Tuesday, February 19, 2008

(Missing) Your Local Scene Orlando

The origin of this post began from a comment on a YPulse thread called ‘Suburban Blues.’ Anastasia, the author, talked about growing up with a little bit of good ol’ boredom. The way kids interact with themselves, peers and adults have affected how they grow and mature and adapt to life in the city, suburb or place of their choosing. The comment in question came from Gareth. Here is what he had to say:

“I grew up in the UK in a town which was completely walkable and a 15 minute train ride would take me into a major city, so from a young age I've always been able to travel where I like, go to parks and the beach or just make my own way around.

I recently emigrated to the US and have ended up in the suburbs, about 20 miles South of Orlando in Florida. These places are soulless, there's nothing to do which doesn't involve driving somewhere.

Luckily I'm old enough to drive, and old enough to drink (past 8pm all there is open round here are chain restaurants and one bar). Without those two escapes I would go crazy here for lack of anything to do. I would not want to raise children in this unnatural environment. No wonder young people in this country are so highly medicated.”

I responded on the site but thought about the topic of “scenesterism,” and how local scenes emerge and evolve. Being a musician and in the ‘scene’ has been easy for me, I guess. I wanted to play my music for crowds; so I started to learn where these crowds were, who the important people are, how they dress, talk, act and the whole nine yards that follows.

Orlando is a tourist city. At least that’s what the media, the public and everyone with a hand in the multi-billion dollar business wants you to think. You might also like to note Orlando as a college city. UCF is the 6th largest campus in the country. Add that to a growing student body at Valencia and Seminole Community Colleges, Full Sail and the countless tech and post secondary schools and there might just be half a million kids in the 17-25 age group running the streets trying to figure out their life.

Then you get to my scene, or so I thought, the music scene. Even in a city as small as Orlando (when compared to cities with ‘real scenes’) there is an emerging culture taking over the city. The problem is that Orlando doesn’t have a sound. It doesn’t have a theme. It doesn’t have one person who is cooler than the next. What is has is a diverse population that is creating voices, and people are listening.

Big 10-4 was on Universal and had every college student singing and drinking at the Social till 2am on a frequent basis.
Florida Music Festival is going strong and takes over downtown Orlando in May.
Between the Trees just struck big.
Social Ghost. They got to tour with Alice in Chains, need I say more?
Cori Yarkin has been in Rolling Stone and featured on the Hills and continues to tour non stop.
Rock For Hunger continues to hold a music festival that continues to grow and attract more fans, better bands and help more people than any other rock music fest in Florida.
Anti-Pop continues to be a success despite its sometimes questionable motives.

For a music and culture that is supposedly dying, a city that is not known for hip-hop is doing pretty big things.
Love them or hate em, Sol·illaquist of Sound has taken the country by storm. Expect a new Epitaph/Anti release this summer
Kap has emerged as a new threat and will be taking over Backbooth 2 nights a month to highlight the Orlando hip-hop scene.
The Unlikely’s and greyscalemusic show that live bands are alive in Orlando hip-hop
Madd Illz comtinues to throw the biggest festival and competition in the land with Lounge Battles 6 coming right around the corner March 7-9th.

Legendary JC's anyone?
Union Made and Sugarfree continue to push the envelope

Try Band Marino if you want to go dance with 300 of your closest friends in Orlando.
Poverty Branch puts on a show that no one will soon forget.
There for Tomorrow is the next generation of pop-punk stars and they are right in your backyard.
Want to be amazed? Go see the kid in the lead of No Circus. If he doesn’t have soul, I do not know who does.

Venues not called the Social or Backbooth
Think everything goes down at one of these 2 venues, you are out of your mind.
Catch some culture, great art and inspiration at the City Arts Factory.
Listen to the next great band while browsing through some of Central Florida’s best canvas paintings at the AKA Lounge.
Like it loud, step out of the parking garage on Central and head into Central Station’s Rock Bar.
Get out of Downtown and see the greatest metal shows in Orlando at the Haven. Or grace their stage with full band open mic on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Coffehouses that offer more than just coffee: Austin’s Coffee and Film, Stardust, Dandelion Communitea, Java Dave’s Push Play Cafe and Natura are just the start
Sake bombs and the best DJ’s and indie hip-hop at Tatame.

Creative types:
Florida Creatives is a monthly happy hour designed to meet, network and learn with Orlando’s best internet geeks, musicians, artists, film guys and more.
Linkmind.Orl and LunchFu are great events to get in the spirit. I promise I will be making one of these soon.
BlogOrlando and BarCampOrlando
AD2 and Orlando Young Professionals

Here’s to showing Orlando some love. For the souls, the heads, the hippies, the dive bars who could use a few more patrons, to the local havens that local bands long to grace the stage, for the bands who are paving the way and for the bands who aren’t.

There is a scene here. It has a soul. If it’s not what you are looking for, well make your own scene. Start meeting like minded people. Stop complaining until you have made an effort to join our scene. The one we created. There was no Orlando scene just a few years back. Now we are gong strong, bringing in new friends, growing and learning along the way. This goes for anywhere worldwide, not just Orlando.

“And if ya don’t like it, just make somethin better, take ya hands out ya pockets and ya arms out ya sweaters.”

-G-Ro from ‘Not Hip-Hop’

If I neglected from adding your band, your venue, your event that makes Orlando tick, please insert it into the comments. The more love for Orlando the better. We are what we make it.


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