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REVIEW: Local Bands Shine at BackBooth

Indie rock band Polyenso, post-rock band Arcadence, acoustic blues/progressive band Letters to Part, alternative rock band Sleeping Sons, and progressive groove band Former Traits came to Orlando’s BackBooth on October 22 for a well-attended night of local music.

BackBooth is a small venue that is easy to miss the first time. The entrance is tucked away on a street in Downtown Orlando next to an Orlando fire station and across from a parking garage. A nondescript BB with a flourish under it is the only thing that announces the venue’s presence. There’s a parking lot next to BackBooth with very limited parking, so it’s suggested to park at the parking garage across the street or the lots down the street. Inside, the venue has a home-y, welcoming vibe with spaces for band merchandise along each of the walls. They also have a diverse assortment of craft beer and liquor.

Letters to Part hit the stage first. The three-piece band from Coral Springs, Fla., played a mostly instrumental set that had a sprinkling of vocals in the mix. Their music could be described as “melancholy” or “moody rock” as that’s the kind of atmosphere it created while they played.

Their drummer commanded attention during the third song of the set as he got into the groove and lost himself in the music. The other two members followed suit. You could see their love for what they do and it was a great thing to witness.

Sleeping Sons played next. The female fronted four-piece from Winter Garden, Fla., consists of vocalist Jaime Remus, guitarist Tristan Torres, bassist Justin Sheffield, and drummer Scott Ellis.

Remus’ voice was the highlight of the set. She also interacted more with the crowd, which was welcome after almost none from the previous band.

The standout songs of the set were “The Chase”, “Seldom” and “You”. Remus told the crowd that “The Chase” was her favorite, and after they played it, it was easy to see why. It had a great main guitar riff that, when put together with everything else, sounded like rainfall. “Seldom” had a nice drum build and guitar solo and “You” had a subtle but well-done time change when it suddenly sped up and then slowed back down.

There was also a funny/awkward moment when the rest of the band had to tune their instruments before launching into the next song. Remus exclaimed: "Tuning time! They refuse to let me call it that, but I’m gonna call it that. Anyone know Queens of the Stone Age? Josh from Queens of the Stone Age has something called Alligator Time and I think we should have something called tuning time where all the bands come tune together. Yes?"

And was met with silence. Nevertheless, she shrugged it off and they continued their set after that.

Former Traits was the third band to play. The three-piece band from Palm Coast, Fla., played a set that was equal parts jam and dance-y. The vocals on the first song of the set could have been more fine-tuned and the second song featured a bass line reminiscent of 90s alternative rockers Bush’s “Comedown”. Other highlights of the set included them dedicating a song to Halloween as well as a great guitar line on the third song, a nice vocal fill, and a driving drumbeat toward the end of the set.

Arcadence, a four-piece band from Orlando, consists of vocalist/guitarist Makenzie Kamal, guitarist Brett Lyons, bassist Alejandro Badani, and drummer Dustyn Murphy. Kamal brought an air of mystery to the stage, which was perfectly complemented by her haunting vocals and the equally haunting instrumentation behind them.

Polyenso, a three-piece from St. Petersburg, Fla., was the headlining band of the night. One crowd member enthused: “they were the band everyone wanted to be like back in high school!” They provided the cherry on top of a very enjoyable sundae of alternative/ambient rock music with their relaxing blend of guitar, vocals, and piano.

The show was well-attended, especially for a Thursday night. The $10 ticket price probably had something to do with that, but either way, it was an inexpensive, entertaining time that encouraged musical community. For more information on any of the bands or upcoming shows at BackBooth, please visit their respective Facebook or Twitter pages.

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