Say what you will about a parody band but, really, you could do much worse than channeling Black Sabbath musically and taking aim at the fast-food industrial complex lyrically. Meet LA's Mac Sabbath (March 9, the Social), who just made their first swing through Florida. Unlike the parasitic dress-up hackery of all those touring tribute acts, there's some actual satire and subversion going on here – you know, art. And considering the general state of American discourse right now, it probably qualifies as high art.
Mac Sabbath is one of those true spectacle bands. Onstage, they're McDonaldland on bad acid, with twisted, heavy-metal burlesques of its characters (Ronald Osbourne, Slayer MacCheeze, Grimalice and Cat Burglar) amid tall, demonic clown props whose mouths spew fog and whose eyes shoot lasers. Essentially, it's a miniature, Mickey D-themed GWAR. And like a GWAR show, a Mac Sabbath performance isn't just a concert. It's an event, a happening, a genuine cult phenomenon.
Beyond the gimmick, the band is actually quite good. And conceptually, there's some genius and balls in this little culture jam and its full flex of copyright fair use in the face of a titanic corporate force. It's ridiculous, it's heavy and it's diabolically effective.
Of course, the only proper Orlando way to prime for a pageant like that is with resident rock circus American Party Machine. There's little I haven't already gushed about regarding my favorite homegrown shit show. But given the fresh blockbuster news of WrestleMania returning here next year, it would be a historical miscarriage of justice if this band – which owes its entire schtick and raison d'être to pro wrestling – isn't tapped for the festivities in some way.
So this an open letter to the WWE in advocacy of APM: Guys, this band is basically you in the form of a rock band. Seriously, these dudes routinely put someone through a table at their concerts (at this particular show, in honor of the headliner, it was the Burger King). Tell me this isn't a rock spectacle that's red, red meat for your demographic. You're welcome.
Mount Dora's Laney Jones is one of those local music stories I love to see happen. Her recent album-release party (March 11, Will's Pub) had a very different pulse than when she first arrived on the scene a few years ago. Back then, she was a fresh young face sweetening up old-time music. Though she was definitely worthy of note – just listen to that voice – I didn't necessarily see much horizon for her. She was clearly good, but she was one of many, and almost all of them are niche or novelty. Breezy and charming though it was, that early stylistic corner was a box.
But, gradually at first and now very suddenly and resolutely with her latest self-titled album, she's escaped it and found new viability and shelf life for her rocketing singing and songwriting talent. Jones is now on a concerted campaign for something grander. She's growing and going up with a more modern sound that gives her voice fuller runway and latitude. Although not straight-up Top 40 – luckily, she and her co-producer Matthew Tonner have too much taste for that – she is aiming for something decidedly more current. If you want to see the commercial potential she packs, just listen to the first single off the new album, "Allston." It's as prêt-à-porter a pop song as it gets, and it's irresistible. So, quite possibly, this is one legit local who could break big.
Jones is fortunate. Although very young, she already has the rare luxury of racking up a résumé of certified musical credits – not to mention the artistic holy grail of making an actual living – while still developing her point of view. This new, sea-changing album, with its expanded outlook and very intentional self-titling, is the sound of a budding songwriter just starting to really open up, using her cornerstone influences as springboards rather than goalposts. Where this all goes is still wonderfully open. But whichever way it is, with a voice like hers, it'll most likely be up.