Event Reviews

Fall Local Music Showcase

featuring the Pawn Rook Four, the Agents, the Remedies, Julius Airwave, Elsinore, Mindwalk, Cracked Actor, 93 Octane, Gunmoll, Allen Wrench, Pop Canon, the Usuals, Pilots v. Aeroplanes, Mid-Carson July, the Jazz June, Slack Season, Grain, and Whoreculture

Various venues, Gainesville, FL • October 5-7, 2000

After the success of a summer showcase, “Moefest II” (the musicians’ name for the event, for promoter Moe Rodriguez) was scheduled for just a few months later. Again, the concept was similar: most of the local Gainesville luminaries would play, on three successive nights, at several different venues simultaneously. Hold on tight, here we go!

Thursday night: This night was split between indie/rock acts at Common Grounds and mellower stuff at the Shamrock, a couple blocks down. Since my band opened the Common Ground festivities, I pretty much camped out there the first night. Next up after us was the Pawn Rook Four, opening with a Little Richard cover and playing much more “rock” than their CD, Songs for a Romantic Evening, would suggest. The PR4 was followed by the Agents, a six-piece semi-trad ska band from Rhode Island.

More locals, in the form of the Remedies, were up next. This trio is the closest thing Gainesville currently has to a mod band, being very ’60s pop influenced, and covered “Psychotic Reaction” by the Count Five. Next up were Jax’s Julius Airwave; a kind of experi-indie, they did one song where the drummer just clicked his sticks rather than played his kit, and reminded me a little of the Bongos, if anyone can remember them.

Closing was Elsinore, but alas, my pen ran out and I was forced to switch to the only writing implement available, a mascara brush. This is not recommended for all you budding journalists out there. At this point, all I can decipher is that Elsinore is a four piece with guitar, bass drums, and a singer, and that the guitarist played a Les Paul through a Marshall and the bassist a Rick through an SVT. I promise to get you more details on them next time.

Friday night: Again I played in one of the bands, this time out on the Downtown Plaza, where unfortunately it rained pretty hard. Opening the soggy festivities there were two of the members of Mindwalk, I believe Dave and Richy, playing keyboards and guitar, respectively. The guitar was pretty synthed-out; they played seamless new age-type instrumental jazz that was very mellow and very well played. After the other band I play with played, the closers on the plaza were Cracked Actor, a vocal duo with some backing vocalists who sing to prerecorded tracks with some live keyboards in a campy ’80s vein.

My first stop on leaving the Plaza was the Florida Theatre, but none of the bands then onstage piqued my interest, so I took off to the Shamrock, where I caught the last of 93 Octane’s set. Good, solid, hardcorish punk rock by guys having fun doing it. While they struck their stage, I ran over to Common Grounds (Moefests at least keep you in shape!) and caught the end of trio Gunmoll’s set, which was quite impressive, especially so when I learned that this was one of their first few shows. Again sort of a melodic hardcore punk, the guitarist/lead singer was formerly in Slack Season and the bassist had been a horn player for Less Than Jake.

After jogging back to the Shamrock, I caught another impressive set, this time by Allen Wrench. I go way back with these guys, and it’s good to see them still going strong. They play an aggressive sort of post-grunge with a two-guitar attack and a great rhythm section. In the smallish confines of the Shamrock, they were especially impressive. I ended up being an impromptu lighting tech (the Shamrock had no stage lights whatsoever that night, so the bands sort of played back in the dark) for them, using my pocket flashlight as a spot throughout their set. This might’ve thrown off another band, but these guys actually seemed to like such shenanigans; I subsequently got an e-mail thanking me for my silliness. At the end of their set, they gave away copies of a four-song demo CD. They rock, and they’re such nice boys!

Next I was again on the run, this time to Common Grounds, for a pared-down Pop Canon doing their usual wacky hijinks. And when hornist/vocalist Alysson came on and did a song where she sings the lyric, “Just pretend you’re fucking me,” well, what’s not to like?

Closing the evening at Common Grounds was the Usuals, a trad ska band with female lead vox, if you’ve been living in a cave for the last five years. As if I hadn’t got enough exercise just running between venues, those Usuals had me skanking like a kid again.

Saturday Night: This night I alternated between Common Grounds and the Florida Theatre, unfortunately not having a chance to get up to the High Note, where some fine mellower/more acoustic acts played. The night began for me at CG with emo from Pilots v. Aeroplanes, complete with requisite Moog keyboards.

The rocking hardcore/roughed-up newschool emo of Mid-Carson July was next, who got the prize for unluckiest band all weekend. ,their set was interrupted when a woman in the crowd fainted and the EMTs showed up, then one of their guitars started giving them fits. I look forward to seeing them play sometime when God isn’t angry with them. They were followed by the indie-emo of the Jazz June, who feature a three-guitar attack.

A quick run over to the Florida Theatre brought me to the main stage to rock out with Ned and Dave from Pop Canon, headbanging in the front row for Slack Season’s set. The Slackers were playing as a trio without their new guitarist (I believe he’s from the late, great Mabus) but still pulled it off.

Then into Stage II at the Theatre for Grain’s punk-Americana set, another in a long line of legendary shows. This one featured a broken string, ex-member Rob Harris (subsequently frontman for Allstar 69) coming onstage to do vocals on “I Never Knew,” the usual teeth-played guitar soloing, and closing with the Replacements’ “Unsatisfied.”

Closing the whole shebang was the reunited quintet Whoreculture back on the main stage. This quintet’s Southern Grunge (for lack of a better term) has always been powerful and entertaining, and tonight was no exception. A great end to another great weekend. Thanks Moe. ◼

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