Local mini-symphony the 'Florida Bjorkestra' honors Bjork through chamber pop
St. Petersburg’s Hideaway Cafe is a bustling hub for singer-songwriters and open-mikers. But on Sunday, it’ll host one of its most ambitious productions to date: A tribute to Bjork, performed by an all-star lineup of musicians from the local and classical music scene.
The “Florida Bjorkestra” is a nine-piece mini-symphony that’ll deliver lushly arranged chamber-pop renditions of songs like Human Behaviour, Army of Me, Hyperballad and I’ve Seen It All.
“I love Bjork, always have,” said Jeremy Douglass, the group’s keyboardist and primary arranger. He got the idea for a Bjork tribute late last year, and convinced to do this show “for little or no pay,” he said. “That was an amazing gift.”
Joining him on stage at the Hideaway are guitarist LaRue Nickelson, guitarist Ed Woltil, singer Jamie Perlow, cellist Tom Kersey, bassist Daniel Navarro, saxophonist Austin Vickery, drummer Dave Hamar, violinist Rebecca Zapen and trombonist David Hope. The nine-piece group will swell to 12 with the occasional addition of three backup singers, but Douglass said they should all fit on stage comfortably.
Douglass has brought together versions of this group have performed special shows in the past, including a 2014 tribute to The Wizard of Oz and a 2015 salute to Mary Poppins. “Each time I get this group together it seems to grow a little larger,” he said.
The key to this show, he said, might be Perlow on lead vocals. “She’s also a ravenous Bjork fan like myself,” he said. “If not for her in the Bjork chair, I don’t think I could have pulled this off.”
To sweeten the deal, Douglass and Woltil will open the show as Radio-Ed, a two-man band performing the music of Radiohead.
It’s a one-night-only performance ... for now.
“I hope to be able to pay them, and will if we have great attendance, but with material like this it’s difficult to gauge the turnout,” Douglass said.
But if there’s a demand, they may try to do it again.
“They’re such great people, professional musicians, all of them,” he said. “Really, it’s a labor of love.”
Doors open at 5 for the 6 p.m. show at the Hideaway, 1756 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Tickets are $5 via ticketfly.com. (727) 644-7895. Click here for details.
-- Jay Cridlin