Dear recent Orlando transplant:

Ok, so you just moved to Orlando from New York / Philly / Chicago / San Francisco / et al. You feel lost, uprooted, misplaced -- you're starting to think Orlando might suck. Eager to find some nightlife in this town, you go to Lattitudes on Church Street, Slingapour's on Wall Street and that mega-club on Orange Avenue owned by one of those Backstreet Boys (Orlando's finest celebrities). Maybe you even think International Drive, Citywalk or Downtown Disney is where everyone hangs out in this town. Now you really think Orlando sucks.

Well, you're wrong. There is more to this city than theme park "nightlife" and crappy clubs with guys wearing shiny shirts, but you have to know where to look. Instead of complaining about how lame Orlando is compared to your city of origin, why not get out there and support your new scene -- it's a lot better than you think! After all, you moved here for a reason, right? (I'm guessing to escape the cold weather.) So you can do one of two things: either 1) move back to the city you think is sooooo much more awesome or 2) quit bitchin', check the events below and DON'T SLEEP on the shit that is happening!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Jimmy Eat World, Tomorrow at House of Blues!

When I told Becky I wanted to preview the upcoming Jimmy Eat World concert at House of Blues, she looked at me strangely, thought about it for a second, and then asked if they were that one band that had that “Middle” song on the radio years ago.

Short answer: Yes, that’s them.

Long answer: Yes, that’s them, but despite that one pop song that hit radio almost ten years ago (yep, it was 2002, you really are getting old) the band’s 18-year career is full of MUCH better stuff than that.

Longer answer: Jimmy Eat World’s power-pop/emo music has somewhat achieved mainstream success, but they’ve come a long way from what you heard on the radio years ago. If you’re turned off by the word emo, you’ll be happy to know the band’s newer stuff, including their latest album Invented, is not as bad as it used to be. Yes, the music is moody and cinematic, but it also brings in non-emo traits like smart lyrics, big guitars and a louder, punk-inspired sound. If the last song you heard (or played on Rock Band) was “The Middle,” give them another shot.

Solution: Jimmy Eat World (and myself) will be at House of Blues tomorrow night, February 4, with David Bazan. Tickets are $23.25 and still available!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bars that Don't Suck: Milk Bar

I’m pretty sure the Milk District is Orlando’s smallest “district,” but it’s one of the best. The compact area, pretty much just Robinson Street between Bumby and Primrose, was named for its proximity to the TG Lee Factory and has a handful of cool shops, restaurants and bars including Etoile Boutique, the newly opened Sandwich Bar and the Milk Bar, an aptly named craft beer haven. There are very few things I love more than drinking tasty beer and playing Scattegories, so any place that happily merges these two loves of mine cannot suck. It just can’t.

Open every night but Monday, the bar’s quarters are small (there’s seating for about 30) but cozy. Leather bound menus are loaded with beers, separated by type and updated weekly. Featured earlier this week: Fort Collins Rocky Mountain IPA and Smuttynose. If you have no clue what those mean, the bartenders won’t get all beer snob on you – they’re happy to explain and offer samples. And if they’re out of something, they’ll suggest a similar pick. The best part: a bookshelf packed with board games like Uno, Trivial Pursuit, Operation (not suggested after three beers) and of course, Scattegories.

The TV pipes out movies every Sunday night (last time I was there, Four Rooms was on), and there’s a new Very Large Array “party” on Saturday nights, where DJs Cub and Jazzthieve spin a nice mix of music at a level comfortable enough to still yell out Taboo! answers if need be.

For more info (and frequent updates), visit the Milk Bar's Facebook page.