Music » This Little Underground

Odd Jobs opens strong with UV-TV and Tingy Thick; the American experience through hip-hop with Danny K and Mehsi Calendar

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UV-TV AND TINGY THICK, ODD JOBS, FEB. 9

New downtown music venue Odd Jobs – the sister club to Blackstar and the most intimate of the fleet of new venues in the Firestone complex – is now in the mix with this first official show. While Blackstar is positioned to go head-to-head with the big shows at prime-time concert clubs like the Social and Will's Pub, the scale and scope of Odd Jobs are geared more for street-level scene action, like the smaller shows at Will's and perhaps the new Soundbar (formerly Backbooth).

I got a glimpse of it in swing at a pre-New Year's party, but this free show was my first time seeing how Odd Jobs will truly work and feel. It's definitely got more of a club pulse than a bar ambience, with the production that entails. Once the lights get firing, there's an undeniable sense of event in effect. And the sound system is powerful, warm and professional.

Supporting hometown heroes Wet Nurse was an exceptional Floridian lineup. Of particular note were UV-TV, a Gainesville band that's been coming on with some heavy underground buzz, enough hot word of mouth to be catching some influential ears. The turf they've staked out is a taut web that taps the nervy throttle of punk, the dark dimension of post-punk and some noisy Mary Chain squall. It's Psychocandy punk that's propelled by perpetual urgency and is exciting enough to certify UV-TV as one of Florida's next potential "it" bands.

But openers Tingy Thick were themselves a great discovery. On record, they ride a hypnotic beach vibe throbbing with some sunny, left-field Afropop threads. Live, their music is even more difficult to reduce, moving and breathing like something much more curious, psychedelic and adventurous. With two guitarists and a bassist playing on top of beats in incredibly dynamic patterns, they weave voyaging tapestries from the edge where the exotic meets the otherworldly. It's outsider indie music and it's a sound that's intriguing and original.

Christened with a quality lineup and a healthy crowd, Odd Jobs is off to an auspicious start.

DANNY K AND MEHSI, AUSTIN'S COFFEE, FEB. 10

Formerly known as KRIKOS, Danny K is a local MC-producer with some decent credits. He's done quality collabs, most notably with breakout Orlando rapper and Talib Kweli protégé Niko Is. He was also an early member of Colours of the Culture, a hip-hop collective founded on advancing an international prism of voices, a crew that now includes Kweli. To that idea, Danny K brings a distinctly Armenian perspective. His 2017 debut album, The World to Come, is a tight little dance of beat science, Eminem-esque flow and Armenian samples.

His recent coffeehouse show was a simple, no-frills performance. But his viewpoint was clear, and it's as relevant as ever as a Dreamer. His cultural perspective – alongside all of our own – isn't just the American experience, it's the American ideal.

Forget the whitewashed, revisionist MAGA storyline about what the bedrock of this country is. Trace it all the way back to when even white people were fresh off the boat and this immigrant song starts to sound more universal.

In many ways, rap has become the ultimate modern folk song. It's the voice of the strivers and survivors. No wonder it's become a common language between people all over the world who are young, emerging and have something to say.

Like a swelling undercurrent, voices like Danny K's are on the rise with their sounds and stories. They are us, in all our spectrum. And their time is now. So when you see the U.S. Olympic team, look at how uniquely colorful and heterogeneous we are compared to everyone else and be reminded anew of what truly makes America great.

Driving the point home even further was Cuban-American MC Mehsi, who warmed up the spot with his honest, personal brand of rap. In flow that's sharp with technique and classic virtue, his indie sound rolls smooth without any bloated hype or vainglory. This isn't pop rap, this is hip-hop humanism that'll shine even without the bright lights. Besides, anyone who's got respectable freestyle like this is legit.

baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com