Two festivals, one night: Plan B in Ybor City / Don't Stop St. Petersburg 

A look back at the Oct. 5, 2013 fests.

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@Don’t Stop St. Pete, 5:05 p.m. Ajeva, Local 662 (Leilani) The bassist and percussionist from The Real Clash play bass and drums in Ajeva. I know this because said bassist insisted I come see his other band, and if Real Clash hadn’t been so good, I probably wouldn’t have. The singer has good pipes and can belt out a strong melody but my initial impression of the St. Pete outfit is ‘just another reggae rock band,’ which changes pretty quickly as they keep the energy pumping and hit on ska, dub, blues and aggro heavy funk rock territory ala Rage Against the Machine. The most interesting part of the set is a mostly instruments-free jam, during which the drummer shows off his beatboxing chops and loops them into a jam filled out by vocal scats and utterings from the lead singer, percs texture, and various other odd sonic accoutrements.

@Don’t Stop St. Pete, 5:32 p.m., RedFeather, 600 Block Main Stage (Leilani) We’ve had good luck with acts that are complete unknowns so far, and RedFeather hasn’t started yet, so we bustle over to Sake Bomb to see Granata … but he’s not on and we do love us some RedFeather, so we return to the 600 Block and enjoy the first half of the quartet’s powerful, mountain-hewn, lightly progressive indie roots rock, Mark Etherington’s haunting howls and tribal calls echoing down Central Avenue in a way that gives me chills.

@Don’t Stop St. Pete, 5:45 p.m., MSNRA, Fubar (Leilani) Another Gainesville act featuring Euglossine’s Tristan Whitehill; he’s the producer, bassist and synths man of the eight-member progressive hip hop group, which is fronted by four vocalists/emcees — two ladies and two men who rhyme, sing and back each other over production that is hip hop on its face, trip hop on its back, and somewhere in the experimental, Afro-beat, electro-funkadelic on its side. The group’s look is as eclectic as their sound.

@Plan B, 7:30 p.m., Florida Night Heat (Julie) Our time at Plan B is limited, sandwiched between family obligations before and after the event that cause us to arrive later than intended and keep us from staying as late as we want because of a morning date. We make the best of our five-hour tenure. On arrival, we bolt to Crowbar to see a band we haven’t caught in far too long, Florida Night Heat. We filter into a 100-plus crowd that engulfs the stage as guitarist Jensen Kistler, bassist Andre Jones and drummer Chris Wood deliver high-energy instrumental-rock performance. Their meandering melodies and propulsive beats blend into a sacred instrumental rite that summons the gods of rock ’n’ roll. During the finale, Kistler and Jones jump down in the crowd and jam with kids young and old in one of my favorite moments of the festival.

@Plan B, 8:06 p.m., Early Forms, The Social Club (Julie) It’s great to see the all-star band in stellar form. The members represent favorites that’ve played throughout both the Tampa and St. Pete scenes over the past many years — Vinnie Cosentino, who I met as young’un in 1999, playing in Lukali and later the brilliant power trio Palantine; cerebral pop guru Alastair St. Hill of Gentlemen Please and the erstwhile Incredible Crisis; drum animal Andy Stern of Feral Babies and INJ/SYS; and local newcomer John Smith. Their ’90s-kissed upbeat but ornate rock is infectiously pogo-able, and some drunk folks flail and kick Skipperdome-style in front of the stage. Entertaining show from CL’s 2013 Best of the Bay winner for Best Rock Supergroup.

@Plan B, 8:30 p.m., Sleepy Vikings, Crowbar (Julie) Bittersweet and amazing final performance from a longtime favorite that’s gone through massive changes both personally and professionally. I interviewed original members Julian Connor and Sandi Streppone when they formed Giddy-up, Helicopter! (their exclamation point, not mine). The Plan B finale leaves me with that frustrated but elated feeling — you know, when you’re thrilled that you witnessed a fleeting sensation but disappointed that it ended right when it was getting so good? The experience makes me think about Dumbwaiters, another band that attracted a swarm of fans and disbanded on the brink of national-level success. SV — with Jensen Kistler contributing his expert licks, and Ryann Slauson back on drums — wows us with a big, lush, harmonious sound that’s both comfortingly warm and soul-stirringly haunting; a duality that’s rare and truly unique to Sleepy Vikings. They will be missed.

@Plan B, 8:50 p.m., Alias Punch, Market on 7th (Leilani) We have to check in at Crowbar, so we can’t actually go into New World to enjoy the wildly exciting sounds coming from the Mrenc set, but I do take a minute and file it away as something to definitely catch in the future. We arrive right as Sleepy Vikings take the stage to a packed Crowbar, to play their official last show ever, soak up the tangible energy and pure unadulterated happiness in the air, and after a few songs, make our way to Market on 7th for a completely different vibe: Alias Punch. The Orlando trio, in contrast to Sleepy Vikings, plays to a nearly empty room, so there’s far too few people around to appreciate their wicked dry humor and on-stage shenanigans, strong yet offhand musicianship, and overall quirky-brash style of rocking out, their sound a conglomeration of post-punk revival, surf and doo wop-styled art rock, sneering New Wave punk, and cock-strutting shred-and-riff-fueled heavy metal.


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