The ever-sexy Happy Valley
Prior to the prime of locals like Matt Kamm (Telethon, Me Chinese) and Timothy Murray (Moon Jelly, Zenas Fisk, Auto Chlor), the kooks of Happy Valley were the reigning kings of Orlando's freak-rock scene. Although they just played their first local show in a year last night (June 8, Will's Pub), it’s been probably several since I last saw them.
In that time, a roster change has replaced keyboardist Rogier van Etten with Danny Feedback, a storied local artist whose taste for oddity and mischief is as ideal of a match for this band as can be imagined. In this new arrangement, the keytar is replaced by a traditional bass that more than makes up expressive ground through a wild arsenal of pedals. The result is a harder-hitting sound that recalls the punch and crunch of their earlier days, and it's a good return. This is a band whose sonic backbone is wildman (and bear dream) Evan Shafran – a guy who plays his drumsticks backwards like little clubs – so the added rock makes for a more logical, unified and forceful sound.
This performance had none of the sensational DIY props that Happy Valley was doing way before Andy Matchett and the Minks, but it didn’t need any of that. No, just seeing one of the most wildly original bands this city has ever birthed revived and reloaded was as much as anyone could ask for of a show. And as this set reminded even me, Happy Valley could easily step back in the scene and still be among the cream of the weird crop. Now that they’re back practicing on the reg, that may just happen. So stay tuned.
Read more This Little Underground:
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.