Atlanta A Cappella Vocal Band | Best To Burn

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Apr92020

"Wait For It (COVID-19 Edition)"

When Carl says "hey, I've got an idea" and shows us his re-written lyrics to "Wait For It" from Hamilton...we knew what to do. As a wise person put it, this video is a "virtually awesome, socially distant but socially responsible, auditory experience." Couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Watch the video

Jan42020

Saturday Night at Smith's!

Whether you were there for our debut headliner show in March or not, you won't want to miss this one. Trust me. We're headlining a Saturday night at this legendary live music venue, with creator/producer Kaddy Kobain opening. 9-12. Doors at 8. 18+

Location: Smith's Olde Bar 1578 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30324

Tickets: $10 in advance, $14 at door, $75 VIP table of 4.

Oct122019

We're on a Porch (Again)!

We return, for the fifth time, to the most amazing grassroots neighborhood festivals around: Oakhurst Porchfest!!. Come on by and hang on the front lawn with us. 4-5pm

Location: 125 Madison Avenue, Decatur, GA

Tickets: FREE!

Mar182019

Smith's Olde Friggin' Bar!

Definite bucket list item here...we're headlining a night of A Cappella Amazingness at one of Atlanta's live music institutions: Smith's Olde Bar. Yes, it's a Monday night, but it's worth it to see four incredible vocal groups – Southern Tonic, Octave, The Graduates, and us – in one incredible night. Trust me. 7:30-10:30. Doors at 7. 18+

Location: Smith's Olde Bar 1578 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30324

Tickets: $8 in advance, $12 at door.

Oct132018

We're on a Porch, Part 4!

Join us at one of the most amazing grassroots neighborhood festivals around: Oakhurst Porchfest!!. Come on by and hang on the front lawn with us. 1-2pm

Location: 530 Oakview Road, Decatur, GA

Tickets: FREE!

May112018

Coffee, Beer, and BtB

It's the trifecta of awesomeness in a sweet downtown Norcross spot. Come for the music, stay for the beer...and the music. 7:30pm - 10pm

Location: 45 South Cafe, Norcross, GA

FREE!

Mar192018

It's a Showdown!!

We were invited to compete in a $12,000 Acoustic Showdown at Tin Roof Cantina. Pretty sure we'll be the only a cappella band there. Come cheer us on at 8:30pm!

Location: Tin Roof Cantina 2591 Briarcliff Road Atlanta, GA 30329

Tickets: FREE!

Best To Burn.

(A recap.)

Best to Burn knows what you did last summer.

Best to Burn ate the last brownie. Sorry about that.

Best to Burn is a vocal band in Atlanta.

Best to Burn is ready to stuff some awesome in your ear.

Up Close and Personal

Because band websites are supposed to have bios.

Carl Christie

The heat in the soundbooth — a tiny box, really, lit by a single bare bulb — was almost unbearable. Carl rolled up his sleeves like a T-Bird from "Grease" and settled in front of the pop screen, waiting to read the disclaimers for his latest radio spot.
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Carl Christie - Best To Burn

Carl Christie

The heat in the soundbooth — a tiny box, really, lit by a single bare bulb — was almost unbearable. Carl rolled up his sleeves like a T-Bird from "Grease" and settled in front of the pop screen, waiting to read the disclaimers for his latest radio spot.

"Could we open the door for a minute, maybe?" he pleaded into the microphone. The unseen producer didn't respond.

Carl sighed, then muttered, "To write with a broken pencil is pointless. See, because when a pencil breaks, the tip is gone and it's not sharp anymore, so —"

"Let's take it from the top," the invisible sound guy barked.

This was no way to treat the one and only Carlos Fantastico, the man who played Christopher Columbus at the 1992 World's Fair in Seville, Spain. The guy who, just by speaking, sold dozens of Hardee's Thickburgers. The voice-over artist who helped cure your jock itch by recommending a medicated powder. He was the original PA announcer for the Atlanta Thrashers NHL franchise, fercryinoutloud.

Did this producer have any idea how hard it was to learn all those Czech, Kyrgyzstani and Finnish names before announcing the roster at a Thrashers game? "Per Svartvadet" doesn't pronounce itself, you know...

Carl's basso profondo had anchored nearly every a cappella singing group that ever passed through Atlanta. He was a photographer, a DJ, a mobile massage pro and the Grand Marshal of Cinco de Marcho. But here, in this sweltering soundbooth, he was nothing but a workhorse in a puddle of sweat.

