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The A3C Festival and Conference

By Deja Kehinde

From October 4-9, Atlanta was invaded by thousands of artists and music fans alike for the A3C Festival and Conference. The event was hosted in Atlanta’s historic Old 4th Ward, surrounded by streets and buildings named after the city’s most prominent Civil Rights leaders.

Appropriately enough, it was surely a historic weekend as festival curators hosted the likes of Rick Ross, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Master P, Too $hort, Sonny Digital, and the list goes on. I had the pleasure of working under A3C’s media team, so I caught a little bit of everything from panels featuring top music executives and photographers like Jonathan Mannion, who did Jay Z’s “Reasonable Doubt” cover to showcase for indie acts such as Rob $tone, E Chapo and KSU’s own Jaye Newton.

The indies definitely put on a show!

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Concert Review: Dear Hunter, Eisley and Gavin Castleton at the Terminal West

By Scotticus

October 9 was an awaited day as Rhode Island progressive rockers, The Dear Hunter, returned to Atlanta. Originally starting as a side project, frontman Casey Crescenzo was hesitant to release his solo work thinking that no one would be into it. But his friends urged him to put it out there, and now Crescenzo is on tour for the band’s seventh album (if you count the nine EPs released as “The Color Spectrum” as one). This tour they appeared at the one and only Terminal West for a fantastic and powerful show coupled with Texas-based indie band Eisley and solo artist Gavin Castleton. The Dear Hunter’s latest (and final?) “Act V” is out now. My favorite track is “Gloria,” and if you’re interested in music with a compelling story line, I would suggest starting from “Act I.” But of course, do not give colors expressed in music a miss.

Unfortunately I arrived to the show late and missed the performance of Castleton, but I purchased one of his numerous albums as my way of compensation. It was a very diverse album, with a pop-like focus, but clearly inspired by many other sounds. His album collection is extensive so I’m sure when one dives in, it will only become more varied and peculiar. From what the album I chose played to me, he caters to music lovers of all kinds, so respect.

After a few minutes of waiting and running into my circle of concert friends, Eisley took the stage. They came out speaking softly and moving through simple, yet well-crafted songs. The two singers took the majority of the focus with beautiful harmonies and the trading of vocal lines. There was not a clear first vocalist, which was nice. As I watched them sing, I wondered if they were sisters as their voices were very similar and on a recording I would have suspected the same vocalist. It turns out that most of the band is a group of siblings. They currently have six members and use that to their advantage; their sound is full and tight, having started back in 1997. They have released four studio albums and numerous EPs. I purchased their third album, “The Valley,” and have been enjoying their soothing melodies ever since.

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Concert Review: Chance the Rapper

By Trévaris Hardy

Saturday night, the Fox Theatre witnessed the most colorful and exuberant concert from one of the most pious and entertaining up-and-coming artists: Chance the Rapper.

The show opened with selections from Francis and the Lights, a solo act known for contributing the opening chorus on “Summer Friends” and the track from “Coloring Book,” Chance’s latest album. After the first act, the stage curtains opened to reveal Chance who’s accompanied by life-sized puppets that appear in between songs with dialogue as a part of the story line being told throughout the show.

The first of these is Carlos the Lion, a character that serves as a mentor to Chance, telling him “don’t forget the message!” During “Same Drugs,” a song that’s ironically not about drugs, Chance serenades the audience with a piano melody accompanied by Lady, another puppet, who sings the female vocals of the song–but Chance’s performance doesn’t stop at the Sesame Street-esque puppet shows. The 2014 XXL Freshman shook the foundation of the Fox with crowd favorites like “Favorite Song” and “Ultralight Beam,” spraying fans with confetti and fog cannons (Can’t have a show without fog cannons!). The rapper concluded his set with “Blessings,” a down-tempo, religious song that was appropriate for a concert that can only be described in one word: Magnificent.

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Music Midtown

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By Trévaris Hardy

This past weekend, the ATL became home to the biggest names in music from pop sensations DNCE to modern legend Beck to allegedly retired hip-hop icon Lil’ Wayne. These artists and more were part of the city’s most lit weekend to ever hit the streets: this year’s Music Midtown!

On September 17 in Piedmont Park, a beautiful attraction for local families and tourists alike flourished with great music and inebriated fans—the perfect formula for a musical festival. The beginning of the festival introduced an upcoming singer who’s often known for her cover of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” Zella Day, who delivered a hypnotic performance on the Electric Ballroom stage that kept the crowd entranced. Later in the afternoon on the same stage, DNCE, the band spawned from the former Jonas Brother, Joe Jonas, doused the crowd with their white hot foam to their not yet released single, “Naked.” Yep. It’s called “Naked.” Starting immediately after on the adjacent Honda stage, Logic got the crowd turned up and prefaced his set proclaiming that “I stand for one thing, and one thing only: peace, love, and happiness.” The night winded down with Beck on the Roxy stage rocking out to hits like “Loser” whilst on the Honda stage, the Lil’ Wayne and 2 Chainz collective, Collegrove, gave Atlanta a taste of their self-titled album earlier this year. The night ended with Twenty One Pilots, who closed out their set saying “if [Atlanta] will have us, we would love to be your festival band.” Definitely foreshadowing an appearance at the 2017 Music Midtown.

