By: Ian Maikisch
There’s no better way to spend a night than showing up to a BYOB house party. The drinks are cheaper, the music is louder and the crowd is always on fire. Saturday for the release of DONKNG’s newest EP, “Daydreams,” the band hosted the first house show I’ve been to since moving to Gainesville. The show reminded me why I love house shows so much. The inviting atmosphere that can only come from a person opening up their home to strangers and friends.
This show was special; It wasn’t just teenagers looking for a place to party. The spectacular line up and the flow of the night would hold up against any venue. After arriving on the scene, having a few drinks and getting to meet some of the bands — I was lured up the stairs in the backyard and into the living room to see the first band go on.
Sitting down in front of an almost packed house, Sad Jeremy poured his heart out to the crowd. Sad Jeremy started off his set with a small keyboard resting on his lap that doubles as his drum machine. The sound was simple, sincere and minimalistic. The set went from tame keyboard music to angsty acoustic rage when Jeremy cast off his shirt and picked up an acoustic guitar. Stepping away from the microphone and performing completely acoustically, Jeremy screamed his feeling and emotions into a crowd full of half-buzzed miscreants.
Sad Jeremy serenading the crowd as they sit, hanging on every syllable.
Following a few more drinks and talks of great nineties bands with some lovely people outside, I headed back inside to witness one of my favorite local bands on the scene right now.
It doesn’t matter where you catch Alumine, they will always impress. I’ve said before how crazy this band’s music is and how energetic the band gets, but they bring a level of beautiful madness that must always be appreciated. I’m slowing learning the lyrics to the songs and glad I am. This band makes you want to, like many great bands do, close your eyes, grab your chest and scream the lyrics back at them. Their music and melodies reach a level of deep truth that is likely to send a shiver down one’s back. If you ever see this band on a show bill — go to that show!
Alumine belt out powerful music to an interested crowd.
This hasn’t really come up yet in an article, but I’m originally from Orlando. That is why the next band that played has a special place in my heart. RV is a dream poppy, punk, lo-fi band from O-town. In Orlando there is a pretty decent dream pop scene with bands like Saskatchewan, Someday River and Sales being some of the most popular. I have no doubts that RV will be amongst them soon.
RV sets themselves apart in this genre by not only having the tones and melodies that are quintessential in dream pop, but having a dance-y and spirited feel to their music. Where most bands in this genre are appreciated with a PBR in hand, eyes closed and swaying back and forth; RV makes you want to move. The crowd wasn’t ready for this, seeing the “dance moves” everyone was busting out. It took everyone a while to really settle into the dynamic and intriguing songs. Once they did though, the crowd fell into a groove that couldn’t be broken.
RV movin’ and groovin’.
Now to talk about the champions of the night, DONKNG. There’s a lot that can be said about this band and their new EP. At this point in the night, most were a few drinks in and so this band was exactly what the doctor ordered. People were mashed together, barely room to move but that didn’t stop everyone from losing their minds when the first song came on.
DONKNG’s sound is a combination of later Dylan-esc vocals, an intricate bass that travels everywhere on the neck and powerful animalistic drums. The way the band writes reminds me a lot of the Pennsylvania rock band, The Districts. Their song, “Title Fight,” especially. Starting off immediately with a guitar break down and groovy bass line, the melodies are vigorous and animated. Which leads into their title track, “Daydream.” The slide guitar has a melancholy takeoff, which transitions into a jam like romp that, at points, is very trance-y. The house was shaking as the party made it our mission to make this a night to remember. The lamps were trying not to plummet to the ground, while the couch started swaying back and forth as people drunkenly fell in and out of it. DONKNG definitely brought their all, which translated into everyone else going as hard as they could.
DONKNG showing what they’re made of. They came out strong and finished even stronger.
This was my first house show in Gainesville. Growing up it seemed like there was one almost every other week. The days where my friends and I weren’t old enough to go to the bars but still wanted to have fun and play music. It’s been a while since I’ve gone to a show that made me feel like I was back in those innocent times. Those shows were the reason I fell in love with music and the culture around it.
This brought all that back for me. The insane party people, the incredible bands and the sense of community give me hope that honest music lovers haven’t gone the way of the VCRs, Walkmans and the Thunder Cats. I think my roommate and partner in crime Graham Johnson said it best a couple of weeks ago, borrowing a saying from Portlandia. “The dream of 90s is alive in Gainesville.”