Concert Review: Can I Say II at Cinema Paradiso, August 30

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CP Rocks Presents: Can I Say-Sunday II
With Tongues of the Heartworm and Anchorman
Cinema Paradiso, Fort Lauderdale
Sunday, August 30, 2009

Better Than: An hour-long sermon

The Review:

This past Sunday marked the second installment of longtime local promoter Mark Pollack's "Can I Say Sunday" series at Cinema Paradiso in Fort Lauderdale. Conceived as a vinyl record swap, music-movie screening, and show, the event again came together brilliantly in the inviting surroundings of this former Methodist church.

The evening started tamely enough, as vinyl collectors hunted down records in the theater's patio, before heading inside to check out the documentary The House of The Rising Punk. The one-hour film chronicles the high holy days of late '70s, CBGB-era New York punk--and it wetted viewer's whistles for the local live acts to follow.

Pompano Beach trio Tongues of Heartworm kicked off the show. And although an art house is an unlikely setting for spastic punk rock, you couldn't beat the theater seating for comfort. Drummer Fausto Figueredo vigorously pounded out beats and guitarist Rick Ambrose snarled into the microphone on the rollicking bilingual number "Minute Woman." "Worst Hangover Ever" sounded sharp and fast in a Minor Threat sense, but was perhaps the antithesis of anything that aforementioned D.C. straight-edge group's entire oeuvre. A disemboweling cover of the Jesus Lizard's "Seasick" shook us a bit from our cozy cushions as bassist/lead vocalist Stephen "Wolfie" Johnson reached deep inside his larynx for gargling vocals.

Up next in front of the screen was Anchorman, a once-heralded local punk band recently reunited. Back at the turn of the millennium, Anchorman was on the short list of South Florida bands set to break it big, in the foot steps of New Found Glory and Against All Authority. Unfortunately things never panned out for the quartet. Two of the three -- guitarist/lead vocalist John Owens and drummer Darryl Bonebrake -- still play out as Band Number 12, and every now and then the two get together with original Anchorman bassist Charlie Gleek to jam.

They began their set with "Proximity," featuring Owens' hoarse sneers that resonated powerfully with the theater's acoustics. Owens, who was donning a slim mustache that made him looked like a slightly pudgier Brandon Flowers, has the kind of voice that can easily transition from gruff to smooth. This range suited him well on "Drinking Song," in which he also played a slick guitar fret slide bridge. Gleek took over lead vocals on the trio's cover of the Descendents' tune "Coolidge," which began with a battalion's worth of snare drums.

It was great seeing an old punk scene stalwart act relive its glory days, and the blistering rock reverberated well in Cinema Paradiso's historic walls. Mark Pollack, please bring us more, we love it.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: Underground Florida punk is so much better than the boy-band "pop-punk" that pollutes the airwaves nowadays.

Random Detail: Radio-Active Record's Mikey Ramirez had an amazing assortment of LPs, all for under 10 bucks.

By the Way: You can catch Tongues of Heartworm performing in a more conventional punk rock setting at Miami institution Churchill's Hideaway on September 12.

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