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8/19/2010

Music > This Little Underground

This Little Underground

 

Brain drain tends to happen to still-developing scenes that are home to talented people like ours, but Danny and Jenny Feedback are two homegrown musicians who return this month. That may not sound like a stampede, but they’re both big presences who represent a small army of bands between them, not least of which are standouts like Cotton Candy Cookies & Cream and Franchise. Look for their projects to be revived.

The beat

I’ve got no issue with Guttermouth’s (Aug. 11, the Social) juvenile sensibility, just their lack of actual funniness. If you’re recognized in the eyes of the law as grown-ass men and think this stuff is comedically stimulating, then you may just be a functioning retard. After avoiding them for years, I thought I’d give it another go. And I’m glad I did because singer Mark Adkins was spectacularly wasted – I’m talking Will Walker drunk – and it completely made the show. The bombed lunacy he displayed was way funnier than any of their stupid music, turning a dumb punk show into a real rock & roll demonstration. He flopped around onstage like a fish on a dock, even tumbling into the drum set and setting off an exchange with the pissed-off drummer that was straight outta pro wrestling.

Now, I’m not a new convert, but this show was awesome as sheer spectacle and finally actualized the comedy they always ham-fistedly strive for. Besides, there’s no surer sign of an out-of-control party than walking into the men’s room and seeing a vomit-blasted seat in one stall and a pair of shit-stained boxers in the other. Legendary.

Local band the New Threat opened and are actually touring with Guttermouth. Although cookie-cutter, they’re competent and forceful enough. But it’s not a good sign when your interpretation of a genre born of such revolutionary spirit doesn’t bump the pulse much.

I expected to check in on the endearingly wobbly couples dance that is local garage-pop band Hot Hands (Aug. 10, Back Booth), a younger, hipper, garage-rock version of Mark & Lorna. But it was nice to be surprised with a kick that was noisier, louder and altogether better. They’d never be mistaken for a slick commercial band but why would you ever want to gentrify the flavor out of their rock & roll? The biggest difference this time was Jeffrey Howard’s guitar sound, which is no longer the scrappily dinky riffing of before but something way tougher. Their playfully kitschy image is becoming increasingly deceptive because the Hot Hands sound is turning into a beast.

Following was Toronto’s Vicious Guns, who sound like a barely rock reboot of the Sounds. They’re a middling, image-driven affair, still in the gawky development stage of cliché rock poses and obviously forced onstage chemistry. Such hackneyed interpretation is a waste of competent pop ability.

Headlining was former Orlando band the Black Rabbits. Now based in North Carolina, they were mere kids when they first emerged here, but the promise was evident in their punchy, accurate playing even then. They’re even more surefooted now with a fuller version of their clearly etched, pop-smart ’60s rock & roll. Like the Strokes before they lost the plot, the Black Rabbits have the gift of fundamentals when it comes to melody, proportion and economy.

It’s time Orlando rock fans gave it up for L.A. We owe the city some gratitude for stepping in and being a mop for our music scene, sopping up some of our credibility-sinking acts in recent years with its mirage of easy fame for all – Blue Meridian, Cori Yarckin and now Johnny Plastic & the Rubber Band, who just played their farewell show (Aug. 13, Back Booth). 

I’ve held off seeing this band because, well, look at that name. Although not as grandiosely terrible as those two other Orlando expats, it’s a mind-bending mystery why a completely unimaginative bar band like the Rubber Band thinks the bright lights hold anything for them. 

They seem like nice enough dudes but I’m not sure where they think they’re gonna take that utterly generic act unless the LAX Holiday Inn is looking for a house band. I hope there’s a place for them there, because there sure isn’t one here.

music@orlandoweekly.com
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