An explosion of raw, garage-rock energy kept frenzied fans wanting more during Hidden Volume Records’ second annual Field Trip South music festival at Will’s Pub.
The rock ‘n’ roll excursion is the brainchild of Hidden Volume Records’ owner and founder, bassist of numerous bands and homey turned Baltimorian Scott Sugiuchi.
For the past two years, he has exposed garage-rock bands featured on his record label and other amazing acts to Orlando music fans during his two-day shindig with his co-organizer and partner in crime Carol Nowlin.
This year’s festival featured 14 bands from the East and West Coasts along with local faves, master of ceremonies and musician Nadeem Khan, mod DJs Elevator Operator, Richard Whig and Girlgroup Girl, Hidden Volume Records and band merchandise and vendors.
Attendees received a complimentary record bag, festival button and an exclusive magazine with flexi disc, featuring two unreleased cuts by The BellTowers and The Improbables.
Rockabilly trio The WildTones took us back to the hip 1950s with a rockin’ set, including their big hit “Love Machine” when they opened Field Trip South.
Duo Sash the Bash presented a Cramps-esque performance overflowing with angst and accompanied by orgasmic moans along with singing about a douchebag during their Field Trip South debut.
Philly’s 1960s sound was revitalized during the Groovy Movie’s set. The band’s song “Beautiful Day” felt timeless and really took me back to the decade that changed the world.
Local garage rockers and soulsters The Woolly Bushmen pumped out the beats and gave out-of-towners a taste of Orlando during an energetic and entertaining set that included being cleansed with hand sanitizer. The festival-goers danced to the band’s songs, especially during the organ-powered tune “The Routine.”
New York City-based Baby Shakes showed the Field Trip South crowd what punk-rock music was all about with their catchy lyrics and guitar riffs, Pantene-perfect hair, denim jackets and fishnet stockings. This girl-power-plus-one-guy package is worth a listen.
The festival’s first-night headliner was the legendary Untamed Youth, featuring rockabilly crooner Deke Dickerson. This garage- and surf-rock quartet, including The Hate Bombs’ drummer Ken Chiodini, pulled no punches during its rockin’ and Pabst Blue Ribbon-infused set. The group also invited The Trashmen’s bassist Bob Reed’s son Robin Reed to play drums during the band’s cover of “Surfin Bird – Bird is the Word.” Plus, it was the first time the group had ever performed in front of a vigorous Orlando audience who would like to see them return for a future show.
The volume got even louder during night two of Field Trip South. Link Wray tribute band Blind RAGE and Violence were the openers and would have made the rock-guitar legend proud. The trio wore black attire and masks and looked like they were about to execute a big-money heist. Lead man BLIND Rage (Deke Dickerson) and his bandmates Chain Link and Hot Link psyched-out the crowd and brought Wray’s “Rumble” and other classic instrumentals and guitar riffs back to life.
The BellTowers delivered their melodic songs effortlessly during their 1960s time-capsule set. The band isn’t shy about wearing its influences (The Byrds and Hoodoo Gurus, just to name a few) on its sleeve. The group invited WFMU DJ Matt Clarke who is also Quitty and the Don’ts bassist, to perform with them during a memorable music moment on stage.
Philly was represented once again by garage-rock band The Improbables. The band gave the crowd a rock ‘n’ roll workout. Self-promotion was evident when lucky festival-goers caught the group’s T-shirts that were thrown into the audience during the set.
New York garage- and punk-rock band THE OTHERMEN blew Orlando’s mind and were worth the wait during its rescheduled Field Trip South appearance. Erratic guitar riffs, in-your-face persona by front man Max Frechette and girl-next-door quirkiness by organist Kayla Asbell along with cool licks by Oweinama Biu and ballistic drum beats by Ben Heymann were some of the key ingredients during the band’s fully-charged performance.
It was a real treat to see Sugiuchi perform with one of his Baltimore and Washington, D.C.-based bands The Hall Monitors. The band’s set included a surprise performance by The Phantom Surfers’ guitarist Russell Quan. The garage-rock spirit shined brightly with this quartet.
The Blind Owls may look sweet and innocent, but they didn’t come to Field Trip South to sing sappy love songs. These guys know how to rock and proved it during their festival appearance. I see these Texans keeping the garage-rock faith for years to come.
The titillating lounge sounds of The Delusionaires kept the audience swaying on the dance floor. The band has colorful and flamboyant tastes from bassist Nadeem Khan wearing a gold short suit with a dunce cap, drummer Dennie Carter accessorizing with his white sailor cap and various sunglasses, including a pair that said swag, and saxophonist Jim Ivy wearing a Bahia Shriners’ fez. Lead man Aaron Jarvis (a.k.a. Senator Artie Mondello) showcased bursts of guitar-powered rage, but had a soft spot for the ladies. During the band’s set, Jarvis picked up Ivy’s wife Jennifer while playing his guitar on the floor. The band also invited Simon Palombi of The Woolly Bushmen and Max Frechette and Kayla Asbell of THE OTHERMEN to perform The Royal Teens’ “Short Shorts” before calling it a night.
The Phantom Surfers were the second night’s headliner. The surf-rock band looked dashing and debonair, but deadly with its blue smoking jackets and black bow ties and Lone Ranger masks. The group finished its festival performance by smashing a guitar on stage and giving Orlando music fans a performance they will never forget.