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This Little Underground 

This is primarily a music and nightlife column but it's also a local-minded space. And with regard to local electricity, it's all about the Orlando Magic. Every year, I track the progress of both the scene and the team, but I never thought the two worlds would ever crossover so completely.

Since the playoffs began, I've had to straddle both and I'm astounded to discover that the buzz of our home team's against-all-odds post-season journey has infiltrated the indie scene. Instead of traditional sports bars, I've been watching games at Will's Pub and Lizzy McCormack's because of their proximity to my beat. That both places were regularly crowded with fans frozen in the television tractor beam is no surprise. What was surprising is the number of scenesters and musicians this included.

They themed their entire last EP around the Magic so the presence of local band Northvia was expected. But other artists I found cheering around me include people from the recently defunct Summerbirds in the Cellar, the Sugar Oaks, Strangers Family Band, Hurrah, Cracker Jackson, DJ B Minus and many others. I'm surrounded by hipsters like these almost every night and would never have imagined that so much macho boisterousness could come from this group. But it did, and I'm impressed.

Though strong from day one, this year's Magic team has been met with an almost universal lack of respect all season long. Remind you of anything? Our own indie scene perhaps? But rather than be defeated or even fazed by the national naysaying, these young bucks just put their heads down and focused on gettin' it done even though nobody was watching. Then everyone else got hip once their accomplishments were so impressive that they could no longer be ignored. You picking up on the lesson here, kids? No one is just gonna give you respect on a platter. Like the Magic this year, you have to get up and take it. How bad do you want it?

On that note, I send a big, thundering high-five to the boys in blue. Cheers to one dope-ass year. Witness? No, TESTIFY, motherfucker. Now go seize destiny.

The Beat

Though the brainy instru-metal of Pelican (May 25, The Social) can get pretty busy, what came through more definitively than before were their mammoth riffs. Leading the charge with that riffage, the Chicago band carved canals through the club in a nasty display of groove, drone and weight.

Next to the ADHD of adventurous alt-metal headliners Isis however, the dynamic Pelican might as well have been Earth. Sure, they demonstrated good qualities like epic hardness and beauty, but elements like goofy keyboard washes show the limits of their often-unchecked experimentation, turning their music into a real wank-a-thon. I suppose the answer should be self-evident by the packed room watching, but does anybody really take that puff stuff seriously?

The joint between Solillaquists of Sound maestro DiViNCi and Beef Wellington was a nice set at the Second Subject Recordings label party (May 27, The Social). Together, they spanned genres that would soundtrack a cosmic lounge nicely. Beef's keyboard lines were made for chill space travel but DiViNCi's pioneering beat science kept things alive, lacing everything with an excitingly restless rhythmic aspect. There's a reason Solillaquists' label boss told me that he believes he sees the future in DiViNCi.

The complete opposite pole — stylistically and intellectually — was just a few blocks over at The Business concert (Back Booth). Instead of the expansion of art, spirit and consciousness that Swamburger's fam explores, these London droogs sing about drinking and driving. Though ever young at heart, punk rock isn't only a young man's game. Take original singer Micky Fitz, who's been bumping around since the late '70s and still whips the Oi! boys into a froth like few can. This long-running band is all about old-school British street punk that's built on rock & roll and sing-along melodies that transform pubs into choirs. And I love it.

Truth is, I can dig this stuff way deeper and more intuitively than the erudite inclinations of some other hardcore factions. It's a tendency that may explain what you might consider the occasional lapses of intellect in this column. Deep down, maybe I'd rather just drink, piss and spunk wherever I damn well please.

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