Feedback: Off the Avenue Live, Venue 578 and The Fest

Music updates from around town

When I first made it out to North Avenue Studios, I kinda edged my way slowly up the long, dusty drive, unsure I was in the right place. At the end of my crawl, though, I came face to face with a rustic outdoor stage that looked ripped from a classy small-town fair (you know, the kind they have this time of year in New England to celebrate apple harvests or whatever). I caught my breath a little and had to know immediately if they planned to hold concerts in the fall or if it was just for private use. Turns out it’s the former, and the inaugural Off the Avenue Live concert features Thomas Wynn and the Believers with the Groove Orient and Hannah Harber at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, out in Orange City (2250 N. Volusia Ave.). It’s $5 with Free-Wil Barbecue and beers provided by new DeLand brewery Persimmon Hollow Brewing Company, not to mention it will become a monthly opportunity to glimpse the impressive facilities and even see yourself in an official Off the Avenue video, since they’ll be rolling film all night. To celebrate the occasion, this month’s Off the Avenue video took a different twist, and we brought Thomas Wynn and the Groove Orient’s Tommy Shugart and Chuck Magid to the Persimmon Hollow brewery for a band-on-band interview. Check out the video below, which covers everything from the hair-raising governor’s race to hair care tips. See you at the BBQ?

Firestone Live officially made the changeover to push their new name and brand identity as Venue 578. I took a walk by the venue to see if they’d made any modifications to the exterior and definitely caught them in transition. They’ve printed the new logo and temporarily taped it over the old flame on their doors and seem to be in limbo still, but the website,, is officially up and running, so you can keep up with concerts and parties there. November is particularly exciting – Joey Bada$$, Juicy J and MAKJ perform within weeks of one another – and the year ends with Orlando’s first chance to check out Gwar’s new frontwoman, Vulvatron, on Dec. 5. We’ll be watching eagerly to learn more about what Venue 578 has to offer. (It’s bound to be cool, right? To justify burning the old Firestone flag for good?)

Next week, there’s a ridiculous lot of cool shows heading our way in conjunction with the Fest in Gainesville, so keep your eyes out for announcements on Facebook and fliers around town denoting concerts as “pre-Fest” events. Will’s Pub’s got an international showcase on Monday, Oct. 27, with foreign bands from Australia, Italy, Finland and England, all on one bill. The next day, Mikey Erg! is playing Peacock with a deep, deep lineup of awesome bands including Dikembe and Pup, and if you have not made it by to see that gorgeously demented Shine Shed stage installation, the pre-Fest show on Tuesday, Oct. 28, would be a wild way to make your introductions. Stay healthy, party animals roaming north next weekend – what you do is secret, but leave the germs behind if you can help it!