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Monday, April 6, 2015

This Little Underground: Why the Space Station is Orlando's next great DIY hope

Posted By on Mon, Apr 6, 2015 at 10:56 AM

click to enlarge The Space Station
  • The Space Station

As ganglia for some entire underground scenes, DIY venues are a vital, incubating component to any broader scene worth its salt. Now imagine if they were sustainable. The Space Station, recently covered in Orlando Music News, is a relative newcomer that might just be.

At the terminus of a street in the western industrial fringe of College Park (2539 Coolidge Avenue), the Space Station is a warehouse-cum-underground-clubhouse that’s a genuine DIY zone without any of the shithole connotations that implies. What’s more, though there’s a lounge space with turntable and vinyl library, there’s enough artwork and equipment around (screen printing, woodworking, brewing, rehearsal, etc.) to certify this as a place of creative industry and not just some basic scene hang. The recent F.N. Hostile event (April 2) had a communal vibe with people breaking literal bread together before the show – like a chill little house party, only with face-blasting live music. Situated in the bowels of the joint, the performance space is a concrete show box with a corner riser and even some lights and a disco ball, presumably for nights other than this heavy-metal congress.

All events are BYOB and free, but donations are accepted for performing artists and venue operation. Shows are early and end by 10:00 pm because of the noise ordinance, which was pretty well observed the night I was there. But even for a heavy show like this, the sound was pretty contained from the outside.

click to enlarge Powerful Black Power at the Space Station
  • Powerful Black Power at the Space Station

Of the local openers, Mom and Dan shot the straightest with simple, dirty and effective punk metal. Stocked entirely with members of Primary Colors, Orlando’s Powerful Black Power packed a lot of Primary Colors’ daring and humor but with even more hues. Like some sort of metal jazz, their blackened, experimental sound was a kaleidoscopic and constantly moving target, in turns technical, towering, explosive and swarming.

Georgia headliner Dead Hand, however, was a finished and widescreen experience. With keyboard-expanded instrumentation and the panorama of post-metal, they’re like a truly doomed Red Sparowes whose bleak beauty unfurls like a slow-mo sweep over the ruins of fallen kingdoms. And even in a small, windowless room, the deliberate slow-burn of their music was oceanic.

click to enlarge Dead Hand at the Space Station
  • Dead Hand at the Space Station

As a DIY venue, the Space Station might actually work because it seems to have a chassis that’s not wholly built on the erratic lifeline of alms from sub-cultural youth with big ideals but often little means. Look, I wish money didn’t necessarily have to be a factor either but, as much as purists try their damnedest to force it there, art and culture don’t exist in a vacuum. That’s just life, kids. Because of its somewhat established bedrock and model, however, the Space Station may just have a better chance of survival than past failed missions. And having its shit together alone makes it especially worth supporting. Keep up with its happenings (


This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene.

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