Tropical Heatwave | Ybor City 05.10.14

Community Radio Station WMNF 88.5 Tampa was born in 1979.  Heatwave is the most prominent of the many events the station puts on throughout the year, first appearing in 1982.  This 33rd edition expanded to two nights, with 19 acts Friday and 41 on Saturday.  I had to catch the Mike Dillon Band/Legendary JCs mash-up at Skipper’s Friday (and I mean HAD TO), but Linda and I looked forward to Saturday.  There was music from 4:15 to 1:30.

I was super-pumped to see Moon Hooch again, decked out in my MH shirt and all.  Due to a “communication problem,” we arrived too late to see them.  (Note to self: fix communication problem.)  We ate dinner in the Cuban Club courtyard while listening to Bright Light Social Hour.  The set was up and down for me, but they sounded very good in places.  From there we made the hike to the other side of Ybor for the jamband conjunction.

For the first time in memory, and likely due to the urging of Thor and Wayne, hosts of the jamband show In the Groove, lots of “our” music was concentrated at Carmine’s Courtyard.  The place was stuffed to the gills for Come Back Alice, the excellent Sarasota quartet featuring Tony Tyler (guitar, B3 and vocals) and Dani Jaye (violin, guitar and vocals).  Their eclectic mix of Southern rock and jam and fiddlistics was wildly popular this night.  Maybe I’ve heard them sound better, but I have never seen them connect with a crowd quite like this one.  I suspect their exposure at events such as Hulaween and next fall’s Bear Creek will continue to escalate their prominence.

I did venture – briefly – into Market on 7th next door in search of dark cerveza.  Every time I have been there for a show, the music has been deafening.  Go ahead: say it.  I must be too old.  Or I have better sense than to tolerate that sort of aural assault.

We opted to stay put (this was not my usual marathon) awaiting CopE.  This quartet has been on fire for, like, ever, it seems.  They have been tearing it up at Bear Creek, AURA, Wanee, numerous local shows and everywhere else.  About 15 minutes in, they hit that magic groove – as good as it gets.  What a superb set!

We did slip away early to walk down the block to the Orpheum to see the Hip Abduction, still aglow from a magnificent afternoon Wanee set.  The venue was wall-to-wall folks grooving to the reggae and Afrobeat that HA emits into space.  I am not a huge reggae fan (once again in the decided minority), but I like those tunes well enough.  But their Afrobeat stuff!  Those songs were truly spectacular, deep, deep funky grooves.  I hope a recording surfaces.  This was even better than the Wanee set (or so my brain thinks).

And then back to the courtyard for Displace.  Our first exposure to this quartet was in November, opening for the Malah, and we were truly knocked out.  Every show since then has been more and more impressive, including a great set at AURA.  For me, this set was a light year beyond what I had heard before (I know, I know, light years don’t measure sound – so, tough).  Despite Chris Sgammato going through three (3) guitars (and thanks to Dennis Stadelman of CopE and maybe Tony Tyler of CBA), this was a rocking funkfest.

Sgammato sounded better than ever on alto sax, and we always enjoy his guitar work (on all three of ‘em!).  I, the verbose one, am actually struggling to find the right words to describe the crushing funk that Sam Dobkin laid down all set long.  Best ever from him.  And once again let me sing the praises of a rhythm section, because they lifted this set about ten feet off the ground.  Vinny Swoboda and Tucker Cody (bass and drums) were sick, sick, sick.  That is all.  If and when they release the soundboard, you must check out the first tune, “Generation Sloan,” a great “Don’t Fret” and a stunning masterpiece they ‘claim’ is a work in progress entitled “Geonosis Shuffle.” I’m a believer.

Thanks to all the bands we saw, sorry for those we wanted to see but missed, and great to see the Trip Strip boys, the hosts of the Tie-Dyed Tuesday shows on WMNF, Ed Greene of the Freak Show, Dennis Stone of the Dream Clinic, and Thor and Wayne of In the Groove. Long live Tuesday nights!

Please support local music and local radio. “You don’t miss your water ‘til the well runs dry.”


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