Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ closes out AthFest with guitar solos and R.E.M. | Athfest

Drivin’ N Cryin’ closed out AthFest last night when it performed on the main stage at 7 p.m. Though the overall crowd was smaller in comparison to the other days, the weather was perfect and the air was filled with anticipation for the last act of the weekend. It was clear that everyone who was there had come specifically for the headlining act.

Though there were attendees of all ages, most of the fans were of later generations, which makes sense, since Drivin’ N Cryin’ has been around for 31 years. Soon after the set began, the band played its hit single, “Scarred But Smarter.” The crowd appreciated this, with those in the front row singing every word.

There was very little stage banter—instead, each track blended into the next with few breaks in between. While other bands might sound incomplete, but with only three members on stage, Drivin’ N Cryin’ sounded perfectly full.

The lyrics were varied, ranging from religion to philosophy to relationships. At one point, the band turned almost a capella, which was appreciated by the fans in the crowd. Shortly after, Kevn’ Kinney played a guitar solo that was good enough to turn the heads of both longtime fans and passers by.

After that, it seemed Drivin’ N Cryin’ had everyone’s attention. At one point, a slightly inebriated man in the front row screamed “Encore!” over and over, afraid that at any second, the band would play its last song. Though the band politely asked him to stop, his action mirrored the feelings of the crowd—no one wanted the set to end.

Halfway through the set, singer Kevn Kinney stopped to thank the crowd for coming out.

“I want to thank you all for leaving your houses tonight,” Kinney said. “You can’t have this much fun on Facebook, I tell ya.”

At that point, the lead singer’s age began to show. He listed off every social media platform he could think of, insinuating negative feelings toward them. This was largely appreciated by older fans who have most likely shared this sentiment in the past.

The highlight of the night was when the band played the track, “R.E.M.” If it wasn’t clear that this was an Athens band before, the lyrics of the song rang out in every local’s head.

“The biggest southern rock band that I know is R.E.M.,” Kinney sang.

 Overall, Drivin’ N Cryin’ gave its fans exactly what they came to see. It played a mix of old and new songs, changing in style from folk to hard rock. From longtime fans to those just listening in, Drivin’ N Cryin’s set was a perfect way to end the 21st AthFest weekend.


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