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This Little Underground: Case Work, Orlando’s next indie contender

Sharon Jones, Valerie June, the Holcomb Brothers, Jackson Rodgers, Moonmen as the Stooges, American Party Machine as KISS

Photo: Photo By Christopher Keith Garcia, License: N/A

Photo By Christopher Keith Garcia


But opener Valerie June, she’s an intriguing one. With a current album (Pushin’ Against a Stone) co-produced by tradition-rooted modernist and Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach, this Tennessee wildflower also does the old-time with new shine. Rolling up soul, blues and country with a bright pop sense, she stitches back together styles that sprang from much of the same American Southern folk soil but ended up splintered on their way to institutionalization. She uncovers the bridge between them in a way that feels fresh, perhaps because those connections have been diminished by time, but most certainly because of her natural verve. And her well-pitched angle honors and reframes those hallowed influences rather than dilutes or defiles them, putting a modern ring on a postmodern idea.

As mentioned last week, cover shows are all about entertainment. Even though the second volume of Norse Korea’s consecutive weekends of them (Feb. 22, Will’s Pub) featured better overall source material, what ultimately won was its bigger spectacle.

Moonmen From Mars brought their typically theatrical audiovisual stage show, only retooled to channel the mighty Stooges. There was no blood or peanut butter, but there were silver body suits and a Jim Ivy sax cameo. And through the salvo of prime Stooges cuts, they sounded very convincing.

But not to be outdone, ever, American Party Machine came as KISS, a band just as ridiculous as APM but only half as aware of it. APM, too, came in full, glorious regalia, or at least as much glory as duct tape would allow (which is more than you’d expect, actually). And American Party Machine may be the only band that can turn a KISS tribute set into a full-on pit situation. Hell yeah.

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