Review: November Foxtrot Whiskey, Peter Baldwin, Florida Night Heat at New World Brewery
Florida Night Heat kicked off the evening Friday with their sprawling, grimy, psychedelic instrumental rock. On bass, Andre Jones kept up a steady rhythm and drummer Chris Wood punctuated the beats with a feisty tambourine. Jensen Kistler’s guitar enthralled the crowd when he launched into The Last Bandito’s soaring riffs, which resembled spaghetti western soundtracks.
A couple of audience members mentioned that the band sounded “jammy,” but I disagree. Florida Night Heat’s got intact song structures. But as an instrumental rock band, the trio is going to have to contend with hippie-dippy prejudices – even if unfounded. That’s not to say the band couldn’t benefit from a little more variety and a few extra hooks.
Baldwin spellbound the audience and drew people in when he performed his too-brief set. His effectively contradicting charisma meets self-effacing sensitivity made him highly watchable and his vocal delivery sent home every word wrapped in zingers of emotion and "Yeah, I feel that too" validation. He sang a few tunes solo with his guitar and a full band assisted him on a slowed-down cover of Electric Feel by MGMT. His performances of Music Was a Woman and the ’50s classic Earth Angel showed off his special knack for no-nonsense tenderness.
Headliner and 2008 tbt* Ultimate Local Band finalist November Foxtrot Whiskey brought soulful passion and grit with unique textures, affirming the band yet again as one of Tampa’s best and brightest.
The guys played minus keyboardist JD Mattioli, who’s away at graduate school, but singer Aaron Lepley’s focused attention on his intense, tuneful vocals distracted from any missing elements. Damon Dougherty on drums and Chris Trojnar on percussion provided a full-on hammock for the music, enfolding the songs with lush vibraphone and conga beats. Bassist Steve Glichowski sewed it all up and swung it with exact precision. Tunes Dark and Lovely, North Carolina and Born to Live were the highlights of the set.
Along with putting on Friday’s event, Brokenmold’s Matt E. Lee, Phil Benito, Eddie Shumard and a cabal of conscientious scene supporters have kept busy booking shows and scored official entries for Tampa’s Nervous Turkey and St. Pete’s Jim Morey Band into the coveted South by Southwest music conference in Austin, Texas.
-- Julie Garisto, tbt*