Without getting maudlin about how weird it was to roll into a decor-stripped Will's Pub, I have to say that the last weekend at the Mills Avenue location was a bit of a bummer. Not even bothering with the oversold zoo that was Friday night's Lucero show, I took in Saturday night's mixed-bag bill — Bughead, Ben Prestage and Bob Log III. And it was the very definition of why Will's will be missed: a legendary local ska-punk band, a bearded one-man band (with two sidemen) and the boob-centric trash-blues of a for-real one-man band. All were greeted enthusiastically by a small crowd.
It's true that the last Saturday at Will's was kind of an attendance bomb; I'd guess about 125 people attended throughout the night, but I'm notoriously bad at this kind of estimate. Yet, had it been otherwise, it just wouldn't have seemed right. After all, the lineup was a crystalline reflection of Will's taste in music, a peculiar diversity that not too many other folks share. But those who do share it are enthusiastic in their love. (That so many people share his long-running passion for Lucero is a fluke.) Thus, it was a drunken, rip-snortin' affair that was as intimate as it was rambunctious. I'm just proud of myself for resisting a 2:30 a.m. urge to steal the men's room stall door.
More closings … and an opening
Another longtime fixture on the Orlando music scene, Vinyl Frontier, closed as of the end of August. After more than 13 years of supplying platters for DJs and beat-heads, the Colonial Drive mainstay is calling it quits so owner Kevin Robison can spend more time with his new baby. (An Aug. 25 post on his MySpace blog — one that details his problems with drug and alcohol addiction, as well as the role that Jesus had in helping him overcome it — may reveal some other reasons as well.) As the primary movers and shakers of the once-explosive Orlando electronic scene get older (and wiser?), expect to see more of this.
Or maybe not.
An Aug. 25 press release proclaimed the Drop Shop to be "the only brick & mortar vinyl record store in Orlando" and touted a reworking of its DJ studio and download services. Not being clued in to the alliances and rivalries in the Orlando electronic scene, I have no idea if there was any bad blood between the Drop Shop and Vinyl Frontier, nor if they were friendly competitors. But here's what I do know: The Drop Shop is not the "only" real record store in Orlando. Retro is right around the freakin' corner from them, while Park Ave CDs and Rock & Roll Heaven are no more than a few miles away and all three are within the Orlando city limits. (I know that none of them are dance-specific, but that's not what the Drop Shop said they were the "only" one of.)
Furthermore, it seems to be in incredibly poor taste to celebrate the demise of a 13-year legend in this city by pretending they never existed. I know business is business, and the ever-dwindling dance scene needs to keep convincing itself that there's still a market for it to serve, but maybe a press release praising the work of Vinyl Frontier while inviting those customers to come and check out Drop Shop wouldn't have left such a gross taste in my mouth.
Growing up metal
Orlando's Trivium is quietly becoming one of the hugest bands in heavy metal. They've already become sort of that in England, as evidenced by the fact that they've warranted the publication of a book, Trivium: The Mark of Perseverance. Releasing in the United Kingdom "just in time" to coincide with Trivium's new album (The Crusade), the book by Joe Shooman contains interviews with lots of insiders, from original members Brad Lewter to Orlando Metal Awards coordinator (and Five Billion Dead bassist) Matt Wagner — everyone, it appears, except the band themselves. In other Trivium news, the band kicks off a tour to support The Crusade here in Orlando Oct. 1 at House of Blues — an event made that much cooler because they're bringing along the Sword as support.
I should have mentioned this earlier, but I didn't. The inimitably avant-garde Table of the Elements label (www.tableoftheelements.com) is hosting another of its festivals, this one tagged with the unfortunate moniker of "Bohrium." (Everything TOTE does — from releases to concerts — is sequentially named after an element). However, the Atlanta event, Aug. 31 to Sept. 4, is unlikely to be, uh, "bohring," as it will feature Loren Mazzacane Connors, Rhys Chatham's Guitar Army, Acid Mothers Temple, the Ruins (!), Tony Conrad and others. Plus, films, installations and a goat roast too! You don't have to work on Monday, so there's no excuse, other than bad firstname.lastname@example.org