The band Pylon is considered to be one of the most influential bands at the beginnings of what would become known as the “Athens, GA music scene.” While the discussion usually starts with The B-52’s and R.E.M., those in the know will continue the list with PYLON. They were every Athens, GA band’s favorite Athens band. Their musical naïveté, southern upbringing, art school smarts, and house-party roots exploded together to create something quite improbably amazing simultaneously hitting the listener on a mental, physical, and spiritual level. Their angular guitar parts and propulsive rhythm section had something in common with UK post-punk bands like Gang of Four and PiL, but PYLON was more fun and less studied. Fronted by Vanessa Briscoe (now Briscoe Hay), whose inimitable vocal textures and phrasing defined the band’s sound for most listeners, Pylon’s celebrated history came to a sudden end in 2009 with the death of iconic guitarist Randy Bewley. Pylon was, and always will be, Hay, Bewley, Michael Lachoski, and Curtis Crowe.

Pylon Reenactment Society was created in 2014 when local Athens’ musician Jason NeSmith was in charge of the music committee for the first annual Art Rocks Athens, an event exploring the connection between the art and music scene in Athens between 1975-1985.  He approached Hay about performing a short set of Pylon songs (all four members had attended Lamar Dodd School of Art at UGA).  NeSmith’s band, Casper & The Cookies, had already recorded and performed with Hay as Supercluster, so it was natural that they back her at this event if she was willing to perform.  The response was very positive.  The following year found the group opening for Fred Schneider (of The B-52s), touring with indie darlings Dressy Bessy, and performing shows in conjunction with the release of Pylon Live.  What started as a one-off gig transpired into a tight, touring unit.  With Hay on vocals and NeSmith on guitar, the group is rounded out by Kay Stanton (Casper & The Cookies) on bass guitar and backing vocals, pianist Damon Denton on keyboards (Big Atomic), and Joe Rowe (The Glands) on drums.

Hay makes a point to differentiate these sets from the Pylon canon. “Pylon died when Randy passed away,” she says. “We do try to be faithful in spirit, and I have the blessing of Michael Lachowski and Curtis Crowe. I sure wouldn’t do it if they disagreed in any way.”

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