Happy 10th, Orlando!
I know Orlando isn't only 10 years old (it's 34, according to the Bible of Disney), but recently, there have been so many 10-year anniversaries you'd think nothing ever occurred in this town prior to 1995.
Perhaps nothing ever did.
We recently marked Will's Pub's 10th birthday, and over Thanksgiving weekend the folks at the Copper Rocket will be throwing a weekend's worth of shows to mark their 10th year of existence. For a city as flush with "itinerant" inhabitants as Orlando is supposed to be, there are a whole lot of long-termers here who feel strongly about the city's identity, and those are the folks who are keeping our town from becoming completely overrun by malls.
In even more 10-years-sure-is-a-long-time action, this past weekend marked both the 10th anniversary of Seven Mary Three's debut album and the sodden redneck-fest that is Miss Monster. If you want to talk about two very different things lasting for a long time in the same place, I can't think of a better example than these two disparate festivities.
The alt-rockers of 7M3 have persevered despite their brief flirtation with mainstream success, and the shows they played on Friday and Saturday night (Oct. 7 and Oct. 8) were both sold out. Although I can't provide a firsthand account, my spies on the scene say that Saturday night's "rock" show at House of Blues was excellent and celebratory, while Friday night's acoustic show at The Social was absolutely debauched, with a wide assortment of longtime Orlando scenesters getting very drunk and talking very loud. 7M3 pulled out some surprises in the form of covers that left some in the audience boozily scratching their heads, but had everyone else with the sense to recognize the Replacements and Guided By Voices applauding.
Speaking of "drunk," that brings us to "Miss Monster," which happened Saturday night (Oct. 8). For something that started a decade ago as a hastily put-together radio promotion in a flea market, this block-long beer-and-boobs bacchanalia had the Monsters of the Morning taking over Church Street for the afternoon and evening with a bunch of bands and a "beauty" contest that's either the most regressive, Neanderthal thing ever or an ironic commentary on the post-feminist era. Although I have to point out the obvious there were lots of hard-core rednecks who were as dentally challenged and mullet-positive as they were sweaty and drunk there were also lots of people who were none of those things (well, everyone was drunk and sweaty). It wasn't the most multicultural event I've ever been to, nor the classiest (I have to wonder if the Mako's "dancers" are off-duty strippers or just rejected ones), but it sure was fun in a stifling, hope-these-crackers-don't-kill-me kinda way. Best moment: the rumor buzz that spread through the crowd that Soul Brother Kevin was going to light a Confederate flag on fire during his set. If only. Speaking of SBK, his set was great, complete with backup singers and a raunchy version of "Proud Mary" that would have done Blowfly proud.
FOOL ME ONCE
After my fill of Miss Monster, I decided to head over to Winter Park Bowl America for a little indie rock. Yes, local bands play there every now and then, and this week found The Sharp Objects tucked into the corner, playing their very cute and very catchy pop confections. Nice. But sitting at a plastic picnic table in a brightly lit bowling alley watching a band isn't so nice, so my friend and I figured when in an alley, one must bowl. The cost, however, proved to be prohibitive. Maybe it's been a long time since I bowled, but $10 for a game and shoes per person seems extravagant. And it wasn't like it was crowded or anything. I'm not saying they're ripping people off, but that's really expensive.
FOOL ME TWICE
Got a couple of e-mails recently that prove there must be a sucker born every minute, and most of them start bands. The first was from the folks at Emergenza, an international pyramid-scheme battle-of-the-bands setup that has received voluminous amounts of negative feedback from participants. Granted, had the participants actually known all the details of the competition they were entering an entry fee was required, backline was shared to accommodate the multiple short sets, tickets had to be sold (at $10 apiece), winners were selected by "crowd response" they probably still would have entered and still would have complained. Anyway, it's back and is now gearing up for a new round of contests with shows starting in November.
The other e-mail was from a local label called WP Records (I've never heard of them either) that is "bringing representatives from Warner Music Group/Atlantic, Universal Records, and Virgin Records along with other independent record labels to participate in BreakThru Orlando." What's BreakThru Orlando? It's a freakin' battle of the bands going down at The Haven this weekend (Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14 and 15). Why would a record label bring "representatives" of other record labels into town? I have no idea, but I do know that they're charging $150 for bands to play the event, so the words "bait and switch" come to mind.
I'll be interested to see how many local bands start organizing benefit concerts to aid the victims of the massive earthquake in Pakistan over the weekend.
Twenty thousand Thirty thousand Forty thousand people have died, and buildings and infrastructure in several cities across Pakistan, India and Afghani-stan have been wiped out. That may not seem as interesting as the fact that the Hustler store on Bourbon Street might not reopen in time for Mardi Gras, but I still think it's a worthy cause. But that's just me, apparently … Sam Rivers is back at Will's Pub every Wednesday starting Oct. 19 and he'll be there until the end of the year. Don't make me tell you why you should go … Apparently, the iTunes phone sucks. It's ugly, it only holds 100 songs, it doesn't like legacy versions of the Mac OS and I can't afford it, so therefore it's useless.
This week's make-your-own podcast:
The Campbell Brothers: "Medley of Offertory Tunes"
Derek & the Dominos: "Tell the Truth"
Carla Kihlstedt: "Far and Wee"
Minutemen: "Badges" (live)
Buddy Rich Big Band: "Mr. Lucky"
Javier Garcia: "Dinamita"
Sun Ra: "Cosmo-Extensions"
Mercyful Fate: "Curse of the Pharaohs"
Pere Ubu: "Birdies"
Brian Eno: "Third Uncle"
The Mice: "Not Proud of the USA"
Nina Nastasia: "The Body"
Inkwell: "Sleeping Patterns"