Our City is a weekly column focused on my perspective on Orlando City as a supporter. I would love to incorporate your ideas and stories, if you have something to add or a story idea please connect by commenting here or on Twitter: @kevinmercer225
The Manchester United Twitter account usually posts a game day playlist before all home games. As a former music writer I enjoy scrutinizing it a bit. It always has a nice balance. Some bands that have defined the Manchester music scene over the years, some classic songs, a few newer ones, and plenty of songs to get the crowd going. Most playlists also incorporate a local up-and-coming artist as well.
This got me thinking about the Orlando City game day experience. I can't say I've ever walked away from a game with much of an impression on the music played before or at halftime. The supporters groups have done a fine job of creating a lot of atmosphere at the cavernous Citrus Bowl during the games. What about before the game, when they are still warming up their pipes, or at halftime when they are stuck in the beer line?
What would an Orlando City playlist sound like? Should it take a traditional American sports anthem route? Could it have a sound that is unique to Orlando? A younger sound for a young town? Like all things involving the club in this off-season, we have an excellent opportunity to build our traditions now.
In imagining this column, I really saw this as a crowd source exercise, so I'm looking forward to reading the comment section this week. To get the conversation started, I'll throw my own ideas out, but I'm not entirely sure my own music tastes will fit a majority opinion.
First, utilizing the traditional American sports anthem library should be avoided at all costs. At this point we have all "rocked like a hurricane," claimed that "we will rock you," and seen the sandman enter more than enough. These songs have etched themselves into our psyche at this point, but part of that tradition is in American football and the NBA. For that reason alone it might be time to leave these off the playlist.
Soccer has its own music traditions. Even those of us who don't support Liverpool can hum a few lines of "You'll Never Walk Alone," and we all know West Ham United will be "Forever Blowing Bubbles." These traditional songs lack the over-the-top stadium rock feel of most American sports anthems.
I, for one, appreciate them for that reason. (Fun Fact: both of those songs are actually American songs!) I still can't hear "Mas Que Nada" by Sergio Mendes without picturing the 1998 Brazilian National Team taking its liberties with airport security.
If we are avoiding American jock rock and we have a level of respect for traditional footballing songs, where does that leave us? Well I would argue it leaves us looking at who we are and where we are from. As noted "You'll Never Walk Alone" is an American song, but it was popularized in the U.K. by Liverpool band Gerry and the Pacemakers. The previously mentioned Manchester United playlist always features bands from the area as well.
The city of Orlando and state of Florida generally have a pretty developed music scene. We can agree now that part of that, specifically the boy band phenomenon, can be left off the list right? Beyond that, Central Florida is home of a number of nationally famous hip-hop, country, techno, rock, and punk rock acts (past and present). Each of these comes with its own set of loyal fans. A consensus might be hard to achieve. My own personal choices of Orlando's New Mexican Disaster Squad might not fit into the overall atmosphere the club will try to provide.
So I've presented some exclusions, but what should it sound like? I like the idea of local music. It doesn't have to be purely that, but it should sound like you are playing a game in Orlando, Florida.
One of my biggest complaints about attending Orlando Magic games is the lack of authenticity and originality. The event seems pre-packaged and canned, ready to be consumed. The exact same songs and sound effects can be heard at almost every NBA game. The draw to Orlando City for many of us is the organic feeling games have. So a City playlist should keep this feeling. It should merge the multicultural make-up of the team and its supporters.
This is where you come in. I'd love to see your comments and ideas on just what an Orlando City pregame and halftime should sound like. What song do you want to hear when the teams are coming out of the tunnel? What should be playing at the end of a heartbreaking loss?
I am putting three songs forward to get things going:
1. Tom Petty - "Runnin Down a Dream"
Petty has Florida connections and we've been running down dreams since we started chasing trophies and MLS. Why stop now?
2. Zombie Nation - "Kernkraft 400"
This song has local ties to UCF Football, and every Knight can sing alternate lyrics into the midst of the techno beat. This would also get a vote for being appealing to the younger crowds that Orlando City wants to attract. However, according to the song's Wikipedia page, it's quite popular with other sports teams as well.
And finally, my dark horse pick.
3. Hot Water Music - "Southeast First"
This song from one of Gainesville's best post-hardcore bands has everything from blatant localism to surging guitars to strike a mood. Hey, if D.C. United can have reggae punk speed merchants Bad Brains write an anthem, we can claim our own punk anthem right?
So, what do you think? Do any of these songs work for you? Do you have any other suggestions? Should we just deliver beer to the supporters groups and make them sing throughout halftime? Comment below and let me know! And as always, Go City!