After a six-year excursion to Tampa's 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre, the annual 97X Next Big Thing returns to its more festival-like roots on Saturday at its new home, Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg. Permitted items include blankets and one unopened water bottle; no-nos include lawn chairs, umbrellas and food. Through Friday, tickets are $45 at all floridacentral Credit Union locations and $45 plus service fees via Ticketmaster; on Saturday, it's $60 at the gate. Doors open at 10 a.m. For details, see 97xonline.com. Here's the scoop on the schedule. — Jay Cridlin [email protected]
Rise Against (9:35 to 10:50 p.m.) Three-time Next Big Thing veterans, this Chicago group blends gravelly punk with strong social activism and a furious stage presence. This will be their second time headlining this festival.
Bush (8:10 to 9:10) Gavin Rossdale and his fellow grunge holdovers have made Tampa a virtual second home since reforming after an eight-year hiatus. By all accounts, they stole the show at Next Big Thing 2011.
Silversun Pickups (6:55 to 7:45) Best New Artist nominees at the 2010 Grammy Awards, L.A.'s Silversun Pickups have actually been big names in the indie-rock world for a decade, thanks to fuzzy, snarly singles like Lazy Eye and Panic Switch.
Fun. (5:45 to 6:30) When Fun. played last year's Next Big Thing, they played at 11:30 a.m. Considering the huge year they've had — is everyone sick yet of We Are Young and Some Nights? — it's no surprise they'll be playing much later on Saturday.
Of Monsters and Men (4:35 to 5:20) Unlike their moodier countrymen Sigur Ros, Icelandic folk troupe Of Monsters and Men aimed for uplift on the jubilant, horn- and handclap-heavy hit Little Talks. This'll be one of the day's most anticipated performances.
Flogging Molly (3:20 to 4:10) You can debate who is America's preeminent Celtic punk group, the Dropkick Murphys or these guys. What's not up for debate is how Flogging Molly turns every single show into a rousing spectacle of frenzied, anarchic joy.
Grouplove (2:15 to 2:55) This young SoCal group took the beach-campfire vibe of singles Colours and Naked Kids and added a disco beat to get radio and commercial hit Tongue Tied.
Paper Tongues (1:15 to 1:55) It just ain't a 97X party without these Charlotte, N.C., rockers, who seem to play almost every show the station sponsors. You'll hear Ride to California yet again on Saturday.
Imagine Dragons (12:20 to 12:55) Is this hardworking Las Vegas band this year's Fun.? After scoring two big, sweeping hits in It's Time and Radioactive, they might be. This will be their second show at Vinoy Park in 2012, following the 97X Memorial Day Backyard BBQ.
The Joy Formidable (11:30 a.m. to noon) The hurricane-force noise this melodic punk-metal trio can produce is breathtaking. A single performance of Whirring can blow a crowd away. Be on the lookout for songs from their second album, Wolf's Law, due in January.
Twenty One Pilots (10:40 to 11:10) This Ohio synth-pop duo is poised for a big 2013, with a debut album coming in January via Fueled By Ramen (Fall Out Boy, Paramore).
Wolf-Face (10 to 10:20) You can't miss these local contest winners, who play in full Teen Wolf attire, from werewolf masks to Beavers basketball uniforms. The goofy gimmick, though, belies their unapologetically rip-roaring punk sound.