Chill City Weekend

Chill City Weekend

Thank you for a great weekend.

Friday night at the Red Lion Pub was a great night of music. Serotonic and Leisure Chief were both amazing and very inspiring. I hadn’t seen Serotonic before but was blown away by their music and the passion they play with. Their music is so well written and super tight. The way they blend the instrumentation of the band and navigate the changes of their songs is impressive. They’re from the Tampa/St. Pete area so if the situation permits enjoy their music live. With any luck they’ll make the trip back to Orlando soon. In the meantime check them out on the Google machine and get in the know.

I was totally digging the new batch of Leisure Chief original material. They balance powerful driving grooves, precise dynamics, and smooth vocals into a mix of superb originality. We’re patiently waiting for the new recordings their working on. Catch up with them every Thursday night at Tanqueray’s.

Special thanks to James Freed for coming out to Red Lion Pub to run sound and record the entire show especially since I left my recorder at home amid the chaos of driving, loading in, and setting up . He’s graciously posted some audio from Friday night that you can check out here:
Be sure to check out some of his other work on Sound Cloud as well. Enjoy the awesomeness.

Finally thanks to Christian Ryan for inviting us to play and for jumping in for a few tunes with us. It’s always a pleasure to hear him play. Keep an eye on his schedule as he is on the stage multiple nights during the week all over the state making some great sounds.

On Saturday we hit Votelando at the Discount Music Center complex. It was good to see a nice crowd supporting the music and getting informed about the election coming up. The afternoon was made complete by the narrow hallway maze to get to the stage. I hadn’t been to DMC in years and remember the days of begging to get a ride there to buy gear in high school. We appreciate being invited to participate in an event that brought music and political awareness together.

We have one more gig on the books next weekend at Backbooth. Join us for a afternoon get down with Apollo Radio and Fly Moon Royalty at 4:00 pm. Until then, we hope everyone has a great week and thanks again for hanging.

Evolving Collaborative Funk?

Someone smarter than me came up with “Evolving Collaborative Funk” as a description for our music. This is as good of a description as any because every component of the description is true. I don’t think we could play a track exactly the same way twice if we had to. We approach things collaboratively because I always thought that was the point of being in a band. Finally who doesn’t like funky stuff? It’s so fun.

That brings us to the main point of this post. Much thanks to the one and only Phil Longo for having us out at the Peacock again, the brave souls that ventured out and gave us a listen, and the event organizers for throwing that whole thing together so there was something unique and local going down last weekend. We appreciate it.

The really cool thing is that we get to do it all again this weekend with an Orlando double header. Tomorrow night we return to the Red Lion Pub to kick off a new monthly musical adventure with Serotonic and Leisure Chief. They’re trying to bring cooperative Tampa/St. Pete and Orlando bands together to bridge the gap and build awareness on both sides of the state about some of the great performers in the good music genre. A super idea and we’re psyched to play the first song. The cover is a recommendation of $5. So come out, donate, and watch some good people make great music. The show is gonna be boss from top to bottom so don’t miss out.
Event details here:

Saturday we hit around 4:15 as part of the Votelando event at the Discount Music Center on JYP.
Essentially the idea is to bring culture and politics together to discuss issues while checking out rad bands. It’s a free event that is appropriate for the little music lovers in your life and there will be information about the election coming up in November. I implore you to come out and get the low down on the people who are running for office to make an informed decision this November. We get the government we vote for and if everybody thinks it isn’t important or it doesn’t matter we’ll all be working harder for less with no representation or security. I’ll save my political ranting for another blog. The point is the event runs from noon to 10pm. There will be killer music and it’s all about informing the public about the decisions we need to make as a local community, a state, and a country. This is an easy no pressure way to get in the game without watching a whole lot of cspan.
Event details here:

So there it is friends easy and breezy. You have two chances to catch us this weekend as we wrap up our shows for the year, get ready for the holidays, and the release of the record. It’s good to be busy but it’s necessary to take a break and enjoy the groovy things in life from time to time. Could you agree?

Our Last Chance to Play the Peacock Perhaps…

The only constant in life that I can think of is the fact that things will always change regardless of our kicking and screaming. Sometimes the change is for what we perceive as something better or worse depending on the circumstances and point of view. No two days are exactly the same. Even if you go to the same places and do the same things it will be different. No two performances are the same. You can play the same songs in the same order 1000 times and each time will be different. Subtle details change on a regular basis. Sometimes we see them and other times we don’t. The change occurs with or without our approval or consent.

