Polished pop-rock quartet The Modern Skirts lead the charge during this weekend’s “Athens Night” at Cumberland’s, presented by Athens management company Nomad Artists.

With a melodic piano-driven sound influenced by the classiest of British and mod-U.S. pop acts, The Modern Skirts are on a major roll. Pianist, guitarist, and singer Jo-Jo Glidewell, lead singer, guitarist, and sometime-pianist Jay Gulley, bassist Phillip Brantley, and drummer John Swint formed the band in Athens in 2004 and quickly built a regional following with headlining slots at the AthFest, Atlantis, and Music Midtown festivals.

The Skirts’ 2005 EP, This Is Winning and Thinking, garnered high praise in the alternative media and on college radio. Their new full-length album, Catalogue of Generous Men, was released last spring on the Go To Your Room label. Catalogue found its way onto Paste‘s and their hometown paper’s “Best of 2005” lists and snagged Flagpole‘s “Best Album” award at the recent ceremony.

Also on the “Athens Night” bill are songwriter Nate Nelson and rock combo The Empties.

Nelson, a 19-year-old native of Greenville, N.C., spent his middle and high school years growing up and playing drums in Athens. Two years ago, he switched his focus from keeping time with garage bands to strumming and plunking out song ideas on an acoustic guitar. Soon thereafter, he began testing the waters in the local club scene with a set of moody, romantic, melodic rock songs. By 2005, he was recording with acclaimed Athens engineer Andy Baker. His latest is a five-song indie release titled A Sing Song Fashion E.P.

Newly-formed Athens pop-rock quartet The Empties – guitarists/singers Matt Knutson and Josh Lewis, bassist/singer Ben Wills, and a rotation of drummers, including Dan Buttars, who recently stepped aside – have their own brand-new, independently-produced, five-song EP titled Dorothy. –T. Ballard Lesemann

“Athens Night” features The Modern Skirts, The Empties, and Nate Nelson at Cumberland’s (577-9469) on Sat. Sept. 2 at 10 p.m. Cover is $6. Check www.cumberlands.net, www.modernskirts.com, www.natenelsonmusic.com, and www.theempties.com for more.

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