Monday, August 10, 2009

Review: The Sinclair Grand Opening 8/8/09 w/ After The Bomb Baby and Chicken & Whiskey

To Wage, or to Rage
It's Saturday night again, and although I know I have to work at 8 a.m. on Sunday, the lure of the night life clouds my ability to make reasonable decisions, concerning my bed time. With rationality brushed under the rug and a nice breeze to carry me downtown, I'm off to seek a thrill.
Sprinting down Forsyth St. on a bicycle after dark can seem, even accompanied by friends, to be a lonely trek; despite its destitution, this road may lead any willing body to a building only marked by the "S" on its humbly subtle front door. This ambiguous, yet apparent, symbol acts as the beacon of light directing thirsty souls to the newest watering hole in Jacksonville, known as The Sinclair,. Usually, when I decide to attend an event, I make it a point to arrive early, just to catch any candid moments worth noting; on this occasion, however, I spent a period of time before the Chicken and Whiskey and After the Bomb, Baby show, drinking retail priced beer on my front porch. Upon arrival and to my surprise, this newly founded bar was packed, corner to corner, with spectators waiting to witness live entertainment.
It's good to hear of new places to drown in booze and even better to see that, despite the economy, business is booming. I had frequented The Sinclair only twice before the grand opening and was curious to see how things were going to pan out; although, my previous visits were on much slower nights, I could complain of nothing. The D.J.'s playlists were on point and the selection of beer, just as well. The only aspect of this bar that perplexes me is the painting hanging over head. Is it Walt Disney or Vincent Price?
After the Bomb, Baby had already set up by the time I had arrived. The last chance I had to see them perform, the line-up was slightly different, but with a few new Korgs and a live drummer, along with D.J. Nick Fresh, I was excited to hear how the songs may have changed. Its always rad to see a band brought together by blood and the Strasser brothers, being the only consistent members thus far, are no disappointment. With Cliff man-handling his trombone and synth, Ryan unleashing a barrage of strokes on the guitar, and Taylor grooving low tones on bass, they pull off a post-apocalyptic after party sound that, in some strange way, sounds "old school." I can't help but to think of the Dead Kennedys when I hear their melodically unorthodox progressions and the vocals, as well, seem to be slightly influenced by the maniacal, Jello Biafra. I was pleased, however, that their sound was original, to say the least. As they finished their set, I fought the urge to acknowledge how many hours remained before my alarm clock would sound, ringing in a morning of waging. I then found comfort in a pint of locally brewed ale.
As Chicken and Whiskey finished setting up equipment, Big Dunn, one of their keyboardists and vocalists, made his way to the bar and ordered two beer and a water. My assumption was that he had taken requests from his band mates for drinks, but to my dismay, each beverage would only be used to fuel his passionate energy. And those are surely affective adjectives to describe this band. With gang vocals on most parts of the songs, dueling keyboards, and Jack Diablo on drums, these three members produce a sound worth raising a fist and a glass to. When they shout lyrics such as, "Say what you mean, mean what you say," I can't help but feel convicted, myself. But as they boldly claim, "We practice what we preach," it is apparent that they do mean what they say. Although I have seen Chicken and Whiskey before, this was definitely their night. They ended their set with a song, obviously about the Jacksonville scene, that consists of Chris Williams playing a solo key riff, as he and Big Dunn go back and forth satirically comparing their tastes in what they like to see on the dance floor. I was able to haggle with the band, afterwards, bartering a beer for a t-shirt, but I have to admit that I may have commandeered a copy of their demo, as well. Sorry and thanks.
Sure enough, Sunday came with the sunrise and I accomplished a six hour shift on roughly two-hundred minutes of sleep, which by anyone's standards, is no small feat. I can't say that I regret depriving myself of a good night's rest to behold such an evening, although I will lay claim to an absolute contempt for alarm clocks.
Review by John Touchton

Click the photo for the full set. Photos by tom p.


Anonymous said...

I went to The Sinclair this evening and had a terrible experience. I want more than anything for some more bars to open in this town, especially downtown, and everything about The Sinclair could work if the staff were not impossibly rude. Simply stated, these people are in the wrong business. The space was inviting, the music great, and selection of beer and wine was adequate. At my suggestion several of my friends met there this evening. We ordered six bottles of wine and tipped well but the staff were simply rude from the moment we arrived and it only progressed with time to the point it was almost comical. Regretfully, I will never go back to this place and it had such promise. I even liked the monogrammed matchbooks. So if you go make sure to wear your skinny jeans because these people would rather not have your money unless you fit their target demographic.

Back the f up see more homie

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