THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND 


;The pairing of think-rap troupe Sol.illaquists of Sound and y'allternative band the Heathens at the Social last Friday seemed a stretch, despite them being two of the best acts in town. A cool idea, yes, but a long shot nonetheless. Rather than a polarized ;middle-school dance, however — or worse, a barroom brawl — it was a display of exciting and encouraging diversity that made me more than a little bit … sniff … proud.

;;The Heathens were enjoyable as always. The big news on them is they recently landed a pedal-steel player, which is about the most perfect addition to their sound imaginable. Though they still need to improve the integration of that particular twang, they're gonna be a force to be reckoned with once those majestic wilts are harnessed. And a chuckle-worthy current-events touch was the phrase "Don't Arrest Me" scrawled on the kick drum.

;;Kicking up the mercury even more were the Sol.illaquists, whose performances are some of the most spiritual secular experiences you're ever likely to have. Having passion is one thing — it's their calling card — but they have a way of getting every last person in the room on that same kinetic wavelength. Groundbreaking MPC virtuoso DiVinci plays electronic instruments as organically as a guitarist and with the same sort of crazed enthusiasm, so it was only fitting that he knocked out an inspired version of Jimi Hendrix's "Star-Spangled Banner." To close, they brought the Heathens back onstage to play a huge-sounding encore that somehow worked.

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;Dinosaurs rock

;;It takes time to build legacy; that's why legends are usually old. Still, the two legendary acts that swung through town last week came to rock. A reassuring testament to the embalming powers of alcohol, hard-partying punk geezers Gang Green aren't only still ticking, they're still kicking. The Beantown heroes' wild and forceful performance last Saturday at Back Booth ripped the hardcore proper and made a rough crowd go ape. The moral of the story? That grossly prolonged adolescence is perfectly acceptable if you bring it hard enough.

;;Even older and more legendary is surf-rock god Dick Dale, who played the Social. Despite being eligible for full Social Security benefits, the guitar giant showed little sign of rust, living up to his mythic reputation with effortless, watertight shredding. Actually witnessing his inimitable style was nothing short of impressive — the wave-tumbling fury of his staccato picking being that much bigger live — but what's up with him sporting a Dick Dale T-shirt? Hell, not even he's cool enough to get away that.

;;Dale's opening act, Scott H. ;Biram — a much younger gun whose bag is the blues — was no slouch himself. The one-man band is something I have an eternally soft spot for. Some are certainly better than others, but this Texas boy happens to be among the best. With a patina that's intentionally primal, dusty and rough, his resemblance to the great Bob Log III is more than just passing, though Biram's interpretation handles the blues with more reverence.

;;Florida's own soil has sprouted some young blues torchbearers as well, specifically Jacksonville's Mofro, who played House of, uh, Blues on Saturday. You ;hippie-lite types who follow this band and I don't have much in common, but I'm with you on this one. Their blues-rock is not only stroked with lots of attention to nuance, but it also smolders with soul and humidity, thanks to JJ Grey's textured voice. This performance showed even more advances in their sound, particularly Daryl Hance's atmospherically rich slide-guitar playing. Though not quite as pumping as the Black Keys, Mofro is definitely one of the bright stars on the scene making the blues relevant to a younger generation.

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;Back & black

;;Narrow schtick, felony conviction — shit, it seems nothing can stop the Afro-punk juggernaut of Jacksonville's Whole Wheat Bread. When bassist Nick Largen (brother of drummer Joseph) was sentenced to seven years last summer for holding up a quick-lube station and leading police on a high-speed chase in New York, things looked grim for the trio. However, the retooled WWB recently debuted on Billboard's "Heatseekers Chart" (No. 8 in the "West North Central" region), with sales topping 15,000 albums. This summer you'll even hear them on … Hoo-WHUT?! … the upcoming album from Lil Jon. E-YAY-uh! The King of Crunk himself, along with Rancid's Tim Armstrong, will in turn appear on a song for their next album, dropping this summer on Fighting Records. WWB is also about to embark on a 36-city headlining tour with three other Florida bands in tow.

baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com

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