Show Review: Airport Factory and Goldcure

by Jack Diablo

Venue: Club TSI
Date: September 4, 2009
The music industry is a funny animal. For one thing, good musicianship is far from a guarantee of success. Being in a band has always been about far more than making recorded music that sounds good. Some of the most legendary acts in music history weren’t even all that proficient on their instruments while others could hardly carry a tune when they sang. But we loved them anyway. Discerning listeners can sense the difference between those out for fame and fortune and those who know how to express themselves through music. Such audiences can be more than forgiving of a few missed notes and failure to embrace the latest fashion trends, but will tear you apart if you’re faking it.
Jacksonville, being a city that is more often than not absent from the list of cities most bands tour, has a keen eye for such things. Perhaps that is why we are so fond of our local talent. We know them and we know what they do when they aren’t playing shows. If they try and pull a fast one on us, we’ll call them on it and send them back to the practice space to get it together. And if a band does come through town to try and impress us with their fancy haircuts and polished, over-orchestrated performance, we’ll just play another round of pool or hang out on the patio until something worthwhile takes the stage.
Goldcure claims to be from Austin, TX but they really just moved there from South Florida. While Austin is a great town and one of American music’s hotbeds of activity, you have to be wary of any band that moves there to get in on the action. Sometimes it’s a smart move that pays dividends, but ultimately it’s an unnecessary one if you’re good enough at what you do. Still, if you can make it in a town like that where so many are trying to be the next big thing, it can be an impressive testament to your band’s capabilities. Perhaps I expected too much, considering some of the bands I really like have come out of Austin, because Goldcure was a major disappointment. Their music was generic and boring and too much like Spoon. It did sound really tight and well-rehearsed, but that all seems like compensation for the lack of honesty and personality in their songs. Furthermore, when it’s clear the audience isn’t into you, take a hint and cut your set short and never, ever, ever cover a song from Guitar Hero. Covering the Who will not make you relevant especially if you don’t even do anything different to the song. It’s like saying, “See, this is what we’re going for,” and expecting the crowd to buy into it. Not in this town, buddy!
So, it came as no surprise that from the moment Airport Factory began setting up, the crowd grew exponentially and waited patiently for something they knew would be worth listening to. With all eyes on the stage waiting for the show to begin, Chris, Nick and Mark snuck in from the back with acoustic guitars and claves to play their first song unplugged on the dance floor as the adoring audience sung along. The best part of it was that it wasn’t a gimmick but completely unexpected, opening up the evening to a certain intimacy. From there, it was vintage Airport Factory, playing poppy indie songs with passion and skill. See, the boys in AF just so happen to be incredibly talented musicians who are also capable of making unique music that is unconcerned with what is topping the college charts or achieving a specific, winning sound. They make music and evolve as they go along, more inspired by the lives they lead than a particular band, genre or movement. And for that, the people of Jacksonville give them their well-deserved respect and admiration.
To clarify, I’m not implying that Jacksonville bands are the best bands out there nor would I suggest avoiding touring bands in favor of local ones. What I am saying is that if you want to play in Jacksonville, you had better bring your A-game and realize that we can see right through you!