The second part of our Antiwarpt wrap-up breaks it down — what we saw, what we missed, what you missed by not being there... If you did
FRIDAY, JULY 29: Antiwarpt Pre-Party at the St. Pete Shuffleboard Club
We arrived to the sounds of Living Arches, a duo featuring Jensen Kistler (Florida Night Heat) and Micheal Hooker (formerly of Dear Old Liar) who produce unadorned (guitar and light keys) anti-folk with pop charming tendencies, the centerpiece of the songwriting their lovely, winding boy-girl vocal harmonies.
BAAMO hosted a cash bar inside the AC-free clubhouse (where I ran into Bryan Childs of ninebullets.net as he was just getting off his very long shift), Taste Junction hawked burgers, tacos and pork sammies outside, and aside from all the sweating, everyone seemed to be in good spirits.
The makeshift stage was set up and spread out over a few shuffleboard decks, and the grandstand that faced it was most full for the last two acts. Greenland Is Melting, a trio from Gainesville, brought their energetic newgrass jams and had feet stomping and hands clapping. Tampa Southern shoegaze/alt roots outfit Sleepy Vikings stripped-down to a mostly acoustic set-up and performed tracks off their new debut LP, They Will Find You Here, that prompted dancing by a few seriously adorable kids. Both were between 8 and 10 years old — one, a boy in Chuck Taylors, was busting moves like Michael Jackson while a few decks down, a little girl was twirling and prancing and generally showing off in her little pink skirt.
Overall, a success that even the kids could get behind. [More after the jump.] —LP
With more than 60 bands spread out over eight venues, it was virtually impossible to see everything, or even a half of everything. Some were worth mentioning; others not so much. Here's some highlights.
Infinite Groove Orchestra @ The Local 662
Make no mistake about it — IGO won me over long ago with their spaced-out fusion of funk, jazz and rock, reminiscent of Benevento/Russo Duo or Medeski Martin & Wood, but with Jeremy Powell wailing on sax and bringing spooky dissonance or silky melodies to their sound. Their Antiwarpt set got particularly heated towards the end during "Hippy Strut," when all four members tapped into the mid-song groove and got loose and grimy and loud before reaching the song's sci-fi menacing, drum and bass conclusion. —LP
Florida Night Heat was named just for nights like this — muggy, sweaty, late July weather that drives everyone in search of AC and cold PBR. Regulars of the Tampa music scene, FNH's instrumental stylings are a mix of R&B and punk-influenced drums and basslines with layers of post-rock guitars and electronic ambiance. Gone are the days of the trio playing to a few adventurous listeners who arrived early for another band's set; at Fubar, FNH performed to a packed bar full of fans. They're fleshing out their sound with the addition of keys and trumpet on some songs, and it suits them quite well. Almost interrupted by a short circuiting bass, the set was saved by occasional bandmate/keyboardist/part-time Brokenmold exec. (the guy is busy, right?) Matt E. Lee, who held the connector into the bass while Andre Jones finished the song. That's some teamwork. Check out some footage from their performance below. —DR
An Introduction to Sunshine @ the Local 662
I love this Orlando dream pop outfit, though this is the first time I've them with a full band lineup. Among the players are musician Michael Serrin — whose vocals are like a sweet caress and always welcome to the ears — and Chandler Strang, both of Saskatchewan. I don't have much more to say about their set except it was simply brilliant and they played my favorite cut, "Cast Me Away." —LP
Splitting time between this show and Have Gun, Will Travel, I didn't get to see as much of the set as I'd hoped. These talented musicians have been bringing their instrumental rock to Tampa for almost a decade, and time hasn't slowed their skills in the slightest. What has changed is their style; the newer material leaning more towards metal influences than their early prog-rock sound. It's definitely still rocking enough to inspire this interpretive dance performed by a fan, an early evening highlight (click here to check out the video, courtesy of Jared Fager.) —DR
Have Gun, Will Travel @ State Theatre
While the streets were filled with hipsters, a slightly older WMNF crowd was holed up at the State waiting for the rustic alt-country of Have Gun, Will Travel. That certainly didn't mean the crowd wasn't energized for this show, the Bradenton ensemble having long ago established themselves as a band not to miss. On this night, they played several new songs, but it was the favorites that had everyone singing along. The political lyrics of "Sons and Daughters of the Guilded Age" seemed to ring especially true with the audience. Song after song, lap steel, harmonica, banjo, ukelele, strings, and acoustic guitars melted together with thoughtful lyrics, well-written melodies, and rousing energy to spare. They closed out their set by inviting another local favorite, Will Quinlan, to join them for "Pins and Needles." Some video below... —DR
The Pauses @ Fubar
Lauris Vidal @ Fubar
