with Seahaven, Silver Snakes, Night Verses
The Social; Orlando, FL • June 25, 2016
by Jen Cray
The post Pulse and Plaza Live nightlife scene in Orlando is a wound that’s still healing. Security is tighter, bathroom doors are propped open, and the audience seems to be sizing each other up and checking for the exits. At least these were my observations at a recent packed gig at The Social on Orange Ave., just a couple of miles down the road from the site of the massacre just two weeks prior. There’s a nervous tension in the air, admittedly, but the club is still full and that is a WIN.
Orlando will not stay home. Orlando will not be conquered by fear. Orlando will still Rock, and Epitaph Records’ letlive. gave the city an outlet to rock HARD.
Infusing post-hardcore with an emotive R&B soul, and drowning it all inside of a punk rock spirit that burns a thousand times brighter live than it does on record, the L.A. band unraveled any last lingering feelings of discomfort in the room within seconds of storming the stage. Singer Jason Butler is a torrent of energy whose levels of intensity are turned up so high he has to douse himself with water every once in a while to keep from burning out. He stalks the edge of the stage like a lion while wielding his vocals as some bizarre incarnation of Michael Jackson and Zack de la Rocha, and throws himself into the arms of the rhapsodic fans without warning. He is the kind of frontman that elevates a band to a higher level, and he does it all while remain humble and thankful for the crowd’s adoration.
“One thing I love about Florida, other than the wonderful weather (laughs), is that I can sing a song in Spanish here…” Butler may have expected a handful of fans to understand what he was singing, but he didn’t appear to be prepared for the volume and ferocity with which the crowd sang along to every Spanish word. He looked a bit stunned, and a lot overwhelmed.
He wasn’t the only band member feeling overcome by the crowd’s love. Openers Night Verses claimed, “this is the best crowd we’ve had on this tour,” and that was before the early arrivers really started to loosen up and lose their minds. The creeping atmospheric Silver Snakes quietly showed their solidarity with a message color-taped to their amp case that read “Destroy Homophobia” and “OL/49.” Seahaven, whose performance didn’t quite do justice to the gorgeous cinematic mindscape of their latest album Reverie Lagoon: Music for Escapism Only, dedicated their set to the victims of Pulse, after frontman Kyle Soto spoke about how he wished he could do more.
For all the feelings of weariness, and the general static of heartbreak that crackles through our streets in the aftermath of tragedy, there’s also an immense sense of gratitude for life. Whether it’s a night spent dancing at a club, or one spent moshing in a pit, no night should go unnoticed.