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Column

This Little Underground

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Bradley Ryan (left) is leaving Norse Korea Presents, which Kyle Raker (right) is continuing


The two founding principals of local booking force Norse Korea Presents have officially gone their separate ways (albeit amicably enough to cross-promote each other's concerts). But this past week showed that both dudes are still doing cool shit.

The beat

N.K. Presents, now under Kyle Raker's primary watch, has really been helping to mitigate the suck-ass summertime blues with a free concert series at Backbooth showcasing a generally well-chosen roster of area acts. The recent one (July 25) featured notables like Andy Matchett & the Minks, whose songs still fly even without all the props and pageantry, and the Space Coast's Flashlights, who continue to be the best area band you still don't know about.

But new to me was the Dark Sixties, an Orlando trio specializing in freak rock cut with surf and psych. Vaguely sinister and more than a little out there, their music's often like the back side of a trip. Although their songs sometimes tend to wander a bit, they're much better when they rise up and get loud and claustrophobic. It's not all that often but that's when their potential is most ripe. If they simply upped that sense of climax, they might just be onto something.

While Raker marches on with N.K. Presents, former member Bradley Ryan's new concert organizing entity, PostScript, is just starting to emerge. And it's a significant scene note because he's perhaps the city's brightest DIY promoter of the past couple years. To introduce his new baby, he brought San Francisco headliner Punch to town for the first time (July 27, Will's Pub). Their leftist, posi-hardcore was intense, technical and breakneck, but all completely intelligible. When these guys let it rip, it's a total sonic avalanche. But what gives them particular power is that they know how and when to slow things down enough to gouge deep into your soul. And if empowerment is what you're looking for, well, few people have kicked as much ass in a skirt as singer Meghan O'Neil. Together, they whipped the house into a mad froth. And one bloody head onstage (the bassist's) makes this performance officially ferocious.

Also playing was Chicago's Sin Orden. Oddly enough, their screeching, thrash-tastic hardcore only sparked the crowd into conflagration intermittently. I'm not sure what everybody was waiting for, but this Chicano crew was pretty raging. And I seriously dig their fiercely proud minority outlook.

Three days later, and many klicks over on the sprawling punk map, was a bill headlined by Tucson folk-punk collective Ramshackle Glory (July 24, Will's Pub). Their strident socio-political edge is something I can definitely get down with, but their music was too often a big, unfocused splatter of styles and sounds with the usual rock instrumentation gangbanged by trumpet, accordion, banjo and piano. Nevertheless, these guys sure do lay their hearts on the line live.

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