There are two phrases that Gainesville residents seem hate above all others. The first is “We’re out of drinks.” The second is “It’s a noon game.” Fortunately, on November 12, the first phrase didn’t seem to be an issue. Unfortunately, the second definitely was. By 6 p.m., the town had pretty much fallen asleep. I know I had. When I rose around 8, it was time to rally. I got dressed, retrieved a couple pals, and headed to High Dive to watch the beloved local rock band Gritt.
This was not my first time seeing Gritt. I’ve watched them practice, and I saw them at The Jam (may it rest in peace). This show, however, was a new experience. If you’ve been paying attention to The Florida Basement for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard that Gritt was recently signed to Swamp Records. This is great because even though they’ve had quite a following up to this point, their fan base could expand significantly.
Now as I mentioned earlier, this particular Saturday was a sleepy one. As we shuffled into the venue to hear Gritt’s set, I could feel the exhaustion within each audience member. People were excited to hear them play, but possibly even more excited to go to bed afterward.
As they kicked off the set, I watched each member of the audience grow more excited. People stood up straighter and stopped leaning on the bar or the benches on the sides of the venue. Truthfully, I attribute this to Gritt’s stage presence. If you’ve heard their recorded stuff, you know they’re really good. However, seeing them live is a whole different ball game. If you google “into it,” a picture of Gytis Garsys will show up. Gritt’s lead singer is extremely talented and has quite a distinctive voice, as you would know even if you just listened to their EP on Spotify. But when he takes the stage, you’ll realize that recording just doesn’t do him justice. His passion and energy are infectious, and you’ll find yourself unable to stand still.
Coupled with Garsys’ energy and excellent voice is Ian Heausler’s pure talent with a guitar. Even if you were only half paying attention, when it came time for a solo, you started listening much more closely. If you just watched his face, you wouldn’t even think he’s trying that hard. It seems so natural, but his skills are utterly impressive.
Max Rowe provides the beat that starts the dancing. As I mentioned before, attendees of the show were fairly chill at the beginning of the show. I attribute a significant amount of audience excitement to Rowe’s rhythm. He knows what he’s doing, and the chemistry exhibited between he and the other members is inspiring. Every so often, I saw Garsys turn around to jam with him, and this isn’t something that happens when every group takes the stage. Jon Franklin also exhibits amazing skill with a bass, and he looks like he truly enjoys himself on stage. His enjoyment of his art is contagious.
By the time the band closed with “Nowhere to Go” and an incredible cover of Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” the attendees were dancing and singing along. You would never have known it was the same crew that stumbled in an hour earlier. I had never witnessed a band that had such a compelling influence on an audience in such a short amount of time. Long story short, if you’re looking for raw talent, a good show and a good time, you’ve found it.