Villa 221 Bums Everyone Out by Pulling the Plug on Animal Tropical at Their Own Release Party

Animal Tropical and Ice Cream
With Slashpine, People, Shiboleth, and New Theory 
Villa 221
Thursday, June 30

Villa 221 is a rambling Old Florida estate converted into a labyrinthine nightlife compound capable of functioning as: (1) a club via thumping music and dance floors; (2) a bar with multiple depots on both floors and lots of furniture for shooting the shit; and (3) a lounge boasting tremendous cushions on the patio for lounging while you sip your Sour Diesel Appletini.

Among these many identities, the South Beach-lite aesthetic wouldn't immediately suggest the perfect venue for kids in their early 20s to get wasted, make time, and mosh to black metal. But that's what happened last night at the release party for the new ten-inch vinyl split from Animal Tropical and Ice Cream.

Though the surface vibe of Villa 221 is on the less chi-chi end of the club spectrum, the physical space itself lent itself very nicely to last night's event, with lots of different rooms, inside and out, exuding a variety of atmospheres. Maybe you want to chill on the porch? Or perhaps at the bar, for quicker refills? Or, if you want to canoodle with your shmoopy (or holla at a honey) you can go into one of the weird mini-lounges next to the downstairs bar. Bands play in a medium-to-small-sized room upstairs, which you get to by climbing a winding spiral staircase. The band room leads to an upstairs patio, which leads to a huge yard downstairs.

So the space provided a unique atmosphere. But the lineup was tragically overbooked, which led to Animal Tropical's set getting cut when the owners and promoters suddenly came into conflict over the length of the event. This show could have been Slashpine, Ice Cream, and Animal Tropical. It could have started at 11 p.m., ended at 2 a.m. and everyone could go party in the street outside the shell of what used to be Bar.

But somehow six bands ended up performing, the first three of which were all relatively green. And while not unbearable, they weren't especially bearable either. New Theory was a one-man Joy Division thing. Shiboleth, an on-the-fly project featuring members of Deaf Poets and Toad Eyes, played a loose Dad-rock variant comparable to their full-time bands, but a little on the, uh, funk-fusion side. The band, People, played anthemic, technical and overwritten pop-punkish rock with nasal emo vocals.

Shortly after 1 a.m., black metal/stoner-sludge hybrid Slashpine took the stage. (Full disclaimer: This blogger is connected to this band in a promotional capacity, so to avoid a full-blown conflict of interest, we'll report on the crowd's response, which was out of control from the get go.) At the sound of the first, poundingingly heavy, doom-laden note, the crowd was  raised its collective fist and banged its collective head. Pretty soon, some push-pit slam dancing erupted, much to the visible chagrin of the many parents in the audience.

Ice Cream rode the wave Slashpine had churned, and kept the crowd dancing. When not lapsing into eerily gloomy moments of psych, the band's sound is relatively herky-jerky, but audience members do what they can to keep moving in sync with the always changing direction of the songs. Vocalist Justin Anthony Rivers took advantage of the cordless mic by pacing the room and rolling on the floor, sullying his Sunday best.

Animal Tropical was more or less ready to go around 3a.m., when the management of Villa 221 pulled the plug. Crossfade spoke with Ice Cream guitarist Tomas Kennedy, who said that there was no previously agreed-upon end time and that the establishment was bumming him out, a sentiment echoed by everyone who was forcefully ejected by the staff.

Critic's Notebook

The Crowd: A mess of 16- to 22-year-old art and music students, a smattering of confused Villa 221 patrons.

Ice Cream's Setlist:

-"Happy Meal"
-"Teen Mom"
-"Frater Perdurabo & The Great Beast"
-"Monster Truck"
-"Happy Meal"
-"Briilliant Genius Of Humanity"
-"Zebra Meat"
-"Money" C

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Matt Preira