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This Little Underground

Our live music columnist takes on El Ten Eleven, the Globes and Matt Butcher and and points out two ongoing events designed to get Orlando musicians' feet in the door

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Lots of musicians want to break into the scene here. And there are almost as many people out there representing themselves as informed conduits to help you do that. But most of it’s bullshit.

However, local scene-movers Swamburger and Walt Breezy (Babyluv Productions) are behind some serial events representing two basic levels of effort. Please Listen to My Demo (Aug. 19, Blank Space) is the free, entry-level tryout where artists get face-to-face feedback from a handpicked panel of label owners, promoters and booking agents. The next tier, Freshman 15 (Sept. 1, Back Booth), is a test of actual hustle, where acts mobilize their fan base to attend a gig for a possible monetary payoff, just like in real life.

Normally, I’m suspicious of the motives behind such events. But one thing I know about Swamburger is that his grass-roots ethos and heart are both genuine and tested. Beyond fronting local-group-gone-national Solillaquists of Sound, he’s fiercely devoted to spreading street fundamentals and getting good talent noticed. To be considered, forget Facebook. Email Swam (swamburger@yahoo.com) or, better yet, approach him in person, out on the street.


Local twangster Matt Butcher is headed to Nashville. Even though it’s not the bastion of country legitimacy that it once was, it is on a notable upswing (albeit in other genres). As the earliest journalist to cover Butcher’s identity-defining voyage into country from his start with the Heathens, it fulfills me to see that this trip looks like it’s really going somewhere. He’s grown up before our eyes, and with his accomplished new album Ghostwriting, he has truly arrived as a marquee man.

Although the chatty crowd was a little too into the party aspect of the event and not enough into the performance, the city showed its love by stuffing the house for Butcher’s record release party and farewell show (Aug. 13, the Social). My preference is always that they stay and fuel our critical mass, but I’m OK with sending off good artists if we’ve groomed them well and they don’t forget their roots. Remember, kiddo, we gave you the springboard. The least you can do to ease the pain of brain drain is to be a good ambassador and spread the Orlando gospel. Now flex those wings and represent.

But the beat goes on, and now the Americana crown is up for grabs. The exciting question is, “Who’s gonna command it?” C’mon, step up.

Something happened between the last time El Ten Eleven played here and this time (Aug. 10, Back Booth) – something big – because attendance at this show was easily triple that of the last one. Good for them, good for us. Matching the turnout, they came with a notably bigger show, intensified with lights and video.

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