As I walked into Atlanta’s Little Five Points’ Star Bar on February 4th, I heard one of the featured bands  play a lively rendition of “Peggy Sue” to a packed room of revelers at Hollyfest IX.  The annual event honors Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson who died on February 3rd, 1959 when their chartered plane crashed on the way to Moorhead, Minnesota as part of the promotional Winter Dance Party tour.  The tragic event was memorialized in Don McLean’s 1972 song “American Pie” as “The Day the Music Died.”

Rather than a somber reflection on the deaths of the renowned musicians, Hollyfest embodied more of the excitement and joie de vivre of early rock and roll; a celebration of Holly’s, Valens’, and Richardson’s lives and music.  While there I learned about local bands and it was interesting to hear each band’s take on classics like Holly’s “Maybe Baby,” Valens’ “Donna,” and The Big Bopper’s “Chantilly Lace,” among others. The line-up included Kira Annalise and the TrainwrecksThe SideBurners, Atomic BoogieRodeo TwisterBad FriendAndrew and the Disapyramids, and more.

The first band I heard as I walked in, Kira Annalise and the Trainwrecks, playing a boogying version of The Big Bopper’s “Crazy Blues:”


Rodeo Twister played a great take on Buddy Holly’s 1958 “Blue Days, Black Nights:”


So did The SideBurners:


The Cherry Bomb gave a riotous rendition of The Big Bopper’s hit “Chantilly Lace,” also from 1958:


Last but certainly not least, were Andrew and the Disapyramids.  I first heard the band at Trader Vic’s Atlanta for their Mai Thai Thursdays event, and they had great energy and brought songs of the 1950s and sixties to life.  I looked forward to hearing them again at Hollyfest and they rocked the house!

See Andrew and the Disapyramids play Trader Vic’s Mai Thai Thursday in the following videos:

Santo and Johnny’s “Sleep Walk:”

Sam the Sham & the Pharaoh’s “Little Red Riding Hood:”

The Disapyramids will return to Trader Vic’s for the next Mai Thai Thursday on February 16th (click this link for more).

Thank you for reading,