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This Little Underground: 'Purple Rain' live and the attendance myth

New Sam Rivers Rivbea Orchestra every month, Arctic Monkeys, The Orwells, Talib Kweli, Whistle Pigs

Photo: Photo By James Dechert, License: N/A

Photo By James Dechert


But here’s to the Orwells, too. These Chicago kids opened things nice and right with a punk & roll sound that’s loaded with heat, scruff and hooks. More than just attitude and posture, their garage-punk brashness overflows with super-tight melodies. And they burn through ’em like cheap, inexhaustible rags. Yeah, these boys kick.

An event that caught some surprise, 11th-hour fire in my world was Talib Kweli spinning at Bullitt Bar, mainly because it’s a pretty big fuckin’ deal and a lot of people (me included) had no idea it was happening until the last minute. His credentials are heavy as an MC, not a DJ. And though his set was nothing special in turntable terms, it was musically pretty forward-thinking. Niko Is, a rising Orlando indie rapper I’ve been telling you about, opened and proved why his following is growing in size and volume. Keep your eyes on this kid.

Another nice surprise, the kind that Lil Indies specializes in, was young Illinois hillbilly trio Whistle Pigs (Jan. 29). Their old-time sound is pure bluegrass and hard folk with some assuredly blazing banjo and nice accordion dimensionality. The best testament to their live grip is the crowd that amassed throughout their performance. I recognized enough of the very eclectic gathering to be fairly certain that many of them didn’t come searching for this act, yet the passers-through were hooked nonetheless, stayed put and dug in. And by set’s end, the rapt audience was quadruple and hollering.

No. 1 party anthem: Arctic Monkeys and the Orwells at Hard Rock Live

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