Tropical Heatwave 2012: 10 acts to watch, including Black Taxi, The Growlers, The Whiskey Gentry and more
This year’s WMNF-88.5 Tropical Heatwave festival features more than 70 artists on a whopping 13 stages around Ybor City, including, for the first time, a few venues on Seventh Avenue. (What will happen when the Heatwave freaks bump into the late-night clubbers of La Septima? No one knows!)
As always, part of the fun of Heatwave is discovering new artists you'd never heard before. To help get you pumped up, here are 10 Tropical Heatwave artists we've got our eye on this year.
Chuck Prophet and Mission Express: It wouldn’t be Tropical Heatwave without an appearance Chuck Prophet, a WMNF favorite and Heatwave regular. His latest album, Temple Beautiful, is a foot-shufflin’ mix of literate garage rock and power pop. This year’s top-billed artist, he’ll play the Cuban Club’s El Pasaje Plaza at 9:45 p.m.
He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister (above): Like all the best Heatwave acts, HMBSMS offers a unique blend of genres: Swingin’ cabaret and rockabilly, swirling psychedelia, classic ’60s soul and so much more. They play at 7:20 p.m. at Crowbar.
Black Taxi: These next two acts are touring together, so it makes sense to list them back to back. Black Taxi (8:40 p.m., Ritz Ybor) plays catchy indie rock a la the Strokes or Tokyo Police Club ...
Boom Chick: ... while Boom Chick (11:30 p.m., Crowbar) is a fuzzy blues-punk duo in the vein of the White Stripes or Black Keys.
The Whiskey Gentry: This bluegrass-tinged outfit isn’t afraid to put the country back in alt-country, with foot-stomping banjos and heartbreaking harmonies that’ll appeal to fans of Miranda Lambert and the Zac Brown Band. They’ll play at 10:20 p.m. at Collage.
The Growlers: Swathed in reverb and vocal effects, this Southern California group aims for mind-expanding surf-rock trippiness. Close your eyes and you may feel like you’re shaking hands with Timothy Leary. They’ll play the Ritz Ybor at 10 p.m.
Barely Pink: Formed in 1994, these Tampa favorites have only performed off and on for the past few years. In January, to mark David Bowie’s 65th birthday, they covered his album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in its entirety. They’ll do it again at 11:45 p.m. in the Cuban Club Bandshell.
Tallhart: These Tampa favorites will be playing their first local show since changing their name (from Marksmen) and signing to a national label (Equal Vision Records; specifically in imprint run by Say Anything's Max Bemis). They also have a new EP, Bloodlines. Look for them at 10:30 p.m. at CL Space.
JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound: Calling themselves a "post punk soul band," JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound blend classic soul with new-school style. Think Fitz and the Tantrums covering Otis Redding. They'll be at the Ritz Ybor at 11:30 p.m.
Lipbone Redding and the Lipbone Orchestra: You've heard of beatboxing? This is 'bone-boxing. Lawrence "Lipbone" Redding creates unorthodox music by making trombone sounds -- and a whole lot more -- with his mouth. When he performs in the Cuban Club Cantina at 8:40 p.m., it'll be a sight to see.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*