Athens-based southern rock band AFTM, or A Few Too Many, is no stranger to the music scene that helps shape the town. Originally formed with three band members and eventually expanding to six, the band has made its rounds in the Classic City. Although AFTM started out by playing fraternity parties and bar shows, its members are ready to headline the Georgia Theatre.
AFTM performs at the Georgia Theatre on Tuesday, Aug. 14, with Xanny P and Live Oak playing first. The show starts at 9 p.m. and doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are available on the Georgia Theatre’s website.
Forrest Whitlark, John MacLane and Will MacLane have played music together since they were all around 12 years old. When the three ended up at the University of Georgia together, they knew they wanted to keep doing what they loved. As the years went on, guitarist Kelly Bouchillon, keyboardist John Cherry and drummer Cam Corsino joined the lineup.
“It’s like we’ve all been playing forever with each other,” vocalist and guitarist Whitlark said. “It’s pretty cool.”
AFTM started out by playing covers at frat parties and in bars around town, but the band is ready to expand its horizons and produce more original music. In April, the band played on the rooftop of the Georgia Theatre after headlining band Walden played the main stage.
“We started working on original [songs] this past spring, so we had a couple out at that time,” Whitlark said.
After its show on the rooftop, the Georgia Theatre contacted AFTM’s management, apparently eager to set up a date when the band could play a headlining show at the venue.
“After we played that show they were like, ‘We definitely want to have y’all back for the main stage,’” Whitlark said.
This kind of break doesn’t come around too often, especially for bands navigating the small-town music circuit. AFTM recognizes this and sees it as a step toward growing its fan base and playing its music for a larger number of people.
“That was kind of our main goal — to try to elevate ourselves from the bar scene and try to work on getting bigger gigs on the west side of Lumpkin,” Bouchillon said. “I feel like we started to really accomplish that.”
This summer was incredibly productive for the band, letting all of the members get together and create new, authentic songs. Though AFTM already has three singles listed on Spotify, the band plans on releasing a brand-new full-length album by this winter.
“I’m excited for these new tunes that we’ve got to show everyone,” Corsino said. “I’d like to say they’re as original as it gets. [All the band members] have different influences and these new tunes — everyone got their take in [them], you know?”
In fact, some of the band’s new material will make its debut at the band’s show on Tuesday night.
“There’s a lot of new stuff that people haven’t heard unless they saw us play some this summer, and a couple of songs that nobody’s heard yet,” Whitlark said.
In addition to this, Corsino joined the band at the end of the spring semester after meeting Bouchillon through UGA’s music business program. Though he’s a relatively new addition, Corsino has already grown comfortable in his role and is excited to show people what AFTM can bring to the stage.
“It’s a real honor to be able to play with these guys,” Corsino said. “For anyone that’s coming to the [Georgia Theatre], they’re going to get to experience some seriously original music. It’s going to be a great time — it’s going to be an awesome opening to the semester.”
Through all that AFTM has been through so far, the members credit their fans for helping them get to where the band is today.
“I just think it’s really cool that the reason we’ve been able to keep getting these gigs [is because] the people who saw us at those bar shows continue to follow us around and show up,” guitarist Will MacLane said. “We’re really lucky to have really good fans.”
According to the AFTM members, the interaction with the people in the crowd is sometimes the most important part of their show.
“I think the biggest thing about our band is that no matter what, no matter where we play, every time we come onstage, we’re all immediately good friends with all of our crowd,” Cherry said.
If the show on Tuesday is any indication, the fans aren’t the only ones who think that AFTM has a promising future — but the growth in venue size doesn’t change the band members’ minds about who they’re playing for.
“The fans are a part of the band just as much as everyone in the band,” Whitlark said. “I really think that this something that we’ve taken to heart and will continue to.”