This Little Underground 

Our live music columnist talks about a new record club and reviews Tera Melos and Blood Ceremony.

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Are you following this story on the city’s suspiciously quiet campaign to change downtown regulations? If you’re an owner of a bar, club or venue, you better be.

At first glance, what pops most is the extended hour of drinking Thursday through Saturday. Extending bar hours – the white whale of Orlando nightlife – is itself a fine idea. But in its totality, the overall bundle of proposals is just fucking stupid. I’ve seen one version of the presentation the city made to bar owners and it’s misguided, half-baked and illogical. As it looks now, it’s the kind of unfair thing that happens when government over-regulates.

Bar/club/venue owners, pay attention to this. Downtown sources have expressed to me lots of serious and legitimate concern. So far, the city’s backed off of some aspects of the proposal due to pushback from downtown homeowners, which shows they’re somewhat sensitive to public outcry. That’s why business owners need to mobilize and get more vocal to be heard. It’s a still-developing story (Editor’s note: Check OW next week for our reporting), but the gears of the machine are in motion. Get into the conversation, pressure your city commissioner and make sure it’s not happening in the dark. Those in the immediately affected urban core should reach out to Commissioner Daisy Lynum (, Commissioner Patty Sheehan ( or, hell, Hizzoner himself (

The Beat

As one of the city’s best-known music critics, Jason Ferguson is famous for his high-concept writing as an OW contributor, his high-concept music events and just his all-around, high-concept self. His latest is a record club, an idea that’s simple but ambitious. It’s the first such effort of real public profile I know of. In theory, I love it, but in practice, so much could flop. That’s why I’m especially happy to report it didn’t.

From what I could tell, the inaugural congress (May 13, Lil’ Indies) – which convened to absorb Prince’s Dirty Mind – drew about a dozen or so people specifically for the occasion (including some notable local musicians) and not just casual bar patrons. Lo and behold, actual spirited discussion organically combusted after the listening.

Is your idea of music listening bigger than ear buds on your personal device? Then this is for you. It’s an open group ( that meets monthly. By totally random drawing, I was selected to pick the next record we’ll be digesting. I have ideas but am open to suggestions.

Oh, man, Toronto retro-doom act Blood Ceremony (May 11, Backbooth) is great and ridiculous. On one hand, they have ’70s metal grooves that are legitimately dark and heavy. On the other, they have a goddamned flute. Moreover, the occult and macabre tendencies of singer Alia O’Brien verge on parody – think Elvira minus the winking comedy. That said, I fully endorse their haunted-house organs.

Later on Mills (Will’s Pub), England’s TTNG (formerly This Town Needs Guns) shone with sparklingly technical guitar pop. They’ve got plenty of mathematic dynamism going on, but their progressions are light, airy and unburdened. In fact, they’re incredibly melodic with a clear sense of song. Any band that reaffirms the fact that intellect doesn’t have to be cumbersome is a band worth championing.

Sacramento headliner Tera Melos is wearing their newfound, blissful straightforwardness very, very well. Like TTNG, the way they balance technicianship with spirit and melody is infinitely dig-able. But math bands aren’t supposed to be so physically rousing as to incite moshing and stage-diving, are they?

Apparently, Tera Melos didn’t think so because this hyped crowd – which took one of their adult-sized stage dummies for a crowd-surf – made them nervous enough to say something about it more than once. Well, tough titty, muchacho. That’s how we do sometimes. I only wish it were more often.

Beartoe is the new project by Roberto Aguilar, former frontman of notable DeLand band Dish. With a full five-piece band, his recent stand (May 14, Tanqueray’s) showcased a mélange of folk and blues, both old and contemporary styles. And though this is probably the most straightforward of his sounds, Aguilar delivered it with the most seasoned soul I’ve seen of him yet.


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