Brian Killeen, lead singer and songwriter of Orlando-based Plane Versus Cult, is an interesting dude.
A couple of things stand out upon meeting him. First, he consumes things of quality. Killeen has seen all the great films — some you know, some you don’t. He listens to and can speak on a treasure trove of music. He has traveled to the great American cities and will discuss with authority their important rock clubs or interesting dive bars.
The second thing immediately apparent, is love. Killeen loves the people in this life and that spirit permeates most conversations. The essence of who Brian Killeen is — connoisseur of quality, loyal and loving friend — severely informs his music.
Case in point, he takes the stage at the Orlando Fringe International Theatre Festival with a short thank you and then goes right into a gorgeous song dedicated to a friend, “wherever his spirit resides.”
“Eureka Coast” is a haunting place where love and loyalty are put on the Plane Versus Cult pedestal. “If I had a little time and a little more money, I’d come out there and save ya,” Killeen sings. It is a modest and hopeful lyric. Killeen truly would be there if he could make it at all.
Thankfully, his heart is constantly there, with his friends and his music. By the time the band plays “Theo was King,” and Killeen takes a backseat to delightful licks from guitarist Eddie Martinez, the Fringe music tent is brimming with folks smiling, dancing, and hugging the way of a festival goer. The energy of the set feels like it belongs at a much larger gathering, like Gasparilla or even Okeechobee.
At times Plane Versus Cult sounds like U2 as fronted by John Fogerty. Other times, the influence of Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks is undeniable. Regardless of genre or vibe, the love and quality of the band and its members shine on each tune.
Plane Versus Cult has been busy. They shared a stage at The Social with the great Tommy Stinson (The Replacements) and have been gigging it up in June. Killeen’s empathy and literary songwriting is on display at every show.
This goes out to all the young people who are being sent off to be slaughtered,”
he says just before launching into the anti-war song “American Son.”
The lyrics are not easily digestible. This is beautiful, but heavy stuff. Plane Versus Cult is going to challenge the listener; but shouldn’t we do so to the people we love?
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