- Photo by Christoper Garcia
- Solillaquists of Sound
Even if you watched Monday’s season opener of FX animated comedy series Archer, you probably didn’t realize it, but you heard an Orlando voice. Now, every time Cheryl sings, it’ll be the vocals of Jessy Lynn Martens (the rootsy local formerly known as Jessica Daumen). She worked with Drivin’ N Cryin’s Kevin Kinney and Aaron Lee Tasjan to make a full country music soundtrack for the season, so tune in.
Last Saturday (Jan. 11) was a big day for locals. I braved the horde to lunch at the Sushi & Seoul on the Roll food truck at East End Market while it was being filmed by Cooking Channel program Eat Street. (That truck, by the way, has ties to the Orlando music scene: Its founder is also the boss behind soul extravaganza the Sh-Booms). While there, I saw Solillaquists of Sound’s DiVinci and Tonya Combs, possibly fueling up for the week’s most locally momentous music event that night: their big trilogy wrap party (the Social).
Coming off a career-defining three-album arc of increasingly exceptional work, Solillaquists brought the heat of victory and the release of accomplishment to the capacity crowd, bringing down the house in a blaze of hometown euphoria that few have ever stoked. There was spectacle: A grand tribal intro, world-class MPC exhibitions by DiVinci and practically levitating stage presence. There was revelation: They announced their sort-of death as Solillaquists and unveiled their “afterlife” concept. But most importantly, there was true inspiration.
Representing hard is all you really need to do to be a basic upstanding local. But doing their own work with pride, craftsmanship and vision – seemingly everything you could ask of any artist – isn’t enough for Solillaquists. Their work has always been actively rooted in their home context, and their scene activism is driven by the philosophy that a rising tide lifts all boats.
Between acts leading up to their performance, lead MC Swamburger kept introducing and giving shouts to the local talents in the house (fellow musicians, artists, filmmakers, writers, etc.) just to illustrate how rich the city is. The members even wore T-shirts onstage that yelled printed credit to locals who’d positively influenced them (like Chuck Dinkins and Anthony Cole).
Solillaquists’ hardcore local boosterism and rousing mobilization can make the efforts by practically all others, by comparison, seem like half hearts with cheap talk. It’s not enough to just succeed as card-carrying locals, SoS have been pulling the popular conception of Orlando up with them. As some of the most positive missionaries for Orlando music ever, they are the tide. I’m thinking keys to the city or some shit like that are in order here.
Bottom line, Solillaquists of Sound work their asses off on both their art and their business, all while preserving their noble ethos and local heart. They did it, and they did it the right way. That’s something both they and we can be immensely proud of.
That night on the other side of Lake Eola was another local-minded drive, this one to add a small live venue – The Falcon – permanently to our nightscape. I love this art bar. It’s got downtown centrality minus the inconvenience and bro factor. It’s got the Thornton Park neighborhood charm, only way cooler. Like Lil Indies, it’s low-key but warm and music-forward. It stands for the right things and knows what’s good.
That’s why their Soundraiser series – the three-month drive of shows to raise funds for a PA I mentioned last week – is so worthwhile. More live shows always need to be happening. Now, after having just seen one here, I can’t think of a better intimate venue to add than this. So seriously consider checking out one or all of these Soundraisers – happening every other Saturday – and donating to the cause.
The series opener featured newcomer Audiotourism, whose guitarist, Stephen Henry Howard, hatched the fundraising initiative. They sound like a new band but one with ideas, taste and promise. They’re an instrumental duo comprised of three primary ingredients: drums, guitar and an arsenal of pedals. That last one is practically a member unto itself, allowing them to span epic, chewy post-rock to noisy ’90s indie rock. And they’re a band worth watching.