Florida GRAMMY Showcase — Orlando April 9, 2008
Tabu, Orlando, Fla.
On April 9, the Florida Chapter held its first Florida GRAMMY Showcase — Orlando at Tabu in downtown Orlando. The event featured six talented, unsigned acts carefully chosen by top music industry professionals from entries submitted by Florida- and Puerto Rico-based artists. The finalists performed live in front of a music industry audience and competed for valuable artist development packages worth more than $25,000.
The six selected artists were Johnny Bulford, Kayla Dumon, Experimental Pilot, Social Ghost, Soul Phenomenon and Stalling Dawn.
After great performances from each artist, Social Ghost was named the showcase winner and Johnny Bulford was selected as runner-up. "We're looking forward to the exposure that winning the showcase can provide for the band's future," said Social Ghost drummer Matthew Brown. "We're honored to have been chosen to begin with, but to win was beyond expectations. "
Playing host for the evening was classic rock station WHTQ-FM's Buckley, and DJ John Debo kept the event moving with his expert spinning.
Each of the finalists shared artist development prizes worth more than $25,000 including a range of goods and services from Auralex, Melinda Bell of Wright Entertainment Group, CAD Professional Microphone, Dean Markley Strings, Epiphone, Guitar Center, IK Multimedia, producer/engineer Tom Morris, Morrisound Recording, Nick Nanton Esq., Seymour Duncan, and Skull Candy.
The event was sponsored by FilMiami, Full Sail, GTC Media, Rag Magazine, SAE Institute, SESAC, SunTrust, Artist Relations, Auralex, Axis Magazine, Gallien-Krueger, Gibson, Korg, KS Audio, Paradise Production Services and Vox.
So we just got off tour with rock legends Alice in Chains... It still hasn't sunk in just yet. I don't know if it ever will really...We made our way to Jacksonville, FL the next day to play at Plush. Definitely one of the best venues in Florida. The crowd in Jacksonville was outrageous! Everyone seemed into what we were doing, so much that it incited riots! I actually saw a man about 4 rows back punch a woman! To remedy this violence, Van pulled out the cello for a mellow, yet intense version of "Dry." Aside from the fighting, it was an awesome night and Jacksonville definitely showed a lot of love for us.Next stop on the tour was House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, SC... We arrived a little late, so we basically had to load our stuff right onto stage for sound check. Everything went smoothly for sound check, and we headed upstairs and sitting in our dressing room was Mike Inez! We hung out for a few minutes until he realized that we didn't have beer. Upon noticing this, he says "how can they expect you guys to play without beer?!?!?" He then gave me a lesson in rock-star bitching 101, instructing me to start kicking and shaking the fridge saying "Where the f*** is my beer?!?!?!" I think he forgot to inform me that you have to sell a couple million records before you're allowed to do that... But I kind of already had that figured out. Mike took care of our no-beer situation by actually giving us some of his. We went onstage and the crowd response was incredibe! By the end of "Shade of California," I saw 10-15 people up front singing the words! Crazy! We did a reggae-style version of "War without a Gun" that seemed to be a crowd favorite that night, and we tagged a little bit of "Land of Confusion" by Genesis at the end and the crowd was singing along with the "oh-oh-oh"s. It was frickin rad!We had a day off and then headed to The Norva in Norfolk, VA. The venues on this tour kept getting cooler and cooler. The room sounded great, and the crowd was awesome! Everyone seemed to like the song "Ashes" which we actually threw into the set last minute, but it worked out great. This was probably my favorite performance from AIC on the tour, the room sounded so great and the vibe was just right.We then headed to Asheville, NC the next day to play at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. I just have to say that Asheville was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been! My family actually made it out to the show, and it was refreshing to see them on the road. The thing that wasn't so beautiful was the load in to the venue. 3 flights of stairs!!! ugh! It was more than worth it though, as the response from the fans in Asheville was insane! We even had a guy so happy (or drunk) to see us at the merch booth, that he got up on the table and danced!Our last stop on the tour was the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN. This stage has welcomed legendary artists like Elvis, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, basically anyone you can think of that is great! Perhaps the highlight of that set was the sing-along part of "Tomorrow." To look out and see people in a place with so much history singing your song is a feeling I will never forget! Playing on that stage was almost a spiritual experience. So much so that we were actually "haunted" by 3 guys in bedsheets dressed like ghosts (which included Sean Kinney from AIC) in the middle and end of our set.
So that's it. The skinny of what happened on tour. The experience of a lifetime.