Last night, Vintage Tap on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach hosted its own microcosm of the alternative rock world hosted by local music rag PureHoney Magazine.
Four bands, hailing from Oregon, California, New York, and Fort Lauderdale, took the stage to deliver their own brands of '90s style at the small bar to a rather adoring crowd. The eclectic mix of rock subgenres the Lolipop Records' bands brought to the table was refreshing.
The first act of the night was Fort Lauderdale-based Sweet Bronco. It brought its overall shoegazey dream-pop sound with brief touches of grunge. Vocalist Chris Horgan has a mellow, calming voice that never gets aggressive or even excited. Its album Morning Night, which was available at the venue as well as through its website, is a promising cut. The band is just back from an intense Florida tour that brought it from festival to festival to intimate venues around the state.
Hypoluxo was next, which, despite its familiar name, came to the avenue all the way from New York City. It too had a heavy shoegaze influence but embraced the sonic wall idea much more than its predecessor. There was a bit of Mazzy Star twang to its sound.
After being cradled with care for the first half of the night, the audience was shaken and slapped around by Santoros. The Los Angeles act's particular sonic melange was that of psychedelia, surf, and garage punk, though it bills itself as psychedelic folk. Its set was loud and erratic and its vocalist passed the boundaries into carefree.
By the end of the night, the crowd had begun to disperse into the spacious rear patio of Vintage Tap. The thrill of hearing bands for first time had worn off for many before Psychomagic got a chance to play a note. That is truly unfortunate, as the Portland, Oregon, act was a significant high point of the evening. While aesthetically relaxed as the preceding acts, it played as obviously practiced crisp and perhaps a bit more folk set. Though not blaring, Psychomagic was energetic enough to hold tight the attention of all those who stuck around long enough to see it.
It's good to see some of the tye-died spirit of the early- to mid-'90s is still around and has some strength in a new generation. The ubiquity of broad-ranging and freely available music -- which was previously unattainable -- has an influence that is never more obvious than at events like last night's at Vintage Tap. People cared about the music and they were listening to the sounds. It was like Delray having its own very tiny Lollapalooza, only with a lot better beer and less flannel. Do yourself a favor and drop by the respective Bandcamps of each of the afformentioned bands. You'll be glad you did, even if you feel a little pang of regret for missing out last night.