Athens may be a small college town, but when it comes to bands, no matter what genre they claim to be, students and locals come together to give them their utmost support.
Sneakthief is a punk rock acoustic band consisting of lead singer and guitarist Daniel Palmer and drummer Joe Fradette. Adam Rich plays bass with them at live shows. Adam Rich was directly involved in producing Sneakthief’s first EP at 3 Elliott Studio in Athens.
Palmer said the band is always working on new music, but some songs take more time to engineer than others.
“I just kind of see where a song is supposed to go, and if it doesn’t hit it, then it doesn’t hit it,” Palmer said. “I can kind of shut it down until it’s ready.”
Palmer said the band has been working on one song for about a year now, and it is the only song they have been particularly picky about.
“When we finally get it to a place we’re happy with, it just kind of dies for me,” Palmer said.
Sneakthief has two shows later in September, and Palmer has one acoustic solo show. The band has a show on Sept.10 at Red Brick Tavern, 14 N. Court St., and a house show Sept. 28. Palmer is performing solo at Donkey Coffee and Espresso, 17 W. Washington St., on Sept.13.
“It’s going to be fun, I’ve been itching to play solo for a long time,” Palmer said. “I feel like it’s a good way to figure out which part of new songs work out and which ones don’t, because you don’t want to come to the band with this kind of finished song.”
Sneakthief recently had a Radio A session in the studio with WOUB Public Media and played a few songs.
Sneakthief finished filming and is currently editing a music video to its song “Fallacy” that was released this past April. Philip Hickey, a member of the band Boy Jorts, is helping edit the video.
“I feel like this town has two sides of bands,” Palmer said. “The bands that take themselves too seriously and the bands that just don’t, and I feel like we’re on the half that doesn’t. We’re a serious band, but we do more than just play our music live. We have fun.”
Hickey, lead “boy” in Boy Jorts, would agree.
“Some artists would benefit from not taking themselves too seriously,” Hickey said. “Like, I sing about Bernie Sanders being my dad and boys made of butter.”
Boy Jorts has been a six-year project for Hickey, though the recent member lineup debuted last spring at Red Brick Tavern.
Boy Jorts is a fun, lively band with a distinctive sound. Hickey described the band’s music as “nonsense.”
“It’s sort of like punk rock, if everything we said was just goofy nonsense,” he said. “I’d say it’s like nerd punk from the 80s — the Dead Milkmen, Violent Femmes, Mountain Goats — stuff like that.”
Boy Jorts shares a member with another local group, The Wastemen. Boy Jorts’ drummer, Billy Buehl, is The Wastemen’s lead singer. Athens has a great music scene, Hickey said.
“It’s good,” he said. “There’s a community of people here who like and appreciate art and support each other.”
Boy Jorts also recently toured with another local act, Sweat Workers.
Boy Jorts occasionally plays at house shows, as Hickey said, their music does fit the scene, but he also enjoys performing for audiences at music venues.
“We play the most at The Union, which I’d say is the best venue in Athens,” Hickey said. “People are always rad, and there’s cheap drinks.”
Boy Jorts recently played a house show with the band Velvet Green.
Velvet Green prides itself in the youth of its band, and in the fact that six people are part of it. None of the members are above the age of 19. The youngest is 17 and attends Athens High School.
Velvet Green consists of lead vocalist Cora Fitch, drummer Shea Benezra, guitarist Harper Reese, bassist Mitch Spring, guitarist Sam Debatin and keyboard player Liam McSteen. All members except for Fitch are students at Ohio University. The only member who is not native to Athens is Benezra, who is from Brooklyn, New York.
Although most bands in Athens share some sort of rock sentiment, Velvet Green said it used to call its genre “junk funk.”
“We have a lot of genres,” Fitch said. “I feel like it kind of varies depending on the song.”
Velvet Green has not officially released any recorded music, but it has many live performances of the songs they have written under its belt.
“We all write our music together,” Reese said. “We’re very collaborative.”
From rock to funk, Athens has a dense exposure of raw, local music.