Dropped by Robert Miller with love from everyone at The Dropp
Photos by James Dechert
Every once in a while you come across someone who does more than just “means well.” They have a call that goes above and beyond good intentions and dives headfirst into that territory of active vivacity.
Jered Dowden, co-founder of the small independent record label Relief in Abstract happens to be just that kind of guy. There are many who talk about the “community” or the “scene,” yet there are very few who participate. Dowden is the type of person who gives himself wholeheartedly to the scene around him, the musicians in his life and the people within his close community. Without people like Dowden, there is no music, there is no scene, and art is nothing but a personal diary—something to be held close, but far from shared.
Like a covalent bond, Dowden has brought together audiences and artists for countless opportunities to cultivate expression, enjoyment and the transcendent experience of human fellowship. I think few of us can ever claim that.
But sadly, life continually throws us curve balls—even the best of us—and once you find yourself walking the fine path of high school graduate, record label co-founder and artistic advocate, you get something like monstrous hospital and therapeutic bills, which is exactly what’s happened in Dowden’s case. On a drive home from Vans Warped Tour, Dowden experienced a serious car accident alongside his friend and fellow co-founder of Relief in Abstract, Alex Johnson. I could tell you about his broken tibia, fibula, hand and more, but let’s just paint the picture that emergency services had to peel back the roof of the car just to get him out and to the hospital.
Since then, July 27, 2012, Dowden has been released from the hospital but is undergoing extensive therapy to regain full health and motion within his body. Well wishes and good vibes I’m sure are more than welcome, but for this particular individual (see above) the community has rallied behind him and will hopefully continue to do so as his recovery furthers.
In fact, here’s a special donation site that someone started to raise money to help out with Dowden’s medical bills (you can also visit the fundraiser directly HERE):
Not too long ago, Will’s Pub, North Avenue Studios, Post Script Presents, and Norsekorea Presents teamed up for a special benefit show for Dowden, featuring xxyyxx, Saskatchewan, Out Go the Lights, GRANT, Marble and Fortune Howl.
After the show, Alex Clements, guitarist and vocalist for Out Go the Lights, informed us that they raised about $1,200 from the show. Combined with the nearly $1,500 from the fundraiser above, that’s nearly $3,000 of support and love from the community (not including anything that may have been given outside of those avenues). People should know that Dowden’s battle is far from over, but this sort of give-back mentality is simply inspiring. He’d probably be the first of anyone to encourage you to support his label mates and musicians by buying their music to further their endeavors, but if you want to make a real difference in the life of someone who’s rooted deeply within this cultural hub, then now’s your chance.
Fortune Howl backed by Guillermo Casanova’s special graphic visualization on stage at Will’s Pub
Powered and back-lit by the wonderfully nostalgic, retro, colorful and spacious visuals of graphic designer Guillermo Casanova, most of the artists played in the dark with sparse light from the projector illuminating them every once in a while.
Fortune Howl’s Bryce Linde first graced us on the stage with his kaleidoscope beats and trip hop web of spiraling mind games. A true “bedroom warrior,” Linde continues to find his rise within the Orlando music scene.
Marble, the newest newcomer to join RIA’s growing roster, brought the mellowness down an even further notch as he utilized live instruments and his voice as well. He brought us up and out of the mellow, though, when Out Go the Light’s guitarsit/vocalist Alex Clements and drummer Allen Clark joined Marble for a more raucous jam-out finish.
Marble’s Alex DeWahl on stage at Will’s Pub
Sporting Willy Wonka white shades and a—wait for it—Bathory T-shirt (?!), GRANT assumed the stage with less hip hop than I expected and more psychedelic. We also had the chance to hear his first inclusion of a soulful James Blake sample and then what sounded like a chorus of women’s vocals from a fantasy movie.
Grant Peyton on stage at Will’s Pub
Michael Parallax joined the ground level of Will’s Pub and he’s still partying as usual. His bass-heavy, moshing set was briefly marred when all the power cut out and he found himself singing sans mic. Parallax kept his cool, though, and continued on with the line, “If I loved you, I’d burn this city down” over and over again until the whole crowd was singing right along with him; and then as if right on cue, the power burst back on the downbeat for a powerful finish.
Michael Parallax playing/partying on the ground level of Will’s Pub
Out Go the Lights played the most cohesive set I’ve personally seen them play as they just simply seemed sure of their own indie pop rock dexterity. “This is probably the biggest crowd we’ve ever played to,” lead vocalist Clements said. “So thanks for being the biggest and best crowd yet. We’re here to party for Jered, so if you want to dance, this is the song to do it.”
They played a brand new song to the audience, and Clements also announced that it was their bassists last time playing with them before he would move to Savannah, Georgia to attend Savannah College of Art and Design. It was a fun set, and—who knew—the crowd actually moshed!
Alex Clements of Out Go the Lights on stage at Will’s Pub
Saskatchewan’s darkly atmospheric electronic music continually enhances a majority of the shows I’m able to attend. Last time I saw them I noted how they reminded me of the soundtrack to Nicolas Winding Refn’s film, Drive, and I feel like it’s no coincidence that this night was also the same night as the “Drive Tour” in Orlando, featuring College, Anoraak and Electric Youth.
Saskatchewan’s Chandler Strang on stage at Will’s Pub
XXYYXX, closed out the benefit show in . . . a Chinese conical hat. Mostly shrouded in darkness, his set melded all of the psychedelic beats in his arsenal for a relaxing experience, which occasionally dipped hard into some slow dub movements and choice vocal samples. XXYYXX continually rises in the Orlando music scene and is currently preparing for a European tour with Giraffage.
If you’d like to rally behind something that will simultaneously make a difference in a person’s life, support the local music scene and give you the opportunity to expand your musical horizons, there’s another benefit show in the works for September 7, 2012 at Backbooth, featuring HeRobust, Ruddyp, xxyyxx, Fortune Howl and JSHIH. Check out the Facebook event here: http://www.facebook.com/events/490153360995273/
Mon Aug 27