Friday, February 2, 2018

The growing command of Boytoy, the good returns of Timothy Eerie and Yogurt Smoothness, and the new looks of Will's Pub

Posted By on Fri, Feb 2, 2018 at 4:16 PM

THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
Boytoy, Timothy Eerie and Yogurt Smoothness, Will’s Pub, Jan. 31
click to enlarge Boytoy at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Boytoy at Will's Pub
On their latest Orlando stop, Boytoy – the Brooklyn band that’s now multi-state like many bands are becoming in this modern era – showed that they’re sharpening their aesthetic like a knife.
click to enlarge Boytoy at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Boytoy at Will's Pub
click to enlarge Boytoy at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Boytoy at Will's Pub
click to enlarge Boytoy at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Boytoy at Will's Pub
Their sound has always been a distilled thing. A little ‘90s alt-rock and a lot of ‘60s garage attitude, it’s economical rock & roll that keeps a simple focus on fun and fuzz. But while they stayed cool and in the pocket like always, their live advance traded in the easy vibes and kept it tough. On stage, they’re becoming total bosses.
click to enlarge Boytoy at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Boytoy at Will's Pub
It’s been a long, strange trip with opening local band Timothy Eerie, and not always in a good way, as evidenced by my roller-coaster coverage of them. They started out good and then got increasingly boring by worshiping too literally at the psych-rock altar.
click to enlarge Timothy Eerie at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Timothy Eerie at Will's Pub
click to enlarge Timothy Eerie at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Timothy Eerie at Will's Pub
Now, it seems they’ve pivoted back to their early promise, shedding much of their sophomoric hippie baggage. Back down to a quintet from a clan that once bloated to nine members, they’ve returned to real rock with frontman Casey Lerman rediscovering his guitar guts and delivering some good acid burnouts. Nice to see this band get up on their literal and figurative feet again and get back to the power that first distinguished them.
click to enlarge Timothy Eerie at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Timothy Eerie at Will's Pub
click to enlarge Timothy Eerie at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Timothy Eerie at Will's Pub
Speaking of getting back, Orlando duo Yogurt Smoothness also popped up on this bill. Longtime local torchbearers of the great two-piece rock band tradition, they’ve been relatively quiet since their salad days of championing the format with the biannual Two Piece Mini Fest that ran at the early part of the decade. After seeing them again for the first time in probably years, it’s nice to see that these guys haven’t cleaned up their act and instead have just dug their heels in deeper, sounding even more bruising than before.
click to enlarge Yogurt Smoothness at Will's Pub - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • Yogurt Smoothness at Will's Pub
Yogurt Smoothness are grunge in the most elemental, tormented and desperate sense, a throwback to the underground roots that only true heads know about and not the bullshit crossover stuff that ended up dominating the airwaves and killing alternative rock. These guys were doing the ‘90s before it was cool again. And if they were scrappy when they first emerged, now they’re nastier with the goods to really sludge it out.
click to enlarge Yogurt Smoothness at Will's Pub - BAO LE-HUU
  • Bao Le-Huu
  • Yogurt Smoothness at Will's Pub
But let’s talk about the venue itself. Amid all the talk about this historic high tide of fresh new music spots rising, one venerable institution that’s not sitting idly by resting on its street cred laurels, though it could, is Will’s Pub. Anticipating the oncoming surge of competition, Will’s is visibly stepping up its game, and the sights are set on atmosphere.

Probably the most conspicuous upgrade so far is the huge video screen in the front game room. Besides opening a whole new visual potential there, it now simulcasts all performances and projects almost life size, which will pay major dividends at sellout shows like the upcoming Big Freedia concert (Mar. 31).

But less obvious, though just as experientially critical, is the more thoughtful light balance throughout the various rooms of the venue. Pay attention next time you’re there and you’ll see. The mood is much deeper and places the emphasis where it should be: the music room. All this means is that the energy is concentrated more optimally and everyone looks sexier. Win-win. Look for even more vibe-enhancing measures to roll out soon, including post-show music programming that’ll ensure the party doesn’t stop after that last encore. Even further evidence that this old dog has some fun new tricks is the unveiling of Uncontrollable Urge, a new Sunday dance night featuring classic alternative rock that will officially launch in March but is being sneak-peaked on Feb. 12.


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

Follow Bao on Twitter (@baolehuu)
Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com


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