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Tropical Heatwave: Five headliners not to miss


It seems fitting that Tampa is looking at record high temperatures this week. Because this Saturday, one of Tampa's most popular music festivals, Tropical Heatwave, returns to the Cuban Club and its surrounding block.

WMNF's annual funk-blues-roots-zydeco-folk-rock summit kicks off around 5 p.m. at six venues around Ybor City, and continues well into the night, with some 30 performers, local and national, serving up a constant stream of funk and rock. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door.

We'll be serving up previews of Heatwave '09 all week on Soundcheck, with a bunch of recommendations from many of this year's performers on who they're looking forward to seeing.

First up: After the jump, Wade Tatangelo offers his picks for five must-see national acts on this year's stage, including 'bone-rattling New Orleanian Trombone Shorty, above.

Once again, WMNF’s annual Tropical Heatwave bash offers way more music than any one attendee can see in a single night. Thirty-plus bands spread out across six stages. Not even WMNF program director Randy Wynne says he will be able to catch ’em all. To help you strategize, here are five national acts we consider “must-sees.”

1. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue: New Orleans native Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews is a rock star with serious jazz chops. A virtuoso trombonist and trumpeter, the 23-year-old bandleader also sings, beatboxes, raps, dances and, as was evidenced at his triumphant 2007 Heatwave debut, stage-dives! Expect him to deliver a fierce hybrid of traditional and contemporary music with a Big Easy bent. Andrews calls his distinctive sound "super funk rock." (9:40 to 11:10 p.m., El Pasaje Plaza)

2. Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express: Underground roots rock luminary Chuck Prophet is a WMNF fave and Heatwave regular who never disappoints. Smart and soulful, his music manages to encompass a wide array of styles, appealing to enthusiasts of various genres. He’s perhaps best known for the gem Apology, a cut off his ace 2000 album The Hurting Business. (10:05 to 11:35 p.m., Cuban Club Bandshell on the Patio)

3. BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet: The world’s greatest Cajun band, BeauSoleil has been issuing ebullient, highly danceable, fiddle-laced bayou music since the mid-1970s. The group’s outstanding Live at the 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival disc won a Grammy for Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album. (7:40 to 9:10 p.m., El Pasaje Plaza)

4. Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles: In March, Borges released her best album to date, the charming Americana/pop offering The Stars Are Out. The disc features five originals and covers ranging from Smokey Robinson’s Being With You to the Lemonheads’ Ride with Me. (6:35 to 7:45 p.m., Cuban Club Bandshell on the Patio)

5. David Dondero: Indie troubadour Dondero is a San Francisco-based singer/songwriter with a special connection to Ybor City. On his haunting, Florida travelogue South of the South (click here to listen), our famous entertainment district receives an entire verse. ‚ÄúSo I jumped my pogo stick, all the way to Ybor City,‚Äù he sings. ‚ÄúWhere they burned up a couple blocks, and to me seemed like a pity.‚Äù Okay, so it‚Äôs no the most flattering depiction. But it‚Äôs a cool shout-out nonetheless. A couple years back at New World Brewery, Dondero also crushed with a terrific cover of Little Feat‚Äôs country-trucker anthem Willin‚Äô. (10:20 to 11:20 p.m., the Orpheum)

-- Wade Tatangelo, tbt*. Photo by Bo Streeter.

[Last modified: Monday, May 11, 2009 5:02pm]


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