Various “Music Week” blurbs: Quirky band and music-event previews

Flat Land (originally published in Creative Loafing Vol. 28, No. 6)

Just when you think you’ve got an idea of Flat Land’s sound, the next track makes you wonder, “Is this the same band I was just listening to?” The unpredictability of the Gainesville-based four-piece isn’t only on a song-by-song basis, however; Flat Land is capable of soothing, invigorating, entrancing and charming all in the same track, leaving you guessing at what lurks around the next refrain. Maybe a funky guitar riff or a crescendo of crashing cymbals? Perhaps a lulling violin solo? Your guess is as good as mine. And just think: if Florida wasn’t so vertically challenged, it may not have inspired such musical genius. (Dunedin Brewery, Dunedin)

Aesop Rock / Rob Sonic w/DJ Abilities/Homeboy Sandman (originally published in Creative Loafing Vol. 27, No. 51)

No. Not A$AP Rocky. Underground hip-hop demigod Aesop Rock (aka Ian Matthias Bavitz). He lands in town with backup in Rob Sonic and DJ Abilities, following the release of a second Hail Mary Mallon album Bestiary, which combines Aesop’s poetic genius with Rob Sonic’s poignant humor for unparalleled hip-hop artistry. And to the Aesop purists, don’t fret. He’ll be dishing out plenty of his solo tracks, too. Also on the mic is emcee Homeboy Sandman, a busy Queens-based rapper and writer who’s dropped four albums and seven EPs since his 2007 debut and also pens stories for Gawker and The Huffington Post. (State Theatre, St. Petersburg)

Caravan of Thieves with Kiss Kiss  (originally published in Creative Loafing Vol. 28, No. 4)

Fresh out of the lab, Caravan of Thieves hits the road to promote its fourth album of gypsy jazz gospel. The fully acoustic four-piece is capable of crafting swinging folk songs that stimulate a primal urge to dance along (or at the very least, vigorously foot tap) to the beats. No one is immune to the thumping double bass, blazing violin or Django Reinhardt-styled hot-jazz guitar solos. And when the jaw-dropping instrumentation fades into the background, the soothing male-female harmonies step in while you scramble to grab your lower mandible off the floor. (Hideaway Café & Recording Studio, St. Petersburg)

The Devil Wears Prada with Born Of Osiris, and The Word Alive Secrets (originally published in Creative Loafing Vol. 28, No. 3)

Everyone’s favorite rom-com, The Devil Wears Prada, hits the road for a Broadway musical adaptation. Oh, you mean the band, not the movie? Well in that case, dust off your Hot Topic band tees because the cherished metal-core band from your awkward high-school days invades the State Theatre, headlining the Zombie 5 tour—aptly named for the fifth anniversary of the release of Zombie EP, which will be played from start to finish. Though it’s only five songs long, this album features some of their most notable work. They ditched the ironic song titles and lyrics for a concept EP that drops you right into the center of a zombie apocalypse (and they actually pulled it off). It sets a pressing atmosphere of eeriness while showcasing a more heart-racing bravura compared to their other albums. The Word Alive, Born of Osiris and Secrets join the horde, ensuring you get your fix of blood-curdling screams. If you plan on singing along, don’t forget the throat lozenges. (State Theatre. St. Petersburg)

wWAYLOn with Mekenzie Jackson (originally published in Creative Loafing Vol. 28, No. 5)

Striving to reinvent Southern music with a little “forward thinking” and “propaganda,” Georgia-bred Waylon Elsberry, aka wWAYLOn, is off to a good start with catchy ballads fusing outlaw country, Americana and punk rock. Maybe it’s his subtly raspy vibrato, or perhaps he’s triggered a sleeper cell. I haven’t decided yet, but it gives me the inexplicable urge to go burn a confederate flag. Tourmate Mekenzie Jackson backs wWAYLOn on stage as well as performing some country-folk tunes of her own. (New World Brewery, Ybor City)

Operation Coexist: Geri X Unplugged (originally published in Creative Loafing Vol. 28, No. 5)

Geri X is a local multi-instrumentalist songstress with a back story as distinctive as her folk-rock sound. Ever since she moved from Bulgaria, Geri X has captivated Bay area audiences and despite leaving the scene a few times to work her magic elsewhere, she always ends up back in the ‘Burg, likely because she has so many diehards here. She’s earned numerous Best of the Bay wins from CL, not to mention a “Best of Indie” award from Rolling Stone’s Bulgarian edition. There’s no other way to put it: Listen. To. Geri X. On this night, she’s playing for a good cause, too – Operation Coexist, a non-profit that provides musical therapy programs to hospitals and musical outreach to at-risk youths in local school districts. (Hideaway Café & Recording Studio, St. Petersburg)

Lauris Vidal with The Dugans, Big Blu House  (originally posted in Creative Loafing Vol. 28, No. 6)

Quick! What do you get when you mix blues, folk, reggae and punk? Not blupulkae. But close. You get none other than Florida-raised Lauris Vidal. He calls it “kitchen sink beat blues,” and he has a plethora of instruments at his disposal, including banjo, ukulele, cigar-box guitar and lap steel among others. Vidal is known for his eclectic delivery and exuberant live performance; likened the experience to getting a hug from Tom Waits at a Paul Simon concert. (New World Brewery, Ybor City)

For more blurbs and blog posts with Creative Loafing, you may search my history at

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