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Before I continue my desk-clearing mission to catch up on recent releases, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention a few bits of local interest. On a personal note, I thought it was kind of funny that last Wednesday night, the Sentinel's Jim Abbott was downtown at The Social checking out (and being bored by) Elefant, while the supposedly less mainstream duo of me and Orlando Citybeat's Bao Le-Huu trucked out to House of Blues for the sold-out singalong that was the H.I.M. show.

I'm sure that the HOB crowd was about nine billion times more excited about the show they were seeing than anyone besides Diego Garcia was excited that Elefant was playing. But I must cop to some sheepish embarrassment on my end when explaining to friends why I chose to make the drive to Disney. Besides the fact that Elefant is completely boring, there's a palpable energy to the buzz surrounding H.I.M. that far exceeds the impact of their soaring, goth-touched arena rock.

As impressed as I was by their between-band song selections (some bands pick AC/DC; H.I.M. went with Dead Can Dance), I was in awe of the show itself — not what was going on onstage, mind you, because a packed house and those damned HOB pillars made it a challenge to even see the stage. No, what was astounding was the rapt attention the group garnered from the crowd, an explosively enthusiastic mélange of youthful miscreants who seemed to know every word to every song. Meanwhile, I'm sure Elefant's crowd was nodding and chin-stroking the night away. At the end of the day, both bands are a tad ridiculous and overrated, but I'm glad I made the choice I did.


House of pain

Allow me to relate another personal, HOB-related incident. The paper I formerly wrote for (Free Times) in Columbia, S.C., recently ran an editorial criticizing the lineup at the city's big Three Rivers Music Festival (at which said paper sponsored a stage; go figure). Taking a potshot at a community music festival (in South Carolina!) for headlining with Styx rather than Mogwai is dumb, but not as dumb as failing to take into account that city residents were able to see Aretha Franklin, George Clinton, Nickel Creek, Shooter Jennings, Delbert McClinton, Avant, Sam Bush, Shinedown and Styx for a paltry 35 bucks. And definitely not as dumb as not noticing that the festival wasn't booked by a local bureaucrat, but by Jim Mallonee from Orlando's own House of Blues, who took it upon himself to write a letter tidily eviscerating said editorial's misguided snobbery. After reading that letter, I'll tell you one thing: I don't want to get on that guy's bad side.

If you haven't heard, events like Three Rivers aren't the only areas of expansion for HOB. The Orlando-based concerts division handles booking for amphitheaters in Raleigh and Atlanta, venues in Charleston and Birmingham, and Revolution in Fort Lauderdale as well as House of Blues here and in Myrtle Beach. There's been a round of hiring and promotions, which has given everyone's favorite skateboarding rock promoter, Chuck Dinkins, more responsibility when it comes to booking shows, which, as far as I'm concerned, can only be a good thing.

Oh, in the fine tradition of concert halls like HOB ranking high in Pollstar's venue charts, ticket sales at Orlando's TD Waterhouse Centre put that venue at No. 9 on the Top 50 venue list, and the Carr Performing Arts Centre is 16th among theaters. By the way, those rankings are worldwide, which means we have the ninth most-successful arena, the 16th most-visited theater and the second most-successful nightclub IN THE WORLD. So, for you naysayers, OPAC supporters and sycophants who want to be friends with Rich DeVos, we're doing just fine, thank you very much.


Now for the news

Real quick, because those records aren't going to review themselves: "Holy Frijoles" at Knock Knock is now "Totally Wired" at Suite B. Same address (50 E. Central Blvd., downtown), same night of the week (Thursday), same awesome host (Q-Burns Abstract Message), same insanely awesome dance music … Indorphine just signed a deal with New York-based Rock Ridge Music (Kittie, Reel Big Fish and a band called Sound the Alarm that's not the same as the defunct Orlando band) … In more news from Bizarro World, local radio stations are competing over Scott Stapp. An interview last Wednesday afternoon (May 3) with Buckethead on WJRR (101.1-FM) was trumpeted by a press release claiming it to be an "exclusive." The next morning, however, Stapp was chatting away with Drew Garabo on O-Rock (WOCL 105.9-FM). I don't know what's weirder, Stapp showing humility or the radio hosts who couldn't dog him enough tripping over themselves to get him on the air. Next up, I'll be doing a sit-down with the guy for a cover story.

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