By: Graham Johnson
Saturday was a weird day. If I’m being completely honest, I don’t really remember much of the day itself. It was probably spent binging Netflix and fried fish with my partner. But, regardless of any amount of TV Drama or catfish, the show at the Backyard that night managed to reel me back in from my fish induced stupor. Right out of the gate the show had its eccentricities, as headlining band Kindergarten Cop dropped from the bill the day before. Lead vocalist and owner of Coolicide Productions, Charlie Chopshop, mentioned that the album release would be delayed, but didn’t say why. Fortunately, even with the loss of Kindergarten Cop, this little show in The Backyard at Boca Fiesta would shape up to be quite something.
8-Track starts out strong to wake up the crowd at almost 11p and drags us along by the hand for the next 45 min. Everything about these guys is heavy. Whether they’re playing sludge or alt, this band retains their subsonic sound. The kick drum punches out halted rhythms, while the bass punctuates every consonant beat. Super fuzzy rhythm guitar creates a pad of white noise that the piercing lead guitar shines through. These guys are such good openers, you forget that there wasn’t a band before them. But they are before the next band, who kept the vibe riding right along.
Not as heavy as the last band, Shurwood made up for it with pure sadness. They were definitely less aggressive in their attack, but had just as heavy of an impact. Shurwood sounded as if The Smiths had figured out overdriven guitar or, for whatever reason, had decided to play midwest emo in the 80s. It was very open and spacey, while holding on to elements of stoner metal and punk. Shurwood had the perfect sound to bridge the gap between 8-Track and acting headliner that night, Rosemary Kennedy.
It’s been a little while since I’ve seen RK live, and especially not without Simona. I was both excited and curious as to how they were planning on handling the absence of such a core member of the band. Though I had nothing to fear, as acting synth player for this show (and possibly others) was none other than Lauren Leshansky, of Alumine. They played old stuff, they played new stuff. The played everything off of the French Exit album. Charlie mentioned that a second album was in the works and they played a song that’s slated to be on it. Rosemary Kennedy never fails to put on a good show, even when they need to replace a member.
That little show in The Backyard at Boca Fiesta ended up being fairly kickass. 8-Track was better than an opener really should be, Shurwood reminded themselves that they were supposed to be heavy sometimes, and Rosemary Kennedy killed it (of course) to close out the night. Just another prime example of what Gainesville (and Tampa) can offer. Florida rocks.
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Photos by: Eliza Goldstein