Any empty space in front of the stage quickly filled with adrenaline-pumped fan boys as Lauris Vidal took the stage. With only a drummer backing him up, the energy created from Vidal's vocals and guitar was unbelievable. There was a much stronger alt-rock influence than I remembered from his performance last year, but Vidal's uniquely powerful vocals are very much the same. The crowd energetically started high-speed clapping along, which, at this point in the night, seemed to make Fubar just unbearably hotter. It's a good thing Vidal plays the kind of dirty, heartfelt, soul that comes out of your pores. —DR
The Emerald is the perfect intimate venue for a band like Poetry n' Lotion, their instrumental jazz-post-fusion making the tiny bar feel lively and bubbly. The four musicians consistently turn in a set that's jammy and playful. Their songs cover a lot of musical territory, held tightly in place by a driving trumpet groove that's replaced the mandolin more gracefully than you'd imagine. Tasty. —DR
The Bright Light Social Hour @ State Theatre
The Austin-based band, fresh from their award-winning success at this year's SXSW festival, played to a full house at the State. The boys were every bit as charming as the first time I caught them at The Hub, but now with enough bravado and confidence to fill a venue ten times that size. They deliver a searing mix of Southern rock, funk and soul wrapped up in a whole lot of hair, sweat, and energy. BLSH is well-deservedly building quite a Tampa following, as a surprisingly huge number of those in attendance knew the words to the songs.
This is one band where every member has the talent to hold attention on their own, AJ Vincent rocking out electro jams on the keytar, Joseph Mirasole pounding out technically perfect percussion, Curtis Roush delivering elaborate guitar solos, and Jack O'Brien on bass pulling it all together like a fuzzy wind-up toy jumping across the stage. Everyone went wild over sexy "Detroit" and it's Motown-like chorus. But wild didn't even start to describe their cover of "Mannish Boy" by Muddy Waters, infused with a blistering guitar solo and O'Brien's energetic, and much dirtier lyrics. Anyone in the crowd that wasn't dancing started during "Back and Forth," before the band tried out several new songs that were just dirty, bluesy, deliciousness. Nearly every song was introduced as "here's another song about fucking," which apparently provides ample material for the band, as no two songs are remotely alike. They closed out with a long surf-metal jam full of solos, though it was Mirasole and his perfect one-minute drum solo that got all the attention. The Bright Light Social Hour just keeps getting better. Video below. —DR
The London Souls @ State Theatre
Though The State seemed to have instantly cleared out after BLSH, London Souls launched right into their hard-hitting rock n' roll. The NYC threesome played their straightforward classic-influenced rock as though the venue were packed. Though I've heard their live set is full of energy, I was worn out by that time and ready to head home a few songs deep. A nice way to end the evening for sure ...—DR
SUNDAY, JULY 31: Tampa After-Parties at Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe and The Hub.
Tash Neal (guitar, vocals), Kiyoshi Matsuyama (bass, vocals) and Chris St. Hilaire (drums, vocals) draw upon late '60s and early '70s Brit invasion influences, their retro-modern sound mixing elements of hard blues, groove and funk-fused psychedelia, heavy metal, and rootsy folk rock. All three players traded off on vocals with ease, Neal most frequently taking the lead (and wailing some hot solos, dude can play!), and managed to win over the dining denizens — those who'd come to see the band, and those who were just there to eat — by the end of their set, which included "She's So Mad" (hot), "Under Control" (nice and tasty and drawn out), and pretty much all the rest of the tracks off their self-titled debut (recorded at Abbey Road Studios with producer Ethan Johns). It is a must-have album, and this is a must-see band. Don't miss them the next time they hit town...
This was their first time back to the tiny downtown Tampa dive since playing Crowbar at Tropical Heatwave in May, and if the over-packed house was any indication, the band will be back to bigger digs when they return.
I won't go into detail about how tremendously awesome this band is; Deborah did a nice job of that herself above and I've gushed about them quite enough since I discovered them last year and turned everyone else in town onto them. (Yes, I will take credit for their popularity here, which is apparently only second to their popularity in their hometown of Austin. Ask the band, they'll agree. Read my story if you want to know more. )
I will say this — few bands have the sort of balls-out stage presence that these guys do for being so young. They really have a grasp on showmanship, and the fact that all four members are superb musicians, and that three of the four also happen to be pretty goddamn good singers, too, doesn't hurt. By the end of the night, the entire place was a heaving, sweat-drenched, screamingly happy mess of drunkenness, and the most done-in stuck around for an impromptu dance party as led by The Hub's always-reliable jukebox. Good times. —LP
Click here to check out Phil's short film from the fest.