Ripley Takes on Slingshot

Davis Ripley Keller for American Culture Reporter:

Have you been to Athens, GA on a cool spring Saturday night? Flowers have bloomed and trees sway in the wind as shadows dance on the sidewalk around you to music that seeps and spills from rooftops and doorways. The streets are palpably excited and drivers cuss and corner for parking spots through crosswalks crowded with youngsters and oldsters, hipsters and punks.

Slingshot Festival tonight with old friends and new: our crew assembled for espressos and Red Bull, serious fuel for an evening of bar bouncing and club crawling. Slingshot wristband grants us swift access to events all over these fifteen dense blocks of the Classic City’s downtown.

From the Max Canada to the Manhattan for beers and shots, we strolled up to the Georgia Theatre for The Gaslamp Killer (of San Diego), where a raging tech hippie in a storm of smoke and lasers blasted to a packed house, before the mysterious sex wizards Crystal Castles (of Toronto) inveigled the people with cold chaos chants and mercy bells.

As the smoke cleared, I discovered we were down at the 40 Watt Club where an outfit called Double Ferrari ear whipped the crowd like a three guitar well-paid escort. She beat you then she licked your open wounds.

Emerging from another flash of intense light on a cloud of silver smoke with a face full of nitrous as the room exploded with profound sound, the lights bent and ricocheted above our heads; I ducked and then thought, Did that happen? It kept happening. Heralded Athens band Maserati was shutting the long three-day festival down, playing faster and shinier than new money. They mashed the throttle until the tires smoked and the engine whined like a frilly supermodel at a truck stop.

This is year three for the Slingshot Festival, which features eclectic bands from all over the world, as well as digital art, tech and comedy. I’m pleased to see the expert work and pro planning that went into making this annual badass, local and yet international festival earn growing national acclaim.

*Editor’s note: Announcing American Culture Reporter as a brand by Han Vance (editor-in-chief), which will focus on various cultural aspects of our world through the colored lenses of America, featuring Vance + other writers and artists.

(Photo by: Clayton Brookshire)