Crossroads, Palm Bay, FL • 11.21.97
I moved down to the Melbourne/Palm Bay area in Florida about six months ago. I brought with me a certain stigma about “local” bands and rarely ventured out to torture myself with their banality. By the time the Magnets were halfway through their set, I was ready to search out Billy the Kid to put me out of my “misery.” The misery being six months without seeing the Magnets live.
I arrived about thirty minutes before their start and had settled into the relaxing atmosphere with Southern Comfort on the rocks. I gathered up the courage to ask for a set list, which later I decided was not required because of the constant interaction between the band and the audience. Andy, the lead singer and guitarist, always introduced the songs and called for requests at twenty dollars. I wrote an IOU and requested “Iron Man,” because it had to be done. They opened with “Three Strikes,” a nice house rockin’ song exhibiting the excellent talent of the entire band.
Over the course of the next three or four songs the bar began to fill and people started dancing. I started tapping my foot, and had I not been taking notes, would have probably joined the masses dancing. Sometime towards the middle of the set, the Magnets hit their stride, providing some of the best music I’ve heard in awhile. “Happy Young Man” was introduced with a simple “Remember the beat… It’s a secret beat.” I was surprised with it’s up front communication of being a happy young man. Misty, the keyboardist, provided background vocals and some excellent keyboard work for my ears. A very nice dimension to the male vocals prevalent on the stage. By the end I wanted to do nothing more than relax with the Magnets. Their music has a very college rock feel to it, drawing influence from Soul Asylum and maybe the Replacements. Andy confessed to me after the show that he is a devout fan of Soul Asylum. If the Magnets are any indication of what Florida has to offer, I’ve got a few words to the wise: keep your eyes and ears open. The Magnets might just lead this small scene out into the national spotlight.