All the zeal surrounding this year's historically weighty presidential race makes me genuinely glad and cautiously hopeful. Hell, the fever has even spread onto my own street in a comedic way — there's a yard sign that reads "Geezer/Dingbat" in place of "McCain/Palin," pleasantly dispelling my long-held belief in the humorlessness of my neighbors.

The local music community got in on this hot political action with the well-organized Obamarama Concert for Change (Oct. 17, Plaza Theatre). Besides a brief set by the incomparable Sam Rivers crew, I caught talented local act K-G and the Band delivering their smooth, robust blend of Afrobeat, funk and soul. Were it not for the abyss of cynicism to which the past two elections have banished me, I might have gotten all verklempt when K-G's musical messages of hope were paired with a video montage of stately Obama images. Y'know, probably.

Kinda funny considering this context is a currently circulating poster with a picture of me and Sarah Palin in bed together. Ah, don't even. It was a Photoshop job and purely the creative mischief of the poster's designer, Erin Nolan of the Little Debbies. For the record, I do not endorse Palin, her party or cuddling under the covers with her. Freezing Alaskan toes? Fuck that.

But this slides me into the next point with all the grace and subtlety of a banana peel, which is that my next edition of the Bao Show is this Saturday (Oct. 25, Copper Rocket). Featuring the thick blues-rock bombast of the Ludes, the Southern metal hammer of Hope and Suicide and the math-rock aggression of Tampa's Auto! Automatic!!, this has all the makings of my loudest bill yet. The cream of the area's musical crop, musical fellowship and copious amounts of beer — same deal as always.

The beat

A curious thing happened at Guru's Jazzmatazz reunion show (Oct. 17, Club Firestone). Everyone else on the bill had already performed. Just as the man himself was expected to hit the stage, some other dude tells the DJ to kill the music, picks up the mic and announces that Guru is "ill" — clearly not in the hip-hop sense — and would not be performing. Utter disbelief ensued. Now, I heard some secondhand rumors but, due to the weekend, was unable to get any official confirmation on them. `Guru's reps say he is "unavailable for comment." Firestone is refunding all tickets.` But this sudden illness better have involved bad shellfish or some shit like that, not the surprisingly thin crowd. If true, I hope he's feeling better. But snubbing even a single paying attendee for almost any other reason would just be a bitch move.

Among the shows that actually occurred was San Francisco DJ Mike Relm's (the Social, Oct. 14). His furiously fun DJ/VJ concept is manifested live by cleverly designed sets that runneth over with crowd-wowing tricks, and this performance was another pulse-jacking affirmation of him as the party DJ par excellence. Amid rumors that his tour was not selling well, it was particularly nice to see Orlando step up and give some big love to a deserving talent.

A local standout over the weekend was Ocean Giants, whose detailed, moody post-rock was expressive enough that they could easily function as an instrumental band (Oct. 18, Taste). But the technical abilities of the two other acts on the bill, Open Windows and Due Panic, were thwarted by a lack of stylistic clarity.

The need to get back to my hermanos y hermanas notwithstanding, I stepped back into the '80s Florida nightlife zeitgeist that is Classic Freestyle night (Tabu, Oct. 15) mainly for Debbie Deb. Most of the night's featured acts have been less remarkable second-wave revivalists, so a genuine first-wave pioneer is a big deal. Her creative endurance proved limited, but the legacy of her one-two punch of "Lookout Weekend" and "When I Hear Music" remains powerful in dance music circles and, well, roller rinks. The stark, vaguely ominous instrumentation set her apart from her more glitzy, stylized contemporaries.

The brief show was basically a track act that was more about star presence and nostalgia — compared to real bands, the performance value was meager. But, unlike the chin-stroking detachment of the indie scene, the worth of this experience came from a crowd that, rather than be crippled by crushing self-consciousness, was just ready to dance.

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About The Author

Bao Le-Huu

Music columnist.
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