish. Cool and tangy, sweet, the gazpacho was a delight in the heat of the summer day. Outside I found several wonderful tomato mixtures that are worth mentioning here. Farm Burger brought an heirloom tomato sloppy joe that was toped with pickled green tomato and fresh tomato relish. It was filling and good. Down the row was Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand where Delia Champion brought her chicken chorizo tacos stuffed into a corn shell and topped with roasted tomato salsa. Who doesn’t love tacos? So good! Finally, who can resist a fried green tomato slider from Bantam & Bitty & Chick-A-Biddy? It was freshly fried right in front of the attendees and they definitely win the award for longest line, but it was worth it. The people voted for their favorite tomato mixture was drum roll please; Gunshow’s cherry tomato fried pies with tomato ice cream. The judges gave top honors to Osteria Mattone + Table & Main’s tomato tartar with buttermilk caviar.

As far as the drinks, Wild Heaven knocked it out of the park again with their Civilization Barley Wine that was smooth and flavorful filled with cranberries and cherries. It was quick to go! They also brought the Blackbird that they added a little bit of tomato and chardonnay to, which was good but we much preferred the Civilization. There many other liquor cocktails on hand that included gin with shrimp garnish, moonshine and Georgia peaches, bourbon with sherry and tomato, vodka mixed with pepper, hers and peaches to name a few.  They were all interesting in their own right but my favorite was Paper Plane’s Red Dawn: bourbon, lime heirloom tomato and topped with sherry. This is the first time I’ve had tomato in a drink and not spit it out as I’m not a huge fan of anything like bloody marys or drinks of the like. The people gave the best tasting small plate to Miller Union’s The Night Shade Lightning that included moonshine and peaches. The judges decided on JCT Kitchen + The Optimist’s All In One Basket that included vodka, tomatoes, peaches, peppers, herbs and citrus.

On top of the food and drink, the festival is all about helping out the local organic farmers through the nonprofit Georgia Organics and helping out “members of the Atlanta restaurant community facing unanticipated hardships” The Giving Kitchen. Two other things of note were the filing cabinet wall sculpture by David Baerwalde* that was a big point of discussion among attendees, as well as my run in with a celebrity. The filing cabinet wall was one of those things you probably won’t ever see again. It’s unique and filing cabinets really do work as planters! Not to mention that if you look through the drawers, you never know what you’re going to find. We found a drawer full of documents from what looked like a steel company or contractor that worked at the site from the mid-90’s back to the early 80s. We found hand written notes, customer files, and projects from moving walls to fixing flooring. Finally, that brings me to the highlight of my visit to The Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival: my selfie with Stephen Collins. I was walking in one of the rooms and saw a guy that looked familiar and I immediately knew it was him but I wanted to make sure. I’m sure my eyes bore into the back of his head because I had to stare. Finally, I figured I would ask if he was Stephen Collins and he said, “I am” and turned to face me. He was thin but the voice was unmistakable as I watched him for years on 7th Heaven and recently followed his journey on Revolution. He was nice enough to let me take a picture with him. Thanks, Stephen Collins, for making my day.

Overall, we had a blast trying new food, cocktails, and running into celebrities. Never mind the gloom, rain or humidity, that all paled in comparison to the eclectic charm and stellar eats of the festival. Now, I can truly say I’m tomatoed out.

*Check out David Baerwalde’s collection of art at http://dbaerwalde.wix.com/site

GUMBALL 3000: ATLANTA RALLY 2014

Thursday, June 5th at

Location: Centennial Olympic Park

FOR MORE INFORMATION:http://www.gumball3000.com

By Liz and John Attaway

The dark clouds loomed over Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta and the police shouted loudly for everyone to take cover as the thunder cracked nearby. The storm passed by about an hour later and all but put a damper on the rally as the concert and rally as they were both cancelled due to weather. Even though there wasn’t a concert or fanfare, the Gumball 3000 is about the beautifully rare cars and there wasn’t any disappointment there with everything from Ferraris, supped up Mercedes, McLarens, Aston Martins, Bentleys, Jaguars, Lotus and many more. Started in 1999 by Maximillian Cooper, the Gumball got its name “from New York artist Andy Warhol after he used it to describe how the public chew up and spit out popular culture like chewing gum and ‘3000’ as a nod To Cooper’s fascination with the future, particularly at a time when the world was about to enter the 21st Century.” The 2014 Gumball 3000 ran from Miami to Atlanta then to New York. Once in New York the cars were shipped overseas to Edinburgh then runs to London, Paris, Barcelona and finally ends up in Ibiza, Spain.

This year’s coveted Spirit of Gumball 2014 Winner was D.J. Deadmau5 & Tory Belleci of Mythbusters fame’s Purrari 458. The Spirit Award is for the team that encompasses what the Gumball is all about: speed, fun, and sharing the experience with the world. Deadmau5 and Tory streamed their experience with a 360 camera, as well as promoted it on social media, and really helped the Gumball’s word-of-mouth for this year’s race. The prize? They got a 3 food tall Gumball machine. Way to go, guys!

