This Saturday night adventure was a steamy, celebratory mix of rock, dance and even a little humor. Billed by Vinyl Music Hall as a “Low Dough Show,” five bucks earned admission into the venue and a date with three bands who dedicated their night to making everyone shake a move or two.
Fresh from their Vinyl Music Hall-oween Cars cover set, were local rockers Deadly Fists of Kung Fu, who started the night’s activities. Anchored by a straight forward push of rock, DFKF warmed the crowd up and even got one audience member to start a Pogo Dance Revival in front of the stage. Sailing their wave of sound are Zac Hobbs (vocals/guitar), Phread Touchette (bass), Andrew Bennett (drums), and Jason Hurt (guitar). No one can ever say that the DFDK are guilty of shoe gaze rock or taking themselves too seriously; some songs were introduced with comedic abandon by Hurt, rebutted by Hobbs and then clarified by Touchette in an entertaining, old-school vaudevillian fashion. One brave audience member tried to throw in a smart remark only to be shot down by the Hobbs, Hurt and even a few people in the crowd. The band might crack jokes and have a good time, but messing with the Deadly Fists of Kung Fu could render one embarrassed. Midway through the set, Hurt announced that radio DJ, Candy, was in the audience and the band took a minute to promote TK 101’s “Anything for Kids” radio-thon to be held the next morning. The radio-thon was a benefit to help the Children’s Home Society. The Deadly Fists of Kung Fu closed out their set and proved that a band can rock, joke and lend a hand for a good cause all in the same night.
Following the Deadly Fists of Kung Fu were The New Collisions. Fronted by Sarah Guild (vocals), the Boston, Massachusetts group powered a sound that echoed touches of 80’s new wave heroes Berlin, and a striking touch of The Pretenders. Skillfully weaving their sonic backdrop were Scott Guild (guitar), Casey Gruttadauria (keyboard), Alex Stern (bass), and Zak Kahn (drums).
Celebrating their six month anniversary as a couple, James Hagan and Bonnie Hans enjoyed a full night of entertainment that was highlighted by The New Collisions’ debut performance at Vinyl Music Hall. “They are the best band I’ve seen all year” remarked Hagan, a University of West Florida graduate student, when asked his thoughts regarding the show.
After the New Collisions finished their set, It was time for The Constellations to mark a stamp on their second performance at Vinyl Music Hall. Having opened for Electric Six barely two months ago, the gathered mass of people were vocal about the band’s return as headliners for the night’s show.
“I came to party” voiced Elijah Jones and matched loudly by the Pensacola crowd. Making their way from Atlanta, The Constellations fielded a full assortment of vivid players including Wes Hoffman (bass) who was endearingly given the nickname “Fro-bot” by Jones, Jamie Gordon (keyboard), Trevor Birdsong (guitar), Jason Nackers (drums), Shabnam Bashiri (vocals, percussion),and Alaina Terry (vocals, percussion).
Not a precious second was wasted as the band commenced to reaching out and working every soul in the room with their addictive explosions of funk, soul, rock and pure energy. Jones even threw in some old school beat-boxing for added pleasure. Matching the sonic connection of their music was the pure visual pageantry of their performance. Every character in the motley cast proved enthralling, engaging and dedicated to the sound, their instruments, their band mates, and the audience. At times, Gordon played the role of mad scientist/musician with a crazy love/hate affair with his ebony keyboard; seconds of pounding its dark carriage followed by moments of caressing hyper-melodic sounds from it. Some of the most fleshed out characters in a Tennessee Williams’ play never faced the kind of treatment that Gordon showed his keyboard this night.
A few songs into their set, Jones dedicated a song to fellow Atlanta artist, Cee Lo Green, the charismatic former Goodie Mob member and co-creator of Gnarls Barkley. “He helped me write this song,” shared Jones, and it is called “Love is a murder.” Like all parties, this one had to come to an end, but The Constellations definitely provided the fully expected exclamation groove-point for the evening.
Five dollars, three bands, one hot, crazy night of fun “under the moonlight, the serious moonlight” in a city called Pensacola.
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