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Boyton Beach's new meganightclub, Orbit, has spent its first month flip-flopping between antiquated, nearly forgotten metal acts and some of the moment's hottest DJs -- thus neatly encapsulating the bipolar state of the South Florida music scene. "Well, we're doing everything," explains public relations dude Peter Gross. "Any band we think can draw 500 or over is worth us opening our doors."
But when the club isn't seeking gratification at these two extremes, it's suffering canceled and sparsely attended shows. The club's massively hyped opening night November 3 was shelved just hours before the heralded appearance of Moby, who was actually in the building waiting to sound-check when he heard the news. Gross (a veteran scenester who also plays guitar with local industrial-rap faves Betsy Ross) told Bandwidth that, though crews had been working "24 hours a day," the club just wasn't ready in time.
A date November 16 with British DJ Paul Oakenfolddrew a decent crowd -- at least better than the .38 Special and Corrosion of Conformity shows, which each drew just 300 souls to the 25,000-square-foot, 2000-person-capacity nightclub. Kristine W., scheduled for a free, early December concert, treated Orbit to a last-minute cancellation when a gay-pride rally in Miami stole her thunder (and crowd, contended her manager). Cherry Poppin' Daddies, also scheduled for last week, ended up canceling their entire tour.
But the club should do smashing business (at the bar, at least) when the heavy-metal triple threat of Ronnie James Dio, Yngwie Malmsteen, and Doro Pesch arrives December 14. Can you imagine anyone enduring this onslaught of hubris without being thoroughly inebriated? A member of Düsseldorf's subfootnoters Warlock, Pesch's most recent achievement is a serviceable cover of "White Wedding." Malmsteen's newest CD, War to End All Wars, will provide only more ammunition to those who've written off the lightning-quick riff whacker's classically inspired music as onanistic nonsense. But Malmsteen, whose Miami studio was leveled in 1992 by Hurricane Andrew and who is still sighted around town, supposedly has an ego that's impervious to such attacks.
Dio is reportedly blessed with a similar, inversely proportionateto-height self-image. His new Magica release comes complete with a full-page, foldout pseudomythology, "The Story of Magica," that makes John Anderson's babblings with Yes read like a Popular Science how-to guide. Magica redefines the terms overblown and portentous. But through it all Dio is as Dio does, as evinced by lines such as, "You're like a tear in the ocean/Dust in the wind/Like a stone in the water/I might marry the Devil's daughter." Strangely comforting, no?
Maybe some of Orbit's initial struggles can be hung on its Boynton Beach location. "Yeah, there's no doubt about that," Gross says. "A lot of people from Dade and Broward don't even know where Boynton Beach is. [Just north of Delray Beach, kids.] We're trying to figure out where we're drawing our crowds from. Once people come to one show there, I think they'll come to all the shows there, because the place is so big and the sound is so nice. It's a great place to see a show." The venue has a slew of events in store for early 2001, including Thin Lizzy January 25, the Rev. Horton Heat with Cigar Store IndiansJanuary 31, and Face to Face with H2O and Snapcase February 1.
Since it's the season for charitable causes, you'd think big retailers would be feeling all philanthropic right about now, including MARS Music, Guitar Center, and Marathon Music (all of which should be sailing some high financial seas, with moms in Margate and dads in Davie buying that new Eddie Van Halenendorsed Peavey electric guitar with a new Crate amp for the kids' Christmas). But when Logan Snyder, percussionist with West Palm Beach band Köcosanté, asked the music-instrument giants to donate some sound equipment for a one-day benefit concert December 16 for Women in Distress of Broward County, he was told there was no room at the inn -- er, that it was too late in the fiscal year to be seeking handouts.
"I was rather surprised that all three turned us down," says Snyder, who describes Köcosanté's sound as "island metal." The organizers planned to give $1 out of each $7 cover charge to the Flow Skate Park in Pompano Beach for hosting the parade of bands expected to participate, "and then everything else was going to go to the organization," he adds. "But now we can't do that, because we don't have anyone donating their services, so we have to pay directly out of the door for the soundman."
Snyder explains Guitar Center said they were over budget for charitable organizations for the year and MARS and Marathon told him donating "would cut into their Christmas sales for the season." None of these retailers returned Bandwidth's calls seeking comment on their alleged Scroogery.
"I was hoping someone would make an exception," Snyder mopes, "but unfortunately not."
The show wasn't initially supposed to be a benefit. Köcosanté played on a half-pipe a few months ago with skaters whizzing by and liked the experience so much the band began planning an all-day show at the park, which now boasts a small stage. Once these plans were in motion, Snyder convinced his bandmates to play for free and donate the proceeds to charity. "We came to the conclusion that we all knew a woman in our lives that had been abused or something like that, so we thought it would be good closure to bring in a battered women's organization," he says.