"Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" MLK said it first, but the management and patrons of Redlight Redlight will soon belt it in unison like a gospel choir.

In the now-foreseeable future, the beer-smart, indie-centric hangout will finally be liberated from the draconian Winter Park bar laws that force it to close at the amateur hour of midnight. Renovation work has been going on for months in a new space, but inspections by authorities are happening as we speak. We're looking forward to the great location (745 Bennett Road, across the street from Roxy) and a larger bar.

Most important to this column, however, is that there will be a heavier emphasis on live music. High-fives all around! As the space that housed Club Nowhere way back in the day, this place can easily function as a live venue. (A lighted stage and PA are among the planned amenities.) Two big shows are already confirmed at the new spot: U.K. punks Leatherface (Nov. 9) and Seattle post-rockers Unwed Sailor (Nov. 11).

But before you bust out the champagne, don't forget the X-factor of dealing with the authorities. Right, Will? So fingers crossed.

Dolled up

Few rock photographers boast a résumé like the legendary Bob Gruen. Filled with evidence of the degree of access that allowed him to become personal photog for icons like John and Yoko, his portfolio is a deep visual repository of rock history. Now you can look through his lens at one of rock's most important bands and, by extension, eras in New York Dolls: Photographs by Bob Gruen, a just-released hardcover. Assembled with loving, deluxe treatment and draped in a dazzling hot-pink satin cover, it's a visual chronicle depicting photo sessions, performances and candid moments that's shot through with remarkable intimacy. Lending perspective to that vibrant, pivotal time are quotes from the mouths of the people who were there — the Ramones, Richard Hell, Debbie Harry and the band members themselves. Also included are interviews with David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain by Lenny Kaye and an afterword by Morrissey.

Yes, the Dolls brought the sizzle, scandal and all-out rock & roll back to music. But as the spark in an artistically pregnant context, their symbolic worth is a million times that. Having directly inspired virtually everyone associated with the birth of punk, they were the herald of a New York scene that would provide a foundation for what we call the underground.

The beat

Your boy scored some real dope this week at Blow Sundays (Sept. 21, Tanqueray's), where I caught some cats up on the mic hatin' on the Weekly for Justin Strout's recent cover story on Orlando hip-hop. We dish the heat, so we can take it too. It's a healthy thing. As for the jawing about our lack of attendance at this event, I hear you loud and clear … mainly because I was sitting right there in the same room.

This weekly event is anchored by a jazz band and has a free-form, improvisational format that's similarly jazzy in philosophy. But this ain't yo daddy's jazz show. It sports a smart pedigree rooted in hip-hop, which is arguably the new jazz anyway. Part open mic and part open session, the musicians essentially engage in a freestyle jam while other contributors jump in at will.

I know, I know, the word "jam" automatically shuts me down too, but this is far from some boring, lily-white circle jerk. This particular night popped with verve and had poets, rappers and even a beatboxer (local phenom Rubox Cube) joining the mix. It's a confluence of jazz and hip-hop that would give Guru serious wood.

Of course, this format wouldn't mean shit if it weren't held down by solid talent. And luckily, the players that populate Blow Sundays know how to hit that collective groove in a way that makes the night feel constantly in the moment. The usually free show (unless there's a special featured act) is the perfect event for the cozy, subterranean environs of Tanqueray's.

It's a gathering worthy of a major metropolis but only had a small-city turnout, which needs to change immediately. (Yeah, I'm looking at you.) Hopefully, this was just an off night.

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About The Author

Bao Le-Huu

Music columnist.
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