Downtown Tampa was mere miles away and the highway in view, but with the sun beating down, lively breeze and fresh music pulsating through the crowd, the inaugural Coastline Festival felt like a whole different world. • The indie rock assembly at the MidFlorida Credit Union Ampitheatre in Tampa transported its audience to a place where the only concern was what flavor of free ice cream to grab before the next band started. With a nice balance between concrete and grassy bliss, concertgoers could go from lounging in the grass at sunset, to listening to the Neighborhood, to raging to Matt and Kim as strobe lights bounced from all sides of the amphitheater. The two stages — one in the grass outside and the big amphitheater stage — made for a cozy yet free-flowing experience. • Here are capsule reviews of some of the bands:
This local band was one of the first to play, and it kicked the day off perfectly. When going to a festival, I think it's important to walk away having listened to at least one new band. Watching Zulu was like finding a $20 bill on the sidewalk; it was a refreshing surprise and put me in a good mood for the rest of the day. Finding out that Tampa can claim a polished, fresh indie rock band is pretty exciting.
Fitz and the Tantrums
Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs could not be more different, or more in sync. Her powerful sass and his confident clumsiness compliment each other flawlessly. Delivering hits such as Moneygrabber and Out of My League, the crowd hung on their last chords, and the crowd and the band got noticeably more comfortable with each other as the set progressed. Though it got off to a slow start, there was definitely a collective ah-hah! moment when the audience realized how groovy the music was and how much fun it was to dance along with the feisty duo.
Matt and Kim
Seeing Matt and Kim live needs to be on everyone's bucket list, even if you have no idea who they are. The energy they bring to the stage is incomparable. Starting the show with nostalgic favorite Daylight, they opened on a high note and kept it high until the venue's intense lamps blinked back on. Not one person was sitting down; the crowd was moving, without exception. The duo said they always love Tampa, and you feel it was mutual. Matt and Kim are longtime "partners in crime" and something else, wink wink, and despite playing hundreds of shows, it was as if it were their first time. In every number you could catch them midsong, just smiling at each other; cue heart melting. For that one hour there was no negative energy. Festival organizers should have let Matt and Kim close the show because, no offense to Two Door Cinema Club or Passion Pit, the crowd had more fun with Matt and Kim than with the latter two combined.
Two Door Cinema Club
I had seen most of the Coastline bands once or twice before, but it was my first time seeing Two Door Cinema Club and like I expected, it was bliss. Alex Trimble's syrupy Irish voice took everyone into a dizzy strobe-light world of new wave indie rock heaven. Like with Fitz and the Tantrums, the crowd and the band took a couple of songs to warm up to each other but after the initial timidity, there wasn't a dull moment. Singing along to Handshake was almost a religious experience, because in that moment there was complete singularity between band and crowd.
Passion Pit was a set everyone looked forward to yet didn't want to come, because it would mean the day was almost over. I had seen Passion Pit twice before, and they consistently deliver the crowd favorites and dance-inducing electro pop tunes. The unique thing about Passion Pit is their ability to make the crowd know the song they are singing when they really don't. With simple chorus and accessible synth melodies, anyone can dance and sing along. Michael Angelakos wooed the crowd with his high-pitched vocals and looked especially nice in his skinny jeans, just sayin'. Though the crowd got lost in the high-pitched chaos every once in awhile, they found their way back. Toward the end, the fast-paced, falsetto and sugary synths were getting to my head and flooding my senses because I swore it smelled like an ice cream shop. Though it was impossible to hear what Angelakos was singing, the music was the language the crowd identified with, and it was a sweet end to a long day of music.
Hannah Elliott is a senior at Robinson High.