Welp, the new My Bloody Valentine album's out. After more than 20 years and countless teases, Kevin Shields finally just dropped that shit like a ninja pigeon last Saturday night on MBV's website (mybloodyvalentine.org) with only several days' notice. So, BRB, gotta pick up the shards of my brain to write the rest of this column ….
I miss having a wealth of casual live music downtown. The marquee touring bands and event concerts still happen with the pro venues like the Social, the Beacham and occasionally Backbooth and Firestone. But I can't really hit the pavement downtown without an itinerary and find much live music on the fly anymore, not in this purgatory of ultra lounges and off-campus frat houses that split the difference between bling-y yups and the playas and bros that aspire to be them.
The long-running subterranean bar Tanqueray's – one of the most perfect settings for up-close, low-fuss live music – apparently still features such a thing. Unfortunately, their diligence in providing a centralized, updated listing of shows is practically nonexistent as far as I can tell. But with some online detective work that sent me to a Facebook page not even belonging to the club, something one shouldn't have to do for such basic info, I found a confirmed show that I verified with OW's own listings (hey, at least they keep up with that), so I jumped (Jan. 29).
Performing was local band Soul Equators, an offshoot of the Outer Toons, a group of professional players that have played the attractions, schools and family festivals. But this isn't really a review of the band so much as it is a comment about the endangered species of this kind of downtown live bar experience. Though clearly skilled, Soul Equators' shake-and-bake of funk, jazz and soul ain't exactly my thing. But in a spot like Tanqueray's, it's an enjoyable time. Now I wouldn't complain if the fare were a little edgier, like it's been in the past, with smart hip-hop or just more straight jazz; I'd certainly visit more. But in the changing downtown landscape, I hope this kind of joint holds fast. Still, basic show listings would be nice.
Later, down the block, Tuesday metal gathering Juggernaut (Backbooth) delivered a very nice revelation in Slag. The two-dude band is an excitingly raw spark from the Space Coast, a place that constantly surprises me with its underground talent. This dynamic, tasteful and ambitious duo managed to range from spacious post-metal to technical metal dense with post-hardcore mathematics, all while maintaining a lean, hungry edge. Whether it's exploring, carving, slashing or shredding, they keep it nice and dirty.
Besides issuing me far and above the most frequent flyer miles to Uz-deaf-istan, there's little else I can say about Jucifer (Jan. 30, Will's Pub). But, believe it or not, I really couldn't hear much of 'em this time, not after the ravaging set by Atlanta's Whores. Playing on the floor – because no one else's equipment can fit on the stage while Jucifer's elephant rig squats on it – Whores still managed to blast like a bomb. A violent, bare-knuckle breed that's like an AmRep gorilla bastard, their noise-rock is unrelenting, intense and staggering – the kind where the drummer plays until every facial orifice drips onto his drums. And when cranked up to volumes that teeter between exhilaration and malice, well, you're fucked, son.
The big, exciting Red Bull Thre3Style DJ battle returned to town (Feb. 1, the Social). In case you don't know, Red Bull has become to turntablism what Scion is to heavy metal (modern lifestyle marketing, ain't that some shit?). Like its sponsor, Thre3Style can be one serious-ass heart-racer, especially in the hands of the right DJ. Even though this was just the Orlando qualifier and not the national finals like last year, the lineup was notable and the sets were shorter (15 minutes), which makes for higher pressure and, in theory, more aggressive performances. Hosted by Madd Illz and opened by DJ Rincon – a good local move to boost street cred – the heat featured DJs Ku, A-Rock, J Storm, Sureshot and Nova. Now, local boy A-Rock, who rocked the party right, won this heat, so shit's not completely crooked. But when Tampa star DJ Ku places third, something is seriously wrong.