Day two opened with Daya on the Roxy stage, an artist renowned for her vocals on the Chainsmokers’ track, “Don’t let me down.” The same stage was later turned into a dollhouse (literally) when a large building block was rolled out to reveal Melanie Martinez. Martinez and her crew dressed up and disguised the stage to coincide with the toddler theme of her latest album, “Cry Baby.” After a short rain intermission, everyone gathered around GROUPLOVE and got tongue tied when they played songs from their album only released a week earlier, “Big Mess.” That night also saw the likes of indie band The Lumineers on the Electric Ballroom stage as thousands of voices amidst the chaotic waves of fans chanted along to their hit, “Ophelia.” Hungry for more, fans quickly moved to the Honda stage for Alabama Shakes, a band with one of the most impressive lead vocalists, Brittany Howard. Howard’s vocals mixed the band’s melodic instrumentals and shook the stage as they performed the fan favorite, “Sound and Color.” The festival ended with sets from both EDM artist, Deadmau5, and Las Vegas rock band The Killers on two separate stages to conclude the epic festival.

Music Midtown brought an eclectic mix of artists and a certain liveliness to Atlanta that’s never been seen before. Hopefully the 2017 Music Midtown will be just as lit! For more festival news and chances to win tickets, stay tuned to ksuradio.com.

All photos courtesy of Perry Julien, Chris McKay, Naomi Smith and CatMax Photography.

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The Shaky Beats Music Festival

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By Tre Hardy

For years Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta has been home to Shaky Knees, a festival composed of the biggest names in the indie scene like My Morning Jacket and Florence + the Machine. This year, the festival decided to change it up and give Atlanta the music festival it deserves: the Shaky Beats festival. The event features well-known artists, just like the Shaky Knees festival, but with a twist catered to the electronic and hip-hop fans.

The first day of Shaky Beats started off with Small Black, an indie band that prides themselves in their unique, distorted sound on the Piedmont Stage. Immediately following on the Peachtree Stage was Jai Wolf, an electronic artist known for his remixes of radio hits like Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me” and Odesza’s “Say My Name.” Back on the Piedmont Stage, AlunaGeorge delivered a performance with her own sexy choreography which was only made sexier by the downpour of rain on stage. To close out the night on the Peachtree Stage, Major Lazer played the most entertaining concert I have ever seen. The way Major Lazer got the crowd pumped was phenomenal. Between the amazing pyrotechnics display, chart topping songs like “ Lean On” and “Light It Up,” the Caribbean back-up dancers, and the tons of fog, it’s safe to say that Day One of Shaky Beats was memorable.

With the amount of great music and excitement from Day One, it’s hard to believe that it would be possible to follow that up, but ATL knows how to party. One of the first acts of the day was “!!!” (Pronounced Chk Chk Chk), a band I had never heard of before but I liked their groovy, block party sound. Following their set was Tory Lanez. The “Say it” singer/rapper didn’t do much singing or rapping but rather played a recording of his songs while he walked on the hands of the audience and preceded to climb atop a lamp post and finish out his performance. Definitely the most “WTF” performance I’ve ever seen. Following Lanez was Marshmello, a deadmau5-esque DJ. Midway through Mello’s set, he brought out a special guest who wasn’t even on the line-up: Atlanta local and self-proclaimed turn-up god, Waka Flocka Flame, who went hard in the paint for his home town. Even though Waka’s appearance was unexpected, it’s not surprising considering that he’s been working in the EDM scene as of late.  To close out the night was Seattle electronic duo, ODESZA. Their music is known for its upbeat percussion, so to complement that, they brought out a drum line to play alongside them on stage to end the second night.

Although Shaky Beats is mostly electronic music, the festival also managed to bring out some of the biggest names in hip-hop. Day Three introduced Harlem native and rising rap star, A$AP Ferg, who was “not [there] to perform,” but rather “to party with the people of Atlanta.” Ferg brought the crowd to life with his new single, “New Level,” and later closed with “Work REMIX” before getting the crowd to chant “rest in peace A$AP Yams,” in memory of the creator of A$AP Mob, who recently passed away last year. After Ferg was another New York native: Hip-hop legend Nas. From start to finish, Nas put on an unforgettable show performing hip-hop classics like “N.Y. State of Mind” and “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That).” Nas also screened the film, “Belly,” which he starred in, and gave the millennials of the festival a lesson on cassette tapes. Before getting off stage, Nas left the audience with some inspiring words: “Don’t ever look up to nobody [sic],” exclaimed the early 90s rapper. “You’re your own role model!” To close out the final day was headliner and electronic/drums/saxophone duo, Big Gigantic (BG). Not only did BG give Shaky Beats the sign off it deserved, but they also brought out another Atlanta local, Big Boi, who performed “The Way You Move” one time before letting BG finish out their set alongside Carnage who also performed that day at the festival.

Now with the first ever Shaky Beats in the books, all I can think about is when next year’s festival will be and how many other surprise Atlanta rappers will show up (Andre 3K, maybe?). For more festival coverage and chances to win tickets, stay tuned to KSU Owl Radio, Georgia’s #1 online college radio station.

All photos are by aLIVE Coverage.