Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Led by Dan Terminus, strong synthwave bill takes Orlando back to the future

Posted By on Tue, Sep 25, 2018 at 2:33 PM

click to enlarge Moondragon at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Moondragon at Will's Pub
THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
Dan Terminus, Moondragon, Gregorio Franco and ACP PRO, Will’s Pub, Sept. 23

I’ve already noted how interesting and fortunate it is that Orlando-based promoter Endoxa Booking – most famous for being a leading impresario of heavy music – has lately expanded into indie rap with such taste and commitment. But another nice newer tendril for Endoxa is that it’s also grown into one of the city’s bigger patron saints of synthwave.
click to enlarge Moondragon at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Moondragon at Will's Pub
With synthwave, everything is back to the future. And the surge in underground popularity of the retro-futurist sub-genre in recent years has proven it to be one pretty hot fever right now. This Endoxa showcase was another warp back into that singular dimension where the digital dreams of the 1980s live on in amber.
click to enlarge Dan Terminus at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Dan Terminus at Will's Pub
To their considerable credit, the artists on this bill all understand the live limitations of presenting electronic music. With each of them bringing their own stage production including individual light rigs and visuals, there were no half-steppers here.
click to enlarge Dan Terminus at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Dan Terminus at Will's Pub
click to enlarge Dan Terminus at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Dan Terminus at Will's Pub
Curiously enough, the only one who didn’t bring much in the way of visual aids was French headliner Dan Terminus.
click to enlarge Dan Terminus at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Dan Terminus at Will's Pub
But as an artist of some stature in the game, what he brought instead was an extraordinary degree of actual live play for an electronic artist. That’s special enough to earn him major concert points. Add in the crushing synth sounds of his sweeping sonic voyages and you’ve got gold.
click to enlarge Moondragon at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Moondragon at Will's Pub
Orlando’s Moondragon – who performed against a backdrop of lasers and his trademark 1980s action movie montages – has one of the most perfected synthwave aesthetics around. This homegrown talent is such a brilliantly textbook exemplar that he’s almost singlehandedly given me a fresh and heightened appreciation of the genre. Seriously, drive to his songs and your commute will be transformed. If we could broadcast his music into every car driving through the massive I-4 overhaul, we would all be navigating through that clusterfuck at 90 mph like a Blue Angels routine.
click to enlarge Gregorio Franco at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Gregorio Franco at Will's Pub
Atlanta’s Gregorio Franco was, by far, the most rock-influenced act of the lot, at least on record. Live, the guitars on his songs were less prevalent. But that spirit wholly fueled his heavy-metal techno set, which looked and sounded like Gost’s headbanger little brother.
click to enlarge Gregorio Franco at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Gregorio Franco at Will's Pub
Franco’s accent may be electronic, but his vocabulary is pure metal. And his addition to the party were lights that were sound-activated, which the crowd had fun with as soon as they realized it.
click to enlarge Gregorio Franco at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Gregorio Franco at Will's Pub
Even among this strong cast, one of the most distinctive acts of the night was Florida duo ACP PRO. Though they feature plenty of the usual cinematic flourishes that are de rigueur to synthwavers, what sets them apart is their beat DNA. More than most of their instrumental contemporaries, their beats are central to their heartbeat and architecture.
click to enlarge Gregorio Franco at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Gregorio Franco at Will's Pub
With a rhythmic topography that can range from electronic body music to sleek, kicking electro, these guys craft a rare spot that can be shared by industrial warriors and bass heads alike. While others cast widescreen visions, ACP PRO dive under with the thump of a subterranean pulse.
click to enlarge Gregorio Franco at Will's Pub - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Gregorio Franco at Will's Pub
Follow Bao on Twitter (@baolehuu)
Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com

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