Dark's Corner

A Band By Any Other Name – June 5th, 2000

There’s some sort of strange shift taking place in and around central Florida, it’s affecting bandnames, band members and the existence of some bands altogether. It’s a little like that Spring cycle of re-birth that goes on every year, a bunch of shit dies and then a bunch of new life erupts and prepares to party until it dies from whatever the old shit had. Not too unlike bands, who tend to bloom explosively and then drop leaves for awhile until the next season. Then there’s the moniker issue–what do we call ourselves when it’s been discovered that That Name is already taken? Heaven help us that there are now too many other bands with numbers in their names and we must drop the numerals in order to stand out. That and the all small caps thing, which might be stylish and trendy but still tends to make you blend into a paragraph. Counterproductive if you ask me. A good band name should resonate with a sense of what the band is all about, and if you’re a good band–it really doesn’t matter what your name is–your music will be associated with the handle if you pull it off right.

James Converse had been associated with the Ghettoblaster handle for several seasons with the band but recently left to get with an ensemble called Mindframe. The group opened for Fool Proof Plan at Barbarella’s this past Friday night and a respectable crowd came out to see the lead singer’s newest project. They’ve got a lot of spunk and fire for a fairly new band and Converse donned his customary stage make-up, making him look a lot like an angry mime. What was missing was the usual Converse energy, the manic, hop-into-the-crowd sort of infectious vibe that made Ghettoblaster shows a highly visual experience. After the set, he fessed up to being cautious. “I was holding back and trying to get a feel on the crowd,” he said sort of sheepishly. In today’s fickle concert arena, you may never have a second chance to grab an audience–you’d better grab when the gettin’s good. Fool Proof Plan lead singer Sean Henderson is of the “grab ‘em good” mentality–he’s one that you don’t want to turn your back on when standing in the front row. All in all, another rousing night at the night spot where dance club beats and live music co-exist in a mostly peaceful symbiosis–that and instant access to some of the best pizza in Orlando, perfect for those I-just-barfed-everything-and-damn-am-I-hungry experiences at 2:10 a.m.

Ran into Ray, the omnipresent manager for rap-core reefer boys MT Minds, while in search of pizza and he informed me that the group had been laying low of late. Not for more marijuana infractions, I inquired. These guys live the life and get arrested for shit like that all the time. No, he said. This was for business purposes, which left me to wonder “well, isn’t staying out of jail good for business?” They play less shows, he continued, and garnered bigger crowds that way, along with mad promotion of course. Their web-site, www.hemp.hop.com is but a small introduction to their shenanigans and they’ll be sharing the stage with Fool Proof Plan and Crossbreed with special guests FYM and DJ Mezz at Sapphire (54 N. Orange Ave) on Monday, June 19th. Don’t think that this is going to be a tired Monday night show–the Hemp Hop boys have a talent for bringing out the freaky people whenever they sound the call to party.

Rent “Buckaroo Banzai across the 8th Dimension” this week if you’ve never seen it. This is rock ‘n’ roll.

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