The Ridges
The Ridges (Lexie Alley)

Hometown Proud: The Ridges Debut Casa Concert Series

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Victor Rasgaitis has learned a lot over the past three years, including how incredible the Athens music scene is.

“There just isn’t anything like playing in Athens,” said Rasgaitis, who has had the opportunity to tour the country fronting The Ridges, an intricate folk-rock band that often is joined onstage by numerous orchestral musicians.

“We’ve had the opportunity to play with a lot of awesome, usually bigger, established bands. But usually if Athens comes up, they say they either have never played here or haven’t played here in a long time,” he said.

Rasgaitis is looking to change that. This Thursday, Casa Cantina will host the inaugural show of “The Ridges Present,” a concert series featuring several acts the band has performed with outside of Athens.

Cincinnati’s The Seedy Seeds will perform, as well as Alex Miller of Bronxville, N.Y., who will open the show at 10 p.m.

The Seedy Seeds have been featured on NPR’s First Listen program, where they received high praise from music critic Claire Blaustein.

“They’re a great band that we have played with before. Sort of like electro-folk…imagine if you took an acoustic sound and added in some dance beats,” said Rasgaitis.

Singer-songwriter Alex Miller has also been receiving positive reviews. The Granville Sentinel said Miller’s music had “hints of rock royalty, such as a slight Bob Dylan guitar sequence in one song, homage to John Lennon in one lyrical phrase and an overall Eagles feel here and there.”

Thursday’s show will not only kick off Ohio University’s Sibs Weekend, it will also serve as a platform for The Ridges to make an exciting announcement to their dedicated Athens fans.

Next month, the band will head to Austin, Texas, to take part in the South By Southwest (SXSW) festival.

“SXSW is a big deal for us. We’re really excited,” said Rasgaitis. “Really, this show is also meant to let our fans know, in person, what we’re doing. To tell them that we’re doing SXSW, and to ask them to tell any of their friends that might live in that area to maybe take some time to check us out.”

The Ridges will be performing alongside many other bands, sometimes in official venues, sometimes not-so-much. Even though there are a number of nationally recognized acts playing at SXSW 2013, it’s mostly smaller bands who will be traveling to Austin in March.

“There are literally thousands of bands playing at SXSW, and we are really looking forward to playing with some great bands,” said Rasgaitis. “Sometimes those acts are in unofficial venues. People do all sorts of things, such as using taco stands to play from. There are a couple bigger names, like the Local Natives, that will be exciting to see, but we’re equally excited to see bands we haven’t even heard of.”

As far as playing OU Sib’s Weekend, he said that wasn’t something the band had planned.

“Honestly, that was a happy coincidence. Really, we were working with a lot of different schedules, and that night worked best for everybody. And hey, it’s the weekend…and the weekend really does start for OU students on Thursday night,” he joked.

Thursday night’s show has another major perk: It’s 100 percent free; something the band decided to do for its local fans. Rasgaitis is excited to introduce The Ridges’ hometown to some great bands–and vice versa.

“We’re proud of the city, and we really wanted to give these bands a reason to come to Athens,” he said.