The first change took a rather pedestrian Saturday evening and turned it into an opportunity to perform at the Peacock Room this weekend with Bengali 600. Why wouldn’t we want to play at one of our favorite venues with a new band featuring some great local players? It wasn’t even a question and after the requisite text exchanges we locked down the date.

Forward a couple of weeks later and we realized this isn’t just some random multi band show at a random venue on a random Saturday night. This is actually a part of a multi venue event for the Mills 50 organization that starts at 3:00 PM, features a nice sampling of performers from across a lot of different genres including The Sh-Booms, Hindu Cowboys, Drew Yardis, Beartoe, Milka, and more, an art and vendor market, and food trucks. Yes, I did indeed just describe heaven on earth. It all can be yours for $15. That gets you into every venue to listen to every band if you’re so inclined. I love events like these that bring together random music, art, and food trucks.

First the good change was discovered making this already cool thing a bit cooler. Performing at the Peacock after checking out some bands I’ve never gotten to enjoy live before while tasting some cuisine from some of the best food trucks in town is pretty epic by my standards. But alas, the scale had to be balanced and more change would have to rear its head.

While working out the logistics for a surprise show with some other locals to resurrect a tribute performance group I was informed that the Peacock Room will be closing in November. I’ve lived off Mills Ave., have had many a friend or acquaintance live off Mills Ave. and have hung and performed at the clubs on Mills Ave. for a long time. It is no understatement to say I’m a bit attached to the neighborhood but change rules us all and it is now time for the Peacock Room to become something else. No one knows how the song ends until the end of the song is heard. I just hope that thr new owner(s) will continue to nurture Orlando’s creative community and contribute to its awesomeness. Music and nightlife are fun in Orlando because there is a lot of variety you can experience in a night. It’s a shame to lose one of the coolest and most unique venues in town but change rules us all.

Come down this weekend. Set the DVR to tape whatever game is coming on and get out of the house to savor some local flavor. It may well be our last chance to play the Peacock Room and if it has to be the last time we want to make it count. We may even crack the seal on one of our new tracks and did I mention the food trucks? Have a great rest of the week and we’ll see you Saturday at 3pm!

The Sun Will Always Rise

I got some bad news that on Sunday night Jason and Rick from Ancient Sun had been assaulted downtown after their weekly gig at Tanqueray’s. For some reason a random guy attacked their friends and Jason and Rick stepped in to protect them. Unfortunately they were injured and had to cancel gigs to recover from those injuries which is a loss for everyone who loves their music. We’ve played gigs with Ancient Sun and jammed with Rick in the past. He and the rest of the guys are genuinely good people with endless talent. Their working so hard to make their music happen and I truly admire and respect them for the fire they bring to making live music. It’s a shame when bad things happen to good people.

I was completely unsurprised to see the Orlando music community rally around these guys and step up to help out. Everyone knows that medical treatment is super expensive. The Red Lion Pub and a bunch of local musicians scrambled to cover the gig they had to cancel Tuesday night to raise money to help cover those expenses. Local artist Chris Crackalackle is putting together a benefit concert at Will’s Pub, where else, on November 2nd to assist with paying the bills. Ancient Sun has setup a Tumblr page that you can use to chip in whatever you can when you can. Nothing would make me happier then to see Jason and Rick fully recover very quickly, Ancient Sun resuming their gigging schedule, and the release of their record.

I’ve been kicking around Orlando on and off for the past twenty years and have never had a problem going out to local venues and enjoying great live music as a fan or a performer. Unfortunately there are people that want to do harm to others for whatever misguided reason. Please be careful out there. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Don’t let fear stop you from enjoying the good things the nightlife in Orlando has to offer. Just get home safe so we can all get together again for more fun in the future. I salute everyone that has pitched in with moral or financial support while Ancient Sun overcomes this challenge. You people are amazing and truly inspiring. You’re the reason we haul the gear all over the place and spend countless hours rehearsing to put on a show that you will enjoy. Ancient Sun will be raging on stage again before we know it. Best wishes to Rick and Jason for a speedy recovery.

Stay safe and be well friends!

