SW 3rd Ave Music Festival
New Times Stage
The Green Room, Fort Lauderdale
May 6, 2011
Better than: Rebecca Black's version of Friday.
It's disturbingly easy to put into words what the combined efforts of six local acts, a supportive venue, trusting fellow New Times staffers, and a lively crowd meant on Friday: Everything! Given the amount of promotion leading up to this showcase assembled by a team including yours truly, you'd expect that a review would be nothing less than effusive. And you'd be right. Here are a few of the evening's highlights:
John Ralston, the night's final act, lived up to our local hype and led a barrage through his new record, Shadows of the Summertime. Ebulliently backed by guitarist Chris Horgan, bassist Dan Bonebrake, and drummer Jeff Snow, Ralston lit up the entire room with his paisley-decorated guitar and the noise it made. "Love Will Come Around" was an anthemic closing to the proceedings. The dance-floor area in front of the stage got a good workout throughout his set.
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Earlier in the evening/late afternoon, there was a slow build of attendance from the moment the doors opened at 5 p.m. With precious little time between each band's set, it was a given that many of the night's acts would witness each other onstage for the first time. During Lavola's set, the New's Natalie Smallish had many compliments for the trio's set. Even with daylight still peeking through the Green Room's entrance, the guys brought their dark rock fury.
The New, already announced as the audience's fave, turned on the charm. With "Her Lipstick Said," the gals brought out one of the most infectious songs of the night. Fierce, without skimping on the fun.
Plains, the only band of the night that County Grind had not experienced in a live setting, was a radiant rock presence. More on that in a second. With a new lineup, the Michael McGinnis-fronted quartet from Miami tore through songs from the band's forthcoming album, including one called "End of the World" that refutes (and perhaps bests) this fine Super Furry Animals tune.
It's a good thing that the drinks were served in plastic cups, because Young Circles brought glass-shattering bass in hefty quantities for its set. Singer Jordy Asher broke a mallet while hammering away at the drum next to him, but the assault never ceased. Selections from the Bones EP bounced in menacing fashion all the way up to the Green Room's ultrahigh ceiling.
The ever-evolving Dewars, performing of late as a three-piece, plied many of the already-intoxicated audience members with equally potent renditions of their upbeat folk-rock. "Strange Change" and its jarring tempo changes kept the head-nodders and floor-stompers at attention.
Random detail: New Times contributor Courtney Hambright gave Plains' McGinnis a well-deserved high-five during his band's performance.
The crowd: A beautiful assortment of area music fans, journalists, and experimental dancer-photographers.
By the way: This one stage -- among five taking over downtown Fort Lauderdale on Friday leading up to a headlining show by Nonpoint at Revolution -- could not have happened without the generosity of the Revolution Live/America's Backyard/Green Room staff, dedicated New Times coworkers, a crew of willing musicians, and a crowd of local believers. Thank you all!