It's the oontz-oontz-oontz edition!
Downtown's new weekly dance event has officially arrived, er, arisen. I speak of the curiously acronymed J.E.S.U.S., which stands for … well, who the fuck knows. It's the ambitious Thursday-night party held by the organizers who made the original Saturday/Thursday a nightlife juggernaut, at least for a good 15 minutes.
Coming out with guns firing, the launch (Feb. 26, Icon) featured marquee acts Flosstradamus, who were solid, and Kid Sister, who was hype but barely audible. Upcoming dates include big names like Steve Aoki, Diplo and Calvin Harris, among others.
I believe there's a difference between "dance" and "indie dance." Hearing the music spun this night, however, blurred that distinction. Who knows what the kids wilin' out to the beat would make of this association, but this is the house-music scene all over again, only with different clothes. Believe me, I've done my time in the dance scene, stretching back to Florida's heyday in the '90s, so this comes from an insider. The music's more fried and less cerebral, but it's the same beats and remix gimmicks.
That said, snobs can bemoan dance music's seeming lack of substance all they want — but rock ain't exactly exempt from regression and rehash. It's guiltier, actually.
Though I'm largely past it for now, I still comprehend the appeal of dance culture. There's a place for it, and I certainly had a lot of fun doing it. Shit, at least these people know what it means to just go crazy over something. They know that it's not only all right to have fun, but cool to let it show.
So no, it's not a revolution. It's a flashbulb scene, meteoric but disposable. And that's OK, because this is about partying.
This whole time, I've been listening to U.K. dance act Fujiya & Miyagi at a polite volume. Do not make the same mistake, otherwise you'll be snoring, stat. Play it loud. Preferably while flying down the interstate. Then you'll be able to slip into their vaguely motorik grooves nicely, rather than them letting them slip you into unconsciousness.
Considering their nuanced approach, they were much more digable live (Feb. 23, Back Booth). In fact, they were a real band with real guitar, bass and drums. I prefer my dance music a little less subtle, but they were decent.
Also blowing through town was the hurricane sound of Austin's ... And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, possibly the only one of these exhaustive band names worthy of its length. What can you do besides marvel at the impressive bombast of their epic, surging rock? Pounding out a swirl of prog, dream and late-'90s indie angularity with the might of up to two drummers and three guitars, their performance was a model of well-orchestrated excess. Few bands can merge mass, chaos and grace so convincingly. While their records are sometimes too ambitious and labored for their own good, AYWKUBTTOD's music can be thrilling and breathtaking live.
While that was raging inside, there was a little (yet no less special) show happening right outside on the sidewalk. On top of beats snapping from a baby Vox amp, busking street rapper Dr. Geek laid down fluid freestyle rhymes, seamlessly incorporating the name of anyone who dropped cash in his bucket.
Oh, but little did we few witnesses know, we were in the presence of a star. Er, sort of. Turns out he's the same cat who rapped on those Blublocker Sunglasses commercials, a fact I verified with his business card and a Google search. Awesome, right? I knew I should've gotten his autograph. Not sure how this Detroit-by-way-of-California fellow wound up Pied-Piping on the streets of Orlando, but consider us blessed.
Death by Concert
Let's just go ahead and call this weekend South by Southeast, since it will be by far the densest extended weekend for music in Central Florida this year. My head's blowing up just thinking about it. Not only are notable bands playing the Harvest of Hope Fest adding Orlando dates, tons of others are coming, too. With Monotonix, King Khan & the Shrines, Deerhunter, Bad Brains, Valient Thorr, Lucero and William Elliott Whitmore to choose from, what could you possibly bitch about? Go get you firstname.lastname@example.org