There’s a funny thing about indie music: oftentimes, it is whatever you make it. Whether it’s a single acoustic guitar, a flailing power trio, or a three-guitar juggernaut of sound, the definition fits within its vague-yet-wide spectrum. Friday night, it was all three as The Cold Ones, J. Page, and The Enablers showed off a wide variety of indie’s elements at Club 1982 in midtown Gainesville.
While The Enablers have been defined as a quartet for the past couple of years, tonight’s billing of “The Enablers (acoustic)” was actually singer-songwriter Rob Coe and his acoustic guitar. What made his set so surreal was the presence of the other members of The Enablers, guitarist Todd Rockhill, drummer Addison Burns, and bassist Troy Perlman’s presence at the venue. While his fellow band members provided moral support offstage, Coe stretched his set from hard-luck to humorous with a set of tunes that kept the crowd spellbound. “My little baby’s got a farmer’s tan,” sang Coe, making his storytelling that much more earnest via his raspy tenor, providing a intriguing vocal presence throughout.
The set turned comedic several times, with Coe covering The Pussycat Dolls’ “Don’t Cha,” the song featured in the latest batch of Heineken Premium Light television ads. Other highlights were “I’ve Been Meaning to Get You Off My Mind” and “Tomorrow,” which provided Coe a mid-set opportunity to bare his soul to a thin but dedicated crowd.
After performing a song by his former band Fay Wray, Coe referred to a conversation he had with the band’s former vocalist: “Jeff London says to trust your government,” Coe wryly declared. At the conclusion of this song, a reveler shouted, “holy s**t!” to which Coe replied, “Sorry, I don’t know ‘Holy S**t.’”
Rob Coe kept the crowd mesmerized with an ode to being down-and-out in their home state with “F**ked in Florida.” He was also in lighter spirits with the amusing “It’s a Sammy Hagar Weekend,” in which he expounded upon the hardships facing drivers that navigate the entire state on a fairly regular basis, often driving faster than 55. Coe’s robust set concluded with a cover of The Misfits’ “Last Caress.”
The black-shirted guys in J. Page were next, still fresh from their recent tour with Tampa’s New Bruises. Now a quintet, their three-guitar, three-chord attack spilled across the small 1982 room like a tidal wave. Songs such as the title track to their EP “Goodbye Chapel Hill” seemed so majestic in this context, yet the interchanged vocals along with the guitar symphony’s cohesion never made things too overpowering. Some in the band thought that they sounded “weird,” but it was certainly weird in a good way.
The Cold Ones are a prime example of the interchangeability between members of Gainesville bands. J. Page bassist Troy remained onstage for The Cold Ones’ set, joined by drummer Burns and guitarist-vocalist Michael. The power trio provided a great complement to the night, tearing through favorites like “Maurice” and “Sister Oh Sister,” with Burns’ and Perlman’s solid rhythm section backing up Michael, who looked at times like an unshaven Gordon Gano. Perlman, although a bassist for all three bands on the bill, played with only two of them thanks to Coe’s solo stint.
1982 was also refreshingly cooler this time. Co-owner Grant Tchekmeian, while nursing a broken foot between working the door, explained that they’ve discovered a glitch with the front AC unit and that it would be back in action soon. In the meantime, there are 4 “cyclone” fans scattered around the main floor, so if the heat’s kept you away from 1982, don’t fret: the air’s cool once again and the beer is ice cold.