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PLAYING AROUND

American indie rock bands Minus the Bear, Circa Survive and Now, Now sold out Freebird Live March 25 for four hours of rock ’n’ roll.

Minus the Bear is co-headlining the Waves Overhead tour with Circa Survive for the release of its fifth album “Infinity Overhead.”

Dozens of Pabst Blue Ribbons were thrust into the air as concert goers stood shoulder to shoulder in unanimous agreement of a stellar show.

The threesome from Minnesota, Now, Now, started the night off with a great performance and even sported neon pink Jacksonville Beach tank tops.

Now, Now emits a shoegaze feel with its dreamy, delicate vocal melodies blended with effects of guitars, drums and synthesizers.

The high-energy set catapulted the several intrepid souls into the inevitable moshing and crowd surfing, while some tried to enjoy the music without worrying about getting assaulted.

Crowd surfing was highly encouraged by the energetic lead singer of Philadelphia’s Circa Survive, Anthony Green.

“Let yourself go!” Green screamed. “Fuck Mondays! Stop acting like it’s fucking Monday.”

After Circa Survive’s amped up performance, Green invited everyone out to go swim naked in the ocean.

Minus the Bear started its set with “Steel and Blood,” a song where two become one in the cacophony of a bourbon-soaked car crash.

Soon after Minus the Bear hit the stage, the moshing and crowd surfing stopped, and people enjoyed the music through non-violent dance.

Minus the Bear also delved into older albums and played the crowd’s favorites from “Highly Refined Pirates,” “Menos el Oso,” “Planet of Ice” and “Omni.”

Towards the end of the show, Minus the Bear played the single from which the album is named, “Infinity Overhead”: “Liquid concrete under our feet/Trippin' on the constellations we see/Diamond lightning/Seeing where seams …   More

PLAYING AROUND

Jacksonville native and award-winning vocalist Lauren Elise was featured on the side of a race truck on Feb. 22 during the NextEra Energy Resources 250, a Camping World Truck Series event at Daytona. Elise’s photo appeared on the side of Jennifer Jo Cobb’s No. 10 Koma Unwind Chevrolet truck at Daytona International Speedway.

Elise, 16, currently has airplay on gospel radio stations but is hoping to cross over to country radio. She will be appearing at the next NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky., on June 27 along with Cobb’s race team.

Elise is known for her outreach program, “Be Significant” #PositiveImpact campaign. Her campaign is designed to offer a voice of change and hope for those affected by bullying or thoughts of suicide.

For more information on Elise or her “Be Significant” campaign, visit laurenelisemusic.com and besignificantcampaign.com.   More

Playing Around

Katt Williams' show tonight (Feb. 8), planned for Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, was canceled due to weather conditions, according to a news release from SMG.

His travel arrangements from the West Coast to the East Coast were changed, preventing him from performing in Jacksonville.

Refunds are available at the point of purchase, according to the statement. For more information, contact the Veterans Memorial Arena at 630-3900.   More

PLAYING AROUND

Bookstore owner Ron Chamblin received a birthday surprise any literature lover would enjoy.

For his April 26 birthday, Jennifer O’Donnell, Chamblin's girlfriend and Downtown store manager, teamed up with creative writing teacher Liz Flaisig to put together an anthology of poems and short stories created by Douglas Anderson School of the Arts students.

All the profits from the $18 book will go to the school. 

“Liz and I talked about doing it back in August,” O’Donnell said. “We thought it would be fun to publish the kids' writing.”

O’Donnell said the book was made to thank Chamblin for his generosity.

The 71-year-old Chamblin seemed genuinely surprised.

“It was like ‘surprise,'” Chamblin said. “All of a sudden it was in front of me and now its moving into something bigger.”

Chamblin will begin publishing works of any local writers who are interested and whenever he can.

O’Donnell said the project has been snowballing for quite some time. 

“We would like to see Jacksonville become a literary hub,” she said. “New York is the one for the North; we could use one in the South.” 

Chamblin said local writing talent is abundant, so publishing will keep him busy in addition to running his stores.

“It’s a lot of work, I’m working seven days a week now,” Chamblin said.

O’Donnell said the anthology is an example of Chamblin's giving back to the community. But they have other plans as well.

“The adult illiteracy rate here is high, so we will also be offering tutoring and creative writing teaching for those interested,” O’Donnell said.

Working with Tim Gilmore of Florida State College at Jacksonville and writer Coe Douglas, O’Donnell plans to form a collective of professors and writing students to help educate adults.

