Summerbirds In The Cellar
Gasoline Heart, The Hour Unknown
Orlando, FL • June 9, 2006
Summerbirds In The Cellar represent the best of the blossoming Orlando music scene. A band that defies strict categorization, flocks of Central Florida’s music connoisseurs crammed into Will’s Pub to celebrate the release of their limited edition vinyl release of their debut album With the Hands of the Hunter, it all becomes Dead. Recorded by Now It’s Overhead’s frontman Andy LeMaster in his Athens, GA studio, the album has ignited an anticaptory spark in our local scene that smells like a band about to break into the greater public consciousness.
Kicking off the night was Winter Park’s Gasoline Heart. Sounding like The Wallflowers jacked up a few notches, GH are Americana-plus. With roots planted in classic rock, singer/songwriter types, and post-alternative 90’s artists like Counting Crows and Toad the Wet Sprocket, GH may not be breaking any boundaries in music but the music they make they make well. Frontman Louis DeFabrizio and guitarist John Fortson evoke the undefinable rockstar quality that so many others lack. The beer was flowing and the room was quickly filling up.
As quickly as the room filled, it began to empty for The Hour Unknown’s set. Dressed in Miami Vice white suits and brightly colored t-shirts the five members who make up THU didn’t seem to fit together as a unit. Sure, they could play together and sound tight enough, but they didn’t appear to have that one common tie that keeps it all together. Seemingly unsure of what sort of band they are, the music shifted from metal to pop to rock to postpunk, which didn’t seem to bother the band’s small loyal fanbase. This could have still worked for them had their strange look not been such a huge distraction.
Before Summerbirds had even finished setting their equipment up (which included elaborate, moody lighting effects) on the miniature stage, the crowd had migrated back inside the performance room and started filling up every inch of breathing space. The temperature rose and sweat clung to red faces, but noone was willing to give up their spot in order to retreat to the cool air outside. This isn’t just a local band with enough friends to fill a crowd, it’s a band with fans.
Introducing several new songs to an immediately responsive audience, vocalist/guitarist Brad Register seemed taken aback by people’s undivided attention, “You guys rock,” he said on a couple occassions. Register and guitarist/keyboardist Curtis Brown started SITC a couple of years ago and have the writing partnership that seems destined to be. Their gorgeously haunting melodies (which I can’t even begin to describe, just go to their MySpace page and listen for yourself- particularly to “Sunlight Sickness”) are given a tribal undertone by the duelling, hypnotic beats of drummers Tyson Bodiford and Yardley.
About to embark on a summer tour with Now It’s Overhead (a band of which Brad and Curtis are currently members of), SITC will not play Central FL again until August, when I’m sure they will once more astonish all who attend.