Nicole Miglis of Hundred Waters playing flute on stage at The Social.
Hundred Waters, a local electronic-folk band from Gainesville, Fla., graced The Social’s stage last Thursday night as they were joined by local Orlando acts Maximino, Basements of Florida, and xxyyxx. We weren’t able to make it to the show in time to see opener Maximino, but we’ve had the chance to see him before, and we don’t doubt the quality of his show. Next time . . . next time.
Then again, we’ve seen every one of the acts that played that night at least once. Going into this show I was already a little worried: what the hell am I going to say about them now? I’ve written on Hundred Waters twice, xxyyxx twice and Basements of Florida once. Haven’t I exhausted my bank of musical comparisons, metaphors and action verbs? Well, the nice thing about these musicians, is that I haven’t (at least for them), because they continually provide a new experience with each new show.
Basements of Florida rattled the ground level of The Social.
Basements of Florida, for example, was nothing like the last time I saw them, yet just as impressive. In a very progressive format, the trio constantly moved between fast, chugging near breakdown moments and then blasted off into sonically spacious solos. Switching between ambient drones and tremolo-picking madness, the drummer, Josh Dulci, was consistently on point, easily changing the unpredictable time signatures. And when the heavier moments came upon them, his drum set rattled and shook to the point where he nearly knocked it over. (I half hoped it would for the sheer spectacle of how devoted they were to their performance.) In between some of the songs, vocalist and bassist Phil Longo did some spoken word that seemed to tell a story. In the live setting I couldn’t hear all of them, but the one I could clearly make out told an account of a guy begging his significant other to take him back, saying he was a better man and that he’d cleaned up. The twist to the story came when the the girl replied, “‘What the fuck do you know about partying or any damn thing else?’”
It was probably because the last time I saw them they played in a pitch-black room, but I never noticed that Basements of Florida performed sans guitar (and suddenly their name makes so much more sense). But it adds for an interesting experimental factor to see what a band can do without a traditional guitar-bass-drum outfit. It makes their spacey, ringing solos (which I mistook for guitars) that much more impressive. By the end of the set, Longo made sure to thank everyone involved who brought the show together. He said he’d been playing in the scene for too long and it was refreshing to see these shows become a reality. That, in itself, was quite refreshing . . . .
Marcel Everett performing on stage at The Social as xxyyxx.
Xxyyxx, the solo electronic project of Marcel Everett, is another one that we’ve covered a few times. He’s shown us his chops before, and this set was no different. Like floating in a pool of bong water, his tripped-out minimal electronic set was a droning lull of potent mixes, grave beats and cogent ambiance. Coming off the back end of Basements’ adrenaline-fueled set and before Hundred Waters hypnotic euphoria (see below), it was an interesting break. In and of itself, the young producer/DJ’s material is well crafted; his understanding of bass, tonal levels, hip-hop, and atmospheres is quite reliable. But the challenge that minimalist electronic musicians like him face, is how do you hold up the level of enthusiasm that a normal show expects? How do you maintain the extravagant nature of a live experience that we’ve all come to want? A lot of musicians struggle with the change, and for good reason. Laying on my bed listening to his music with a good set of speakers or headphones is an excellent experience, but what happens when you have a crowd of people standing on their aching feet for hours at a live show? Luckily for Everett, The Social’s “pit” was scattered about with some fans dancing, head-bobbing, and even singing along at times to the vocal samples. And if you get your fan base to shake their rumps and act the fool in a crowd of onlookers, I’d say you’re moving in the right direction.
Miglis and Sam Moss of Hundred Waters singing to the crowd at The Social.
The headliners, Gainesville’s Hundred Waters, have built up their nationwide recognition slowly but surely, and it’s gotten to the point of pure overhaul. Between music blogs and publications lauding their 2012 debut album, to a recognition via Facebook from the American dubstep poster boy, Skrillex, their name has spread like wildfire.
Lead vocalist Nicole Miglis led the group with her childish singing voice that glided above the music like a cosmic ether. From trilling flutes (in Sufjan Stevens’ likeness), to a smooth bass line, to a mix of live and MIDI-controlled drum beats, the group bonded folk music with a modern electronic vibe to the crowd’s satisfaction. Every song was met with heartfelt cheers and, as I looked over the crowded floor, a sea of grinning faces. At times, I found myself looking at the people more than the band. It struck me how gleeful everyone looked, as they all seemed so excited to hear them play. And that’s the exact type of playfulness that Hundred Waters are known for. Their atmosphere has a quality about it that’s hard to describe as anything but “magical.” I almost feel silly for calling it that, but I’m struggling for a better explanation. As they busted out more instrumentation for a song that carried a world-music atmosphere, I was astounded by their attention to detail. One song was almost entirely percussion based in a very tribal manner. And by the time the group ended on their hit song “Boreal,” the crowd was singing along, swaying and grinning ear-to-ear. That whimsical factor was not lost on anyone, and I think we were all the better for experiencing it.
Look at some more photos from the beautiful night below:
Basements of Florida:
Mon Jun 18