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This year's Anti-Pop Music Fest is, well, confusing. The on-the-fly organizational nature of last year's debut festival has been replaced by a patina of professionalism, resulting in the simple math of more bands playing. Local bands aren't being relegated to second-class status like they were last year; in fact, the only show at the outdoor Social Pavilion stage for '06 is one that consists entirely of local bands. Additionally, a larger slate of electronic artists, as well as the inclusion of a rock en Español night, reflect the city's less-publicized scenes.

But with the good comes the, well, confusing. Even though the quantity of national bands has increased, some of the high-profile choices have left us scratching our heads. (Mute Math gets two nights? She Wants Revenge is the marquee act?) Similarly, the locals lineup boasts a surprising number of acts that don't seem to fit well with the "underground" ethos of the festival; that is, bands that aren't bad, but just aren't interesting.

Most frustrating of all, the whole shebang still doesn't feel like a festival, despite locking down the best of downtown's live music venues for a week. There's no all-access pass, and though admittance to some shows will gain you access to other shows, it's not by any means consistent.

But these are minor off-notes that I'm getting out of the way so nobody else can complain about them. It's only Anti-Pop's second year, and it's still being put together by Foundation and Fighting, the same small group of promoters and bookers who launched it last year. To expect perfection would be ridiculous. It's far more important to realize that, by the end of the week, nearly 100 excellent out-of-the-mainstream acts will have graced Orlando's stages. And most of them represent the ideal of a musical community that's more interested in creativity than commercialism. The big-bucks sponsors (like your humble Orlando Weekly) might have dollar signs in their eyes, but the guys and girls on and in front of those stages are motivated by something else entirely.

There's a lot of activity this year, with panels, parties, a keynote by Bob Mould and, obviously, lots and lots of shows. We've highlighted some of the bands playing on the following pages; for the full lineup, check out

The Orlando Weekly's in-depth coverage of the Anti-pop Music Festival continues in the articles below:


— Jason Ferguson

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