No. 49: Extra Golden at the Caledonia Lounge, June 2008
I made a “game time” decision to attend this show (I’m pretty sure a lady was involved), and I’m so glad I did. Athens can be a tough town to play, particularly on a Wednesday in the summertime. We tend to “breed our own stock here,” we’re a rock/pop town, and our townies (no offense, folks) are notoriously cheap. I expected this Kenyan/American benga band to be playing to ten people. I turned the corner into the club, and wow! A great crowd! Math rockers and indie poppers alike! And they were dancing. It was hard not to! The band was just killing it up there, all tumbling guitar lines, liquid drums, and sing-alongs.
Though benga itself is a bit of a pastiche, I doubt that many in the audience had much of a frame of reference for what they were hearing. That’s a testament to the effortless stage presence of the Extra Golden fellas and the veritable Good Vibe Factory they created that night. They could have played for an extra two hours if need be, and nobody would have complained. I saw this unlikely multi-culti outfit perform a similar feat at the Pitchfork Music Festival a month later (right after seeing faux-Afro-poppers Vampire Weekend!), but that night at the Caledonia was the real jam.