9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22 | Uncle Lou’s Entertainment Hall, 1016 N. Mills Ave. | 407-898-0009 | $5
Orlando’s Golden Pelicans don’t lug a laptop to their show or endlessly loop their ruddy garage punk to encourage wallflowers to sink further into the shadows. When singer Erik Grincewicz takes the stage, the audience is forced to respond in kind to his boozy aggressions, whether that’s whipping a mic cable overhead at Uncle Lou’s or chucking a beer can at you while his face turns purple to form that gargled growl critics struggle to describe and friends say sounds like someone just ripped the cord on a lawnmower.
“I think a lot of people these days will hide behind effects pedals on their guitars, or people are having laptop parties,” Grincewicz says. “You know, it’s like a guy playing a laptop, and I just think that’s chicken shit. You’re not gonna have a crazy, visceral experience or see somebody bleeding out of their forehead if they’re sitting there with nine guitar pedals going. It’s not going to happen. You’re not going to throw beers at that guy; you’re not gonna make out with a girl. You’re gonna stand in the corner with your hands in your pockets.”
Grincewicz grew up on heavy music, and the Sex Pistols were a revelation to him at 11 or 12 years old. That led him to experience firsthand a dangerous, notorious South Florida scene where metal band Raped Ape ruled and crowd violence was a horrifying rush for hardened show-goers.
“The first show I ever went to was in a skating rink in West Palm, and there was this band Raped Ape that played, and they were totally badass,” Grincewicz says. “There were skinheads beating the shit out of everybody; it was really violent and terrifying. That was something, like, those guys were gods in West Palm at that time.”
In Orlando now, Golden Pelicans continue the intense tradition. Releasing their first LP this month, Golden Pelicans, the band tours the U.S. this fall, including a stop in the North Georgia woods for Meltasia (Sept. 5-7) on a packed lineup featuring Cherie Currie and Black Lips. The Total Punk band, which calls itself “Orlando’s oldest pile of trash,” previously released a succession of singles to critical nods and performed live on WFMU in April, but long before all that, Grincewicz recalls first meeting drummer Rich Evans at a show where Evans was covered in dirt and running around naked at the old Will’s Pub.
They joined up with guitarist Scott Barnes and bassist Sammy Meneses, sharing a mutual interest in ’60s garage punk, including more obscure bands like the Rats, whose song “The Rat’s Revenge Part II” is where the band’s name comes from.
Walking home from work, drunk, Grincewicz played the song, listening as the Rats narrated a story about their pretend gang and with a weaselly chuckle sang, “The Golden Pelicans have challenged us to meet in the parking lot of the supermarket, 11:30 Friday night. But we’re gonna chicken out, ha ha ha, ’cause we don’t like to fight.”
Between bands, Grincewicz thought it could be cool to riff off the concept and imagine Colonialtown as a crime-zone hellhole and to honor the band by adopting the fake gang name. Although he acknowledges the somewhat prophetic nature of the project with the recent spike in crime in the neighborhood (arson, domestic abuse, vandalism), his real opinion of the Mills 50 strip that forms the Pelicans’ turf is that overall, Orlando can’t complain.
“We’re lucky,” Grincewicz says. “We have so many good bars in this place, like Uncle Lou’s and Peacock. Those places – a lot of towns only have, like, one bar. Or they have no bar, and they have to do shows at somebody’s house. That sucks. We have three awesome bars on one strip that do shows.
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