10 p.m. Sunday, March 31 | Will’s Pub, 1042 Mills Ave. | willspub.org | $5
Who knew so many people in town would go apeshit for Blink-182 live karaoke?
Not Bubba Smith, the organizer of Sick of It Sundays, who happened into this knowledge when the local band he signed on to do a Gorilla Biscuits cover set had to drop out a week before the show. Smith, who has this admirable way of pursuing his hunches, consulted his then-band Tigerstyle with a last-ditch proposal: Let’s pick a band whose songs we can learn really quickly and promote the crap out of the show during this one week we have. His two guitarists immediately pushed for Blink-182, which not only saved the night, but also established an unforeseeable fandom for a different vibe at SOIS.
“Up until that point, I’d always done bands from like the ’80s. I had done Misfits, Descendents, Minor Threat, and this would be the first time that I branched out from that,” Smith says. “And I was like, you know what? This will be super-easy;
let’s do it.”
The show sold out Backbooth, shocking Smith, and inspired future events around bands like Alkaline Trio, Rancid and Operation Ivy. Of course, the original concept that fostered earlier hardcore and punk nostalgia was not entirely shoved aside, with recent events showing love to the Clash, Minor Threat and Dead Kennedys.
But that initial SOIS cover show evolved from Smith’s instincts, too, after he noticed how many people were unreservedly shouting along during his and Chris Harris’s DJ sets, which was the only format they intended the event to take. He thought: Why not put a microphone on stage and see what happens? That idea led to a conversation with local musician Phil Longo, who immediately signed on, and Longo’s band performed the first cover show, celebrating the music of the Misfits.
What happened after that was exactly what you’d expect from a bunch of hyper, dance-y drunks. People loved it. Eventually, the event shifted from Backbooth to Will’s Pub, where Smith says he found a tremendous amount of support in bar owner Will Walker. It’s lived there ever since, and this week, SOIS will breathe its last there. The cover sets planned pay homage to two of the most energetic nights in the event’s five-year run, featuring Blink-182 and Alkaline Trio songs, in addition to a bonus set of Jawbreaker covers.
“We’re going to try and pack all the good ideas and everything that we can into this last Sick of It Sunday, because this will be the last one we do,” Smith says.
Look – SOIS is for when you’re more invested in the moment than in actually observing the performance. For when you don’t want to hear the singer, you just want to get sweaty and belt the lyrics. It takes the sacredness out of show-going and leaves only the energetic fun, where all you need to go home with an enduringly dopey smile plastered to your face is one thing: It has to be loud. This final night promises to feed that feeling while saying goodbye to the founder, who is packing for a permanent move to Boston.
“I’ve worked here in Orlando for 12 years and have pretty much done everything I meant to do here, so it’s time for new scenery and time to move on,” Smith says.
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