Thursday, April 24 brought day one of the Florida Music Festival to the streets of downtown Orlando. The festival showcased bands from one end of the musical spectrum to the other with solo singer/songwriter performances to full band shows, punk rock, to metal to reggae and everything in between.
Starting off Thursday night was the Davie, FL duo Brodyn. The two young ladies sang sweet, lilting harmonies and would switch back and forth on their guitar song by song. Then it was off to Wall Street Plaza for Empire Theory. The audience grew steadily with each note the Orlando rock band played during this early set which included their song “Colors” and their U2 cover “Where the Streets Have No Name.”
Up at Café Annie’s, Orlando country band Good Luck Penny played a spirited mixed set of covers and originals. Back down on Wall Street Plaza, Britt Daley was sporting a whole new look and was showcasing some beautiful songs for the audience.
Once Daley was done, Plastic Planets started up on the other Wall Street stage. One of Orlando’s most talked about newer bands, the crowd started building up early in anticipation and was not disappointed by the band’s rock music and light-tastic stage show. Over at Elixir, Orlando singer/songwriter Catherine Ridgeway was reigning in fans with her solo acoustic performance. At The Social, Orlando band The Cold Start had a good sized crowd for their high-energy rock set.
Then it was time for the first annual Blue Man Group drum-off on the Wall Street Plaza main stage. Five finalists had only 90 seconds to demonstrate their drumming prowess to the crowd and the judges. They were competing to win the prize package valued at almost $7,000 (which included the drum set they were playing) and Orlando based drummer, Daniel Millan came out on top.
Back up at Café Annie’s, Orlando based band Afterglow Radio were performing an intimate acoustic set. It had been a long time since the band last performed and with the enthusiastic crowd reception they got, hopefully they will play a lot more often. Down at Wall Street Plaza, The Crazy Carls brought their beach party music to the assembled mass.
After their set it was time for Solillaquists of Sound on the main stage. The popular Orlando band had a festival rare hour-long set to showcase their special hip hop sound for the fans (old and new) and the crowd loved every minute of it, giving the band an enthusiastic response every chance they got.
Over at the BackBooth, Orlando rock band Hoyle was showcasing some new songs before a capacity crowd. At The Social, Ithaca, NY based electro-rock band Jimkata was earning new fans with their extended jams.
At Tanqueray’s, Buster Keaton had the audience dancing in every space they could find to the band’s funk, jazz and soul jamming tunes. Orlando musician Christian Ryan plays a mean tambourine when he’s not blowing listeners away with his saxophone skills.
The last set of the night for the Orlando Local Music Examiner was yet another set from Empire Theory, this time at Café Annie’s. (Yeah, they’re that good.) Their main stage set was terrific and their Café Annie’s set went beyond that. Sure, there are shows where the lead singer or guitarist pops into the audience, but how many times has a drummer popped out there for a song? The band ended their set with a full band drum party. It was really not something to miss, in a night full of can’t miss shows.
Sadly, day one of the 2014 Florida Music Festival was over, but luckily there were still two more days of great music to go.