HARLOT PARTY – JANUARY 7, 2018 AT HENDERSHOT’S IN ATHENS, GEORGIA
Athens-based music group Harlot Party performed on January 7 in a reunion concert for The Skipperdees, also featuring solo artist LeeAnn Peppers. The concert was held at Hendershot’s coffee shop in Athens, right off of Prince Avenue.
I’ll go ahead and say Hendershot’s is my favorite music venue in Athens. Decorated in the typical Athens-hipster fashion, this coffee-shop-slash-bar offers friendly staff, tasty drinks, and comfy couches to nap on (which I may or may not have used during my finals in college). It fits a good amount of people while still maintaining an atmosphere of a smaller venue.
Harlot party went on at 7:45, about 15 minutes after Peppers’ lo-fi, chill performance. The two-man band is comprised of KyKy Renee Knight and partner Garrett Knighton – the similarity in their names is enough to pique my interest. KyKy serves as the lead vocalist and guitarist, and Garrett plays a secondary guitar. The two sat on stools at the edge of the stage.
The set began with an announcement – this performance would be stripped-down. Harlot Party describes their music as “pop sorta dark sorta prog sorta pretty pretty” and “pretty/ prog/ sad/dark long continuous sounds.” I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant until I finally heard them, and wow, I was blown away.
Imagine Brand New Eyes-era Paramore, but with no drums and incredible guitar. KyKy’s voice was haunting, chilling in the most beautiful way. She sang soft, so gentle she caressed each and every syllable that I found myself, even with a sweater on and a chai tea latte in my hand, getting chills.
KyKy is the only vocalist, so there were none in the background. The emptiness that that offered was so incredible that I found myself hypnotized. I was sleepy, as college students often are, but their set woke me right up. The songs were soothing but not boring, energetic but not overwhelming, simple but not childish or repetitive. It was a dark sound, but didn’t feel depressing or even too intense. Their music has a beautiful balance, no matter whether KyKy is singing softly or busting out a gorgeous belt.
Harlot Party sang for about 30 minutes and didn’t do much talking in between songs. KyKy mentioned how she always struggled to think of jokes for the audience during transitions and earned herself a few laughs from the crowd. I resonated with her adorable awkwardness.
I began to understand their seemingly nonsensical description made sense. I heard pop, I heard prog rock, I heard hints of a darker indie sound, and it definitely was pretty. I didn’t want their set to end, but when it came to a close, I found it was left with a sense of contentedness and resolution. Even though I wanted to hear more, I wasn’t disappointed, and I think it would take a lot for anyone to be disappointed by this group.
Harlot Party is a southeastern group to look out for; before you know it, they’ll be on track to climb to the top of the charts.