When people talk about the beginnings of the music scene in Athens, GA the discussion usually begins “The B-52’s, R.E.M, ....” Those who know will continue the list, “Pylon.” They were every Athens band’s favorite Athens band. Their musical naïveté, southern upbringing, art school smarts, and house-party roots exploded together to create something quite improbably amazing, hitting the listener on mental, physical, and spiritual levels simultaneously. On the surface, their angular guitar parts and propulsive rhythm section had something in common with UK post-punk bands like Gang of Four and PiL. But Pylon was more fun and less studied. And they had a secret weapon in Vanessa Briscoe Hay, whose inimitable vocal textures and phrasing defined the band’s sound for most listeners.
Pylon’s celebrated history came to a sudden end with the death of iconic guitarist Randy Bewley in 2009. Pylon was and always will be Vanessa, Randy Bewley, Michael Lachowski, and Curtis Crowe. It is a certainty that the band will not reform with a new guitarist.
But hey, kids. Everything is still cool! Vanessa has gathered members of Athens bands Casper & the Cookies, The Glands, and talented pianist Damon Denton to create Pylon Reenactment Society to perform for special occasions like Art Rocks Athens events and for the recent release parties for “PYLON LIVE.” Two short tours are planned this year to the Northeast and out West.
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