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This Little Underground: The Coathangers & The Imperial’s Acoustic Soundcheck series

July 3, 2014
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This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly’s music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city’s music scene. Read the latest column here.

Reggie Williams (photo credit: Benny Maus)

Reggie Williams (photo credit: Benny Maus)

 

The idea of some guy playing acoustic in a place where music isn’t the spotlight is seldom a thing that warrants the attention of serious music heads. In terms of performance and experience, it’s practically tantamount to live music at a beach bar or a restaurant – fine as wallpaper but not a destination in itself. The Acoustic Soundcheck series at the Imperial, however, is an exception.

Though the latest event (July 2) was the first one I attended, I’ve been eyeing the talent selections for a while and the one thing that became clear is that it’s curated with some care. A concept by the Modern Music Movement, a local music organizer specializing in theme events, the series so far has tapped area notables like Joseph Martens (Hindu Cowboys), Sean Holcomb (Holcomb Brothers Band), CJ Mask (Mike Dunn & the Kings of New England) and Beartoe (ex-Dish), with an upcoming special edition featuring something that will surely be a thing of powerful beauty to hear and see: local soul icon Eugene Snowden performing the music of Sam Cooke (July 23). The night I checked in was held down by young local Reggie Williams, who plays a breezy, jazzy brand of pop that straddles easy accessibility and genuine soul with some real technique.

And in terms of ambience, there are about a million worse places to have a drink than among the upscale exoticism of the Imperial. Put it all together and you have a recommended option for live music when you want to chill without compromising on quality.

The Coathangers (photo credit: Ryan Russell)

The Coathangers (photo credit: Ryan Russell)

Later over on Mills, it was back to the pro ranks with Atlanta punks the Coathangers (Will’s Pub). They started out as total amateurs but had enough attitude and aesthetic to be noted from the jump as the little sisters to the Black Lips. But it hasn’t been until maybe this year’s album, Suck My Shirt, that they’ve truly gotten good. And it’s because they’ve finally leveled up on their songwriting and expression beyond the basic punk template. Even though they’re now stripped down to a trio, their scope and spectrum are bigger, and all those colors were on display live. Don’t worry, punks, they’re not even close to ruining themselves with gloss, polish or some shit like that. They just kick ass with better songs.

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