THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND 


;Wow, tongues on the scene have been wagging overtime about where I left off last week — that is, the disastrous abortion of the Floridas Dying CD release party at the Social that sent Fashion! Fashion! and the Image Boys frontman Erik Grincewicz and Fred Mullins (ex-Fantasie) to the clink. Grincewicz was slapped with a misdemeanor charge of "exposure of sexual organs" for allegedly performing sans pants and Mullins a felony charge of "battery of law enforcement officer" for allegedly throwing a drink at an officer.

;;Looking through the haze of hearsay, it's difficult to concretely frame the discourse because I wasn't there, having taken the rare night off from an unusually stacked concertgoing week (remind me never to do that again). But from all the exhaustive accounts I've been able to gather, it seems a measure of questionable judgment was exercised by both the arrestees and the club. What this is shaping up to be is a long chain of little things that combusted when aligned, silliness that simply swelled to debacle. For all parties, this was just one of those nights you regret in the morning.

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;Sticking to the performance-related aspect of the situation, which is all this space needs to address, the club's position is that it was protecting its very livelihood: its liquor license. Like co-owner Michael McRaney said, you can't stand around Bar-BQ-Bar without your pants on either. People don't like to hear such a legally circumspect stance with regard to their party spots; it's somehow perceived as smacking of big business. It is, however, a reality that clubs and bars face and that needs to be understood.

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;Conversely, the golden rule of nightclubs is that you don't involve the police unless absolutely necessary. It's the trigger-happy taking of that final step — universally considered a big one — that's the dubious part of this story. A guy in a punk rock band without pants on doesn't exactly equal a G.G. Allin state of emergency. It's hard to believe that one mischievous singer was too much for a security force that handled a Sick of It All show only two nights before.

;;To be absolutely clear, my purpose here is simply to defend artistic expression and protect the experience of going to concerts. What I don't want to see this incident become is a bad precedent. If it's anything more than an unfortunate anomaly, it could send the local rock clubs into a damaging state of nervous conservatism. It's only rock & roll, man. Not to maintain a sense of humor about it is to miss the whole point.

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;Back to bands

;;Speaking of Floridas Dying and a lack of clothing, wiry punk-wave act Derek Lyn Plastic has recently added a couple of new members. A ridiculously mustachioed Jeff Ilgenfritz (Mumpsy) is now on bass, but the most notable difference is ax-slinger Jenifer Hathaway (also ex-Fantasie), and it's not because she's always minimally clad. It's because she brings some wonderfully nasty guitar tones to the mix and adds more muscle and danger to their sound, with a racy edge of roaring feedback. I've seen this expanded lineup perform twice already and it's easily the best version of DLP yet.

;;I'd bet more people are familiar with Early Cuyler on The Squidbillies (Cartoon Network) than vampire country singer Unknown Hinson, but the voice belongs to the same man. The latter performed at Back Booth last Saturday before a significantly larger crowd than caught his last swing through town. The old boy's pretty famous for his show — Hank III has Unknown's face tattooed on his arm — and he delivered with a smokin' performance. Though he dazzled with his guitar skills, even ripping an impressive Hendrix burnout, the set lay almost uniformly on the rock side of the tracks. After a couple of hours, it got flat without his hard-core country & Western songs.

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;New venue?

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;Unless you care about seeing acts like Jimmy Buffett or Harry Connick Jr., you may not be moved by all this flap about a new arena and performing arts center. But this particular development might wake you up. Club Firestone (they're "rebranding") is currently in talks with the Downtown Development Board to build an amphitheater between the club and I-4 on land it already owns. With it, Firestone is looking to fill the rather sizable gap between large clubs (House of Blues, Hard Rock Live) and the arena. I'm not a fan of outdoor shows, but Florida's weather is famous for a reason and night shows there could be fantastic. Thankfully, the enrichment of the downtown fabric is the current drift; this is an encouraging piece of the pie for the music scene, especially considering the positive direction the club has taken since its renaissance. I'll keep you posted about its progress.

baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com

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