On Friday night, the air in Athens was still muggy from the storm a few hours prior, but masses of people still made their way downtown. Some locals made their way into the Georgia Theatre to see hometown indie-rockers Walden and its jazz-funk co-headliners LUTHI.
The night was filled with pastel-colored lights that consumed the room, a Georgia “G” flag that was thrown into the crowd and smooth saxophone solos still ringing in attendees ears. LUTHI even passed around free stickers during the event with a big red heart that read “I love LUTHI,” a play off of the ’50s TV show, “I Love Lucy.”
Every set from each performer including Atlanta-based opener, Dot.s, provided high energy which had concert-goers’ eyes glued to the stage. While attendees continued to trickle in throughout the opening act, Dot.s’ set off the night with an eclectic set of high notes and sporadic dance moves. Nashville-based band LUTHI was up next and controlled the stage with its six-piece outfit in the second performance of the night.
LUTHI’s consistent keyboard and drumbeat set the tone for each song, while each lyric seared through the melody smoothly like a butter knife. The group would introduce most of its songs, highlighting each of the track’s meanings to the crowd, from “getting out of a dark place,” to a track about “a relationship that you regret.”
In between its saxophone and trombone solos, the funk-based group had the crowd at Georgia Theatre under its spell with its catchy harmonies, motivating them to tap their toes to the beat.
The closer for the night was Athens-born band, Walden, whose performance involved rapidly changing tempos, Athens pride, crowd involvement and ethereal singing notes. The group walked out on stage to its cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” as an homage to the Saturday in Athens gameday tradition and had the Friday night crowd immediately scream-singing the lyrics.
The group maintained high energy through each track it performed on its setlist, by even jumping into the crowd a few times during the show. The emotion and excitement for the group’s return to Athens was expressed multiple times during the show by vocalist and guitarist, Richard Becker, who even threw a University of Georgia “G” flag into the crowd early on in Walden’s set.
The group performed its hits “Alive” and “Green Lights” which had the audience singing the lyrics back to the four-piece group. Each song the band played was met with head-bobbing and dancing, and when the group closed with its song “Fool’s Gold” the crowd got involved and sang the notes back to Becker. As the final song, Becker leaped into the crowd and sang the conclusion of the tune in the crowd with the audience and ending the concert for the night.