GOLDEN PELICANS BRING DEATH FROM ABOVE

Perhaps you remember Golden Pelicans from their Halloween show last year at rain dogs. where they performed a set covering AC/DC’s album Powerage in its entirety. Or maybe you’ve been to one of the band’s other previous Jacksonville shows — mostly at Shantytown Pub.

Formed in the fall of 2011 in Orlando, Golden Pelicans is a punk quartet featuring drummer Rich Evans, guitarist Scott Barnes, bassist Sammy Meneses and singer Erik Grincewicz. The band describes their sound as “loud, abrasive rock and roll,” with tunes highly influenced by the day-to-day occurrences in the Orlando punk scene.

On the band’s Facebook page, they lay claim to the title of “Orlando’s oldest pile of trash.” “We’re old and we smell like garbage,” Evans elaborates.

“We had an old band called Slippery Slopes,” Evans says of the group’s genesis. “Our guitarist quit and we had Scott fill in for our last show. It went well, so we decided to keep playing under a new name.” The band’s updated appellation pays tribute to a fittingly scuzzy source.

“The [new] name is a reference to a ’60s garage song called ‘Rat’s Revenge Part I/Part II.’ It’s the sole 45 from a group called The Rats. The song is about a gang called The Rats and their rivals The Golden Pelicans.”

For the past few years, the guys have been gigging hard — playing music festivals like Atlanta Mess-Around, Meltasia in North Georgia, Gonerfest in Memphis, Total Punk Total F*ck Off in Orlando and New Orleans’ Pelican Pow Wow. This summer, the group kicks off a two-week tour at Get Lost Fest in Hamburg, Germany.

This Friday, though, Golden Pelicans return to rain dogs. for a show with St. Augustine punks Nutritional Beast and Jacksonville’s Electric Water & The Super Super Funky Funk and Salyut 2.

Golden Pelicans also have a bunch of recorded tunes under their belts. In 2014, 
the band released a string of singles and their first LP, S/T (also called self-titled or just Golden Pelicans).

While savvy to the current punk scene, instead of the whiplash-speed of hardcore or melodic, anthemic sing-alongs, Golden Pelicans exude a more measured and lurching style of musical menace. Songs like “Two Feathers” and “Burn Everything” come across like the deranged descendants of the buzzsaw-riffage and snarling vocals of late-’70s U.S. bands like The Pagans, The Controllers and The Dead Boys.

And fans are digging Golden Pelican’s sonic assault.

“Our LP sold out in about a month’s time,” Evans says of the 12-inch vinyl run, which was limited to 500 copies. “We got a lot of good reviews and made quite a few end-of-year lists. [Our album’s] repress is coming out this March and we are recording a follow-up at the end of February.”

Music critic Evan Minsker, who covers new garage releases for Pitchfork’s “Shake Appeal” column, called “Burn Everything” an “absolute shredder,” advising, “Go ahead and skip to the 1:10 mark and listen to that guitar solo … actually, nah, start at the beginning, otherwise you’ll miss the build-up and the part where they talk about watching you burn everything you own because you’ve got to move on past the depressing stuff.”

And styrofoamdrone.com, which focuses on underground vinyl albums, gave the band’s debut LP big props, praising Golden Pelicans’ powers at delivering “blistering punk in the most pissed-off way possible.”

Though all of the guys have day jobs, Evans says that finding time to tour isn’t difficult. Vocalist Grincewicz is an elementary school teacher with a lot of vacation time, and the other three work odd jobs, giving them the flexibility they need.

“For local shows, it’s usually just kind of thrown together,” Evans says of forming a set list for shows. “For tour, though, we usually try to build a set list in the weeks preceding, so we can have it tight by the time we hit the road. Sometimes on the road you get pretty exhausted, but some Jäger always seems to do the trick.”

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