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This Little Underground: Jason Lancaster, Savannah & A Hero’s Fate @ BB

June 24, 2014
By

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.

 

Jason Lancaster at Backbooth (photo by James Dechert)

Jason Lancaster at Backbooth (photo by James Dechert)

Lately, I’ve had the fortune of watching and reporting on good pop-punk around town but, really, that’s a lamentable minority these days. Shit, thanks to Hot Topic and Warped Tour, it’s practically an endangered species. But, as my checkered casino career will attest, all hot streaks eventually end. And my latest one was snuffed by Orlando’s A Hero’s Fate, who bob along preternaturally happy in the uninspired ocean of mall-stamped bop-rockers. Their melodies are affable in utterly unexceptional ways and their simple songs are riddled with time-stamped clichés. It’s not hard to see why so many kids get their feet wet with this kind of terminally formulaic, entry-level stuff, but no one should be listening to it once you’re old enough to go to the bar.

As dire as pop-punk is, though, pop-rock is even more dumbed by inundation – to the point of near-meaninglessness, actually. But local band Savannah does it with some dash and distinction, something that a sizeable chunk of this crowd already knew. Fronted by – look out, ladies – twin versions of the kind of nice boy that all my ex-girlfriends’ parents probably wished their little girl had brought home instead, this sensitive, well-scrubbed group features open melodies, spilling hearts and, naturally, a piano. It’s music for good kids – which, you know, whatever – but it also happens to be pretty good.

Savannah at Backbooth (photo by James Dechert)

Savannah at Backbooth (photo by James Dechert)

But I don’t want to imply that Savannah’s too marshmallow, at least not in the comparative context of a bill headlined by Jason Lancaster. The musician known for bands like Mayday Parade and Go Radio, which not so long ago dissolved in a cloud of bitter drama, is now solo and now local. Longtime fans of his can go ahead and board the train because his basic high-gloss emo-pop template seems unchanged, for what it’s worth. There was some nice pedal steel, for which I am a well-known sucker, but even that couldn’t lend his aesthetic much edge. But at least he’s got a voice and sense of melody that beam with incandescence.

Jason Lancaster at Backbooth (photo by James Dechert)

Jason Lancaster at Backbooth (photo by James Dechert)

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  • Hayden Cler

    Hey Bao! Thanks for the great review! Looking forward to seeing you at our future shows. Stop by for a free coozie!