Let’s see. What should you do for a 20th birthday? Still not 21, so you can’t drink yet.
Unless, of course, you are the Dunedin Brewery, in which case you ARE drink! DunBrew is celebrating 20 years this coming weekend (June 30 – July 3) with music from Asheville, Athens, Augusta, Buffalo, Clearwater, Cleveland, Nashville, Statesboro and Tampa!
Michael Bryant claims to be “Making it up as we go along,” but the commitment from DunBrew to bring in the best music locally, regionally and nationally has not gone unnoticed. Venues such as Dunedin Brewery are critical to the success of the music scene in our area.
THURSDAY, JUNE 30
Aqueous made their first Florida incursion at AURA and are excited to bring their high-energy groove rock back to the Sunshine State from Buffalo. They are in the midst of a summer with more than a dozen festivals, and they just introduced new drummer Rob Houk to us! At AURA:
I headed up to check out Aqueous, yet another band I knew nothing about, from Buffalo. This quartet was squarely in my wheelhouse: jamtronic rock, funk rock, prog rock, two more great young guitar players. They had a superb set.
Then the first of the Athens invaders, Universal Sigh, shows off their “metamorphic rock” (love that description!).
FRIDAY, JULY 1
Broccoli Samurai from Cleveland is set to throw everybody into a jamtronic trance. They blew us away last year at The Big WHAT? From AURA:
I just couldn’t wait to see Broccoli Samurai again. I encountered them last summer at The Big WHAT? and was totally captivated. And they did it to me again. Their funkin’ jamtronic goodness was just what I needed.
They blasted out with a hot tune, and this was the start of three sets in a row at the Vibe Tent where the guitar players looked like they were in junior high and played like masters. Michael Vincent had a tremendous set. On the second tune, keyboard player Ryan Hodson also grabbed a guitar. Then another young’un joined in: Jeremy Schon from Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. It got ridiculous and never let up, and then the Dopapod boys, Zwang and Jones, jumped on stage to make sure it was totally sick. Which it was.
Augusta’s Funk You plans to do exactly that. They just played a great set at the beach at Purple Hatter’s Ball:
Then it was time for Funk You from Augusta. They too delivered a superb set of hot, hot funk. The entire band is great, and Gavin Hamilton is an engaging singer and front man. Check them out.
SATURDAY, JULY 2
Athens again represents in the form of The Orange Constant (formerly from Statesboro). They claim to play ‘somewhere between vintage and contemporary rock.’ Read our review of their new album Time to Go here.
Displace just released their excellent second album, Undertow, and they killed at OBJ. At AURA:
Displace was on the Porch Stage playing a great set. By the time Displace powered through a huge “Generation Sloan,” I was hooked. Again. This is a tremendous quartet from Tampa that has played Hulaween, AURA and numerous other festival around the state.
There were new tunes likely to end up on their second album, including “Float,” “The Flight of Admiral Archibald” and “Friction.” Holly Bowling sat in on “Hillsborough River Rapids.” Sam Dobkin was playing a world of guitar, and they blew up my favorite song, “Geonosis Shuffle,” with the rhythm section (Vinny Svoboda and Tucker Sody) anchoring everything.
Discovering they had a few minutes left, Chris Sgammato (sax, guitar, keyboards, vocals) said: “If you’ve got any angst left over from high school, now’s the time to let it out.” And a great cover of System of a Down’s “Toxicity” poured out.
Row Jomah is a wonderful quintet from Clearwater who delight every time they play. At Orange Blossom Jamboree, we wrote:
Row Jomah was having a ball on the back stage, starting with “Tell Me” and roaring straight on through. Nobody was able to keep percussionist Dave Gerulat off stages, either. Partway through the set comprised mostly of originals, Joe Roma invited the ubiquitous Christian Ryan and Sarah “Mama Bone” Phillips on stage — baritone saxophone and trombone!
“Choke,” from their great album Cat People, suddenly yielded to a simply joyous cover of “Call Me Al” that found its way back to “Choke.” And they closed with The Dave Matthews Band tune “Two-Step.” Two interesting aspects. First, this song sounded great with a sonic lead guitar, thanks to Mel Walsh. Second, I could actually understand the lyrics (with Dave, I need an interpreter).
SUNDAY, JULY 3
The boys from The Fritz (Asheville) always have the green light to play in Florida: last year’s GOJ, Hometeam New Year’s and AURA, for starts. At AURA. we wrote:
Back to The Fritz, just in time to hear Jamal Woods lead them into “Let’s Dance,” which everybody did. From there, I would agree with the sentiment of their song “Things are Getting Better.” That led into a really nasty variation on “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” Woods’ keyboards front and center. It got ridiculous during “Got to Be a Better Way.” There was this amazing smile on Jamie Hendrickson’s face as he shredded, and the man of the hour (well, 75 minutes) was bassist Jake O’ Connor. He just BLEW. IT. UP.
Backup Planet from Nashville. These boys blew us away at Hometeam New Year’s Rally and at AURA Music & Arts Festival. At AURA:
Up the hill to hear Backup Planet. Would they send me to nirvana again? YES! YES! YES! The first tune I caught was a bouncy rocker, then some straight-up funk, then another rocker (a Nick Jonas tune?). They proceeded to blow it wide open with “Stratus,” the Billy Cobham opus. Carson Brown was a beast on kit. They tore up the remainder of the set. WOW!
Um, after all this, what will you do when you’re actually 21?