I have a friend I've nicknamed "The Dreamsmasher" because whenever I have a great idea, he's the first one to tell me why it will all go horribly wrong. Well, the fine folks in Fantasie are probably wishing they had encountered The Dreamsmasher before last Friday night, Oct. 25, as that was the night that the band's raison d'être and raison de re-être; they re-formed just to play this show betrayed them. Opening for the New York Dolls, you see, comes just about as close to a "perfect gig" for Fantasie as could be imagined. Unfortunately, this is 2005 and few people seem to care about the New York Dolls, as evidenced by the sparse crowd in attendance at House of Blues. Although all three bands put forth admirable efforts (the F-Pipes played first, but I'm not allowed to talk about them because one of their guitarists works here), the cavernous atmosphere of a half-full venue worked against all of them, sucking the energy out of every song. David Johansen was reading his lyrics from a notebook and Syl Sylvain looks like he needs to try some of Johansen's diet pills, but the Dolls still managed a superlative display of laissez-faire ass-kicking.
In other inappropriate venue action, the Nine Inch Nails show at the TD Waterhouse Oct. 22 was massively disappointing. Yeah, Trent Reznor looks like he's getting ready to take on Henry Rollins in an Alternative Icon bodybuilding championship, but he's still too little to fill up an arena. Though NIN leaned on streamlined and rockin' numbers, that only emphasized to the half-full arena how monochromatic (and dependent upon subtle dynamics) most of Reznor's songs are. Needless to say, if Nine Inch Nails with a well-constructed stage set and blisteringly effective light show got swallowed up in the arena, the trash-groove duo that is Death From Above 1979 didn't stand a chance. Apparently, the next night, DFA79 killed at The Social, but it's gonna be awhile until they're ready to take on an arena crowd successfully. (I'm not gonna talk about Queens of the Stone Age because Josh Homme is just a jocktacular asshole, torn between an insatiable desire for fame and contempt for it.)
And, although Death Cab for Cutie sold out Hard Rock Live for their Oct. 30 show, they still seemed very small on that big ol' stage. (Even their amps were emo-cute.) No matter how much energy Ben Gibbard poured into playing, no matter how many times they switched up instruments and no matter how sonically rich they were, it was an uphill battle for them to fill the room. I was the only person who noticed this, as every other person in the venue was singing along (at least to the newer songs). The opening band, Stars, by the way, is the ugliest band I've ever seen. I love their album's wispy depresso-pop, and singer/guitarist Amy Millan is possessed of both a phenomenal singing voice and a surprisingly gritty guitar attack, but boy, they were hard to look at.
VENUE NEWS TO USE
Real quick: The talent buyers at House of Blues here in Orlando will be taking over booking for Masquerade in Tampa and Revolution in Fort Lauderdale, clubs with solid reputations for bringing in national talent. There have been many acts that have played Masquerade or Revolution that haven't played House of Blues (and vice versa), so hopefully this will mean an increase in variety at all of the venues. (Oh, in case you didn't notice, the large downtown venue I said would be opening in mid-October hasn't. No, I don't know what happened.) Also, Will's Pub will be opening a sort of "annex" in the Conway area of Orlando; while the Loch Haven pub will remain open as long as possible, hosting national and local bands, Will Walker is also in the process of starting up a smaller and more local-oriented bar. The new venture won't replace Will's at Loch Haven; Walker is still looking for a suitable nearby site to relocate his "main" space.
You know this already, but Drew Garabo and Mel Taylor will be taking over Howard Stern's time slot on O-Rock (WOCL-FM 105.9) when Stern splits for satellite radio in December. Mel's a great supporter of local music, and Drew … well, let's just say that Drew's a lot happier at O-Rock than he was for his last few months at Real Radio (WTKS-FM 104.1), and that's likely to come through in the show. I'm told that while the show will be mostly talk, it's still going to be somehow music-oriented and the two have been given wide latitude from O-Rock's programming people. Speaking of WTKS, the weekend before Halloween they put together a promotion in conjunction with the soundtrack for Stubbs the Zombie (a great album of modern rockers doing '50s songs) that was all cover songs, proving that sometimes it pays to listen to your local talk station if you're in the mood to hear some interesting music on the radio.
This week's make-your-own-podcast:
Mae: "Ready and Waiting to Fall"
Harvey Milk: "Jaws Jack"
Iron and Wine: "My Lady's House"
Shout Out Louds: "The Comeback"
A Tribe Called Quest: "Luck of Lucien"
Ben Kweller: "Lollipop"
A.R. Rahman: "Narumugaiye"
Mudhoney: "Suck You Dry"
ohn Coltrane: "One Down, One Up"
Boo Radleys: "Lazarus"
Dick Dale: "Hava Nagila"