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It's getting down to the last month before summer. Have you missed out on any good shows this year? Do you want to see three bands, each the caliber of a headliner for the show, all together at one time?
Of course you do, because if there were ever an Athens heavy-hitter show, this would be it. It would be a disservice to all parties involved to call the The Ridges, Indigo Wild and Maza Blaska show at Casa just another energetic folk-rock night--all of their shows are living, breathing experiences that depend on spontaneous energy rather than rote recital.
No one is as acutely aware of this as Victor Rasgaitis is. He is the Ridges' resident guitarist, harmonica player, vocalist and dancing wild man. In fact, live shows are such a vital part of the band's existence that he finds it difficult to record albums.
"Honestly, I think [the experience] is just as important as an instrument to the live show," he said. "The energy in the room, the people in the room, the sound of people."
At their core, The Ridges consist of Rasgaitis, cellist Talor Smith and percussionist Johnny Barton. It's unconventional instrumentation to be sure, but Rasgaitis describes their first meeting together as one of serendipity instead of confusion.
"Once we had three, we were like 'Oh, we're a band! Here we go! A cello, guitar, and drums, and we're one thing! It'll be great!' And we've just had all these other great musicians to come join us. It's been a really cool experience every time we've played," said Rasgaitis.
Those other great musicians Rasgaitis mentions are the extra players that regularly augment the live performances with sounds ranging from accordion and trumpet to violin. Their lineup regularly shifts with each show to allow for an individual experience every time they take the stage. If you've been to one of their concerts before, you really haven't seen The Ridges the way they will appear Friday.
The different interpretations and approaches that the guest instrumentalists bring to the the Ridges’ music keeps their set from having a rigid appearance.
"It's just really cool to hear what people come up with and how they interpret the song," said Rasgaitis. "And they're always adding to it and making it better."
Unlike many of the bands that play Athens, the members of the group are remarkably disparate geographically. Rasgaitis lives in Cincinnati, Barton resides in Columbus and Smith is a junior at OU.
"It's a long-distance relationship, but it works out really nice," said Rasgaitis.
The Ridges aren’t just another one of the quirky bands that Casa has seen pass through its doors, making a name for itself as something of a compromise between the low-key acoustic Donkey and the raging Smiling Skull and Union. A receptive audience will be there to watch them no matter how many cellos cram the stage.
With Friday being the beginning of Mom's Weekend, it's unlikely that Casa will lack an audience.
"I love Casa, it's such a fun venue to play," said Rasgaitis. "It's big enough that you can see a ton of people in there to make it feel really full, and yet it's still fairly intimate, and it's still pretty nice. It's not really too dive-y or anything."
The next band taking the stage Friday night will be Columbus’ "dream-groove" quartet Indigo Wild who, despite getting their start in the land of the Buckeyes, have always opted for a Bobcat audience.
"People in Athens just come out to have a good time and hear bands and it's really awesome," said drummer Jason Winner. "We always get a really positive reaction from people."
Winner has nothing but kind words to say about the other two bands on the bill, both of whom Indigo Wild has played with in the past and even helped gain publicity.
"The Ridges were the first band that we played in Athens with. So, they really brought us a following there," he said. "[And] we actually played at Maza Blaska's CD release show last year."
While admittedly unaware of the various party school happenings that occur on Mom's Weekend, the group is excited to take the stage for the occasion.
"We're pretty stoked about it," said Winner. "We think moms usually like us."
If you need a show to take your familial relations to this weekend, then Casa has three creative giants of the Athens music scene rolled into one gypsy-groove orchestral rock show. Just be sure to bring $3 for anyone over 21 and $5 for anyone under 21 and be there by 10 p.m.
Get ready, this won't be your mother's indie show… or maybe it will be.
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