Words and photos by Sarah Vasquez.
Stubb’s Bar-B-Q’s outdoor amphitheater is notorious for insanely humid, sweaty summer concerts, so I was relieved when I found out the Athlete and Carney show would take place on the inside stage. But it turns out it wasn’t all that refreshing inside either, so I was sweating anyway. While the two bands were enjoyable, it would have been a better experience if I wasn’t constantly wiping sweat off me and desperately wanting some AC.
Opening act Carney (photo below) more than just warmed up the audience with it’s ’60s-inspired blues-rock. Singer Reeve Carney and his brother guitarist Zane took turns letting each other shine. Doesn’t mean bassist Aiden Moore and drummer Jon Epcar are only there to fill the beat, though. They were also provided their time as the Carney brothers took a step back and let them have their own flashy parts. The guys performed big-top-inspired songs as a play on words from the Carneys’ last name.
Their spot-on cover of The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” fit perfectly with the style the band already defined for themselves. The combination of Reeve’s enticing voice and Zane’s delivery of the alluring prominent guitar licks made the room feel hotter just with the sultry song.
However, for the final song of the set “Testify,” the guys dragged it’s seven-minute length with additional long-winded guitar solos. While the band is really talented, after awhile I started to lose interest because of the stuffy heat. I just wanted the song to be over so I could get a break to cool down from all the bodies surrounding me. But all in all, Carney was a welcomed change from the same old music that’s currently out there.
Man, people love them some Athlete. These London-based veterans have been delivering infectious indie tunes for a decade. To be honest, the music isn’t structurally something you haven’t heard before, but with singer Joel Pott’s charisma and the band’s live energy, they know how to entertain a crowd and sometimes a good time is all you need. The venue was packed, but the heat didn’t slow down any fans from dancing and wrapping their arms around each other as they loudly sang along to their favorite Athlete songs.
Pott charmingly interacted with the audience with the typical hand-clapping and sing-along instructions. However, whenever overeager fans would yell out song recommendations or scream in just overall excitement, Pott would collectedly enlighten and soothe them, which made it forgivable when he proclaimed that Austin could only be named as one of two of his favorite towns to perform in (Portland being the other one).
With the amount of material in their expansive catalog, the show ran long. I didn’t even realize how late it was when the show was over. Athlete performed enough songs to fill up two band’s sets, yet the audience still wanted more. And honestly, I don’t blame them. That was a fun show.
Athlete and Carney performed at Stubb’s in Austin on June 25, 2010.