Take a Night Off Rock

They're saying it's the hottest summer on record, which is maybe why the raucous rock quotient has taken a slight downturn recently. On a normal Saturday night, the Red Lion would probably feature some thrashtastic local ragers with those amps that go to 11. But in the midst of a heat wave, the early-morning indie folk from Jacksonville troubadour Ashton Allen is a welcome cool-down. Allen is a self-sampled, self-sequenced one-man band, his mild-mannered vocals recycled into soothing harmonies, his plaintive acoustic guitar buoyed by synthesized strings, horns, and drum-machine beats. I'm gonna reference Simon & Garfunkel, Syd Barrett, and Elliot Smith here, and though it's a stretch of serious experience points, there are similarities in Allen's longing melodies, quiet confidence, and barstool philosophizing. So settle down, Beavis. There will be a chance to rock another day. Tonight, sit down, listen, and feel something different from your music.

Ashton Allen plays at 10 p.m. Saturday, August 13, at the Red Lion Pub, 10114 S. Military Trl., Boynton Beach. The show is free. Call 561-737-0434.

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Jonathan Zwickel