He sang to himself his favorite lyric from "The Little Mermaid" — "What would I give, if I could live out of these waters?" — and fantasized about a world where his talents would get the recognition they so richly deserved.

Fantasize no more, Fantastico. Your dream has come true.

John Hendrix

The old woman, her hair a white puff and her posture curved like a question mark, shuffled toward John and tapped his shoulder with a wrinkled and quavering hand.
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John Hendrix - Best To Burn

John Hendrix

The old woman, her hair a white puff and her posture curved like a question mark, shuffled toward John and tapped his shoulder with a wrinkled and quavering hand.

John looked up from his "Thor" comic book.

"Here, little boy," she said. "Have a lollipop."

He opened his mouth to protest, then saw that it was cherry. A man had to pick his battles.

"Thanks," he said between slurps, then extended the handle on his rolling bag and made his way toward his gate.

Another city, another airport, another old lady thinking he was eight years old. He never had the time or energy to explain that he had left those innocent years behind long ago, that he had hefted a baritone sax for countless hours of marching band practice, that he had nearly failed an online phys-ed course, that he'd jumped out of a friggin' airplane. It didn't even help when he covered his wild nimbus of curls with the Irish flat cap he got at the Jameson Distillery in Dublin — they still thought he was a kid.

There was no way these elderly ladies could know that he was an electrical and computer engineering graduate from Georgia Tech who performed hydraulic analyses of control valves and eliminated cavitation and excessive vibration in the country's most important oil pipelines with his bare hands.

He nearly wanted to yell across the terminal to the old woman, "Do you realize that when I sing ‘You Give Love a Bad Name' at a karaoke bar, middle-aged suburban women in their mom jeans literally fall to the floor in ecstasy?"

But he didn't. He kept the lollipop in his mouth and wondered, will I ever get to show people who I really am?

Opportunity's knocking, Johnny. Answer the door.

Christy Fennessy

Christy stared at her reflection in the dirt-streaked mirror and took inventory: zip-front bustier, zebra-print stretch-pants, spangly blue scarf, fingerless gloves, faux-fur boots, teased hair, bottle of Jack Daniel's.
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Christy Fennessy - Best To Burn

Christy Fennessy

Christy stared at her reflection in the dirt-streaked mirror and took inventory: zip-front bustier, zebra-print stretch-pants, spangly blue scarf, fingerless gloves, faux-fur boots, teased hair, bottle of Jack Daniel's.

How did she end up here, in this disgusting bathroom, after growing up in suburban New Jersey, singing preciously pretty arias in church, playing the lash-batting ingenue in school musicals, quick-sticking on the lacrosse team, and providing a delicate descant to her college a cappella group Vocal Point at the University of Rochester?

Maybe that concussion she got during a college field hockey game had taken its toll. How else to explain why a Britney Spears-chasing magazine journalist and perky fitness instructor would be at a dive-bar dressed like David Lee Roth for a gig with the world's first all-female Van Halen tribute band?

The bathroom door creaked open. "We're on in five minutes," the drummer said. "You need more eyeliner."

Is this what Christy's life had come to?

Hell yes.

The gig with She-Ruption came and went. The guitarist left the band to pursue a life of stardom and forgery in Vermont. Christy had two kids. And she continued reporting on the bond market and parkour and old ladies who write erotica. She put her sparkly costumes in the basement in a box, tucking away her rock-star dreams, and silently wished there would come a day to live them again.

That day has come.

Benjy Rose

The gold and blue trophy — topped by a tarnished bumblebee with a taunting smile — sat on Benjy's shelf, daring him to do something greater.
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Benjy Rose - Best To Burn

Benjy Rose

The gold and blue trophy — topped by a tarnished bumblebee with a taunting smile — sat on Benjy's shelf, daring him to do something greater. Sure, he'd won the 1988 Long Island Sectional Spelling Bee, but in this topsy-turvy, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world, he needed more.

So he tried. He wrote his college application essay in Dr. Seuss's trochaic pentameter. He went SCUBA diving with sharks at the Great Barrier Reef. He played Bach's Tocatta and Fugue on a booming pipe organ at Brown University. He wore suspenders and blessed the rains while singing the solo from Toto's "Africa" with the Bear Necessities.

But the sense of accomplishment he experienced as a spelling champ continued to elude him.

