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The Scenestress: Hanging out in The Closet

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This week, I want to take a poll: How many of you are actually into local live music?

At the risk of being forever hated and shunned by a bunch of friends, I'm going to be honest and share that I've too often found it boring, ill-produced and way too loud.

Whew. It feels good to get that out.

So maybe you can relate? (And I'd really like to know what you think so email, Facebook or Tweet me). It could be a symptom of not being at the right shows, the right venues, or with the right company, but as much as I love, and I mean capital-letters L-O-V-E music, the local stuff often sucks.

After a night in The Closet, a new live music venue just north of downtown Sarasota in the Rosemary District, I think I've changed my mind. The nightspot is a reworking of Rosemary mainstay Laura Daniel Gale's vintage boutique Everything But The Girl in collaboration with brother and sister musicians Erin and Mike Murphy of The Equines.

Their "tropical pop" quartet has been around since 2008, both touring and playing consistently all over SRQ ? yea, they know a thing or two about putting on a show. The Closet crew has certainly done some work renovating the erstwhile clothing store, yet the narrow room still basically feels like EBTG with a band shoved in between the racks of vintage. Which goes to show a good time is not really about the physical space.

It's about the people. The crowd. At the grand opening party on Saturday? A mass of messy hair, eyeglasses, scarves and piercings, clutching tallboys of Miller High Life under the clothing suspended on a system of pulleys during the shows.

The proprietors? Grande Dame Mrs. Gale swathed in black and sporting a fierce new blonde bob with her trademark wisp of hot pink. Erin is in a swingy, sparkly vintage number and Mike, a black hoodie.

The band? One of many performing, Fancy Rat's driving, bluegrassy tunes have the crowd bobbing and thrashing, and everyone sings along to their finale. Lead singer Brian Yoder yodels like an impassioned indie singer should. Key lyric: "At least we did something!"

The Closet is open for business again this weekend with a show featuring four bands: Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk, Cats in the Basement, The Broken Inn and The Freejacks. No I've never heard of any of them. But simply visit finchhouse.com for more info and links to listen to them all. Gotta love technology.

Anyway, I can pretty much guarantee it will be an entertaining show and a song-tastic time. The fun starts at 8 p.m., $5 cover. The Closet, 430 Central Ave., theclosetsrq.tumblr.com

Last modified: February 22, 2011
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