So that just happened

If you decide to play you have to know that you can’t win them all. Gigging is like a box of chocolates. Sometimes you get that scrumptious morsel of a gig that is like the perfect combination of flavors that is uber tasty and brings a smile to your face. Then there are those times when you get a piece from the box that is all of the things you wished people wouldn’t combine but fully understand the intentions were pure but the execution was lacking. Those good pieces make lugging all your gear over the mountains and threw the woods so worthwhile because it’s like playing for the Ewoks after a battle on the forest moon of Endor. Those not so good pieces are like being trapped in the oven in the witch’s cabin at the edge of the Fire Swamp.

One outlet to feed power to a PA system, multiple amplifiers, and instruments that require power isn’t the ideal situation but can be overcome by some ingenuity. The PA showing up at the venue a few hours after the performances were scheduled to begin thus throwing the whole schedule in the toilet is a bit more challenging. If it’s a good PA you put on a brave face and deal with the circumstances that are beyond your control. If it’s an ancient system from 1984 that sounds like a bag of cats being dropped from the top of a very tall building it’s not looking good and someone is stealing your mojo. A microphone would be a big help if you can get the PA to sound like one cat in a bag being dropped from a building instead of a baker’s dozen. In that scenario you’ve turned those lemons into lemonade. That however is if and I stress if there was a microphone at the venue.

Not to worry though, the stage manager has worked out the kinks and pulled up on the stick to save us from hurling into the ground from 40,000 feet. Unfortunately there is no Sully Sullenberger in this story and the plane went down. Yes there was no stage manager trying to pull things together and get the show back on track. The performers were left to their own devices to make sense of the thirteen cats falling to the ground, aka the ancient PA system, thus compounding the chaos and burning the house down where the toilet was that held the performance schedule as everyone had to come to terms with the situation and try to figure out how their set could be pulled of under the circumstances.

Surely the staff at the venue would step in to assist the drowning performers. They would act as a willing and able partner that could relieve some of the burden. But alas as nice as the staff are and the fact they were blindsided as well by the disorganized mess that was Saturday they could do nothing more than apologize for the situation and admit there wasn’t anything they could do because they don’t regularly have live music at the venue. Sigh!

Sometimes you just have to roll your sleeves up and make it happen despite the obstacle course that stands between you and your performance that in most cases was a multiple hour car ride away. We’re professionals and every kind of distraction has happened or will happen while you should be concentrating on putting on the very best show possible for the people that came out to support the live music.

Oh the people. The come to the venue, get a refreshing beverage or six, and support the performers since they willfully attended an original music festival. That will make all of the nonsense bearable. They’ll be engaged and give the performance a good listen. Or they could just stand at the bar and ignore the fact that people are performing all together. They can be annoyed that people are bringing their gear into the venue to play for their enjoyment at an original music festival. You still have to make the show count and play like it may be the last time you’ll be able to regardless of the situation or snarky comments.

I normally try to find the best in any situation as negativity just isn’t my bag. The night wasn’t a total loss. A lot of the musicians worked together to get things back on the rails which is always an awesome thing. Musicians understand the struggles of performing and pitched in where possible to reduce the suck in the situation for people they had never met. Despite everything that went wrong we still got to play. Even though the mood was sour the entire day the tape revealed we had a good set. This was just one of those times that make you appreciate a gig where things go more according to plan and you actually have fun doing the work that goes into performing.

I’m only expressing my critical observations in hopes that festival organizers will realize the quantity isn’t better than quality and to shake off the sour. It would be better to have fewer stages and bands with quality PA systems and competent stage managers than a train wreck that leaves the venue, performers, and public disappointed and less likely to participate in the future. I love the idea of festivals bringing different people and players together. To me the point of music is to bridge the gap and get people out to have fun for a little while as there is plenty of boring responsible chores and monotony that awaits us all. Plans can always fly out the window and despite the best efforts and intentions we all fall short at times. It is prudent however to learn from past mistakes and refine the process to do things better in the future in lieu of hoping outcomes will somehow magically be better without addressing the problems and disorganization of previous efforts.

The page has been officially turned and you will hear no more from me on this topic. We’re prepping for our next date at the Peacock Room on 10/18 w/ Bengali 600. Help restore our faith in live music performance and come out groove ready because it will be an organized funky jazz and afrobeat audio buffet. Beats will be served promptly at 10pm or somewhere there about.