Chronic Town, R.E.M.'s debut EP, turned 40 this year! To celebrate the album's anniversary, the 40 Watt Club in Athens, GA hosted a show on December 14 and invited musician friends/fans to play R.E.M. covers from across the band's oeuvre, including songs from Chronic Town. Guitarist Peter Buck and bassist Mike Mills played with the house band, and, as Brooklyn Vegan explains:
Guests included Chronic Town producer and Let's Active leader Mitch Easter, John Cameron Mitchell, Fred Armisen, Indigo Girls, Darius Rucker, Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye, The Baseball Project (Steve Wynn & R.E.M. sideman Scott McCaughey), Drivin' N' Cryin's Kevn Kinney, The Pylon Reenactment Society, Elf Power, and more.
David Cross hosted the night, and that house band was led by The Black Crowes' Rich Robinson, plus his bandmate Sven Pipien on bass, and Screaming Trees' Barrett Martin on drums.
Brooklyn Vegan includes several videos shot by folks who were there. Everyone was having a great time celebrating one of the best bands of all time. Again, Brooklyn Vegan:
The night was really more of a tribute R.E.M. than Chronic Town specifically, as songs from their entire catalog were performed, including: John Cameron Mitchell performed "Wolves, Lower," "Stumble," and "Low"; Fred Armisen sang "Gardening at Night"; Elf Power performed "Little America," "Begin the Begin," and "There She Goes Again"; The Pylon Reenactment Society performed their song "Crazy" (which R.E.M. covered) along with R.E.M.'s "Crush With Eyeliner" and Mission of Burma's "Academy Fight Song"; Mitch Easter sang "1,000,000"; Kevn Kinney sang "Fall on Me" and "King of Birds"; Darius Rucker sang "I Believe" and "World Leader Pretend"; Indigo Girls sang "Orange Crush"; Lenny Kaye was on hand for "Superman"; and Mike Mills sang on a cover of Big Star's "September Gurls."
The show looks like it was so fun—I would have loved to have been there. Of all the videos posted on the Brooklyn Vegan site, I think my favorite was World Leader Pretend, featuring Darius Rucker. Enjoy!