The stores — Chamblin Bookmine (4551 Roosevelt Blvd., Westside, 384-1685) and Chamblin's Uptown (215 N. Laura St., Downtown, 674-0868) …   More

PLAYING AROUND

The Cummer Ball gala will feature chandeliers and glasswork from 36 Jacksonville University glass and ceramics program students, faculty and alumni on March 16 at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Riverside.

The chandeliers will be sold at a live auction during the event with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the museum.

“I’m into engaged learning opportunities, and this is that and more. It allows the students to display what they’ve done, and then to have it critiqued directly in the marketplace, with a sale being the best final critique,” said Brian Frus, a JU assistant professor of glass, according to a press release from the university.

The auction will feature 21-year-old students Aly Volk’s “Iceburst” and Kayla Socha’s “Silly Lilly.”

“I love that we got to do this. We don’t get an opportunity like this anywhere else, to show our work,” Socha said.

Any chandeliers not sold during the ball will be sold at the Cummer’s store afterward.

Donald Mills has five different chandeliers being auctioned off, including “Green Room,” “Plum Purdy” and “Autumn Vines.” Mills said he feels more accomplished knowing that there is a utilitarian aspect to his project.

The ball begins with cocktails at 6 p.m., then the live auction follows at 7 p.m. The evening will continue with dinner and dancing and live music from the Tangee Renee band.

For more information on the JU Glass and Ceramic program visit http://www.ju.edu/cfa. To learn more about the 2013 Cummer Ball, visit http://www.cummer.org/2013-cummer-ball.   More

PLAYING AROUND

I couldn’t wait to see the film “Billy Elliot” after its release in 2000. The irresistible story of an 11-year-old boy who discovers ballet to escape the hard realities of a decaying English mining town and the energetic, aggressive dancing spoke to my predilection for British accents and musicals.

When it became a staged musical in 2005, I lumped it in with the pile of productions recycled from old movies. Sure, many of those have been good, but most of them have not broken new ground. Even with music by Elton John, it wasn’t high on my list.

So, I didn’t have high expectations when I saw the touring production of “Billy Elliot the Musical” at the Times-Union Center for Performing Arts Feb. 26.

Instead, I was blown away.

It’s rare to see a musical that stretches the medium, but “Billy Elliot the Musical” does just that. Instead of simply telling the story from the movie, the creative team reimagined the narrative as if it were originally being told in the musical format.

It probably helps that the original production was directed by Stephen Daldry and choreographed by Peter Darling, the same team behind the movie.

The songs aren’t particularly memorable; you won’t find yourself singing them to yourself as you walk out of the theater. But the music drives the fantastic staging and unbridled choreography throughout.

The first scenes are a bit slow, but once the dancing starts, it’s mesmerizing. “Solidarity” acts as a montage of Billy’s growth from clumsy boxer to ballet prodigy set against the growing clashes between police and striking miners. The scene juxtaposes pixie ballerinas and rugged miners as they intertwine in one building dramatic conflict.

When Grandma tells Billy about her complex relationship with his late grandpa during “We’d Go Dancing,” we see their feisty, flirtatious relationship played out in a bar full of …   More

PLAYING AROUND

A five-panel mural, featuring Elvis Presley, Ray Charles and other local musicians, created by a group of First Coast High School students, has been installed in Downtown Jacksonville across from the Florida Theatre.

The mural was produced by 25 students in the Behavioral Education and Social Skills Teaching program.

The program is for students who have emotional and behavior difficulties and have been removed from regular classrooms.

The students and five staff members spent eight weeks in art classes planning and creating the mural. It was installed July 11 outside Dos Gatos, which is across the street from the Florida Theatre.

The project was led by Kendall Barsin, Florida Theatre director of marketing and Cathedral Arts Project teacher Laurie Brown.   More

PLAYING AROUND

The heavy hitting sounds of SOJA came through to a massive crowd at Mavericks as The Movement and John Brown’s Body opened.

The Movement has gone through some member changes over the last year and a half as their lead singer removed himself from the group. However, the group still put on a great opening act.

John Brown’s Body kept the crowd dancing as their reggae/jam band influence laid the way for SOJA.

“Give it up for The Movement and John Brown’s Body,” Hemphill said. “We've been touring with these guys for like 5 or 10 years.”

SOJA came on with their horn section blasting to “Mentality,” a song that is meant to open up people’s thoughts to the world around them.

