Man Down at the Haven Lounge

In sixteen years in Orlando, I had not set foot inside the Haven Lounge until just after 5pm tonight. It is a dive bar in a dated strip mall off Aloma Avenue in Winter Park. The bartender was a weather-worn woman north of both 40 and 200lbs. What I presume to be the happy hour crowd numbered roughly ten men and one woman, a ratio on par with cigarette smoke to stimulating conversation. I asked to sign up Man Down for open mic night, and was told to come back at 8:30pm.

I returned at 8:23 and signed the band in on the second line of the sheet. None remained of the happy hour crowd save the bartender, who was completing a shift change. Excluding the band and traveling party, the crowd numbered five. As the clock reached 9pm show time, the crowd swelled to 30 and Man Down took the stage. The boy’s launched into a spirited rendition of Green Day’s “Basket Case” to a favorable response.

The second song was an original instrumental, followed by “Seventy times Seven” and concluded with “Raining Blood”. Supaflyc provided bass and lead vocals on “Seventy times Seven”. The group is progressing and looked comfortable on stage. There was evidence of some potential sarcastic banter between songs. On the whole the performance was solid.

The second act was Fear the Concept, a metal band comprised of Lake Howell students. During sound check they were notable for techno style keyboard work, and a compelling lead singer, who had a look and swagger. This came undone to a degree when the keyboardist was marginalized during the performance and the lead singer failed to rise above an incomprehensible gutteral noise. I believe I made out the words “thank you” at the end of the first song, and 407 Hood Legend Juan Bernal credited him with 18 “fucks” during the song.

The highlight of the Fear the Concept performance was the mosh pit. Man Down proved far more effective on stage than in the pit where they looked the part of disabled Romans fed to the Lions. Big Bobby Stottlemeyer was upended along with a high top table, and Supaflyc while remaining upright did little to do the family proud in general aggression.

On the whole, this was a fun Wednesday night. A parent’s night in the sense that I would not have found myself at The Haven Lounge for any other reason than to listen to my son’s band, but having been there, I am enriched so much so that I raced back this very night to retrieve Supaflyc’s backpack which inexplicably made it’s way into the Lounge, but not out on our initial departure.

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