photos by Chad Syme
review by Eric Mahollitz
The Whigs is a trio of musicians from Athens’ steadily growing music scene. Parker Gispert (guitar, vocals, keys), Julian Dorio (drums) and Tim Deaux (bass) created a lot of buzz following the self-release of their 2005 album, Give ‘Em All a Big Fat Lip — being billed as the top unsigned band in America. Shortly thereafter, the band was signed to Dave Matthews’ ATO Records, home to My Morning Jacket and Rodrigo Y Gabriela, to name a few. Their ATO debut, 2008s Mission Control, is a rock ‘n’ roll tour de force. On the Rob Schnapf-produced (Beck, Elliott Smith) record the band takes listeners on a sonic journey through all of rock history, most prominently 90s garage- and alt-rock but reaching all the way back to the genre’s roots. They’ve mastered the art of insanely catchy guitar riffs, Dorio’s drumming is the quickest way to master your heart patterns and Gispert’s vocals are indescribably timeless. Fans of other timeless bands like The Replacements and The Pixies take note — The Whigs perform the Rockstar Stage @6PM.
Their highly entertaining soundcheck over, Dorio and Deaux brought out their cameras to take pictures of the crowd. You know you’re in for something good when the band is that excited to be there. Opening with the title track off of Mission Control, the trio immediately brought to life the wall-of-sound KEXP listeners have grown to love from the album. Gispert jumped around the stage uncontrollably, his hair covering his eyes. For their second track,
Like a Vibration, the audience got its first glimpse of Dorio’s manhandling of the drum kit. Cheers echoed through the audience as Dorio played the opening drum line to
Right Hand On My Heart. The live rendition gave new meaning to the radio hit, showing the heart and hunger that drives the young band. Gispert and Deaux gathered around their amps for some added distortion as Dorio beat the S*#t out of his drums. The only casualty of that giant performance was Deaux’s bass strap. Another anthemic album standout,
Already Young, followed, Gispert now sweating through his shirt and the whole band playing with more ferocity. The announcement that they would play one more was answered with resounding applause and
Need You was promptly delivered. Their chemistry and stage presence has to be seen to be believed. Catch them when they take their show outdoors, playing the Rockstar Stage @ 6PM.