This article originally appeared as the Liner Notes in Void Magazine’s July 2021 issue.

I’ve always found it amusing when people tell me they “like live music.” In some ways it seems like virtue signaling. Like offering up, unprompted, that you subscribe to the The New Yorker or that you have friends in Los Angeles. What are we supposed to say in response? “Cool”? 

It also seems like something not worth noting; like saying you like traveling, or eating ice cream, or breathing. 

So it’s with ample trepidation that I tell you that we at Void Mag like live music. It’s true. Maybe not worth noting. But, true. 

Example one: Our Sales Director, Stu Brown. At the pace he’s set for himself, Stu’ll have seen more shows than ol’ Bob Dylan’s will have played on his decades-long Never Ending Tour by the time the now-octogenarian goes six feet under. 

Example two: Our Art Director, Rain Henderson. Not only does she introduce me to new music daily. Whether it be a hyped-up show at a traditional venue or a goth-punk pop-up performance under an overpass, Rain certainly keeps her ear to the ground. 

So it goes without saying that we missed in-person performances dearly during the pandemic. 

Cover shot of Lena Simon (‘s hands and kit) by July’s Portfolio subject Jordan Hoover

But live music in Northeast Florida–to borrow the title of Crypt Records’ popular ‘60s garage rock compilations–is Back From the Grave. And like the Biblical resurrection, there’s a palpable sense of urgency among various stakeholders; from artists to fans to venue-runners, everyone is desperate to bear witness to the revival. Count us among the disciples of FOMO.  

Many of the local artists at the top of our must-see list are included in our recap of the best local releases of 2021 so far (“Void Recommends”). If you’re wondering where these top-tier local acts are laying down their tracks, Brok Mende and DeeAnna Doersch–tenants of this issue’s featured Rad Pad–have been hosting the region’s best in their Friends of Friends Recording studio. 

Rad Pad residents Brok Mende and DeeAnna Doersch of Friends of Friends Recording in Springfield || Photo: Jesse Brantman

To feed our FOMO, we reached out to some of the region’s most influential impresarios and asked them to recount a performance that blew them away (“Best I Ever Saw”). Our Art Director rummaged through her contact list to get her hands on some vintage band tees–local, obscure, etc. Her series of polaroids (“Be That Guy”) creatively captures the fervor (and virtue signaling?) around repping one’s fave noise.

Band tees captured in the wild and set to polaroid by Void Art Director Rain Henderson

We’ve also got a portfolio of photographs from Jordan Hoover, whose vivid, mostly black-and-white images from local concerts offer a view from the pit that’s so immersive, you’d be forgiven if you began slam-dancing (just be sure to offer a hand-up to anyone you knock over).

As we celebrate the River City’s return to live music, we sure hope you’ll make an effort to see a show soon. Support local businesses. Support local artists. Get your vaccine. Buy a ticket. 

We hope to see you at a show soon. 

Cheers,
Matt

This article originally appeared as the Liner Notes in Void Magazine’s July 2021 issue.