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Athens, Ga. - Inside/Out (1987)

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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 116 users  
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Led by the success of the B-52's and R.E.M., Athens, Georgia was the most happening music scene in the country by the mid 80's/ Following several different bands from different genres, this... See full summary »

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Led by the success of the B-52's and R.E.M., Athens, Georgia was the most happening music scene in the country by the mid 80's/ Following several different bands from different genres, this film paints Athens as a magical artistic environment where bands are not in competition, but co-exist in harmony. Live performances of R.E.M.'s "Swan Swan H" and "Dream (All I Have To Do)" at the Lucy Cobb Institute chapel are included. Also featured are performances and interviews frm the B-52's, Pylon, B-B-Que Killers, Time Toy, Jim Herbert, Flat Duo Jets, Love Tractor, Kilkenny Cats, Squalls, and more. Written by Anonymous

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Documentary | Music

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February 1987 (USA)  »

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References Kojak (1973) See more »

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Elephant Radio
Written by the Squalls
Performed by the Squalls
Published by Mbrlla Music
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Excellent showcase of a grass-roots creative community
16 December 2003 | by (Chapel Hill, NC, USA) – See all my reviews

I first saw ATHENS GA: INSIDE OUT when it was released, and it has remained a favorite of mine - a very skillfully made (creative use of a limited budget) presentation of a grass-roots local creative community, with roots, atmosphere, and a very quirky home-grown originality on full display. If New York, LA, San Francisco and Nashville represent institutional American entertainment meccas, Athens was among the first eruptions of something else - a small town, well off-the-beaten track suddenly rising to a position of creative prominence and influence nationally or internationally. This colorful heritage is very well documented here (music icons like R.E.M., The B-52's, Pylon, Squalls, Bar-B-Q Killers and others are well represented, along with local gospel musicians, and artists like the late Howard Finster).

The lone flaw of here is a cautiousness in digging deep into the personalities illuminating the scene - a bit more discussion of regionalism (or the Southern identification surrounding the scene, and influencing even the most avant-garde of the Athens artists) would've added tremendous complexity; ditto for the very heavily gay milieu (surrounding the pre-fame B-52s as they rose through the house party scene that preceded the emergence of a club scene in Athens) the scene initially sprang from. And - as a huge fan of The Bar-B-Q Killers and Pylon (one of the greatest American post-punk bands without a doubt), I would've love to seen more footage of them.

Still, this set the standard for independent documentaries of the type, and unlike many that followed in its' wake (the Chapel Hill-oriented YOUNG ROCK springs to mind) this hasn't dated much at all. Great to see this getting a very belated DVD release, which includes commentary from some newer Athens luminaries (members of Widespread Panic) as well.


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