The Union Bar & Grill is kicking off the academic year with a few folk beats and a huge grin.
William Matheny, Adam Remnant and Gaptooth Grin will be performing at the Union on Thursday. The show unfolds at 9 p.m., and the Union will be charging $5 to groove to the music.
Rourke Papania, the lead face behind the Gaptooth Grin, will be opening the show with tracks from his album “Golden.” Papania said he recently collaborated with the Yellow Springs-based band Speaking Suns, who will be playing with him at the venue.
“We'll be playing a few songs from 'Golden,' a couple full band versions of songs I recently put out on an acoustic (extended play),” Papania, an OU 2016 alumnus, said. “Plus several new songs that have yet to be recorded.”
Papania, who has played at the Union several times, said he is excited to play with Remnant and Matheny.
“I have a huge respect for Adam Remnant and I'm so glad to have been asked to play this show,” Papania said. “I've never played a show with William Matheny, but I've heard his album, and I'm really excited to see what he brings.”
Gaptooth Grin will be followed by Remnant, who is an Athens-based artist. He describes his music as folk rock. Being an Athens resident, Remnant said he is particularly ecstatic about playing for the locals.
“I have lived here — it’s often a little surreal to play music for a crowd of people that I know personally,” Remnant said. “You were in class with somebody or a co-worker or a neighbor. So, it’s a bit strange to then go up on stage and sing in front of all these people that you know.”
The band Strange Constellations will be collaborating with Matheny to close the night. Matheny said he and the band will be performing songs from their album, which is named after the band. Matheny, who is out on a 3 1/2 week music tour, praised Athens for being one of the most musically sound towns.
“It has been a little while since I have played there, but it’s a great town of music listeners,” Matheny said. “A lot of people there really know their stuff and they are very enthusiastic as well.”
Matheny said he and Remnant previously played together in the band Southeast Engine and had previously performed in the Union together. Reminiscing the old times, Matheny expressed his excitement toward collaborating with Remnant again.
“I am most excited about seeing my friend, Adam Remnant,” Matheny said. “We were in a band for a long time so (I) can’t wait to see him, it’s always a great hang.”
Papania said the music scene in town is indebted to venues like the Union that gives a platform to the artists and quality performances for the residents to enjoy.
“Athens is sort of in the middle of nowhere and might not otherwise get all these amazing acts,” he said. “It's really inspiring for musicians coming up here. It's the foundation of a rich and diverse musical culture and it's just great that you can go out and see a fantastic show at least once a week.”