By: Ian Maikisch
The first time I was introduced to the Athens, Georgia band Mothers, was in 2015 while browsing some of my favorite music blogs. The band immediately struck me at first listen. I was really into synth pop and minimalist music like Daughter, Soko, Day Wave and Hundred Waters so finding Mothers fit perfectly into my musical mood. So finding out that Friday Nov. 11 the band was playing only a 10 minute drive from my front door was very exciting to me.
After arriving at High Dive and having a pretty great Jameson and ginger, DONKNG took the stage. Setting up in front of the back line, the band began their set with a bang. I’ve been to a lot of shows where the opening act of the night plays to maybe five people, they get off, get paid and that’s the end of the story. That was not the case with DONKNG. From the first note the crowd was interested and started getting out of their seats and walking in from outside to fill the standing area at High Dive.
I’ve seen this band a few times now at their house show venue The Dumpster and was curious to how they would sound at a bigger venue on a professional sound system. They killed it! There was a level of adrenaline in the air during their set that the band seemed to ride like a wave. Camilo was singing and playing harder and with a real level of passion. Even to the point that half way through a new song composed about out new President Elect, Donald Trump, he blew out his amplifier. If that isn’t a message to how some people felt after this years election, I don’t know what is. Drummer Juan was playing so hard and animalistic that while talking to him after the set I noticed that his hands were bleeding and he was pouring sweat like a waterfall. His style is a perfect marriage of intricate rhythms and pure power! While the bassist, Matt, seems to focus on keeping an amount of impressive technical playing and bouncing enthusiasm. This might be one of the only shows that I’ve been to that the opener rocked to more people than the support band did.
Camilo Isaza of DONKNG delivers an emotional performance at High Dive.
A few minutes after DONKNG heroically sauntered off stage, another Gainesville local stepped up.
Just Neighbors command your attention when they are on stage and it’s not just because the lead singer towers over everyone. This band is a pretty cool combination of tamer math rock with heavy early mid-west emo. Bustin’ out so many crispy and bright noodle-ies that all fans of late 90s mid-west emo can find something to love. The musicians in this band have come close to mastering their sound and tone that the music fills in the gaps where would normally be present with band that doesn’t have many vocals. They had the people in the front of the crowd dancing and convulsing like I imagine it would like seeing instrumental jazz in its early stages. This was my first time catching them but I’m sure it wont be my last.
Jarrett Haines of Just Neighbors rips on his guitar for the crowd at High Dive.
Mothers’ lead singer, Kristine Leschper, started off the set with a solo performance. Just the way a set like this should start. An intimate exchange between artist and audience at a raw level. After she was done of course the rest of Mothers was greeted onto the stage with a cheer from the crowd. This band is just beautiful. The common theme found in Mothers music is simply calm. There were many times I found my self with my eyes closed taking in the hauntingly gorgeous music. At points in their set I was so taken into the music that I felt something that could only be compared to being stoned. The smooth and simple vocal melodies coupled with the synth like lead guitar and heart beat like rhythm section make for more of an experience than a show. Looking around it seemed like everyone seeing this band had some feeling of personal investment in the band. Everything from singing along to couples staring into each others eyes while the band took us all on an emotional journey.
After the show was over I walked back over to the bar ordered another drink and had to cool down from such an intensely serene performance.
Mothers soothing the crowd at High Dive last Friday.
Links and Credits:
All photos by: Eliza Goldstein