Common, get happy


Published: Tuesday, February 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 31, 2005 at 10:26 p.m.
This is Friday night at the new Common Grounds.
(Wait, stop: How long is it going to be new? Forever? Yes, forever. Or at least until March.)
Anyway, it's dark, and it's cold outside. Perfect scene for an edgy indie show, right?
Wrong.

Big 10-4: Boys next door

Rock! Yeah! Go! Go! Go!
These guys ooze exuberance. But with a name like Big 10-4, one can't rightly expect anything but good-buddy feel.
The sound is a little edgier than power pop, but the band members smile too much to be mistaken for hardcore rockers.
However, if you think CGs is typically too scene-conscious, these kids might just work out for you. They play like they mean it. They want you to dance, and they want you to like it.
Seriously, why can't we all just get along?
Heck, they even had a few devotees in the front (and last) row, bopping along and lip-synching lyrics.
For an obscure (albeit semi-local) opener, that's almost impressive.

Ellipsis: If the shoe fits

For those unfamiliar with the term, an ellipsis is a device of punctuation - three periods - that can be used in one of two ways:
1. To represent omitted words in a sentence, most often in quoted material. 2. To connect two phrases - hopefully similar - or to represent trailing off . like so.
This Ellipsis connected two similar bands and did so subtly - they didn't have to say a word. They just played the music they love, and their point was well taken.
Granted, good music to me means quality, not quantity.
By way of explanation, Ellipsis were the out-of-town guys. The crowd didn't know them, and it showed. But the New Orleans rockers were the night's highlight.
For a feeble attempt at fingering the foursome's fluid funk, fuse Maroon 5's croons with the laid-back beats of Sublime or Jane's Addiction.
But these Big Easy boys could kick it, too, whipping through wild solos against a soundscape of dreamy distortion as vocalist Craig Paddock polished the mic with gentle jazz.
It's a shame Ellipsis' energy didn't transfer to the predominately preoccupied populace present.

Fifth Year Crush: Party like it's 1999

Clearly, this is the band everyone came to see. Supporters crowd the floor in front of the stage. Whatever everyone was so busy with during Ellipsis can suddenly wait. This is Fifth Year Crush. This is hardcore.
Too bad they're not hardcore. One might go so far as to venture Common Grounds has never seen so many people turn on the intensity for a band so utterly reminiscent of the 1990s.
Not that the '90s didn't rock - so much, in fact, that VH1 felt compelled to love them twice. What's not to like?
And let it not be said that warm, fuzzy acoustic rock doesn't have its place. Apparently, that place is now Common Grounds.
No, really.
Fifth Year Crush does heartfelt happy rock well, touting a new album produced by the wizard of mix who brought us the Indigo Girls and Sister Hazel. It's terrifically upbeat - toe tapping has never held such mass appeal. And the guys in the band are just so darn smiley.
Not to make light of their talent - the technique is certainly sound, especially in the rhythm department, and props to the vocalists for testing the boundaries of their respective ranges.
Might want to let a couple of would-be high notes go next time, though.
So, shiny happy people of Gainesville, if you think soothing strum patterns are the bomb and you crave a sing-along with beautiful strangers every now and again, tear yourself away from counting blue cars and consider checking out Fifth Year Crush when they make their next homecoming. (And no, it doesn't matter if you're black or white.)
CGs rock-scene regulars might want to catch up on some sleep next time around. right 'round, baby, right 'round...

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