Even when Benjy and his former a cappella band LiveWire won both the inaugural Southeast Subregional Harmony Sweepstakes in 1999 and the Boston Regional Harmony Sweepstakes in 2000. Even when he wrote and performed jingles about a morning radio show, UPC codes, and a wireless company moving office locations. Even when he hawked warm Diet Crystal Pepsi during weekend overnight shifts on New England alternative radio.

Nothing could erase the image of a young Benjy dressed in an acid-washed denim jacket with pegged sweatpants – lifted just a touch, so you could see a sliver of ankle – and the blue, pink and yellow baseball hat he wore tipped back on his head. Nothing could drown out the cheers that echoed in his mind: "Ben! Jee! Can! Spell!"

Nothing could top the euphoria of that win.

Until now...

Jacob Shreckengost

Jacob spoke the words with gritted teeth and felt his blood boil. He set his stein of Schneider Weiße down on the long wooden table, then turned to face his aggressor.
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Jacob Shreckengost

Jacob Shreckengost

"What did you say?"

Jacob spoke the words with gritted teeth and felt his blood boil. He set his stein of Schneider Weiße down on the long wooden table, then turned to face his aggressor.

"Say it again," Jacob growled.

The man took a step closer and repeated the insult — "I said, you are schmutz" — and then, with a dramatic flourish, slapped at Jacob’s beer stein.

The mug seemed to move in slow-motion. Jacob heard himself call out "noooooo" as he reached for it. But even the hand-eye skills he’d honed in rugby couldn’t stop that flagon of precious nectar from crashing to the ground.

His mind flashed to all the beers he’d loved before, and lingered on one particular home brew. It was a honey porter based on the White House’s recipe. Jacob had called it The Honey Badger, after the crankiest creature in all the animal kingdom.

And now Jacob was gonna go all Honey Badger on this guy.

"Bring me my blade," Jacob said.

This was how some men settled scores in the German fraternity system: with mensur, or academic fencing, an ancient art that has combatants stand at arm’s length and poke, whack and prod the unprotected areas of the opponent’s face and head. No flinching. No dodging.

Nothing from Jacob’s childhood in rural Pennsylvania could prepare him for this. Though he could rip a phonebook in half, he was a baker, not a fighter. His idea of a ritual? When his fellow biology majors at the University of Chicago required him to act out a scene from “Flashdance” with the Safety Shower. Jacob’s college a cappella group, Voices in Your Head, settled arguments with a riff-off.

But here he was, a post-bac fellow in neuroscience, wearing metal goggles and a chest protector while swatting his sword at a man who dared call Jacob "dirt."

Though in a previous bout Jacob earned seven stitches, in this one he would deliver 27 before the match ended.

Jacob’s brothers filled his mug and clapped him on the back. It was the first time he’d felt like a hero.

Now, he has another shot at glory.

Kelly Howard

Diplo looked out into the undulating mass of electronic music fans, all anxiously awaiting the drop in his song, "Revolution," and he sighed. Something was missing.
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Kelly Howard - Best To Burn

Kelly Howard

Diplo looked out into the undulating mass of electronic music fans, all anxiously awaiting the drop in his song, "Revolution," and he sighed. He might be a Grammy Award-winning songwriter, producer, and DJ who was performing on stage in front of thousands of people, but something was missing.

And then he saw her.

Doing the "cry-baby" dance in the middle of the crowd was Kelly Howard. He knew her as Kelly Jones, though, from when she was a cheerleader at their high school in Hendersonville, Tennessee. He took a sip of water and cursed his luck, wishing he — instead of their classmate Beau, a tall skateboarder — had been the one to suggest they not worry about ruining their friendship and start to date.

Diplo knew, from repeated peeks at her Facebook profile, that Kelly had gone on to attend Vanderbilt University and sing in the women’s a cappella group, the Swingin' Dores. She was now a compound therapist who was married to Beau with three children. Together the Howards would go on hikes, watch Braves games, and play made-up quiz games like "Gifted, Not Gifted."

All the gold records and all the Diplo-branded Crocs in the world couldn’t fill the Kelly-sized hole in his heart.

He’d tried reaching out with a music opportunity, suggesting she add her amazing alto belt to a new track with Justin Bieber. She had — in what felt like a punch to Diplo’s gut — said no. The reason? She'd just joined a vocal band called Best to Burn, and they were going to take over the world.

She was probably right, Diplo thought, as he gave a perfunctory fist-pump to the crowd. And then a single tear rolled down his cheek.

Hear, here.

Awesomeness in your ears.

Previously unreleased fly-on-the-wall rehearsal recording. Enhanced with Vitamin B, reverb, and whiskey.



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