‘Hot Lava’ music event in Tampa showcases local and touring rock acts

Johnny Mile and the Kilometers

By Chyrisse Tabone and Brent Michael, Rock At Night Tampa

Venue: The Wild Rover Brewery, Tampa, Florida–July 14, 2018-HOT LAVA–with Johnny Mile and the Kilometers, The RocknRoll Hi-Fives, and Sick Hot

RocknRoll Hi-Fives. *gif by Brent Michael

 “Curiosity” is the first word that comes to mind upon being invited to the Hot Lava concert at The Wild Rover Brewery in  West Chase, Tampa, Florida on the evening of July 14th.  I knew little of the venue and only that the Hot Lava evening was being presented by Jim Chambers Music Box, a “rock and roll” music school located in the Carrollwood area of Tampa.  Actually, little did I know I was in for a treat that evening!  One of the bands featured, Johnny Mile and the Kilometers, was featured in Rock At Night’s coverage of Tarpon Fest last month by RAN correspondent Brent Michael.  Again, he joined me briefly to enjoy the evening’s fare.

Jim Chambers

First of all, when I arrived to The Wild Rover Brewery, the street was lined up with cars for a block or so. The venue is a British-themed pub (lots of Union Jacks out front and advertisements for viewing The World Cup).  There is a nice outdoor picnic area for smokers and inside, the first thing I noticed was the aroma of fish and chips.  There is plenty of home-brewed English, Irish, and Scottish-style ales on tap and the dining area was bustling was people watching sports on TV.  As a non-drinker, I was over the moon with the fact they carried bottles of ginger beer.  The hot gingery treat was the icing on the cake for my rock ‘n’ roll evening!

As I walked through the double doors, I feast my eyes on a very large stage with colored lights, a drum kit, and amplifiers. The tables were full as the venue was quite busy and we were glad to find a table up front near the stage.

Upon entering, the band RocknRoll Hi-Fives was ready to hit the stage.  Emcee Jim Chambers introduced and described the band as being “like the Osmond Brothers” because the foursome from New Jersey consists of thirty-something “Mom and Dad” on the bass and guitar and teens on drums and lead vocals. The band is traveling across the country on a self-described “tourcation” to promote their debut LP, Re-introducing The RocknRoll Hi-Fives.

RocknRoll Hi-Fives

From the get-go the band, “Dad” or Joe Centeno was high kicking and jumping around the stage wearing a white cape with shiny purple fringe.  “Daughter” Eilee skipped and belted out lyrics, and occasionally threw in a little theremin here and three to spice up the fast-paced and very energetic pop punk music.  “Mom” Gloree plunked the bass strings on the side of the stage and the youngest of the progeny, Evren, played his heart out on the drums.  In between songs, Joe chatted with the audience saying, “We all met at the hospital at some time in our lives” and joked that on tour “we argue a lot.” The band paid tribute to another “Florida person” by playing a punk version of legend Tom Petty’s “I Need to Know”, which was really enjoyable. Another stand-out was “Hold On”, with almost a 60s garage-rock sound, which is featured on the new album. “Dad” played some great guitar solos in the songs and really worked up a sweat, jumping from the drum riser.  A fun band to listen to and watch!

Sick Hot

Next up was a Tampa trio of young guys between the ages of 18 and 20, comprised of Chris Erickson (bass), Cory Bernardi (drums), and Nik Wilson (guitar and vocals). The band, Sick Hot, looked very 70s with their curly locks—and attitude. A cadre of young women stood in a group by the side of the stage, eagerly watching the band—so they have a fan base already.

Sick Hot

Sick Hot’s songs were good, bluesy, and used nice embellishments like slide guitar, strong bass lines, solid drumming, and gritty vocals.  Think Black Crowes meets Led Zeppelin with a touch of grunge thrown in.  During the set, Sick Hot threw in a couple of covers like The Beatle’s “Don’t Bring Me Down” and Hendrix’s “Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire”, much to the delight of the older members in the audience.  The classic rock or blues rock sound seems to be making a comeback with the likes of Greta Van Fleet (Rock At Night covered them early on, people) so it would be nice if this young band could gain some traction when their debut album will be released.  You can check out some of their songs HERE:

Johnny Mile and the Kilometers

The final band performing that evening was Johnny Mile and the Kilometers, a trio comprised of Gino Capone (guitar/vocals), Chris Cardon (bass/vocals), and Tyler Stoelting (drums/vocals).  The band’s music may be described as “retro rock” or “rockabilly” with almost a punk sound   (think Ramones) but also has flavors of R&B, like Vintage Trouble.   The song “Can’t Get A Break” has a 60s early-Stones sound but would be at home in a punk nightclub.  I can picture in my mind go-go girls dancing The Pony to “Second-Hand Cool” with its 60s R&B tilt.  The band slowed it down with “As Long As You Want It’ which would have been at home at a 50s dance with young lovers snuggling and making out in the corner.  You can check out the band’s latest album Working Class Cool, which was released in December 2017 HERE.

Johnny Mile and the Kilometers

Johnny Mile and the Kilometers produce danceable “party-rock” music with all the sweat one would expect but with an air of edginess.  I could definitely see these Yanks playing in East London where this music never seemed to have stopped. Keep an eye on Johnny Mile and the Kilometers!


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Chyrisse Tabone, Ph.D.
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