By: Graham Johnson
The Hardback is venue that’s normally associated with Punk and Grunge and that vibe permeates the very air in the downstairs area. Oddly enough, we would have an unexpected change on Saturday that would strike a brilliant chord through the stale and still air of the venue. A full round-up of fun, experimental prog bands would take to the stage to explore the nuances and extremes of music as a whole, as the curious crowd listens raptly to the fluidity of the entire set.
Surprisingly, Aquanova was the first to take the stage. As we’ve experienced Aquanova in the past, we were truly floored that they would be opening this prime display of talented musicians. Aquanova is what I believe math rock would have sounded like, if invented in the 70s. They are very funky and very fluid, while being dynamic and to the point with abrupt and unanimous staccatos. The inclusion of an extremely liquid synth does not go unnoticed, as it creates some of the most important melodies in their sound. Aquanova was super tight and plenty powerful, giving the crowd an insanely solid opening act.
The band that followed would be the least experimental out of the group, but definitely not without their eccentricities. Lance Bangs has to be one of the most refreshing bands I’ve heard in a while. They’re extremely driving; with heavy-handed percussion and a very full-bodied bass, this three-piece really comes to life. The vocals remind me of early Big D, while reaching Local H levels of pure angst. They’re a very simple band with a very radical sound.
Following this crazy three-piece was Crumb; an even crazier experimental jazz band out of Boston, Mass. They were a super chill change of pace from the epic and intense Aquanova and the wild, tropical party vibe of Lance Bangs. They were the second band that night that made excellent use of a synth, layering trippy modulations on top of dreamy melodies. Crumb was definitely a break from the ultimately quicker paced and more intense bands that had played before. They kept the vibe chilled-out and lowkey for the entire tenure of their set.
Rounding out this odd quartet of diverse progressive acts was Tiny Farm, our second Gainesville local and one of the most dynamic bands of the night. Bringing back the funky sound that Aquanova gave us the hankerin’ for earlier in the set, Tiny Farm took us one step closer to classic guitar solos and full on jam band aesthetic. They were arguably one of the better bands I’ve seen at Hardback, let alone at this show, and they’re from right here in Gainesville.
What I found very cool about this show was the fact that none of these bands truly sounded alike, yet they all fit so snugly into the puzzle frame of this show. Every band brought a different vibe and atmosphere into the venue and took their 45 min each to take us on a journey through their respective minds. This show turned out to be extremely dynamic and diverse and I managed to have a great time at The Hardback. I want to throw a huge shout-out to Lance Bangs and Crumb, our super cool out-of-towner’s. Luckily for all of us however, Aquanova and Tiny Farm are locals and we can catch them at any time.
Links and Credits:
All Photos by Ian Maikisch