Five Central Florida Bands You Must See Live

If you’ve been stuck going to the same downtown bars, where they play the same downtown songs you heard on the radio during the drive there, try integrating some live music.

By Patrick Jude

Central Florida, as far as the music industry goes, is often overlooked and passed off as a no-go for scouting genuine musical talent. The incredible surplus of boy bands during the 90’s doesn’t exactly help the integrity of our resume either. The middle of this here state has contributed a great deal though. Guitar legend Chuck Schuldiner made a name for his band right in Altamonte Springs. Tom Petty ran his dream on out of Gainesville, Florida.

Some of the best and most diverse musicians can be found in this massive cultural melting pot, and they’ll probably even have a beer with you after the show!

The Grizzly Atoms These dudes were absolute legends back in the day. After a hiatus, or “hibernation”, The Grizzly’s are blessing all of Florida with their sounds again. It’s some of the loudest, most spazzed out, Rock n Roll I’ve ever heard. Their shows go quick, and they’re never just standing there. The Grizzly’s bring a show that dabbles on theatrics, but every jump and the roaring feedback from smashing a guitar into the grill of an amp is genuine and all for the moment.

Eugene Snowden If you’ve been living locally for a while, and you haven’t made it out to see Mr. Snowden yet, you truly don’t know what you’ve been missing. Easily one of the most active musicians in Central Florida, Eugene and his band will take you, not bring, TAKE you back to the soul. Imagine Al Green, with a touch of Curtis, the grit of Gary Clark and that David Ruffin swagger. Eugene may very well be Orlando’s exemplary “man of many venues”. I’ve seen him at The Falcon, The Social, The Plaza, Indies, Lou’s, etc. etc. I’ve even had the joy of sharing a tabletop stage outside of a certain motorcycle garage some of us know as Standard. He’s all over the place, and he’s never made a room not move.

The Holloway Tape These folks may fall just a few miles outside of Central Florida in the most technical of terms, but they’ve made their way around enough to earn a pass. I saw them last week at Uncle Lou’s on Mills and it brought me back to the days when Skramz and Math Metal were at their absolute peak. People have tried to peg just exactly who this group sounds like. A lot of people say The Dillinger Escape Plan. I hear more of a Circle Takes The Square influence. Either way, if you love intricate and sporadic tunes, then this is the band for you.

Sweet Cambodia If you want to talk about class A musicianship, go catch a set from these cats.   Each member teeters on the title of “prodigal”, and it’s easily apparent that when these players take the stage there’s a little friendly competition. It’s a mix of The Mars Volta, Chili Peppers (with Frusciante), Tera Melos and Mingus. This is definitely the kind of group that keeps the crowd moving every bit as much as they themselves are moving around the stage. Major 7th arpeggios on the guitar, substituted 6/4 inversions on the root of the bass, and a human metronome (equipped with polyrhythms) on the drums – point being these kids are learned. They even hit a CHON cover from time to time.

Chase Shelleé Talk about a powerhouse. Chase Shelleé offers a potent mix of Blues, and cool, speak easy style, Jazz. She can belt out vocals with a raspy grit, then bring them down with couth and ease. The musicians who back her up are always incredible, and are some of the most respected giggers in town.

The sounds of Central Florida are alive, well, and every bit as distinguished as some of the major cities. If you’ve been stuck going to the same downtown bars, where they play the same downtown songs you heard on the radio during the drive there, try integrating some live music. It’s new, you’ve never heard it before; experiences are goooooood.


Born and raised in Orlando, and Socialist to the core, Patrick Jude graduated from The University Of Central Florida in 2015. He currently holds a B.A. in English Literature, as well as an A.A. in Jazz Performance from Valencia College. Jude is heavily tattooed, abstains from alcohol and is an avid Packers fan.