Friday, January 8, 2016

Priest, Saskatchewan and Day Joy weave nocturnal dreams at the Social

Posted By on Fri, Jan 8, 2016 at 3:44 PM

THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND 

click to enlarge Priest at the Social - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Priest at the Social
A recent local show served as a good, consolidated progress report on three of the more noted acts of Orlando’s current indie class (Jan. 7, The Social). Headliner Priest is a slinky, nocturnal electronic-pop act that’s gotten a considerable amount of hip blog love in its couple years of existence. But even with some decent songs, this sonically and vocally thin performance proved that it’s still more of a studio project than anything.

click to enlarge Priest at the Social - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Priest at the Social
The openers, however, were much more built for live play, and it’s been a while since I’ve checked back in on either of them. There is probably nobody around here still seducing the ‘80s as hard as Saskatchewan, the band that first established Chandler Strang as legitimate leading-man material. But these smooth-vibing loverboys are tracing those dreamy neon lines with a more honed hand than ever. This is some serious synth action to slow dance to, guys. Never was the fog machine at this show more aptly deployed than when they were playing.

click to enlarge Saskatchewan at the Social - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Saskatchewan at the Social
click to enlarge Saskatchewan at the Social - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Saskatchewan at the Social
Like Priest and Saskatchewan, Day Joy has seen its share of national attention in recent years, emerging in 2013 as one of Orlando’s most promising breakouts with a nationally released and pushed album (Go to Sleep, Mess) under the Frenchkiss label umbrella. But after the core creative duo shrank to just frontman Michael Serrin, the band has practically fallen off even the local radar in the search to redefine itself.

click to enlarge Day Joy at the Social - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Day Joy at the Social
Now with a completely retooled five-piece lineup, Day Joy’s pillowy folk-pop sounded less psychedelic and more melodically distinct, but still rich in floating atmosphere. What’s more, though still purposefully sedate, some of the new material performed was highly clarified with quiet drama, as if someone’s been listening to a lot of the National lately. It’s a smart move that really showcases Serrin’s elegant songwriting.

click to enlarge Day Joy at the Social - MICHAEL LOTHROP
  • Michael Lothrop
  • Day Joy at the Social
I’m not sure why Day Joy’s comeback has been so slow but it looks like some wheels are moving again with work on new recordings. After seeing them shine again on stage, let’s hope that this is sign of something beginning again.

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This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene.

Follow Bao on Twitter (@baolehuu)
Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com

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