French Horn Rebellion’s sugary electro pop, the main attraction Saturday at Harvey Milk Festival in downtown Sarasota, recently landed the band on stage with The Queen of Cool. Jody Watley, the 1987 Grammy winner for “Best New Artist,” helped define the golden era of MTV with her “Real Love” video.
French Horn Rebellion’s recent EP “Love is Dangerous” contains the synth-y, ‘80s-sounding party starter “Cold Enough,” which features Watley’s sultry vocals. The collaboration paved the way for her majesty to perform during one of French Horn Rebellion’s “Party Ensemble Residency” gigs last month at the New York hipster hangout Brooklyn Bowl.
“It was crazy,” French Horn Rebellion’s Robert Perlick-Molinari said by phone from his Brooklyn home. “Dancing with (Watley) on stage is just something out of this world. I’m doing my dance moves, and look over and think I should stop, right now! She doesn’t even need to sing. She could sing a different song or out of tune and it wouldn’t matter. She is just such a presence.”
French Horn Rebellion’s Perlick-Molinari brothers – Robert, age 26, and David, 31 – were born and raised in Milwaukee. The story goes, according to Robert and the band’s various bios, that the younger Perlick-Molinari brother earned a degree in French horn performance at Northwestern University and became an associate member of the Chicago civic orchestra. But as much as Robert loved classical music he also wanted to pursue the propulsive, electronic sonics that drive nightclubs and basement parties.
“French Horn Rebellion is all about being a French horn player in the modern world,” Robert said. “It’s not very fun to play Beethoven but it is fun to play some hot dance beats.”
Robert contacted his brother David in New York, who has produced MGMT’s “Time to Pretend” EP, and the sibling duo debuted with a self-titled release followed by the 2011 full-length “The Infinite Music of French Horn Rebellion.”
A few weeks ago, Huffington Post readers were treated to the exclusive premiere of “Friday Nights,” French Horn Rebellion’s collaboration with disco-house artist Viceroy. The song finds Robert crooning about a busted bromance over an infectious bass line. The idea came to him while on his way to perform French horn with amateur musicians who live in New York and work for the United Nations and other international organizations.
“I was on the subway one day on my way to play in the U.N. Symphony Orchestra and just thought of the chorus on the way to rehearsal,” Robert said. “Viceroy was coming to town – I had just moved into my new place that has the ‘Hot Beat Lab’ – and the chorus I had matched perfectly to the song he already made. That’s how we did this perfect thing, in like 3 or 4 hours.”
The lyrics to “Friday Nights” are about a couple of guys who hang out during the week but then one goes missing when it’s time to party on Friday. “On Friday nights, baby, it’s always a maybe with you,” goes the chorus. “Even if I call you, it’s always a maybe, it’s always a maybe, it’s always a maybe with you.”
Robert explained that the lyrics are about “that thing that always happens on the weekend. It’s your usual guy that you call up for margaritas or to get some chili cheese fries and then you call on Friday and he says, ‘I’ll be there in an hour.’ But an hour turns into two hours and then you don’t show up.”
Robert admitted he was almost guilty of this crime against friendship the other night. While having fun on a Friday in Brooklyn, Robert almost forgot about previous plans to attend a party in Manhattan. He received a text around 1 a.m.
“Don’t be that dude in your song,” Robert laughed as he recalled the text. “Don’t be that guy!”
Harvey Milk Festival music schedule
Saturday (May 18)
4-4:15 p.m. Opening Ceremony featuring Sarasota Mayor Suzanne Atwell
4:15-4:45 p.m. Brazos the Rat
5-5:30 p.m. Zulu Wave
5:30-5:45 p.m. Guest Speaker Tesla Gunderson (ALSO Youth)
5:45-6:15 p.m. Bard and Mustache
6:15-6:30 p.m. Guest Speaker Steve McAllister (Artist)
6:30-7:00 p.m. Waking Giants
7:15-7:45 p.m. Good Graeff
7:45-8:00 p.m. Guest Speaker Michael Farmer (Equality Florida)
8 -8:30 p.m. Jen Rock and the Cry Babies
8:30-8:45 p.m. Candlelight Vigil and short film “The Milk Effect”
8:45-9:20 p.m. MeteorEYES
9:35-10:20 p.m. Clementine and the Galaxy
10:45-11:45 p.m. French Horn Rebellion
11:45-12 a.m. Closing Ceremony
Door prizes to be handed out all day long by Nifty Nic Nacs
12 a.m. – 2 a.m. Official Harvey Milk Festival After-Party at Throb Nightclub, 2201 Industrial Blvd., Sarasota. Show your HMF wristband and Throb will donate your $5 cover charge to Harvey Milk Festival.