Saturday, January 30, 2010

We want to live forever, we want to live forever

Part of my duties as a new intern at Tampa's hippest weekly publication, Creative Loafing, include updating the scrolling list of upcoming concerts to the West/Central Florida area. The amount of bands filling the local bars of Ybor City on a single night is enough to boggle your mind. So, how does one pick where to go? Well, if you're a Creative Loafing devotee, you'd probably check the weekend's 'Best Bets.' But I like to choose things a bit more randomly.

While slouched over the keyboard in an attempt to get some work submitted yesterday, I ran across Morningbell. This eclectic psychedelic rock quartet based out of Gainesville, FL has become so ingrained in Northern Florida culture that some considerate the band to be as equally important to the city as the Gators themselves. The footballers, not the reptiles (which might be an even bigger compliment.)

What I first noticed about the songs from their stellar 2009 offering Sincerely, Severely are the addictive percussive beats. "Dancing In The Jaws Of A Lion" and "Marching Off To War" in particular have one those groves that can only be bettered by a being packed into a dark bar with a cold beer in your hand. Child-like screams and rock swagger from lead singer Travis Atria compliment the smooth bass lines brother Eric lays down along with harmonies. Stacie Thrushman lends her talents to the keys (she's also Eric's wife) and Chris Hillman became the band's 6th drummer in 2007.

Originally hailing from Miami, the band recently told Delusions of Adequacy that the decision to move to a more friendly scene for rock music was essential if the band was ever going to reach its potential. The warm welcome received by a college town of more than 55,000 students helped the band develop a sense of community among up-and-coming local bands. Clearly the move was the right thing to do. In addition to playing at Bonnaroo in 2008, the band will add this year's SXSW to their line-up. Morningbell are scheduled to light up the Beauty Bar on March 17.

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