“Ok, I’ll do a fireball later.” Said lead singer of Hunter Valentine, Kiyomi M. Just as I turned to go have one of those delicious things myself, she followed up with, “That was code for I’m gonna fuck a redhead [later].” I smiled and stayed.
I arrived just as Hunter Valentine began. I’d never visited this venue before–RBarr (formerly known as Revolution Nightclub)–so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Before we continue, let me just make something abundantly clear: This venue blew me away. I invited my friend, who’s a very talented sound engineer, and his boyfriend. We explored the large venue, down to the stage area and into the large outdoor patio, grabbing drinks along the way at the several bars both inside and out, and picked up shots from the cocktail waitresses.
Ok, let me back up–my friend is not just any sound engineer, he is my absolute favorite sound engineer I’ve ever encountered in my life. With that being said, I respect his word and his fact-backed opinions greater than any other. In regards to the venue’s sound, to quote him directly, he said “the sound is fucking amazing,” and then went on to explain how “natural” and “clean” it sounded. So, it’s safe to say, this venue has one of the best sounding rooms in Orlando.
I’d never listened to Hunter Valentine before this show. Our team (Dainon, my girlfriend, and I) were there to catch Sick of Sarah, who I’ve seen twice before and built up an anticipation for internally. While exploring, drinking, and chatting, I found myself hooked. I was a fish traveling across the seafloor and Hunter Valentine jerked me right out of the water and into their rockin’ boat. I’ve spoken about this before: Sometimes I go to shows and have no fucking clue what to expect. More often than not, those are the times when I’m usually most impressed.
The first thing I noticed was the sound of stoicism. Followed by a mix of indie rock done right and hard rock done better layered over some personal lyrics. Through Hunter Valentine’s set, I watched closely as Kiyomi occasionally broke her stoic looks to display admirable pain and passion. Here’s a shitty pic:
Kiyomi offered true beauty in her delivery of passion. Every detail–the way she falls against the sounds and jerks back up to push note after note into the black microphone in front of her, the way she commands her audience with her hypnotic soft-to-intense gazes, the way she makes her six-stringed instrument her bitch by thrashing it around, every detail caught me and every detail taught me: She was made for this. Here’s a video I caught on the Shows I Go To instagram of “Liar, Liar” (I wish my shitty photo mic did the sound justice).
The second artist in Hunter Valentine’s “related artists” section of their Spotify profile is fucking Brand New, followed by greats like Tegan and Sara, Rilo Kiley, Manchester Orchestra, and Paramore. They deserve to be listed with these greats. Throughout their performance, Hunter Valentine shook up their rock and roll champagne bottles, shot the tops off into the ceiling, and sprayed them all over Orlando, who were ready to receive them with wide-open mouths. Check out one of my new favorite songs, “Jimmy Dean,” by Hunter Valentine below. The lyrics are very personal and direct and are delivered from a first person point of view.
“I don’t wanna make love I wanna fuck with no feeling; I don’t want no sweet valentine I want a shot of jack to forget this time”
After Hunter Valentine’s set, I bought a Sick Of Sarah shirt so I didn’t have to buy one after their set. I waited, and waited some more, and then realized Sick Of Sarah fucking played first. I missed them. A little bummed, but a little stoked at the newly discovered band, I decided to do what I would have done anyways: Drink some more and smoke some more and then head back to my friend Dainon’s house and pass out on his couch next to my girlfriend. All of that happened. Then this happened:
I woke from my drunken slumber on Dainon’s couch and incoherently sought out a restroom. Since I’d never peed there before, I wasn’t sure where it was. My girlfriend woke next, to the sound of a loud crash. She found me, in the dark, in the garage, at the bottom of the stairs, “bewildered,” as she put it. All of the below, I have no recollection of.
I apparently did not find the restroom. Instead, I stumbled to the door leading to the garage, opened it, took a step in, reached for the light switch, and tumbled down the stairs into darkness, crashed into a wheelbarrow and god knows what else. This is what woke my girlfriend. She rushed to my rescue, turned on the lights (which I had failed to do), and tried to direct intoxicated Mitch to come up the stairs (with I aptly refused to do), all the while hilarity ensued. Here’s a picture Dainon sent me the next day:
When I got back on my feet, I still had the swelling urge to urinate, so, I continued to search for the restroom, unbeknownst to her, I had no fucking clue I was in a garage. So I began trying doors. First, I opened a door leading to the back yard. With one eye, I saw complete blackness, became startled, and slammed it in a hurry.
Next, I stumbled across the room and tried to open the actual garage door, to which my girlfriend stopped me from doing, thankfully. Then attempted to direct this drunken man, twice her size and weight, back toward the stairs. (And this is the best part.) I then put my hands on a spare French door that was leaning against the concrete garage wall which was clearly leading to nowhere. I proceeded to turn the handle multiple times, trying to open it (thankfully it didn’t fall on me), before being yelled at by my girlfriend “that door doesn’t go anywhere! Get out of the garage!”
She eventually got me up the stairs, back into the house. I opted for the next closest door–the front door–and walked out onto the front lawn, where I relieved myself under the stars and struggled to keep my gravity centered. It was a good night.
Through all of this, Dainon did not wake. Not a bit.
Hunter Valentine Live Review by Mitch Foster.
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