Some landscape shifts to report this week: First, Will's Pub is becoming a compound!Owner Will Walker is taking over the adjacent space to the pub's immediate south. Although this is huge news, details are still in flux – even the name (tentatively Lil Indie's). And you should temper your expectations, according to what Walker tells me. Like its mother, the new place will celebrate the independent spirit, but mainly as an art space. This doesn't mean there won't be drinks and music – just no smoking, no ghetto beer and moodier, more atmospheric acts. The target opening, I'm told, is September. But keeping in mind the historical luck of Will's Pub, assume that estimate to be based more on wishes than science. Regardless, you heard this sketchy, wildly subject-to-fate news here first.
Speaking of fancy dranks, a dramatic change to check out is the fresh overhaul of the main room configuration at Redlight Redlight that allows the stage to more fully command the atmosphere during shows. Such a revamp would be wasted if the bar hadn't rededicated itself to live music more regularly. That's something worth raising a very obscure, probably over-your-head beer to.
Finally, sadly, Gainesville live music institution Common Grounds will be ending its impressive 15-year run at the end of this month. But regrettin' time ain't here quite yet. Your last chance for a proper adios is their final blowout: the two-day Summer Jam (June 25-26).
Every Monday, the Audubon Park Community Market offers a cool, conscientious and intensely local vibe that's a must, especially for downtowners. As the spiritual fire around which people huddle, live music is a central feature of the experience. Like the indigenous merchants, the acts are generally curated thoughtfully. Few things spell a thriving community better than a free show in a lively market setting filled with friends, families and dogs every week.
A recent one featured upstate New York's Christopher Bell (June 13), an indie cellist who performs solo using the ever-effective loop-and-layer technique. He works his primary instrument with a bow, plays it like a guitar and knocks it for percussion. Although he ranges widely from clean bedroom pop to lo-fi strumming to straight-up folk, his execution is a little too sleepy and sterile at times. But I can think of about a million less interesting music choices for this kind of event.
Later was another crowded, high-quality free show (Will's Pub). Didn't I tell you there was promise in this model? Anyway, it's where the left-field sensibilities of Florida-Georgia border-hoppers Jane Jane Pollock finally gelled for me. With a cornucopia of sounds beyond the basic rock setup (vibey keys, horns, electronic dance beats, junkyard percussion and what the fuck ever), they throw odd pop, art rock, spaghetti western and surf into a blender with a big dash of daring. When you mash that disparate of a rainbow together, it's not all gonna land in the right places. But with JJP, they do more often than not, especially in their impressive rhythmic passages involving anywhere from two to four percussionists.
Also playing was Tallahassee's Black Cloud, who bill themselves as "swamp-surf psychedelia." But, in their first Orlando appearance, they were more of a good, straightforward '60s rock & roll band. The first thought you have is, yeah, you've heard this before. But a nanosecond later, you're swept up in it. Hearty, tuneful and a little unleashed, these guys have the stuff to kick up a sweaty dance party. They also prove that punks aren't the only ones with modern-day dibs on garage rock and dusting it off with justice.
A case in point is Orlando trio the Woolly Bushmen (June 12, Will's Pub), another good rock & roll band that does frat rock with skill and spark. And by "frat rock," I strictly mean the original early '60s kind, and not any other, more modern connotation whatsoever. They, too, do the garage thing in a way that opts for traditional fidelity over punk revisionism. And they channel it into party-starting, boogie-down workouts. The latter part of their set even showed some hints of deeper psychedelic possibilities.
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