By: Kelsa Ross
Wednesday night Slumberjack and Rosemary Kennedy played one of Gainesville’s favorite arts and music hubs: the Hardback Cafe. These bands surpassed my already high expectations with ease, both delivering powerful sets that continue to raise the bar for the local music scene.
This was the first stop on Orlando-based Slumberjack’s tour to promote their new album, Oddly Calm which I, honest-to-god, have not stopped playing since it dropped last week. Seeing them live simply jacked up my obsession tenfold. My chest aches just trying to describe their set with words. Instrumentally, they were stupid tight. Dave’s rhythmic pick-ups and false stops, Jordan’s bass grooves, and the intricacies of Andrew’s guitar licks work together seamlessly. Vocally, Slumberjack is unsurpassed. Andrew’s voice is so good that I would pay an egregious amount of money just to listen to an iPhone recording of him singing underwater. His cigarette-stained voice is raw power with lyrics that are honest and true. Not to mention, Slumberjack’s stage presence kills with an exceedingly energized, cool, and confidant attitude. All-around, this was a solid set to kick off the tour.
Slumberjack rockin’ out at Hardback Cafe.
As per the usual, Rosemary Kennedy delivered a stellar set. They were, unfortunately, without starshining vocalist and keys-extraordinaire Simona X Morales, but still managed to slay it with a set of songs that all felt whole and full. Like the old pros that they are, Rosemary Kennedy had everyone in the audience vibing with their rhythmic instrumentals and Charlie’s oh-so-smooth vocals. Rosemary Kennedy’s closing song “Christmas Lights” always kills me dead, with soft, sweet lines that plead, “Why can’t beautiful things happen to me?” They cracked the code on how to properly end a show with the track’s final pick-up into a driving punk, dance vibe.
Rosemary Kennedy playing to the good people of Gainesville at Hardback Cafe.
These two bands consistently demonstrate they can play a superior set, and their energy complemented each other perfectly for this show. Both Slumberjack and Rosemary Kennedy bring it all. If you want to check them out, Rosemary Kennedy is regularly putting in work in the local scene and Slumberjack will be hitting Will’s Pub in Orlando May 26th with DONKNG. Treat yourself this summer and get some good local music in your life.