Elijah Johnston

Elijah Johnston performs at the Georgia Theatre on the first night of AthFest. The 23rd annual AthFest Music and Arts Festival kicked off on Friday, June 21 in Athens, Georgia. The festival has several outdoor stages and artists range from hip hop to country music. (Photo/Daniela Rico)

Elijah Johnston spent a large portion of his Club Crawl performance playing new songs from the album he is currently recording. And it was a good thing he did.

The crowd seemed to love Johnston’s performance, applauding after every song he played. The intimate space that the Georgia Theatre Bridge Stage provided allowed for a house show feel to the act.

Johnston’s folk-rock sound took a dip towards the blues in some of his songs, as the beat slowed and chord progressions were spotlighted as the backbone of the melody.

The tone matched the themes of his songs, one of which was written about the diverging paths of two people who once cared about each other.

Johnston introduced himself halfway through the show and told the audience how glad he was to be there performing.

“I didn’t know this was a thing a year ago because I was a wee little lad,” Johnston joked, “But here we are.”

Johnston played another new song towards the end of his show called “Dying Star.” It started off slow with only Johnston and his guitar then gradually built to the full band, died back down and built up again before ending just how it started.

The theme carried on throughout the night as Johnston utilized builds, pauses and harmonies to keep the audience hooked.

“The night is still young, there is so much more good music after us,” Johnston said before playing his last song. “Thanks for being nice.”

Johnston concluded his final jam by calling out each of his band members by name, each of whom performed a small solo while the crowd cheered them on.

The singer-songwriter flashed a “rock on” sign to the crowd and said, “Goodbye,” as the lights faded away to conclude the show.

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