We are so blessed in the Tampa Bay area to have incredible music options nightly. But next weekend (May 6 and 7) things just go bonkers. Six of my favorite area bands are playing, three on Friday and three on Saturday. To quote John McEnroe: “You cannot be serious!”
Fortunately for you and me, they are!
Friday, May 6th, the festivities begin at 8 with the official Orange Blossom Jamboree preparty at Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa. (Orange Blossom Jamboree is May 19-22 at Sertoma Ranch in Brooksville.)
Music opens with Future Vintage, the superb jamtronic trio which released its excellent album Doin It Right in December. Matt Giancola, keyboards, guitar; Trevor McDannel, bass, bass synth; and Eric Layana, drums play sounds that stretches from glorious ‘70s fusion to great new dance music. These festival veterans played the Purple Hatter’s Ball last year. Read their MusicFestNews feature here and album review here.
Row Jomah is a quintet that mixes fusion, funk, rock and pop with great success. They have been festival regulars on the Florida scene, each member making great contributions to the band’s sound. The band includes: Jason Berlin, bass; Dylan Chee-A-Tow, drums; Austin Llewellyn, keys; Joe Roma, guitar, vocals; and Melbourne Walsh, guitar. Roma’s distinctive voice is the perfect vehicle for the group’s vocals. Read their MusicFestNews feature and album review here.
Holey Miss Moley are a funkin’ soulful rock band with great vocals, outstanding percussion, blistering guitar and Christian Ryan, a one-man wrecking crew on reeds. The group just helped to put on a brand new event (April 22-24), Mother Earth Music & Arts Festival, which played to rave reviews. In the past, the band has tackled hip-hop, Afrobeat, great originals, the music of P-Funk and much, much more.
HMM are: Kenneth Harvey, bass; Jacob Cox, guitar, vocals; Antonio Morales, drums; Christian Ryan, saxophones, flute; Vernon Suber, percussion; Danny Clemmons, vocals, tambourine; Mikey Guzman, keys; and Ms. Robyn Alleman, vocals. Stay tuned for information about a reprise of that P-Funk set AND Ryan’s Frank Zappa tribute — together!
Saturday, May 7th, the music moves to the Dunedin Brewery, again with a tremendous triple bill. The night begins with an amazing band you might not have seen just yet, but believe me, you need to: Us Four. We lucked into seeing them, not coincidentally, with the next band on the bill, Justino and the Difference. Us Four are: Will Scecina, guitar, vocals; Dave Hamar, drums; Daniel Navarro, bass; and Stephen Dornfeld, keys, vocals. They describe their sound as “pop – jazz – groove.” That’s a perfect description. We were blown away by their amazing sound.
Justino and the Difference have also come roaring onto the scene in the past year. The quartet absolutely kills ‘70s fusion, plays great originals, and mines some great ‘90s anthems as well. All four members are monsters, and they play with great flair. Jazz? Yes. Prog? Oh, yeah. Funk? For sure. Members are: Justino Lee Walker, guitar, vocals; Juan Santana, bass; Jonathan Thomas, drums; and John Richardson, keys. Read a review of Justino and the Difference AND Us Four here.
Serotonic: what a perfect name! Serotonin is a chemical that carries messages to the brain and makes you feel good. The music of Serotonic certainly makes you feel good, too. They funk, they jazz, and they rock. And they are great at all three. These boys have been crushing it every time they hit the stage. The quintet has played small clubs, huge Lightning pregame parties, and lots of festivals. Serotonic are: Andrew Kilmartin, drums; Daniel Navarro, bass; Bryan Lewis, keyboards; Jordan Garno, guitar, vocals; and Jon Tucker, saxophone. You can read their MusicFestNews feature here.
All of these bands (except Us Four) will also be playing at Orange Blossom Jamboree.
If you want to get started early, tonight (Thursday, April 28th) at the Ringside Cafe you can catch Row Jonah and Justino and the Difference trading set. And that is just one of the reasons the music scene is so strong and vital. These groups all support each other and work together. When the bass player for Serotonic moved to North Carolina, Daniel Navarro of Us Four stepped right up. Christian Ryan has filled in for Jon Tucker on occasion. Also, Future Vintage is at Dunedin on Friday (April 29th).
Yral ‘datdudeondrums’ Morris of Come Back Alice has been in the drum chair for Holey Miss Moley while Tony Morales’ wrist fully heals. Right back at you, Kenny Harvey (HMM) has been playing with Come Back Alice. Matt Giancola and Trevor McDannel also play with the Juanjamon Band. Danny Clemmons (HMM) also sings with The Galbraith Group. There is constant support, encouragement and interplay among all of these bands and others in the area. Kudos to all for making the scene so vibrant!