“We were the students but now we’re the ones who teach, we were the children who your lies we did believe. But we ain’t kids no more and we don’t need your speech,” lead singer Jacob Hemphill sang.

Following the first track off of their latest album “Strength to Survive,” SOJA went back to their hit single “I Don’t Wanna Wait” off of their 2009 album “Born in Babylon.”

The song expressing their views for better change in the country around them had the crowd’s hands going up and down with the beat.

“Moving forward to right now, a government that let you down, a racist leader no one trusts and an army that’s bigger than us,” Hemphill sang.

After playing “Decide You're Gone” the band followed with their acoustic track “She Still Loves Me,” however it was done in a much more upbeat tempo and the group did not hold back its enthusiasm.

Though experiencing technical difficulties during the first few songs, including mic feedback and guitar sound, the group continued on with the show.

The powerful album title song, “Strength To Survive,” drew multiple cheers as the band sang of the world’s condition.

Bobby Lee, bassist and vocals, dropped his sunglasses down for the song he originally wrote in the …   More

PLAYING AROUND

At first, the concept of Christian metal might send up a red flag. It’s an oxymoron between the worlds of furrowed-brow conservatives and the carefree piss-and-vinegars giving them a collective, pounding migraine.

But it’s a thing, and if you’re not keen on hearing damage on tap, call-help-there’s-blood-in-my-larynx screaming and tattoo placement that will shatter the prospect of gainful employment — stick to Toby Keith, ‘cause most of that is still here. If you are into that kind of stuff but don’t want the holy business shoveled down your gullet, this is a convenient genre; you can’t begin to decipher the message without a thorough listen-a-long with the lyric book liner (necessary) in one hand and a bottle of aspirin (recommended) in the other.

The only quick indicator of this being a unique, niche area of metal is the audience. These are pretty average, yes-ma’am-no-ma’am, A-B Honor Roll kids. About 520 of these bright seeds packed into Murray Hill Theatre March 23 to watch The Devil Wears Prada play tunes to make them want to head bang themselves into whiplash and generously clobber the pulp out of one another in a form of dance more closely resembling a merciless blood-sport than any outward expression of merriment.

But it’s all in good fun, and the Dayton, Ohio, five-piece (now touring as a six) didn’t disappoint. Everything about their sound is urgent and intense. Crushingly loud guitars layer over crashing cymbals, piercing snare drum and that growling, impassioned singer. Like traditional metal, the band utilizes very tight stop-and-go-rhythms — head-banging and scissor kicking and generally making a ruckus of things along with them.

Guitarist Jeremy DePoyster impressively managed to nail every note on the guitar and his sung choruses despite having a mop-head of hair in his face the entire set — and that’s not saying the music is simple to play. It’s not. The speed at which Prada performs their songs, …   More

PLAYING AROUND

Although they’ve been around since 2009, the indie rock band Dead Stars, is beginning to make more noise than ever.

The three-piece band — cousins and Jacksonville natives Jeff and Jaye Moore and friend John Watterberg from Albuquerque, N.M. — just finished recording their second album, "High Gain." The five-song EP is set to drop June 4.

Dead Stars has recently gained notoriety after the single "Waste Away” was featured on MTV Hive’s website.

But guitarist Jeff Moore says he's taking the recent publicity with a grain of salt.

"It’s great. The ultimate goal, of course, is for as many people to hear your music as possible. You obviously want to enjoy what you do, and you want other people to hear it. Any time people are paying attention it’s cool. … I just want to keep on going and keep making music. Whatever happens, happens. We’ve been doing this for a while … so you try to not get too excited or too bummed either way. Whether things are good or bad you just try and keep going,” he said.

When asked what type of genre Dead Stars fits into, Jeff said that although they joke about being “nerd grunge,” they consider themselves more of a fuzz pop or indie rock band, but that there’s really no right answer.

“There’s so many different kinds of music put under the indie umbrella now, but I just feel that for us [it’s] just having that simple set up of drums, bass, guitar and vocals, of course. I like to explore what we can in that minimalist type of setup.”

The band finds a lot of inspiration from bands both old and new. Growing up, The Beatles were one of these inspirations.

Today, they listen to a variety of bands. The combination of older bands from the late '80s and early '90s, like Dinosaur Jr. and newer bands, such as Yuck, provide inspiration in finding their own, unique sound.

Writing the songs themselves is very …   More

 
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