When music festivals are jammed with 14 or 15 hours of music a day, it is common for many festies to sleep in and make their way over to the music later in the day. And some only come for a few select bands, preferring to commune with friends and neighbors, certainly another of the main functions of a festival.
Here, however, are seven good reasons you should consider getting your arse out of bed earlier at the Hometeam New Year’s Rally at Maddox Ranch (December 31 – January 3). And one more reason you should arrive as early as you can.
Let’s start with the early arrival. The first band on stage Thursday (New Year’s Eve) is Justino & the Difference. This quartet from St. Petersburg has been together barely a year, but they have rapidly become one of the best groups Florida has to offer. They play brilliant ‘70s fusion, ‘90s rock and plenty of original music. It’s New Year’s Eve. Get there on time already!
So. You were up all night sipping champagne and tripping the light fantastic. What IS all that noise? Two great reasons to get up a bit earlier on New Year’s Day, actually: Under the Willow and Future Vintage.
Under the Willow pretends to be from Chicago, but this excellent folky bluegrass quintet is trying its darnedest to lay down Florida roots, spending half of the year in the Sunshine State. Their great playing and heavenly vocals from its two female members is a sheer delight, and their lyrics represent the conscious community perfectly. Their self-titled album is highly recommended.
About 180 degrees in the other direction, Future Vintage is a superb jamtronic trio from St. Petersburg. The group just released its first full-length album, Doin It Right, and has been throwing dance parties wherever they go. They were the subject of a MusicFestNews On the Rise article which you can read here, and the review of their album is available here as well.
Saturday, January 2nd, is so jam-packed it’s nearly impossible to describe: 11 superb bands. But you don’t want to miss the first three: Ancient Sun, Ajeva and Serotonic.
Ancient Sun is a dynamic Orlando quartet claiming to play “groove rock,” but that barely begins to scratch the surface. And it is simply impossible to overlook the explosive Rick Krasowski on vocals and guitar, a one-man volcano with an incredibly soulful voice. Time to get up!
Ajeva is an amazingly hard-working collective that just expanded from four members to six, and the results are mind-blowing. They already were a powerful band, but the additions have pushed them over the top. Funk, rock, ska, blues… they do it all with verve and élan. A new album is due out this spring.
Serotonic is St. Petersburg quintet that has found the perfect balance between funk and jazz, and now they have successfully added great rock elements to their sound as well. They opened for The Motet in August and will play before the Snarky Puppy show in January. You can read their On the Rise feature here.
Sunday. You have survived. Congratulations. Now get up so you can hear The Happy Campers and Leisure Chief.
If you’ve ever attended any Hometeam events, then you’ll recognize The Happy Campers, if only because Andy Lytle and Sean Maloney (a.k.a. Legacy) are so visible and so popular. Lytle is one of the premier sound men on the scene in addition to his work playing bass with this band. Maloney is a relatively recent addition, and a perfect one for this group. Even more recent addition Ian McLeod on drums and percussion is a powerhouse on the kit. And Colin Getts yells out the best stuff.
Last, but my no means least, is Leisure Chief another band like Serotonic, having found the proper blend of rock, funk and jazz. The band writes all their own material, and Keegan Matthews has a key-tar in addition to his other keyboards, so there is that. And the ubiquitous Christian “Awesome Sauce” Ryan plays alto, tenor and baritone saxophones and flute. He is in demand throughout the stage for his ability to adapt to any style. Speaking of that, also plan on attending The Little Econ Love Fest so that you can see Christian Ryan’s Garage (A Tribute to Frank Zappa). Here is their On the Rise feature.
Stock up on Red Bull, Rockstar and 5-Hour Energy drinks. You’re gonna need ‘em!