So I watched the season opener of Jersey Shore. But more surprising than the fact that I just admitted that publicly was that I recognized a song on the show as one by none other than former local band Gasoline Heart (“Look Up Baby, You’re Bleeding”). In terms of Garden State pedigree, they’re more Springsteen than fist-pumping house music. But, hey, good for them. Also on that same episode? A song by lively Clearwater garage-rockers Très Bien. Possibly cool, definitely weird.
One interesting happening this week was the Two-Piece Mini-Fest (Jan. 6, Will’s Pub). Once you get over the fact that this event had nothing to do with fried chicken (Boo!), it’s clear that the all-duo showcase is a pretty dope idea. And the bands played on the floor so this was all about connection and intimacy.
I’ve seen local duo Yogurt Smoothness before but usually under fleeting conditions. This, however, was a noteworthy display of their overdriven, garage-licked rock sound. They’re still technically shaky at times, but their spirit’s on. The looseness isn’t a deal-breaker considering their uncontained style. Still, improved tightness would only make them kick harder. Most importantly, this set was more intense and grabbing than any I’ve seen from them before. Go see for yourself at their upcoming EP release party (Jan. 26, Stardust Video & Coffee). But there’s still the issue of that name.
One of 2010’s honeymoons, the formerly girlfriend-boyfriend duo Wilbur, chose the occasion of the festival for their swan song. What? You mean a band predicated almost exclusively on young love didn’t last? Nuh-uhhh. At any rate, it was a spirited exit and a nice final hurrah. Instead of the usual stuff us poor fuckers have to endure, like meltdowns, broken windshields and 911 calls, their breakup was chest-swelling, floor-shaking catharsis. Damn them.
I have a pretty huge affinity for the two-piece band aesthetic so I’m totally for ideas like the Two-Piece Mini-Fest and would love to see it, or others like it, become a recurring thing.
I also checked in on Golden Age Wednesdays, a new night at new-ish downtown club the Attic. The club’s programming isn’t exactly on the live music tip, nor is most of it really my bag. But this DJ night looked like the most attractive opportunity to suss things out at the former AKA Lounge, a room I’ve always loved and had high hopes for. The upscale gestures of the new place don’t matter much to me, but I’m glad this prime loft space is back in some sort of action.
A decent mix of R&B, freestyle and hip-hop, the jams had a decidedly old-school emphasis – roughly around the time of British Knights and stretching way back to Adidas shell tops in shoe years. The format was a mix of party and nostalgia that could easily become a success. Three-dollar Heinekens don’t hurt either.
It’s a pity, though, that live music doesn’t look like it’s going to be on the Attic’s menu. Wouldn’t want to ruin those indoor South Beach cabanas or anything.
The Pauses’ album release party (Jan. 8, Back Booth) was an outstanding production of rare elaborateness. A transformation more on par with theater than a rock concert, the stage was completely fashioned into a cozy vintage living room. Echoing the set design was the warmth and plush vibes of their sound, expanded greatly by the cello accompaniment of Gordon Withers. In fact, the performance was a properly realized showing for the long-awaited occasion. The Pauses have long been one of the city’s most finished, mature and clarified bands. For so many reasons, they should be Orlando’s next breakout indie band.
But now that they have a really strong record out – one that has the esteemed names of indie icon J. Robbins (producer) and Tampa’s reputable New Granada record label attached to it – they’ll hopefully get broader recognition, finally. If there’s an act that deserves it, it’s the Pauses. Just look at the how robust and tangible both this show and the album’s lovingly crafted packaging and art are. It’s illustrative of an invested band that has a meaningful, high-quality and high-value approach to presenting people with music. And that’s why there was a line of young fans waiting at the foot of the stage as soon as the house lights came on to get merch signed.