Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hang Outs - Central Florida Venues Pt. II

By Joshua Jimenez

Three of Central Florida’s largest music venues have held such big names from rapper 50 Cent to rock band Rise Against. But now we move over to the hole in the wall. The sort of venues where sometimes your parents tell you not to go there, but you go anyway because you know that’s where the real music is. Part two will go over the three most popular music venues that Central Florida has to offer. So for those looking to continue dancing after a night of climbing at the Aiguille Rock Climbing center, then continue on reading.

To start our musical voyage, we begin in Downtown Orlando where two of the three music venues call a home. The Social may be Downtown Orlando’s second most popular venue, next to The Beacham (literally). Being open for over a decade now, it has gone through three different names to become what it is now. And that is the premiere music venue for showcasing underground performers and local talent. The Social has a wide variety of events happening from battle of the bands to a new adults only event every Saturday night. With music or some local performer playing on the stage of this venue, it’s hard to not miss something going on there. It has a very interesting architecture as well. As soon as you walk in, you see the open floor, also referred to as “the pit” and the stage. To the right is a long bar that stretches the length of the back wall with an equally impressive mirror and beverages. Depending on the night there is a back bar that is open next to where musicians will usually place their merchandise. At this point it is also possible to notice the door leading to The Beacham. On very rare occasions the Social and the Beacham will be open at the same time, allowing for this tunnel to be open connecting the two venues for seamlessly endless entertainment. Not only are the walls and the floors impressive but also the ceiling. With these high walls littered with cables and light sources but also the wood paneling and the cathedral stained glass windows. The Social is the hot spot for music on all listening ears for Central Florida’s growing music scene.

Now we move over two blocks to a little place called Backbooth. If the Social brings in all the bigger names Central Florida has to offer, then Backbooth gets whatever is left behind. Hearing such names as The Weeks or Paper Route may not sound like big names, but Backbooth is where those small bands begin with their dreams of being big. Tickets usually are the cheapest around for a place that is painted all black and free arcade games. Open since 2005, its capacity of fitting 350 is surpassed only by its gracious drafts selection in downtown. Having two different bars, one as soon as you walk in and the other in the far back by the restrooms, there is never a time to stop moving. You can dance on the wooden floor right in front of the stage, or if space permits take some time to observe from the balcony where seven people may seem like a crowd. Backbooth does host national and regional acts but also has quite the impressive dance nights. From Monday nights electronic beats to Saturdays Midnight Mass, Backbooth always has a night that brings people in for music from a live band to a DJ spinning vinyl. Word of caution, on these dance nights it becomes packed full of people wanting to get their groove on, so if you have no issues being around people in close proximity then this is the place for you.

The Plaza Live is our final stop on this musical endeavor. Created in 1963 as Orlando’s first two-screen movie theatre, it became quite the historic venue. Located on Bumby Avenue near the corner of Colonial and Bumby, it gained its reputation by showing second-run movies for over 40 years. In 1996, the theatre had a major renovation allowing it to become a performance hall for local shows. From metal bands to comedians and even Broadway shows, The Plaza is a very happening place when it comes to music and live performance shows. Hosting for comedians like Bo Burnham, who made it big from YouTube videos, to Zach Deputy who comes from a bluegrass background. What differs The Plaza from other venues is how it has kept its theatre-like appearance. From the outside, the ticket office can still be seen and the marquee is still used to display who will be playing next. The inside is even more like a regular movie theatre with this large inviting lobby. On one end is a small bar with a respectable drink list. On the other end is the first of two different concert halls. What most people may not get used to if a show is being played here is standing on the slanted floor. It feels like being drawn into the stage while grooving to the music so it really adds to the atmosphere of this venue.

These three venues all have their ups and downs. I wanted to go over just their ups because no place should ever have a down when listening to music. Whether you listen to music at Aiguille at the After Dark or just blast your own beats in your car, sometimes seeing your favorite group live requires the right place to see them. Always choose wisely and keep an open mind for not just what you’ll hear but also who you’ll see at your next show. 

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