CONCERT REVIEW: Flat Land at the First Magnitude Brewery

Under the strings of lights peppered throughout the backyard stage, Flat Land walked out on stage to raucous applause.

The band, a staple of the Gainesville music scene, played at a small benefit concert for the Conservation Initiative for the Asian Elephants Saturday night. The concert is only a part of the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos event series.

Founded in the spring of 2015, the small band treated listeners to a big sound, filled with soul, afro-latin and rock and roll influences. In tune with the laid back vibe of the event, Flat Land’s music added to the already perfect ambiance: good friends and good beer.

Throughout the night, Fae Nae, the lead vocalist and violinist, engaged the audience, encouraging them to get up and dance along to the upbeat music.

After warming up the crowd, Flat Land debuted some songs off their new album, Arrow to the Sun, my favorite being Poco a Poco, hands down their best song. It’s a delightful mix of semi-latin beats and catchy lyrics, making it a surefire song that’ll be stuck in your head for a while.

It became obvious to me almost instantly that this band is special. It’s so rare these days to hear a musical group blend genres so effectively but this ragtag band from the Swamp manages to do it better than most popular bands whose music is a constant radio presence.

Their sound is wholly unique, combining your typical classical music instrument, the violin, and Latin beats, a fickle fusion of genres that I was happily surprised to hear.

By far the best parts of the concert involved Nae playing the crap out of her violin. I’m a sucker for classical music and whenever I see an artist that has mastered it (she played for the President of the United States – she’s pretty damn good), it makes the whole experience more enjoyable.

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It’s really sobering to see a band truly passionate about good music for a good cause. So many bands today get swept up in the glamour of it all that they forget to give back. Not Flat Land. They’re a band that appreciates the little things and the community, making them even more loveable.

They wrapped up the small show with a song that I can’t remember the name of but I do know that I really liked the sick violin solos scattered throughout. It was a primarily instrumental song, highlighting Nae’s skill. It wasn’t the slow, droll usually assoaciated with violin, but a refreshingly upbeat and peppy tune, with a lot of spunk and personality.

I’d always had a soft spot for local bands, but I’ve never heard one with as much potential as this one. Their perfection as performers cannot be overstated and I can’t wait to see what successes lie ahead for Flat Land.

-Kathleen Frost

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