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Monday, November 28, 2022

Gainesville artists flock to Fox Lounge

The event, the fifth from host Night Before Media, spotlighted a range of experimental artists local and across Florida

<p>Michael Corio, 20, and Desiree Kirschner, 20, kiss during the Night at Fox Lounge event Friday, May 27, 2022. </p>

Michael Corio, 20, and Desiree Kirschner, 20, kiss during the Night at Fox Lounge event Friday, May 27, 2022.

Underscored by the punk-and-rock-influenced trap of rapper XXXTentacion’s “RIP Roach,” Gainesville-based hip-hop artists Clouty! and Cloverrr ThraXXX sounded off “Emo plugg is life!” referencing their genre of music: spacious trap with emo-inspired undertones.

The two, in “Love Sux” and Siouxsie Sioux shirts, capped off a lineup of 15 artists performing at Night at Fox Lounge Friday night — the latest endeavor from Night Before Media, a media group that highlights upcoming artists. The night fused artists, styles and fans for a punk, grunge and alternative-themed concert.

More than 150 people attended the Night at Fox Lounge event. It started at 9 p.m. and ended, unintentionally and unofficially, at 2 a.m. after a smoke machine triggered the fire alarm and cut the final set’s sound. In response, Clouty! and Cloverrr ThraXXX, and the crowd, went harder.

Night at Fox Lounge was the fifth event from Night Before. The four-month-old organization aims to support and spotlight artists. It’s new artists, new venues every time. The goal of CEO Jerrell Daniels, 27, and CMO Will Hinson, 25, is to uplift as many artists as possible through as much exposure as possible.

Their support is clear: Throughout the night, the duo stopped conversations to tune into the next artist’s set. Others rounded up dispersed patrons into a crowd. Hinson lip-synced songs, hands in air with an intensity only real appreciation could muster. 

“The Gainesville scene now – I wish it existed when I was in school. It’s huge now,” Hinson, a UF graduate, said.

It’s clear Night Before has true belief in their talent.

The duo handpick the artists they feature, and the pride they have in their selection comes through in their support. 

“I listen to them. I follow them,” Daniels said about the artists.

Artists jumped off stage into a crowd composed of other artists, collaborators, fans and friends. Daniels, also known as Sky Luca$, introduced and concluded the sets while also performing his own. 

Daniels sees fusion in music — whether songs, artists, or events — as paramount.

“Why doesn’t it all come together? It should. We all like this,” he said.

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The music they selected took a nostalgic fusion of experimental, trap, and new-age punk and executed it with forward thinking. 

Ska and pop-punk band Now Leaving Space performed brassy pandemonium in a tight footstep. In seamless transition, its sound became like that of indie emo band Modern Baseball.

Jordan Arena, 25, began his set with a trickling Animal Collective-like beat, while wearing a hat that read “Change the world,” in all caps, complimented by a white tank and casual suit set. He transitioned into Kanye-esque synths and laid vocals similar to a glitchy hyperpop artist. 

Between sets, patrons dispersed onto a balcony, taking in the night air and different atmosphere as a respite.

“This is like the dad couch outside the mall,” attendee Brandon Han, 27, said.

Back inside, artist Alyssa Thomas’ breakup ballads turned even the most energetic of patrons into wallflowers, still with focus. 

“I feel like I’m going to make drunk people cry,” the 21-year-old said, describing her music. 

The lowkey artist Ash, 25, the atmospheric child of meandering melodies and spiraling soundscapes, kept her eyes almost always under the brim of her hat. She used a looping pedal, sound sampler and guitar to create a rippling ocean of synth, vocal loops, and techno effects.

“Don’t forget I love you,” she said softly between tracks.

DJ Fatigue, in contrast to his stage name, brought the energy all night from the back corner of the stage. Also on stage was a drum set with “F— your guns” in duct tape across the bass.

In a corner next to the bar, across from a photo wall of event flyers participants could pose against, artists 444IDK and Anthony Perina, 22, of clothing brand Lerina, set up shop. 

Patrons could buy conventional T-shirts and stickers, but graffiti artist 444IDK extended his branded wares onto framed bills, owl plushies and expired condoms.

For all his supposed unpopularity, 444IDK was a top pick of Night Before.

“The thing that really struck me was the huge lineup of a good percentage of the Gainesville music scene,” he said. “Then I was just the one visual artist there.”

Red light and clouds of vapor filled the venue. Empty cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer littered the tables beside the bar and behind the stage. 

The event’s punk dress code was prominent: Platform shoes, Converse, Vans, septum piercings, bleached eyebrows, eyeliner and colored hair formed the majority. The crowd, in all its thrifted, tattooed glory, showed how community-focused Night Before events can be. 

At the end of the night, as patrons exited down the stairs, 444IDK climbed weightlessly up the brick building across from the lounge balcony, sticking to the shadows, tagging the wall before he left.

Contact Anna Ward at award@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @AnnaWard_.

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