With this being said, nothing would speak louder than pictures, so here is a gallery of the experience including the real celebs: the cars. Enjoy!

PARTY IN THE PARK 2014

Saturday, May 17th at

Location: Centennial Olympic Park

FOR MORE INFORMATION:http://partyintheparkatlanta.com/

By Liz and John Attaway

Among the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coke, and newly constructed Skywheel, Centennial Olympic Park connects many of Atlanta’s tourist destinations downtown. It’s here that Party in the Park kicked off its annual event to bring Atlantans to this beautiful park among the city’s concrete jungle. This year, the music was stellar with local crooners Stokeswood, Minus the Bear from Seattle, The Joy Formidable all the way from Whales, MGMT’s East Coast Jammers, and DJ extraordinare Girl Talk. Let’s dive right in.

Girl Talk was the headliner for Party in the Park and brought his DJ A-game with several fun mash-ups that included rap or hip hop and mixed with Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” as well as Space Hog’s “In The Meantime.” Girl Talk’s Gillis explained to FMLY in 2009 that his name was “a reference to many things, products, magazines, books. It’s a pop culture phrase.” I enjoyed the odd pairings of popular songs of then and now mixed into one long, dance party. On the other end of the spectrum, I would put Minus the Bear. From Seattle (like the great Pearl Jam and Soundgarden), their sound was more rock based with several songs that I said, “this sounds like Foo Fighters,” or “this sounds a little like Pearl Jam.” That’s a compliment seeing as I grew up with grunge and hard rock of the early 1990s and I would say elements of their music had that classic sound.

As far as the local Atlanta music scene, Stokeswood opened Party in the Park and represented the city well with their typical energetic, electric performance. A little bit of Talking Heads here, a little bit of electronic there, add in some indie rock elements and you’ve got Stokeswood.  We’re no stranger to Stokeswood having stumbled on them at a beerfestival a few years ago. We were immediately impressed with their Talking Heads Cover and Adam’s fabulous party pants (Hint: they had stars on the)! We also have seen them several time at Tin Roof where they play under the name “The Employee.” We’d never met lead singer, Adam Patterson, though we’ve had several chances before, but got to speak with him briefly as he hung out in the crowd after their set. He was very gracious and hopefully one day they will break out of the Atlanta scene!

One of the most anticipated performances of the night was MGMT. Several groups came gussied up in finger painted on “war paint” in anticipation of the band, one even with a large anchor painted on his chest and a sailor’s hat. Playing their bigger hits like “Time to Pretend” and “Electric Feel” ignited the crowd into a frenzy with loud singing voices being heard over the actual band. If you’ve never seen MGMT, the band is mainly psychedelic rock with some great 80’s and 70’s yacht rock melodies. Their performance are quite the chameleon as I’ve seen them more than once now and got two different takes on their true nature. The first time we saw them was at The Tabernacle and that performance, while soulful and jam-my, was still very much main stream with hints of Beatles and Phish thrown in here and there. This performance was much more like something you might see from Widespread Panic or Phish or even Sergeant Pepper from the Beatles. Psychedelic to the core and more tuned to an outdoor festival, there were times the music would drone on and I’d find myself checking my watch. That’s not to say it was bad, it was just much more slow and methodical than I remembered. That was unless they were playing their main hits, which were electric and captivated the crowd. They ended with their big hit, “Kids”, playing the end of the song for about 15 minutes until the clock struck 9. I love that song!

Finally, The Joy Formidable had a few radio hits including “Whirring” which I enjoyed every time they were played, so when they were announced in the line-up I was interested in seeing them. This is when I was blown away. Everything you get in Alternative Rock was flowing from the stage as they played and I couldn’t believe I’d missed this band! Where was I, under a rock? The lead singer, Ritzy Bryan came out on stage in a lace pink dress and proceeded to rock with the best of them, whaling guitar and all. It was a sight to see. I’ve decided that I’m going to sample all their albums and decide if they are a new “favorite” of mine or if they are just incredible live. I hope both. That’s what these concerts are here for: to show you new and exciting things you wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. Thank you, The Joy Formidable, for rocking my ears off (and the ringing in my ears the next morning proves it)!

On top of the great music, Desperados sponsored the event offering concert goers a taste of their newest beer. That’s right, they gave each concert goer a free beer! I’ve talked about Desperados before but it’s worth mentioning it’s not what you expect from this beer. Being infused in Tequila barrels one would expect a harsher flavor but its sweet flavor is what is the most surprising. It’s seemed to be a hit. They also had several other offerings for the festival attendees with live artwork, live body painting, a circus side show full of sword and balloon swallowers, as well as several other daring acts you’d see in a carnival atmosphere. It was a good time.


