By Brent Michael, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Venue: The Orpheum, Ybor City/Tampa, Florida–February 16th, 2020
HI-BEAM opened about five minutes after the doors did, and they weren’t early. There was still a line outside, and some of them missed the opening song – bummer for them, because the New Wave/Post Punk sounds of HI-BEAM were well worth listening to! Their eight-song set, starting with “Run” and ending with “Get Out” got the crowd going and excited. The Tampa, Florida band formed only two years ago with five veteran players: Jared – Vox, Mike – Guitar, Ariel – Keys, Dmeatree – Drums, and Eddddddie – Bass (names not misspelled, at least by me!), they set out to shake up the indie scene with a high-energy take on a nostalgic genre. A band to watch – and listen to, of course!
Next up was Slaughter Beach, Dog. Apparently they prefer to be both mellow and mysterious, no info on band members or the band itself on Facebook or their website. Apparently, the band was formed as a side project of Jake Ewald of Modern Baseball, and has taken on a life of its own organically. They’re on their third album, so it look like the show will go on! But mellowly; after HI-BEAM and before We Were promised Jetpacks, they almost seemed like an intermission! Not that mellow is a bad thing, nor is SBD a bad example, but their brand of soft rock seemed like it would fit better at a tiki bar or outdoor festival with lawn chairs. Of course, in a way, it was a preview of WWPJ’s Yin-Yang dichotomy. Speaking of which, they were next to hit the stage!
Maybe hit is the wrong word, let’s try pummel? Stomp? Demolish? Okay, there was that, but then there were sequences of feathery music and whispery vocals, the pattern that made bands like Iron Butterfly and Led Zeppelin big in the 60s and 70s, that combination of opposites, of hard driving heavy-metallic rock with light airy sequences and songs, taking the audience on a rollercoaster ride as if they were a few miles north at Busch Gardens!
The band traveled across the Pond from the land of my ancestors, Scotland! (My maternal grandfather’s last name was McNay) Composed of Adam Thompson (Guitar/Vocals), Michael Palmer (Guitar), Sean Smith (Bass), and Darren Lackie (Drums), they call Edinburgh home. Formed in 2003, Michael Palmer was rumored to be leaving the band last July, but if he did, they haven’t named his replacement.
This was their first time playing in Tampa, but they brought one of their biggest fans with them – well, she used to live in Michigan and is now down here, and of course came to see them! Can you ick her out in the audience below?
And after the show, they didn’t just run off, but stayed and chatted/posed for fan pics – and no doubt made more fans like me!