By Vlad T, Rock At Night Detroit (Journalist/Photographer) and Brent Michael, Rock At Night Tampa (Photographer)
Review: Gasparilla Music Festival-Curtis Hixon Park, Downtown Tampa, Florida – October 2, 2021
The Gasparilla Music Festival has traditionally delivered a musical roster that balances strong national acts and regional performers hungry to widen their audience.
Re-scheduled from its customary spring timeframe on account of the pandemic, the 2021 instance of the festival saw it continue to fulfill its mission. Rock At Night visited day two of the festival (Saturday) and is happy to be able to share some of the sights, sounds, and personalities on display.
National acts performing Saturday included a notable and varied Brooklyn contingent, with exuberant electronic pop duo Matt and Kim (plus a squadron of…airborne supporters) and established indie rock outfit Parquet Courts. Also seeing enthusiastic reception on the national act stage were hip hop stalwart Nas, Asheville electronic pop duo Sylvan Esso, Virginia Americana practitioners The Wildmans, and New Orleans jazz traditionalists the Preservation Jazz Hall Band.
Not to be outshined, an impressive array of regional rock and pop acts demanded—and earned—the attention and adulation of festival goers.
St. Pete’s The Hip Abduction has garnered a loyal following of its melange of African and Caribbean sounds and a sweet, relaxing spirit, and that following found more converts with the sprawling group’s joyous Gasparilla outing Saturday.
Clearwater’s BadCameo brought its blend of lively grooves, endearing flamboyance, and winning vocals, and the trio’s performance Saturday reminded the festival audience that “danceable” can also mean charming and clever.
Glove is a striking, neo-traditionalist unit from Tampa that manages to invoke sonics and themes from the first wave of classic alternative rock performers (think Gary Numan, Visage, early Human League) and even Teutonic legends (Can, Neu!, Cluster). This reviewer was fortunate to have seen many of those influences once upon a time, and Glove’s taut yet emotionally sparkling performance provided for a welcome icicle in the face of a blistering Florida afternoon.
Tampa trio The Drainouts saw a healthy contingent of listeners during their afternoon set and rewarded them with a series of crackling, wiry rock numbers with 60s overtones that felt just right in the afternoon. (Rock At Night thinks this band and the expressive front man are especially reminiscent of The Jam. Let’s see where they take us!)
Gulf Coast glam rock outfit Roxx Revolt and the Velvets were a last-minute addition to Gasparilla and were a sonically and visually stirring presence on the Morgan Stage. The band understands idioms of 70s glam rock (with perhaps a touch of the Stooges and MC5 tossed in for good measure) and assaulted the punters in the crowd with nasty, sassy sounds and vocals. (The punters didn’t mind one bit!) The spirit of rock ‘n roll is to deal in the unexpected, and Roxx turned their surprise emergence on the Gasparilla stage into an expected treat for their audience and a triumph for the band.
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