The Masquerade hosted The Wrecking Ball Atlanta for its inaugural weekend on August 8th and 9th. With 54 groups performing across four stages for two straight days, the festival was abuzz with good music and good vibes. While a few more popular bands like Coheed and Cambria and Descendents (for their first show in Atlanta in over 18 years) were featured, the presence of many lesser known groups allowed attendees to discover great new music in an exciting live show experience. I’d never heard of any of the groups I saw over the weekend, but I left a new fan of many. Here are my top five bands from Wrecking Ball.
The first thing I heard about this band was “all girls,” and I was immediately excited. They were clearly not used to performing, but the band more than made up for it in enthusiasm. Their excitement rubbed off on the crowd. Their punk-driven indie tunes were infectious and I found myself dancing around as if I were a longtime fan.
4. OLD GRAY
Coming in as a pretty unknown group, Old Gray profited off of the festival’s many wanderers. Their heavy punk-rock also incorporated screaming vocals and spoken word poetry, an eclectic mix that captured the attention and favor of many.
These two women turn seemingly innocuous instrumentals and vocal runs into a loud, in-your-face expression of their emotions that listeners can’t ignore. Their floaty lyrics, harmonies, and lack of a drummer may initially put them in the indie genre, but driving guitar and bass and resent-riddled lyrics show that they have their roots deeply set in punk.
2. BIG JESUS
The biggest thing I took from this band is SHREDDING. Far more emphasis was put on instrumentals than vocals, and for much of the show, I almost forgot that there was a vocalist. With two guitarists, the singer doubling as bassist, and typical unabashed punk drumming, the lyrics were mostly drowned out. With the almost show-offy riffs of the lead guitarist, they were reminiscent of post-hardcore legends My Chemical Romance. When I looked around the crowd, people of all ages were enjoying themselves and feeling the music.
A local favorite, this group came in with a small, but steadily growing fanbase. Heavy punk instrumentals, brazen lyrics, and some screaming vocals had moshers going from early in their set. The whole crowd was hyped up, and even those who came in just to get out of the heat were getting into the show. This band drew everyone around them into the haze of its enjoyable set.