Music » Music Stories & Interviews

This Little Underground: No Qualms’ swan song

The Falcon Soundraiser, Gross, Jackson Rodgers, Jim Seem


  • Phot by Ashley Belanger
  • Jackson Rodgers

This just in from the Tolja-So Desk: Will’s Pub went non-smoking and the Earth maintained its axis.

As you know, increasing the city’s small live venue count is a cause I am forever behind. So take note: The Falcon ( will kick off its “Soundraiser” series on Saturday (Jan. 11). This run of live shows –occurring twice a month for the next three months – is a musician-led fundraiser for the music-smart bar/gallery to purchase a basic PA system, which would allow live music to happen there more than once in an infrequent while. The Soundraiser shows are free, but donations will be actively accepted for the cause.

Don’t worry, Falcon regulars, the programming that makes the bar special won’t change. The PA would just add live music to the menu with improved quantity and regularity (once or twice a month, management tells me). In keeping with its no-cover policy, shows will still be free as always so, in effect, a Soundraiser donation is an investment in your own entertainment well being.

This first one features a performance by Audiotourism, a new local band comprised of members of SC Accidental and LostGhosts whose highly textured music sounds like it could be pretty good. Others confirmed so far include a Nick Cave tribute with Shew’Bird (Jan. 25) and OK Mary Kay (Feb. 8).

The Beat

I really hate to open the year with a goodbye, but it seems crust kings No Qualms – whose latest record earned one of my recent Undies for the area’s best 2013 releases – have played their final Orlando show (Jan. 2, Will’s Pub). The members have relocated to Philadelphia, which – judging from the rate and completeness with which it has sucked the marrow out of our scene’s hardcore bones – must be some sort of punk Charybdis. This is a tough loss because No Qualms was one of the most volcanic live bands to ever come out of this city. Moreover, according to what members tell me, and basically all outward indications, it looks like they’re done as a band altogether once their tour concludes.

But, if you’ve ever had the fortune and balls to experience one of their combustive performances, then the sheer power of their memory is some consolation. So if this was going to be their swan song, at least a good, hard send-off would make for one beastly show-going vault into 2014. And this one took all of 20 seconds to pop off with local opener Gross, whose hardcore attack comes from punk’s steepest extremities. Although it’ll take a little more focus to hone their considerable force and fully realize it, this band has some pretty big potential worth watching.

While Gross got the bodies whipping early, once No Qualms plugged in, they started flying through the air and around the room in a riot spell that no other local hardcore band in recent history seems to be able to match. And by a quarter till midnight, it was done. A room that was just trembling with physical heat and violence became a desert in a matter of minutes. And though it was a fittingly punk exit, I was left seemingly alone in rue over the fact that this was it. But at least they leave an epitaph forged in the hottest fire of live intensity. Farewell, boys, and thanks for the burn.

In the spirit of a new year, I checked out some musicians I knew practically nothing about (Jan. 4, Orlando Brewing). Daytona opener Jim Seem did the acoustic guy thing with the kind of David Gray soul that your mom would love. But the American twang of local Jackson Rodgers stood out. Backed on electric lead guitar and mandolin by his multi-instrumentalist father (Forest Rodgers), who added welcome depth and dimension to the music, he played a nice set of wide-swinging roots rock with very natural melodies that could sit on the same porch alongside Austin Lucas’ sweet country gospel. With songs this good, this is definitely a guy who shouldn’t be strumming away in obscurity. No, this is music that should be punched up, filled out and presented to more serious Americana crowds.

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