This year's 97X Next Big Thing lineup is putting an emphasis on the word next.
All 12 bands at this year's 16th annual alt-rock festival, Dec. 3 at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, will be playing the event for the first time — including a few who've never played Tampa before, period.
Topping Next Big Thing's 2016 lineup are British alt-pop heartthrobs the 1975 (The Sound), along with Americana troupe the Head and the Heart (All We Ever Knew), glitch-pop duo Phantogram (When I'm Small), South African rockers Kongos (Come With Me Now) and synth-pop duo Capital Cities (Safe and Sound). Rounding out the lineup are Bishop Briggs, the Naked and Famous, Judah and the Lion, Lewis Del Mar, Weathers, Coin and 888.
Just like last year's Next Big Thing, this year's looks to push even further away from tradiational guitar rock and more toward younger, more experimental acts who rely more on electronic or acoustic instrumentation. Even the 1975 — a wildly popular four-piece outfit that, if nothing else, looks like a proper shaggy rock band — embrace plenty of synthesizers on their acclaimed new album I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it.
Tickets for the 16th annual 97X Next Big Thing start at $35 and go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Friday. Click here for details.
-- Jay Cridlin