The Local Scene
with Kitty Snyder, Johnny Hyde, Peter Searcy, Ultrababyfat, Myssouri, Brand New Immortals, Lotustarr
Roi J. Tamkin
“We don’t know what we’re doing, but we’re glad that we’re here.”
The quote above from one local performer could sum up the attitude of any of the local bands that participated in this year’s Music Midtown festival. With 130 groups from across the US, Canada, the UK, and even Nigeria, the bulk of the acts came from right here in Georgia. With all these bands familiar with playing Atlanta’s tiny stages in nightclubs, it was good to see them play on a large, open stage with professional lighting and sound.
Saturday afternoon started on the Z93 stage with Kitty Snyder from Athens. Kitty left her old Athens band to tour solo as an acoustic singer/songwriter. She hooked with David Lowery, toured with Cracker, and put out a CD. She’s been promoting the CD for a year, backed up with a minimalistic band. Her boyfriend Justin plays electric guitar and Brandon sits in on drums. But it’s Kitty’s mournful voice that is the most prominent instrument, and it goes straight to your heart when you hear her sing. She played “How I Know” from an earlier tape release, and followed up with new songs from her CD. When her acoustic guitar broke a string, she switched to Justin’s Gibson SG and performed solo, singing emotional songs such as “Spit,” where the sincerity of her lyrics comes across in her face and in her eyes. She did a cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Want You” and closed with “Angel” to a crowd that grew with each song.
Across the way on 99X’s main stage was Johnny Hyde. This was the third Music Midtown festival for this glam rock quintet. Although a lot of the kiddies in the audience probably never heard of Johnny Hyde or the bands that influenced them, they got into the high-energy music. At one point, a little mosh pit even formed. Don’t these young boys know you don’t mosh to this type of rock-n-roll? Frontman Johnny strutted across the stage striking poses in between violent slashes of his white Stratocaster. The band played songs from their first CD and kicked beach balls back to an audience way too young to see the band play live at Smith’s Olde Bar.
Another act promoting a new release is Peter Searcy, also on the 99X main stage. Peter and his band are on a national tour and have gotten some radio play on 99X. I’ve obviously been living under a rock, because I saw teenage girls mouthing the lyrics to his songs, and another girl screamed “Pete, I love you!” Well, all right then. Peter’s set consisted of a good mix of uptempo and slow songs. If there’s any justice, 99X will continue to support this band, as well as other local bands long after Music Midtown memories have faded.
Overall, the festival was a great opportunity for local acts such as Ultrababyfat, Myssouri, Brand New Immortals, and Lotustarr to play before a broad audience. After playing their set, some acts signed autographs as the Wherehouse music booth. Hopefully, Music Midtown will continue to make local bands, signed and unsigned a large part of future festivals.