Orlando, FL • August 30, 2006
With the whole city overreacting about the first “big storm” of the hurricane season (a tropical storm that did about as much damage as a light afternoon sprinkle), The Social had to actually post on their website that “Yes, the show’s still on! We’re not afraid of a little rain, and you shouldn’t be either!” Fortunately a good many souls braved the “fierce” weather and made their way downtown for the Smoking Popes/Criteria show.
Winter Park locals, History, surprised the crowd with a sound akin to Jawbox. The fresh five-piece has the balls to take a chance on not one but TWO keyboardists, and manage to pull it off without the music turning soft. Spinning an experimental twist on Post Hardcore/Indie Rock, it’s the first time I’ve seen (or even heard) of the band but already I look forward to seeing them again.
Steven Pedersen, frontman/guitarist for Omaha’s Criteria, started off in the Indie underground playing for various bands including one of the early incarnations of Cursive. A few years back he settled into the band he’s currently shredding stages with, Criteria. Their arrival in Orlando is greeted with undivided attention as the band fills the space with big rock sounds overlayed with Pederson’s Perry Farrell-esque vein straining vocals.
When talking about Smoking Popes, it must be noted that this band has been around since 1991. Having broken up in the late 90’s, last year the three brothers that make up the core of the band (Josh, Eli, and Matt Caterer) reunited and added a new drummer into the mix (Ryan Chavez) and decided to give it another go. Back on tour with their Pop/Punk tunes that are in the tradition of The Descendents or Weezer, the Popes sound as fresh today as they did when they were riding their wave of popularity in 1995 with their most commercial release Born to Quit.
With their bald, or nearly bald, heads, the Caterer brothers remind us of a less complicated time in music. When a band didn’t need a stylist, or a clothing line, or a lot of fashion accessories to be punk. Remember Mr.T Experience? Remember Screeching Weasel? Dorky guys who had fun while they played and weren’t concerned with looking/acting cool.
A perfect lineup of bands to hang out and drink beer to, or with (’cause they all ended up in the crowd hanging with fans because- yes, they are that cool!).