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BOO 2011

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Photo by Alex Vega Photography

Music - Staff Picks

Free shows

There’s free live entertainment all over town. But the free shows we’re talking about are some of the ones that have been blossoming in the DIY scene at venues willing to take a grassroots shot at adapting to the times – Will’s Pub, Uncle Lou’s, Stardust, Hoops, Bar-BQ-Bar and Back Booth come to mind. They’re well-promoted, buzz-worthy and, most notable of all, spearheaded by some of the city’s top indie bands – bands who don’t have to play pro bono. From Basements of Florida to Mr. Pussy’s debut, some of the hottest vibes this year have been at these shows.

 

Best music festival development

Mini-fests

While some of the bigger, perennial music festivals have sputtered, one great development this year is the proliferation of focused, one-day and often themed mini-fests. From interesting new entrants like the Lowebow Fest, Two-Piece Band Fest, You Are Doomed Fest, WayBo Fest, Orange You Glad Sleigh Ride and Indie Summer Fest, these bite-sized, manageable and sometimes fascinatingly specific endeavors have splashed tons of welcome color all over the local music landscape.

 

Best DIY venue

Uncle Lou’s Entertainment Hall
1016 N. Mills Ave., 407-898-0009

It’s been like this for a while now, but there is perhaps no private business in the city that has become a DIY community venue so organically and authentically. Besides the street culture that its barflies provide, the fringe edges of the music scene have also adopted the joint as their clubhouse/incubator. Although known for its punk shows, its day-to-day offerings can be disorientingly diverse. At first, it’ll make no sense. But visit enough and it’ll make perfect sense. Truly the strangest, most raw cross-section of Orlando’s music underground.

 

Best proof that hate isn’t what drives the local music scene

Benefit shows

For a city world-famous for sunshine and happiness, the social antagonism in town often makes our music scene resemble the Middle East. But thankfully, this year has shown that there’s a core under all that back-biting adolescence. From broad, faraway causes like Japan relief (Thin Lizzy Tribute, et al.) to nearer, native ones like Florida wildlife (Critter Crawl), neighborhood improvements (Orange You Glad Sleigh Ride), community members in need (Michelle Widmer and Harrison Snow benefits) and even simply helping fellow musicians realize a project (WayBo Fest), the support, participation and enthusiasm behind all of these benefit shows prove that we take care of our own.

 

Best now-thinking venue

The Social
54 N. Orange Ave., 407-246-1419; thesocial.org

These days web visibility is everything, and the Social has stepped up to the plate. This year, the live music venue unveiled a comprehensive, streamlined, mobile-ready, social-network-integrated website. They even have a free mobile app to go with it, featuring their concert calendar, an online box office, personalized reminders and more. Fancy!

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