On Wednesday night at Orlando’s cozy Social, myself and the rest of the fans crammed into the packed club on Orange Ave were treated to a night of unabashed pop rock fun. As one of the few post-college-aged geezers in the room, I felt a little bit like Thornton Melon at a Grand Lakes University frat party, but I loved every minute of the fun and chaos.
The Griswolds – Be Impressive Album Review
The addictive lead single, “Beware The Dog,” just might be the defining song of the Summer of 2014. I couldn’t stop playing the catchy tune, typically at max volume, and for months, anxiously awaited the release of this album.
In late August, Australian indie rockers, The Griswolds, released their debut full-length, Be Impressive on Wind-Up Records. The album is a diverse offering showcasing the band’s considerable talent and musical breadth, but I’m not sure it was as impressive as I had hoped. Listening to the cozy harmonies and nicely layered music, I was drawn to comparisons of The Mowgli’s and Fitz & The Tantrums, and for good reason, as the album was produced by Tony Hoffer, best known for his work with the latter.
For fans of “Beware The Dog,” you’ll find a few similar tracks with the same raw, bouncy energy, but nothing quite as captivating. “Right On Track,” powered by Lachlan West’s keyboards offers a tropical St. Lucia feel to it, but boasts more dynamic vocals from Christopher Whitehall; at some point in time, we’ll hear it on Alt-Rock radio. “If You Wanna Stay,” is a strong offering cut from the same cloth. “America” was another captivating track, and one that actually reminded me longingly of old school Men At Work. For all of these tracks, they sound bigger, better and more full with the volume cranked up.
The strength of this album are actually the slower offerings. “Aurora Borealis” features captivating vocals from Whitehall and superb harmonies. The guitar is fantastic, if under-stated a bit, and the lyrics touching. It’s an excellent track, and one that I believe features a xylophone solo towards the close! But my favorite discovery on the album was the violin-driven “Thread The Needle.” Whitehall’s vocals are tender and inviting, and the stark arrangement morphs into an exquisitely arranged, nostalgic rock anthem. Simply put, it’s a masterpiece.
On the flip side, I have to share that I just hated the title track. “Be Impressive” starts with a cute play on words with the old “Be Aggressive” football cheer. It’s corny, sophomoric, and sadly the best part of the song. Fortunately, it is one of the few weak offerings on the album, and is far overshadowed by the many strong cuts.
Check out or purchase the album below, and make sure not to miss these guys live, as they put on a killer live show (as reflected in this The Griswold’s Show Review.
Miniature Tigers Concert Review
The Social in downtown Orlando was buzzing with indie pop this past Sunday. Australian outfit The Griswold’s started off a night of dance and daze that had the room grooving. While offering a taste of solid indie pop, they set a perfect stage for the headlining Brooklyn band Miniature Tigers. Fans of a wide range of age, some specific in their favorite act while others simply in the building for the Social’s great drink specials and a full performance from the show’s start to end.
The Griswold’s hail from the outback with a taste for tribal beats and pounding riffs, led by front-man Christopher Whitehall, with a spectacular range for the array of styles they present. “This is our first tour in the states and we’ve been looking forward to Florida since the beginning,” Whitehill said. “We’ve heard a lot about Orlando and it was all true.” Carrying a sense of definition, Whitehill, alongside co-writer/guitar/keyboard player Daniel Duque-Perez have created a sound that is hard to ignore, much less keep a still leg to.
The climax of the set was the song “Beware The Dog” a shimmering combination of Born Ruffians structure and Vampire Weekend jive, sung in perfect key. The room shouted out,”and now you’re fucking crazy” as they proceeded to lose it themselves.
While The Griswold’s finished their performance and began to break down the stage, I caught the Miniature Tiger’s Charlie Brand and Brandon Lee plotting off to the side for a quick Q&A before the main event.
Corbit: Are you guys in Miniature Tigers?
Tigers: Yes, we are tigers.
Corbit: What kind of show are you guys going for tonight?
Corbit: Just Party?
Tigers: Electro-jazz revival, we’re trying to evoke prohibition.
Corbit: Think Orlando is the place to do that?
Tigers: Anywhere in Florida is.
They laughed at their jokes and dismissed me to take their place under the stage lights, a wall of noise shook the room as the show began.
Brand taking the reigns just where Whitehill had left them, an exuberant boast of melodies and pop with the crowd in full attention. The song “Bullfighter Jacket” was a crowd favorite as bassist Brandon Lee bounded about with full energy and style. melodramatic sing-along’s blended with strong pop tracks, Miniature Tigers brought the night to a full circle. A fifth member was touring alongside and celebrating a birthday, the room serenaded him traditionally before he took to the drums as a gift from the band. Spirits were high and satisfied as the night came to a close.
I paid my tab and walked outside to find Daniel from The Griswold’s in the smoking section, he told me of his first American tour and the antics that had happened, as well as life in a successful band in Australia. Both of these bands are genuine and well rounded, expect great things from them both.