July 3, 1998
WSHE 100.3's listeners could not have asked Dionysis for a better way of passing six hours in the carcinogenic Orlando sun than by hanging out with hoards of other music lovers at the second annual She-bop-a-Lula birthday bash. With stars of the station's playlist Von Ra, Sister 7, Naked, My Friend Steve, and headliner the Barenaked Ladies, there is no mystery as to why the show sold out more than a week before the event.
I had procrastinated and missed my chance at buying one of those precious She-bop 2 tickets. But because I didn't want to miss the highly touted BNL, I bartered off my boyfriend on the day of the concert to a man in a tight leather outfit trimmed by a studded collar for two VIP passes: one for me and one for the photographer, Anthony. And might I say, what a wise investment it was.
Air personality Katherine Brown opened the festivities by thanking the crowd for all the support that SHE has received over the last two years. That slender but damned tough-looking lady with the commanding voice explained that many critics thought the station would make it for only about six months before joining other stations in the sky like BJ105 and WDIZ, but because the listeners gave SHE a chance, it boomed into one of Orlando's radio leaders. As Anthony pointed out, her remarks expressed not only the station's gratitude for continuing listener support, but also served as the concert's theme as it provided up and coming groups the platform and opportunity to be heard. SHE almost exclusively plays most of the bands appearing on stage that day. Try finding Naked or My Friend Steve on MIX 105.1 or WJRR. It ain't gonna happen.
Von Ra took stage first and got the crowd out of their lawn chairs with songs like "Shine" and "Drifting Away," and radio-played "Just Wakin' Up." Although the blood drawing high decibel volume of live music makes it difficult to decipher all lyrics, I caught that most of their tunes are focused on the trials of love and the results of soul searching. These lyrics are rather surprising when you catch them live because the group's performance is so full of power, you'd never think that they were singing about getting dumped. Photoman Anthony compared their raw, but laid-back sound to Third Eye Blind and even Toad the Wet Sprocket. They were his favorite of the four opening bands (probably because Vaughan Rhea was nice enough to let him take some pictures).
After playing their 45-minute set, they hopped on down and drifted through VIP land where I was. Vaughan Rhea, his brother David, and the band's two other Davids hung out there for a couple minutes signing autographs before heading out to meet fans at the Digital City booth. You could tell that these guys weren't hung up on being rock stars yet from how casual and enthusiastic they were when talking to everybody. They were just normal, sweaty guys.
Sister 7's sound pretty much impressed the entire crowd. Lead singer Patrice Pike's deep and gritty voice loses no momentum live as compared to its recorded version. In fact, because of her soul shaking and waking voice, many fans favored this band most out of the concert's five.
Naked and My Friend Steve rounded out the first four groups. "Raining on the Sky" performed by Naked was one of the band's lighter songs. Heavier, raw sounds are more characteristic of their music. My Friend Steve was similar in the lighter style. The lead vocalist thanked SHE for adding "The Schooling" to the playlist, which helped the group land a deal with Mammoth records. Their first album is due later this year.
While waiting for the Barenaked Ladies to set up and after the 45-minute Port-o-Potty wait, a skinny guy with flaming bushy red hair showed up in the VIP section. Who else could it have been than Florida native Carrot Top? Anyway, a producer that was introduced to me by Vaughan Rhea mentioned that Carrot Top might be making a new movie with him pretty soon. I was also trying to further my acting career by smoozing with this producer. Who knows, you may soon see me on the big screen in a love scene with fellow Cocoan Carrot Top (but I'm not into horror flicks).
At last, the Barenaked Ladies appeared. Steven Page, I'm sorry, but you did look like a Canadian tourist with those pastey white legs and black socks, but, regardless, the guys gave one of the most amazing performances that I have witnessed. The BNL's popularity has skyrocketed within the last few years, mostly because of their incredible live shows. Unlike most performance artists, the BNL integrate stand-up comedy type improvised songs and even sing other artists' material. Because they break from the norm of simply singing songs from their record history, this band's following will only expand.
Songs from their current effort "Rock Spectacle" comprised most of the set. They opened with one of SHE's favorites "The Old Apartment" and included "Brian Wilson," "Jane," and "Hello City." Their next album "Stunt" is scheduled for release on July 7. From that album they previewed a couple songs including already popular "One Week" through which the guys basically super-speed rap. It's one of Antwon's favorites.
SHE-bop-a-Lula 2 left none of its 10,000 patrons unsatisfied. The event allowed fans to catch a slew of new acts and gave those groups the chance to increase their following. Kudos to the folks at SHE for organizing such a great event to celebrate their fans and hopefully next year's SHE-bop will be equally successful.
I just hope that Antwon had much fun as I did on Saturday.
is an aspiring actress/model/law student. Although she hasn't really been any of the above, she intends to, maybe even all at the same time because she is that eclectic and unfocused. She is a graduate of Stetson University's biology and psychology programs where she studied box turtles and photographic memory.
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