Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Reviews from Elsewhere: Athens vs. Sparta, Adam Coronado in the San Antonio Current

Found at the San Antonio Current, on-line, January 12:

Live & Local Athens vs. Sparta in San Antonio (photo: Sara Maspero)

Athens v. Sparta at San Antone Café & Concerts (with video)

“Who wants violence? Raise your hands,” sang Kevin Higginbotham of Athens v. Sparta to a medium-sized crowd in San Antone Café. The song, “Mytilene Debate,” details a chapter in the Peloponnesian War, where the Athenian government voted to kill all the male citizens on the island of Lesbos. Bear in mind, only a portion of Lesbos’ citizens actually took part in a mutiny against Athens, but the vote ordered the death of all adult males and the enslavement of all women and children. A day after the government’s order, the Athenian citizenry came off the anger high and managed to prevent the massacre. Being a cautionary tale of political violence, it was no surprise that Higginbotham prefaced the tune by ceremoniously kneeling before his microphone, taking a pull from his Sierra Nevada and rising to say, “This next one is for Representative Giffords.” Suck on that, Zack Snyder.

The product of four years of research and composition, AVS is an edutainment band that puts the story of the Peloponnesian War to prog. Guitarist Charlie Roadman led his septet through an atmospheric rock odyssey (mostly) worthy of the war’s legacy. Nearly all of AVS wore black clothing and masks associated with classic Greek drama. Many songs were mid-tempo and mannered, emphasizing tone color, atmosphere, and dynamics over the nerd metal one would expect from the same source material as the movie 300. AVS are a macabre rock troop, underscored by Higginbotham’s hammy, boho dance steps and pseudo conductor gestures. He filled the shoes of a Greek Chorus, singing ably between narrator Ken Webster’s monologues. Webster, representing historian Thucydides, read with melancholic mysticism falling somewhere between Patrick Stewart and Clint Eastwood. The walls of San Antone Café responded well to AVS’s sprawling somber cinematic sound.

Read more at the San Antonio Current. . . .

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