Spotlight • Slingshot to feature all-star, orchestrated concert of legendary Big Star’s Third album
The Willson Center and the Music Business Program of the Terry College of Business present a special Spotlight on the Arts installment of the Slingshot festival of music, electronic art, and technology. Spotlight • Slingshot is a free public concert on College Square in downtown Athens featuring five acclaimed local and national acts, many including UGA graduates and attendees.
Topping the bill will be an orchestrated performance of 1970s Memphis band Big Star’s legendary Third album, with an all-star band featuring original Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, Mike Mills of R.E.M., Chris Stamey of the dB’s, Mitch Easter of Let’s Active, Pat Sansone of Wilco, and Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of Big Star and The Posies. Special guests will include local artists T. Hardy Morris and Thayer Sarrano.
The group, augmented by a host of other musicians including a chamber orchestra and a varying cast of guest vocalists, performs the album – known both as Third and as Sister Lovers – in its entirety, as well as a selection of songs from the band’s other two albums and by original member Chris Bell. The concert, with original string, wind, and guitar parts transcribed from the album’s actual multitrack studio masters, has been performed around the world, including in London, Sydney, Chicago, Seattle, and New York’s Central Park. For the Athens performance, the orchestral section will include student musicians from the UGA Hugh Hodgson School of Music.
Local acts The Glands, New Madrid, Blacknerdninja, and Ruby the RabbitFoot will share the bill. The Glands, who released two acclaimed albums in 1997 and 2000, will be playing just their second show in Athens since headlining AthFest in 2012. Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers has called the band’s self-titled second album “my favorite album of this century and also my all-time favorite album ever to come out of Athens, Georgia.”
New Madrid won Flagpole magazine Athens Music Awards for Album of the Year in 2013 and 2014, for Yardboat and Sunswimmer. They were awarded Artist of the Year in 2013. Flagpole has praised indie hip-hop MC Blacknerdninja’s stage show as “dynamic and unforgettable.” Ruby the RabbitFoot’s latest album, New as Dew, has been lauded in the national music press, including in the pages of Creative Loafing Atlanta and on PopMatters.com, and lead singer/songwriter Ruby Kendrick recently appeared alongside Grammy Award-winning rapper Macklemore in a music video for the Seattle band Fences.
In addition to the Willson Center’s and the Music Business Program’s sponsorship, the event is also supported by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at UGA, the Athens Downtown Development Authority, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach.
Representatives from the local nonprofit organization Nuçi’s Space will be present at the event to offer information and accept donations for its fundraising campaign aimed at restoring St. Mary’s Steeple, all that remains of the church where R.E.M. played its first show on April 5, 1980. Nuçi’s Space is a resource center that helps provide obstacle-free mental and physical health care to Athens musicians. More information is available at www.nuci.org.
“The Spotlight on the Arts festival is an ideal occasion for collaboration between artistic communities in the university and in Athens,” said Nicholas Allen, Franklin Professor of English and director of the Willson Center. “The Spotlight • Slingshot concert brings together a tremendous slate of rising and established performers with important ties to the city and to UGA, at the historic gateway between town and campus. Our ability to present world-class artists with such strong local connections speaks to the creative vibrancy of the whole community.”
College Square is located on College Avenue between Broad and Clayton streets.
Ruby the Rabbitfoot 4 – 4:30
Blacknerdninja 4:45 – 5:15
New Madrid 5:30 – 6:15
The Glands 6:30 – 7:30
Big Star’s Third 8:00 – 10:00