knotty conceit has, by now, etched this Saddle Creek pillar
permanently into the indie rock pantheon,
and they always do well in Orlando (Mar. 3, The Social). But the openers for the latest sell-out show offered glimpses into the near future.
By far the brightest was Philadelphia’s Beach Slang.
With some pedigree from underrated ‘90s pop-punk band Weston,
bandleader James Alex Snyder
motors further into punk-lifted melodic rock terrain
with Beach Slang, wisely trading in a little of yesterday’s jump for a lot of straight-up drive. The thing that’s not only great but will perhaps prove more enduring about this new vehicle is that it’s got that big ‘90s heart
that’s all the rage right now but without any of the time-stamped gimmicks. Beach Slang’s straightforward anthems are simple but huge, filled with just overdriven soul and the O.G. authenticity
of someone who was actually part of the ‘90s wave. The music is direct but well-aimed and shot with gusto, not unlike the Replacements,
whom they covered very well in the second excellent rendition of “Can't Hardly Wait” I’ve heard in two weeks (the first was from Justin Townes Earle
at the Dr. Phillips Center).
They sprang a surprise headlining performance
the night before with local indie-rockers the Pauses
at Will’s Pub,
which I missed regrettably. But from what seemed like an aggregate of their own big spirit and positive wind from the night before, they had the room feeling like it was their
show for a little while with one of the most dominant opening sets
I’ve seen in a long time. Fists were pumping, people leapt onto shoulders and a pit ignited, all for them. Yeah, it looks like they got a posse
in Orlando. The band just signed to heavyweight indie Polyvinyl Records
and have yet to release a full-length (due out later this year), but the buzz on Beach Slang is real.
Not to be mistaken for experimental folk act and former Bon Iver
Austin rockers Megafauna
are a newer trio trying to be a direct wormhole between ‘90s alt-rock
and classic guitar rock.
They don’t take the freshest angle on either but they shred seriously enough that they should probably just go all in
on the hard rock.
This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene.
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