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9/16/2010

Music > This Little Underground

This Little Underground

 

Remember that stampede of concerts I was talking about? Well, time to get up and out because every single week between now and just about Thanksgiving will feature no less than three major tours coming to Orlando. That’s nine consecutive weeks of primetime action, fam, so check those concert calendars. Get into it or live in regret.

The beat

Oh, man, Shooter Jennings ... where to begin? On the one hand, I feel for the guy. Proving yourself in the shadow of a father who’s a tall musical figure has got to be tough. And if daddy’s an American icon like Waylon is, well, ouch. On the other hand, you’d think Shooter would have some advantage in his blood or upbringing that would help steer him away from the hokum. But his ham-handed stabs at bad-boy country-rock have only proven him as the hack progeny of a master.

Howeverrr, his latest show with new band Hierophant (Sept. 8, the Social) demonstrated a surprising and pronounced step forward with a commendably weird reboot in sound. It was a heavy psych-prog and Southern brew that not only rocked harder, but more importantly, showed some daring and individuality. It’s not the best of its class or anything, but it shows that Shooter’s got both out-of-the-box ideas and balls. A good thing since the sheen of who you are dulls quickly if what you do is a dud.

Was that you? I know it wasn’t me. Well, if neither of us farted, then that flatulence must be the opening set by local band Exit the Ride. Like a group of downtown frat boys, this act still clutches at the fumes of the long-gone train of ’90s Orlando dude-bro rock. From their performance – totally unnecessary solos! – to their presentation – look-at-how-cool-I-am faces! – everything about them stinks of rock-star aspiration without the creative urge to craft anything worthy of the status. Who cares if it’s a lack of taste or soul? It’s simply what happens when you strive to be marketable instead of memorable. Perhaps they’ll soon discover the, um, “tremendous breakout success” that some of Orlando’s “finest” have had in L.A. and will go meet their destiny. In the meantime, get me the fuck off this ride.

In better local news, Jonathan Silva and the Fal-len Sons just had their debut CD re-lease party (Sept. 11, Will’s Pub). When Silva first started making the rounds in Orlando, the dude showed some inspir-ed and rare guitar skills. His folkie musical vision, however, was tragically ordinary. But it’s clear from this coming- out performance that he’s listened to the right records, assembled an all-star band and dug deeper. He was heartfelt and earnest before, but this twangy, elegant and substantial band is a far more resonant vessel. Nice to see a naturally talented musician finally make effective use of his gift.

Opening was Big Jef Special, who aren’t as ever-present as they used to be. But this performance was a reminder that they’re still the city’s best honky-tonkers.

Also stroking the roots right was Knoxville’s Christabel & the Jons (Sept. 10, Copper Rocket), who classically interpret old swing, country and jazz with the seasoned finesse of Christa DeCicco’s velvet voice leading the way. Like Shotgun Party and the Two Man Gentlemen Band (who play Redlight Redlight Sept. 29), their accomplished skills and revivalist charm has made them one of the brightest stars in the constellation of out-of-state folk bands with a devoted enough following to bring them back regularly.

Thank god Toronto’s Crystal Castles (Sept. 9, Firestone Live) is an act that understands how to translate their sound into a live show because the synthetic simplicity of their dark electro-pop sound could’ve made for one boring-ass concert. 

Instead, they brought a high-energyspectacle that included an intensely physical frontwoman, colossal volume and a massive, retina-frying lightshow that very nearly kicked ya boy here into a flashback. And it’s a good thing, too, because the packed house was dying to get hyphy after being pumped by a bangin’ DJ Diddles set. They even had a live drummer, which is more than you can ask for with an electronic act. The driving force of beats and lights may be a simple formula, but so many who try it fall flat. Crystal Castles, however, know exactly what’s up.

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