Exploring Entertainment in Florida's 850 & Beyond
April offered up a little of every music genre and a whole lot of fun.
April 4: How about starting the month off with some metal at C-level in Panama City Beach? A late arrival meant that I only caught the last couple songs from the local metal band Death Before Dying. This was the first show with the new line-up, the band has moved from a 3 piece to a 4 piece with 2 new guitarists in the ranks. With a new album in the final production stages, big things are just around the corner.
Next up was Arkaik; a death metal band with some progressive and technical elements mixed in. Then up was Abysmal Dawn, for their second performance in Panama City Beach. They are an emblem of the resurgence of death metal, blending traditional and modern elements. Exhumed closed out the show in the way that only they can. Doing their part to keep gore metal alive. With intentionally over the top lyrics, theatrics, and their own brand of death metal, Exhumed is a band that anyone interested in metal should see.
April 5: Vintage Trouble is a true rarity in this world. A genuine throw back to another era, when soul music and rock music were much more the same thing. They are a four piece group, including an enigmatic frontman that must be seen to be believed. (I keep referring to him in conversation as my generation’s James Brown.)
Only a couple weeks later, they were preforming on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. Without a doubt this a is a group that will continue to rise on the national stage.
April 6: I’ve written about Grayson Capps once before; The rebel and his band who defy categorization while singing songs about taboo topics. This night at the Funky Blues Shack in Baytowne Wharf held an extra special surprise.
Grayson isn’t one for cover songs. He has a massive catalog of his own music, so even when he is playing 3 or 4 sets, it is all originals.
Some songs you just never expect to hear anyone cover in the wild. So when Grayson and The Lost Cause Minstrels did a faithful cover of Sweet Transvestite from Rocky Horror Picture Show, it is something that will stick with me forever. It was a fantastic moment, in an already musically rich night, that serves as a nice exclamation point on how nothing is off limits with Grayson.
(I’m also a huge Rocky Horror fan, so I squealed like a little girl the entire song.)
April 7: Think all bands in Panama City Beach are afraid of disco? Then you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing Heartbeat City. They are a fun 5 piece band, including keyboards, with all the members sharing vocal duties.
From 70’s rock, 80’s disco, and 90’s college radio hits, Heartbeat City plays just about everything out there, and play it well. The crowd at Pineapple Willy’s loved every second of it.
Next up was Spinnaker, who had two bands set up for the night.
Sin Seven was on the Cantina stage with a new drummer in the mix. There was only really small window between the line-up change and this show, but the boys pulled it off with flying colors. Robert is a wonderful addition to the band, and has played with just about everyone along the Emerald Coast at some point.
Ocean Street was on the main stage, playing a variety of top 40 songs. The band features five members, including keyboards, with at least two of them handling lead vocals. They have a fun laid back vibe that is great for beach venues.
April 12: Why have I not made it to A&M Theater in Panama City sooner? The downtown venue hosts just about every type of music imaginable, with a focus on indie genres that don’t get a lot of commercial exposure.
First up was Gutf*cked, asterisk is mine, not theirs. A local metal band specializing in a style called ‘slam metal’. Slam consists of super guttural vocals without any sort of melody, making it a really specialized niche in the metal world. The band had a run of bad luck with some technical problems, so I only got to listen to two songs before the next band was up.
Out of town metal bands The World We Knew, Rose Funeral, and Pathology kept the energy of the night going. Each band specializes in a different style of metal, but each band is about bringing lots of energy to the stage. The World We Knew encouraged crowd participation, sharing the mic with excited fans. Rose Funeral brought every bit of their bombastic sound into a live setting. Pathology has this incredible all-consuming manic energy that is pretty amazing to witness.
It was simply an amazing night to be a fan of metal music in Panama City.
April 13: Still Jealous was on the agenda for the night. A band celebrating their first night playing at Club LaVela is always a fun thing to be a part of. They play covers of everything from Disturbed to Billy Idol, leaning towards harder songs as each set progressed.
The band is lots of fun to see live, making sure to get the crowd with them at all times. Going as far as inviting a gaggle of pretty girls on stage during a couple of the songs.
April 14: Sterling Silver is a bit hard to stick in one genre. They are rooted in rock music, with a dash of country, and a sax player. The band plays a little bit of everything, while giving the songs a warmth so they feel more akin to southern rock. The sax is also an awesome addition, giving old songs a fresh new personality.
After a couple sets with Sterling Silver it was time to pop in and see 12 Sharp at Spinnaker. I wrote a bit about this band in last month’s overview, but couldn’t resist seeing them again.
Sometimes it is hard to know if a band appreciates the photos and what I try to accomplish with this blog. I’ve been lucky to forge many terrific friendships, but a lot of times bands travel so much and I don’t assume that my small contribution is remembered.
With all that said, 12 Sharp had a surprise for me. They went out of their way to thank me, both on stage at Spinnaker and one-on-one, going as far as dedicating a song to me. So a special thanks from me to the guys of 12 Sharp. Y’all made a lovely night out an extra special experience.
April 21: How much can I cram into one evening?
First up was The Owsely Brothers at Central Square Records in Seaside, to celebrate National Record Store Day. The three piece band is all about lo-fi rock n’ roll, with a dash of folk, and sludge in the mix. These local guys are really incredible. I have no explanation about why they have been off my radar for this long, and why it took so long for me to see them. Don’t make the mistake that I’ve made; and go see these guys the first chance you get.
Next was Michael Compton for an acoustic set at Patches in Panama City Beach. Patches is a neat place east of the Thomas Drive curve, making it a great local’s place. Every Wednesday they also host super popular open mic nights, and have music on most weekends.
This was the first time I’ve seen Michael since his return from Ohio. He sounds just as good as ever, plowing through every genre of music with expertise – and his wicked sense of humor is still at the forefront of his sets.
Bad timing on my part meant that I only heard a couple songs from Throwing Stones at Ms Newby’s before I was off to the next stop of the music tour. However, in that short span I understood that Throwing Stones is the type of bad that you will have a blast with. A wonderful medley of Led Zeppelin songs left no doubt that the band’s frontwoman can dominate any song you throw at her.
Next up was Brujah at Foghorn’s. As someone with a soft-spot for 90’s hard rock and Stone Temple Pilots, the set was a lot of fun. The band is made up of veterans of the area music scene, many of which I’ve caught out and about with other bands.
Sin Seven pulls off a feat that I’ve never seen happen before. Over the course of a couple short weeks they played Pineapple Willy’s, Spinnaker, and Club LaVela. This just doesn’t happen. There is an unspoken rule that bands play either one big venue or the other – to play all three is just insane. Couldn’t think of a better way to end a fun night than hanging out with some of my favorite people at LaVela. Congratulations on breaking all the rules guys!
April 29: The Screamin’ Fleas led by KC Phelps just blew me away. I went into Ms Newby’s not quite knowing what to expect and left absolutely floored. The power and rawness in KC’s voice is beyond special. The band played through a ton of fun covers, including the best version of Jet’s ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ I’ve ever heard.
Next up was a couple sets with Alliance at Foghorn’s. This is the ultimate local jam band. The vibe was wonderful, a great expression of how supportive the local musical community is with one another.
What to look through more photos from April? Here is the set on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/850music/sets/72157629860519623/