After calling Gainesville home for a year and a half and being in Swamp Records for a year, two things I can conclude are: one – music has been a prominent characteristic of my college experience; two - Gainesville’s local music scene is eclectic, progressive, and downright impressive.
Some legendary greats have grown in Gainesville, including Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and members of the Eagles – and this city is still producing raw, up and coming talent. On February 8th, I was lucky enough to attend a show at the High Dive where three bands with Gainesville connections were all playing in the same room. Solar Ellipsis, a three-piece jazz/hip-hop fusion band whose members all attend the University of Florida for sure caught my attention when I watched them fluidly switch between playing the trombone and rapping. Flipturn, a five-piece indie rock garage band, stole the hearts of the crowd as well as my own with their buoyant and youthful jams – not to mention all members of the band are ages seventeen through nineteen and their fabulous bassist Madeline Jarman is also a part of our Swamp Records family. Gainesville is also familiar to Magic City Hippies, frequenting venues here before, another one of their Hippie Castles. Front man Robby Hunter attended the University of Florida and started playing his guitar at local gigs on University Ave, later going back to his roots and playing local venues in the Magic City of Miami and eventually forming what has now evolved into the Magic City Hippies.
Magic City Hippies remind me why I love Gainesville’s music culture so much. Last April, I had the opportunity to interview them and see them live at Swamp Showcase 2016 at The Jam (long live all memories made there). That show was great, but this one was even better.
As anticipation for the show intensified, I swiftly (and politely) made my way from the back corner of the High Dive all the way to front of the crowd so I could properly witness the Magic City Hippies in all their glory. Clad in Hawaiian shirts, the hippies starting playing and suddenly the clammy Gainesville swamp pulsated with the air of a lush tropical paradise where the beers are cold, the palm trees are tall, and there’s not a care in the world. Everyone in the crowd is dancing and fully embracing his or her inner hippie tendencies – the funk (and the hedonism) is real. Magic City Hippies have a refreshing energy and I can tell they are truly passionate about the music they make.
Some favorites of the night include Fanfare, Hush, Corazón, Magic City Hippies, and covers of classics like Big Poppa by Biggie, Bennie and the Jets by Elton John, - and after the crowd cheered for an encore (an unsurprising request) - Pony by Ginuwine. Whether you’re a fan of the local Gainesville music scene or not, one can’t deny that music creates an atmosphere that brings people together and stirs up memories we have collected and experiences we have had, in all different places.
I’ll be wherever the music’s playing,