EU’s Jack Diablo stays on top of the Jacksonville music scene so you don’t have to! Check in every month for album reviews, show recommendations, and local music news.
May 10 Froth, The Coogs, Queen Beef at Shanghai Nobby’s
I made the regrettable mistake of turning down a booking request for the Growlers a few years ago that I’m still kicking myself for. Suffice it to say: if that bums you out too, Froth is probably the next best thing. They are playing Psych Fest this year after all. The Coogs though are totally awesome! They’ve been around for years quietly making waves in sleepy St. Augustine, and I’m delighted to hear they’re still making music. Queen Beef is great too, so if you’re a fan of the Burger Records camp and the modern garage sound, make the short trip down south and get your fix.
May 13 Conor Oberst, Dawes at Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
Hey you guys remember listening to Bright Eyes when you were young and depressed and confused and damn if that Conor Oberst fellow didn’t just totally GET IT?! Apparently he still makes music or at least makes money off of songs he’s written. Don’t get me wrong, Bright Eyes was really something, but the dude’s solo stuff doesn’t hold a candle to what he was doing on Lifted and Fevers and Mirrors or even I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning for that matter. I’m sure there’s nothing stopping him from playing some of the old hits, with or without Mike Mogis, but me, I’m just going to hold my breath for the next Desaparecidos reunion.
May 16 – Mojave Wilde, Fjord Explorer, Civil Brute at Rain Dogs
Orlando’s Mojave Wilde often find themselves sharing the stage with some of the amazing bands that pass through town. Now they’re setting their sites on the southeast and leaving Winter Park to tour the region. Their sound is complimentary to a variety of genres without coming across as generic. It’s synth, somewhat folky, a little surfy here and there, just experimental enough and possessing that certain indie je ne sais quois-lity. Sometimes you pick up on a Wolf Parade quality to the bright guitars that ring also of fellow Floridians, Surfer Blood. Vocally, you get a sense of Local Natives tempered by just a little touch of soul and R&B. Locals Fjord Explorer and Civil Brute balance out either side of Mojave Wilde’s unique sound, all providing the makings of quite the show!
May 25 – Lucinda Williams at Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
Seems like a lot of people are discovering Lucinda Williams after her 2007 song, ‘Are You Alright?’ was so brilliantly incorporated into a particularly powerful scene in an episode of True Detective. It comes as no surprise to those of us already aware of her songwriting brilliance and signature gravely voice that such a brief introduction would prove sufficient enough to recruit a new wave of fans. Compared to other country music songstresses, Williams incorporates more rock and attitude without sacrificing the feminine touch. Her songwriting is subtle, yet complex, with a storytelling quality to it, not unlike her contemporary and sometime-collaborator, Elvis Costello. This is the kind of show I wouldn’t mind seeing with my dad.
May 23-25 – Jacksonville Jazz Festival After Dark at The Elbow
For some really stupid reason, the City of Jacksonville, in her infinite wisdom, saw it fit to relocate the ever-popular Jacksonville Jazz Festival from the heart of downtown proper to the shipyards area on Bay Street, thereby diminishing the economic impact on local downtown businesses. Makes sense right? Perhaps they felt the need to “shake things up” after One Spark surpassed it as the most relevant and brag-worthy event to take place in Jacksonville. Every year the “headliners” for this “jazz” festival become less and less impressive, but thanks to the hard work of one local promoter, there remains something of value associated with it, the After Dark programming in and around The Elbow. The lineup features some of the city’s best local bands as well as top notch touring acts like Moon Hooch and the Heavy Pets. There’s even an avant garde performance taking place off-site at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum commemorating the life and work of Albert Ayler. So come downtown during the day for the people watching, but be sure to stick around for some amazing, free entertainment after dark.
May 27 – Jacuzzi Boys, Queen Beef, Boggsie Brigade at Underbelly
South Florida’s Jacuzzi Boys have mastered the art of jangly, high energy rock ‘n roll. They bring a certain greasy grooviness with a little sleaze to their performances that get the people moving. I like to think of them as T Rex’s bratty little brother. Boggsie Brigade is a new-ish, female fronted garage band that oozes attitude and are fast finding their place in the local music scene. Landing this gig is a pretty solid testament to their ability to move and engage a crowd. Should be a fun show!
June 6 – Weezer at St. Augustine Amphitheatre
With the possible exceptions of Hash Pipe and Island in the Sun, Rivers Cuomo hasn’t written a decent song in years. But if you’re like me, you’re willing to forgive this crime solely on the grounds that his first two attempts were solid gold. Pinkerton is my go-to album every time I think I’m falling in love, for better or worse, and if you revisit the Blue Album, you might be surprised to discover just how heavy it really is. If this concert is out of your price range, don’t worry, I’m putting together a cover show at Burro Bar tentatively scheduled for June 3 where you can hear the hits performed by your favorite locals for FREE!
June 6 – Sons of Hippies, Bask, Appalachian Death Trap at Burro Bar
While their name might not be the most original and is perhaps a bit too expositional, Sons of Hippies are the real deal when it comes to psych-tinged rock. They’ve got the look for sure, but they also back it up with melodic psychedelia on the poppy side of heavy. This is going to sound crazy but they have a Black Angels meets LORDE thing going on to the extent that their cover of Royals could pass as a rock ‘n roll remix. Joining them are BASK, an Asheville band with a decidedly more traditional, stoner-rock quality about them.
Worth the Drive
Sometimes if you want to see a really good show, you just have to hop in the car and drive somewhere like Orlando where many bands prefer to stop, if they stop in Florida at all…
May 6 – Ghost, B.C., King Dude The Beacham
May 8 – of Montreal, Boogarins The Social
May 15-16 – Modest Mouse The Beacham
June 2 – Floor, Whores Backbooth
June 16 – Deafheaven, Pallbearer, Wreck & Reference Backbooth
Other Notable Shows
May 9 – The Faint, Reptar, Solid Goldberg Freebird Live
May 9 – Blitzen Trapper, Matrimony Jack Rabbits
May 9 – Blueprint, Count Bass D, Tough Junkie Burro Bar
May 12 – Shai Hulud, Seeker Underbelly
May 13 – The Aquabats, Koo Koo Kangaroo Freebird Live
May 16 – Tegan & Sara Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
May 25 – Bootsy Collins Mavericks
June 6 – Drive By Truckers, Water Liars Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
On the Horizon
June 14 – Counting Crows, Toad the Wet Sprocket St. Augustine Amphitheatre
June 14 – No Vaccine Burro Bar
June 25 – Everymen, Mudtown Burro Bar
July 22 – The Woodgrains Burro Bar
September 7 – ZZ Top, Jeff Beck St. Augustine Amphitheatre