SHAKY KNEES FESTIVAL 2014

Friday, May 9th to Sunday, May 11th at

Location: Atlantic Station

FOR MORE INFORMATION:http://shakykneesfestival.com/

By Liz Attaway, Eric Wallin, and John Attaway

In front of the Peachtree and Piedmont stage stood a large paved parking lot filled to the brim with a sea of ecstatic music fans enjoying their favorite bands. With several thousand of your fellow Atlantans, and some good music, once the cloud parted and the storm passed, Shaky Knees’ Saturday night in Atlanta was a rocking good time.

The large turnout for this year’s Shaky Knees Festival made it clear that Atlanta’s up-and-coming music festival had outgrown the humble beginnings of last year’s inaugural launch for the festival. Last year’s Shaky Knees Festival brought Atlanta’s music lovers to The Masquerade, a well-known music venue on Atlanta’s Beltline, which is in walking distance to many homes and Atlanta’s hottest new residential development, Ponce City Market. This year’s venue is not known for its musical legacy, but instead is one of Atlanta’s premier retail districts, sandwiched between a movie theater, a major department store, a parking garage and the Downtown Connector. Atlantic Station proved to be more than accommodating for the increased turnout of this year’s event. In exchange for the in-town neighborhood charm of Old Fourth Ward, Atlantic Station provided convenience, plenty of parking, and a paved special events area that saved concertgoers from the muddy mess of last year’s event. Rain came and went on Friday and Saturday with little incident.

As for the venue, the stages were set up in two areas of two stages each, the Piedmont / Peachtree stages in the back area of the venue, and the Ponce de Leon / Boulevard stages near the entrance. Other festivals often involve mass migrations of the crowds between stages, but these paired stages afforded little interruption between sets, as one act would be setting up on the stage next to the current act that was playing. It made for an enjoyable music experience! As afternoon turned to evening, Atlanta’s impressive downtown skyline lit the night sky with urban brilliance, painting a striking backdrop for a spectacular evening lineup, featuring Conor Oberst, Houndmouth, The Replacements, Jenny Lewis, with the evening being capped off by Modest Mouse. While we were only able to make it for Saturday’s performances, Friday and Sunday also featured top notch entertainers and fan favorites.  Friday fans got to hear The National, local Athens, Georgia favorites The Whigs, Dropkick Murphy, Cage the Elephant, Gaslight Anthem and many others.  Sunday fans got to hear Brooklyn’s San Fermin, music festival staples Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, music veterans the Violent Femmes with Alabama Shakes capping off the official end of the festival.

Of the acts on Saturday night, those that stuck out were Cold War Kids, Modest Mouse and of course The Replacements. Cold War Kids catchy radio tune, “Hang Me Out To Dry,” is one of those songs that gets stuck in your head. They’re one part indie rock with strong guitar and one part electronica, stir in some eighties influence and you’ve got Cold War Kids. Modest Mouse was the Saturday headliner with notable radio hits like “Float On” and “Dashboard.” The Singer Isaac Brock and his Modest Mouse crew have been around since 1993 and released their first album, This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About, in 1996. Considered indie rock now-a-days, their performance was one of the best of the night with an explosion of light and sound.

Finally, that brings us to The Replacements, that band you’ve heard a dozen of their songs from the 80’s and early 90’s but never knew their name. That being said, they’ve been around since 1979 and were big influencers on current music. Something I didn’t know about The Replacements, was the 1998 teen movie, Can’t Hardly Wait, was named for The Replacements song, “Can’t Hardly Wait” that plays in the movie’s credits. Thanks, wiki, for that awesome tidbit of interesting information. We had heard that The Replacements were one of the best shows around and boy did they impress at Shaky Knees. After 22 years apart, The Replacements roared back into the festival limelight with 2013’s Riot Festival. Not only that, but they picked up a guest appearance of late (and at Shaky Knees) by Billie Joe Armstrong, front man and guitarist of the popular group, Green Day. According to Wikipedia, he recalled seeing The Replacements live after the release of Pleased to Meet Me. “It was amazing. It changed my whole life. If it wasn’t for that, I might’ve spent my whole time playing in bad speed-metal bands.” So, are you telling us Green Day is Green Day because of The Replacements? Thank you, The Replacements, we salute you!

Aside from the music, food and refreshments were on tap, serving up cold Dos Equis beer (XX), cocktails and the new Desperados tequila-flavored beer. If you remember from our Counterpoint 2014 article, this was the beer we thoroughly enjoyed with the sweet tequila taste and smooth beer finish. Atlanta’s well-known food trucks and vendors also were present, including the well-known King of Pops, The Fry Guy food truck, the Atlanta Burger Truck, Buen Provecho, Bomb Squad Pizza, Nectar, The Pickle Food Truck and On Tapa The World. Thank you, Heineken and Desperados Beer, for the access to the festival, including VIP. We had a blast and can’t wait until next year!