I stood in the WUOG Lobby and watched as unknown faces poured in to begin assembling a musical platform in the small lobby. A colorful drumset adorned with paintings of clouds and rainbows sat next to a six foot bass amp with the word ‘Megoliath’ etched on its speaker grill. There were many smaller amps, each for a different instrument including a mandolin, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, Korg mini-keyboard, and a violin.
This was the set of the aptly named Super Cluster. Athen’s premier experimental folk rock super group. Vocalist and keyboardist Vanessa Hay, of Pylon, and drummer Hannah Jones of The New Sound of Numbers are chief creative minds behind the group, but the bands sound is truly a collaborative effort.
Of particular interest was bass player Kay Stanton who from behind the bands mountain of cacophonous sound, held down a menacing beat whilst interjecting bits of distortion and style into her sound. Her exhilarating performance lended a needed visual presence to the aural focused band. In a brief interview after the performance she cited the Riot Girls, Flaming Lips, and Simon & Garfunkle as influences.
The band played a total of nine songs all of which were quite short in length. They displayed a lot of variety in their set. The first song, “Sunflower Clock (short version),” showcased a Middle Eastern sound replete with a chiming tambourine holding a steady beat whilst the bass riffed over and the other instruments generally laid back to create a spacious but moving vibe. Another set highlight was “Night I Died,” the fourth song in their set. Its psychedelic atmosphere was set off by spacey synth lines and long violin chords. A steady staccato rhythm from the mandolin, drums, and bass pushed the song along for its duration.
Super Cluster is everything that is great about the Athens music scene. These are musicians who have been in Athens since the so-called “Glory Days” and have evolved to remain current with the times. Before beginning their set, the band conversed amongst themselves about how great it was to be playing music and you could tell through their performance that they really just enjoyed playing together. This is a group of musicians whom I can respect. Whether they are ever to have success individually or together outside of Athens seems irrelevant. What matters is that they are fulfilling their musical desires and are continuing to evolve their musical identity.
Sunflower Clock (short version)
Night I Died
Too Many 8’s (short version)
Peace Disco Song
Neat In Sheet (Side Effects cover)