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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

On Feb. 5, 2006, The Rolling Stones broke all sorts of attendance records playing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. On, Oct. 5, the Lakeland band Joon played its first show in Gainesville, breaking a personal record in low attendance: eight people. If you count the bartender and the band members' girlfriends, the number rises to a staggering 11.

"Playing a nearly empty venue is a strange experience but a typical one for us," said John Crayon, who splits vocal, guitar and synth duties with the other half of the band, Shayne Soderstrom. "The show was good, regardless."

The spacey, electronic indie band - imagine The Postal Service if it recorded in a rocket ship headed into the sun and Ben Gibbard's irritatingly "clever" lyricism was the first thing to go out the airlock - would have probably earned some Gainesville fans if it had played at 1982 or The Atlantic with an act such as Morningbell (are you reading this, Atria brothers?).

Instead, Crayon and Soderstrom found themselves at a deserted Sidebar, supported by a local jam band, unfortunately named The Pull Out, that drew a slightly more substantial crowd seemingly composed of one of the band members' co-workers. Naturally, those people vanished long before Joon took the stage. Picture Dave Matthews Band opening for Guitar Wolf, and the results would be the same.

"We ended up playing at The Sidebar because, frankly, they were the only place that e-mailed us back," explained Crayon.

One can imagine a venue being inundated with e-mails and phone calls from awful bands whose only claim to fame is an eyesore of a MySpace layout, but Joon's not a bunch of kids who make up for their lack of talent in black shirts and tight pants. For one thing, they come on stage in lab coats. They can also grow their own facial hair.

Thankfully, they're not ignored everywhere in the state.

"We play regularly in Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville, among other places, but Gainesville has proven more difficult to get into," Crayon said. "They do have a good music scene there, though, so we wanted to play there. We've been trying for ages to get into the Gainesville clubs with little success."

It's not from lack of talent - Crayon said his band gets decent numbers in Jacksonville. One can blame Gainesville's music scene for this. There's so many bands here to begin with that it's hard for lesser-known bands from outside the city to get exposure.

Despite the pathetic turnout, it was a landmark show for the band. Not only was it Joon's first show in Gainesville but also its first as a duo (third member Justin James recently left the band), and the first time they played quite a bit of new material.

Joon is currently preparing to record a new album, a follow-up to this year's "The Uncanny Valley."

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