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The Community Shows Up BIG For The First Amp With Kenny George.

Bud Light, Ultra, and Wild Leap on Tap in front of The Alley Downtown Taproom.
Canned Bud Light available at Southbound Smokehouse

Hometown heroes Kenny George Band kicked off the 2024 Season of Amp the Alley, and the community was ready. At around 6pm a modest crowd had begun to show up, but after the music started 30 minutes later, The Alley became difficult to navigate - in the best way. Navigating tight corridors created by friends, family, and neighbors is one of the best reminders of why Aiken is so great. The air is filled with music and the tantalizing aromas of pizza, bbq, burgers, chicken wings, all of the other fares offered by Aiken's best locally owned restaurants. Bud Light, the OFFICAL SPONSOR OF AMP THE ALLEY, poured freely into plastic cups, and made the

perfect garnish for the merriment. There was also an uptick of PBR Tall boys in The Alley, which would usually have my Bud Light Sales rep in fits, but this was a special day.

Our community, and the music community as a whole, suffered the unexpected loss of Howard Lowery. Howard was the embodiment of live music. It was the guaranteed place to find ol' Holo, wearing tie -dye, a smile and holding a PBR and Cigarette. As soon as he spotted you, he'd make the effort to run you down, tell you why you meant so much to him, and give you a giant, sweaty, bear hug. Depending on the night, he'd do it 3 separate times - or more. I've joked for years that I wish ANYTHING made me feel the way music made Howard feel. I've often wondered if there was anything in his head other than smiley emojis flying around when a mandolin or dobro was being played. If you were there, you probably saw HOLO TEAM shirts smattered all across The Alley like World War II propaganda leaflets had just been dropped from an airplane overhead. These shirts were made by Howard's best friend, Patrick Donovan - owner of Bravefriend Apparel and Design. If you'd like to purchase your own HOLO TEAM shirt, you can from Bravefriend's Shop, on Lauren's Street in Downtown, for $30, and with every purchase $10 is donated to Nuçi’s Space - a non for profit whose mission is to prevent suicide. With a focus on musicians, Nuçi’s Space advocates for and helps to alleviate the suffering for those living with a brain illness and fights to end the stigma of mental illness.

It cannot be overstated Howard's impact on the local music scene, but his impact was so much lager than that - it was coast to coast. I personally, while photographing Blue Grass Fest or Banjo B Cue, have seen people run across a field screaming at the sight of Howard, knowing they were about to get on of the best hugs of their life. It never failed to shock me when I found out they were from Colorado, Oregon, Tennessee.... from all over. He travelled the country leaving smiles and Bravefriend Stickers everywhere he went. For all of these reasons, the 2024 Amp the Alley season is dedicated to HOLO. Despite having made the conscious decision to declare it official, I truly believe due to the wide wake he made, I truly had zero choice in the matter. This was going to be a season for HOLO, because it couldn't be anything else. Fittingly, he not only supported music, he supported the community as a whole - the businesses and the people that made them. He is literally everything that is Amp the Alley. If you haven't seen it on social media yet, which I can't imagine you haven't, there will be a celebration of life for Howard at High Fields on the 30th of March. There will be, of course, live music, laughter, and love - Everything that is HOLO.


HOLO 123 - The last pic I took of Howard, fittingly it was at Amp the Alley last year during Kenny George Band's performance.

Thanks to our NEW SPONSORS - Southbound Smokehouse, Electric Eats, The Red Door and Neon Fig! It was pretty awesome to see new businesses joining in on the excitement of Amp the Alley. Southbound had Karaoke after Amp and Electric Eats had live music upstairs with a DJ in the downstairs dining room. Electric eats also featured specials on Bud Light buckets and offered food from their upstairs food truck for some late night nom noms.

Next week, we are excited to have All The Things perform on the Bud Light Stage! As always the show starts at 6:30. You can tell from the pictures that it's never a bad idea to stop in early and pick your spot, both to sit and to eat. Whiskey Alley will gladly make a reservation for you, everyone else is a on a first come first serve basis. Don't forget about our two awesome sponsors who aren't directly in The Alley - Neon Fig on Park Avenue, and The Red Door on the North end of Laurens. Get the night started with some good food and work your way in, or dive straight in and work your way out.

Either way, your going to have a good time and good food.

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