This Little Underground

RIP, Les Paul. Where would rock music be without him?

The beat

The haymaker of the week came via the one-two punch of Davila 666 and Jacuzzi Boys (Aug. 9, Will's Pub). In their headlining set, Puerto Rican troublemakers Davila 666 kicked out boozed-up, balls-out garage rock that's as dirty and infectious as a used needle. The hot, sloppy steez that these San Juan bad boys served up is the live rock & roll experience par excellence.

The performance by Miami psychedelic garage merchants Jacuzzi Boys featured more octane and fiery guitar heroics this time around. What makes these cats solid in my book is that they're a product of the garage scene whose path toward credibility is through sonic depth instead of willful adherence to institutional amateurishness. Considering the tunnel vision and conservatism endemic to that hidebound audience, there's a noble degree of courage in that course. No doubt about it, Jacuzzi Boys are the real rock deal.

The Bluetooth Ban (Aug. 11, Bar-BQ-Bar) is the latest branch in the knotty world of Telethon Veginald Cheeseburger (the nom de plume of experimental musician Matt Kamm). He describes the full-band project as a more straightforward rock act, which is true but relative. As this performance validated, it's a punky garage-pop bash-out that hits pretty directly. But in Kamm's lexicon, "straightforward rock" also happens to include that old sit-down organ your elementary school music teacher used to rock in class. "Interesting" is a word that applies to virtually everything Kamm does, but this band is the most spirited project I've seen him involved in yet.

Some out-of-town goings-down I checked in on included the second annual Pop Mayhem, the Gainesville music festival dedicated to the more underground shades of pop. Closing the second night of the four-day event was impressive Gainesville band Averkiou (Aug. 14, the Atlantic). Trading the obligatory somnambulism of shoegaze for sky-streaking, crystalline melodies on guitar, their swerving haze is distinctly musical and has a ringing, wonderfully accessible pop core.

Not quite out of town but oh-so-much-further removed from culture and character is Longwood. Being one of the farther-flung points in the greater metro area, it's one of those places you either live in or get stranded in. And last weekend, I was the latter.

My thirst for nightlife action still persisted, but things were looking dire. I tapped the wide experience of bar and club guru Kelly Fitzpatrick and even she had little to offer in the way of advice. Still, that ever-reliable determination wasn't gonna just roll over and go to bed.

Digging deep into the junk trunk between my ears, I finally mustered a scrap that reminded me of the drive-by curiosity I've long harbored for the Post Time Lounge & Cafe on 17-92. So there I went. Immediately upon entry, I was faced with couples twirling about on the dance floor and a live band (house act Lucky Dogg) complete with pedal steel, and I thought, "Jackpot! Finally, a real country & Western bar." As the night wore on, the band lost some cool points by sprinkling in odd covers (Montell Jordan? Cameo? Huh?), but when the joint's swinging with hard country, this place is found treasure.

In function and vibe, this is an old-fashioned dance hall. And don't be fooled by the age range — which stretched from middle age up into the Social Security years — these are people who know a good time, probably more genuinely than most downtownies. They drink and dance in a socially familial setting completely liberated from the inhibiting, self-conscious politics of cool. Much more than a night out, this was a real party. It's not a completely pristine fossil of a golden-age honky-tonk, but it's as close as I've been able to find in these parts so far, and that's what makes it a prize destination.

Like contemporary country music in general nowadays, the broader country scene around here has been leached of authenticity and soul. Any one of the area's popular country clubs will prove my point. So if a true old-school experience is what you're looking for, pass over Cowboys and Jesse Black Saloon and go directly to the Post Time Lounge. Time has all but forgotten about 'em, and that's just how they like it.

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