The 2017 Gasparilla Music Festival was a pretty rockin affair with a multicultural and genre-bending lineup of local and national acts. The two-day festival showcased better than average talent with some acts that have jumped onto my list of new favorite bands. Located on the banks of the Hillsborough River with downtown Tampa, FL as the backdrop, the venue seemed larger than the small Curtis Dixon Park that it encompassed. Throughout the four stages, there was nonstop music, sunshine, and warm weather to propel the vibe of the show forward.
Gasparilla Music Festival Lineup Boasts Distinctive Flair
In its brief existence, The Gasparilla Music Festival has quickly become a destination festival with broad local and national appeal. Headlined by seminal alternative rockers Cage The Elephant, this year’s line-up boasts an impressively diverse group of headliners.
Coral Skies Festival
Last year, we were treated to a very similar Alt-Rock festival in the Sunshine State, at the time known as The Coastline Festival, and it was a can’t miss event. This weekend, we get a chance to catch the 2014 incarnation.
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It was a fantastic event, featuring great alternative rock, killer food trucks and an excellent beer garden. Check out our review here: Coastline Festival 2013
Sadly, we’re tied up on the East Coast this weekend, so we’ll miss the festivities, nut if you are anywhere near Tampa or West Palm Beach, you need to make sure you attend this, and it won’t break the bank with tickets as low as $30.00.
The 2014 Line-Up Highlights
Good Graeff (Sunrise Stage, noon)
Wild Cub (Sunrise Stage, 1:55)
Bombay Bicycle Club ( Scion Stage, 2:35)
Tokyo Police Club (Sunrise Stage, 3:15)
Bleachers (Scion Stage, 3:55)
Manchester Orchestra (Sunrise Stage, 6:55)
Cage The Elephant (Scion Stage, 9:40)
See the full schedule here: Set Times
Big Announcements From Cage The Elephant
Cage the Elephant is one of RARA’s Farm’s favorite bands, and they’ve twice had albums make our year-end Top 10 lists, but somehow, we’ve never caught this talented quintet live.
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Deep Hands Live Session EP
…And that’s a shame, because their live performances are near legendary. Fortunately, the Kentucky rockers on the verge of releasing their Deep Hands Live Session EP. The live album offers recordings of the band’s huge hit singles “Come A Little Closer” and “Shake Me Down” from a recent stop in Los Angeles. In addition, we hear two of the highlighted tracks from our review, “Cigarette Daydreams” and “Spiderhead.” Check out our review of the band’s excellent third album here: Cage The Elephant – Melophobia, while we await the October 7th release of the EP.
Live From The Artists Den Appearance
Live from the Artists Den is one of the coolest live performance shows on television today. They feature creative artists performing in unique settings. For Cage The Elephant, it will be a live show recorded in Santa Barbara, California on October 15th, with a 2015 air date. Somehow, I pictured them recording from a prison in the deep woods of Kentucky…
Final US Tour Stops
They spent much of the summer with another killer rock band, The Black Keys, and have just a handful of shows left this year. Fortunately for us Floridians, the last two stops are at the Coral Skies Music Festival at two different Florida venues (see dates and venues below and make sure to Follow/Like Us for our upcoming Festival preview).
Check out the band’s full music catalog on iTunes: Cage the Elephant
Cage the Elephant Remaining Fall Tour Dates
10/16 Highland, CA @ San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino (w/ Walk the Moon)
10/18 Houston, TX @ Buzzfest
10/25 Tampa, FL @ Coral Skies Music Festival
10/26 West Palm Beach, FL @ Coral Skies Music Festival
Cage the Elephant Deep Hands Live Session EP track listing:
2. Cigarette Daydreams
3. It’s Just Forever
4. Come A Little Closer
5. Shake Me Down
The dog days of summer for the Central Florida concert season. There are a few good shows, but they are few and far between. Cage The Elephant is the obvious highlight. The artists in bold are our recommended acts this month.
Sun 06/01/14 Chicago – Hard Rock Cafe / Hard Rock Live
Mon 06/02/14 Floor – Backbooth
Tue 06/03/14 Watson – Bombshells Tavern
Wed 06/04/14 Milka – Will’s Pub
Thu 06/05/14 Drive-By Truckers and Water Liars – The Beacham
Thu 06/05/14 Kingdom Of Giants – Bombshells Tavern
Fri 06/06/14 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Stagnant Pools – The Social
Fri 06/06/14 Paleface – The Abbey
Fri 06/06/14 Terri Binion – Will’s Pub
Sat 06/07/14 It Lies Within – Bombshells Tavern
Sat 06/07/14 The Plush Monsters – Will’s Pub
Mon 06/09/14 Swearin’ and Potty Mouth – Will’s Pub
Tue 06/10/14 The Naked And Famous – The Beacham
Tue 06/10/14 Toad The Wet Sprocket – House Of Blues
Thu 06/12/14 Foxy Shazam – The Social
Thu 06/12/14 Kalin And Myles – Plaza Live Orlando
Fri 06/13/14 Bane – Backbooth
Sat 06/14/14 Bane – Backbooth
Sat 06/14/14 The Everymen – Will’s Pub
Sat 06/14/14 Max Schneider – Plaza Live Orlando
Sun 06/15/14 Man Overboard – Backbooth
Sun 06/15/14 Paleface – Will’s Pub
Sun 06/15/14 Tides Of Man – Bombshells Tavern
Mon 06/16/14 Deafheaven – Backbooth
Tue 06/17/14 Cage The Elephant and Bear Hands – Plaza Live Orlando
Tue 06/17/14 MxPx – Backbooth
Tue 06/17/14 Whitechapel – Firestone Live
Wed 06/18/14 Black Taxi – Will’s Pub
Wed 06/18/14 MxPx – Backbooth
Thu 06/19/14 Say Anything and The Front Bottoms – The Beacham
Fri 06/20/14 Rivers Monroe – Bombshells Tavern
Sat 06/21/14 Andy Grammer and Brendan James – The Beacham
Sat 06/21/14 Common Kings – The Social
Sat 06/21/14 Earphunk – Zen Fields (Winter Garden)
Sun 06/22/14 B.J. Thomas – Community Building (Mount Dora)
Tue 06/24/14 Blackbird Blackbird – Backbooth
Thu 06/26/14 Vertical Horizon – Hard Rock Hotels Velvet Sessions
Thu 06/26/14 Hymn For Her – Jessie’s (Winter Haven)
Fri 06/27/14 Tessanne Chin – Bob Carr Perf. Arts Centre
Sat 06/28/14 Black Tide – Bombshells Tavern
Sat 06/28/14 Hundred Waters – The Social
Sun 06/01/14 Matt Hires – Jack Rabbits
Mon 06/02/14 The Mongoloids – Jax Underbelly
Tue 06/03/14 For The Fallen Dreams – The Roc Bar
Thu 06/05/14 Andrew Jackson Jihad and Cheap Girls – Jack Rabbits
Thu 06/05/14 From Hell – Burro Bar
Fri 06/06/14 Drive-By Truckers – Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
Fri 06/06/14 Weezer – St. Augustine Amphitheatre
Sat 06/07/14 Boston – St. Augustine Amphitheatre
Tue 06/10/14 Mother Superior – Burro Bar
Tue 06/10/14 My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult – Jax Underbelly
Wed 06/11/14 The Everymen – Burro Bar
Wed 06/11/14 Paleface – Jax Underbelly
Thu 06/12/14 War Of Ages – Murray Hill Theatre
Fri 06/13/14 Foxy Shazam – Freebird Live
Fri 06/13/14 Ursa Minor – Murray Hill Theatre
Sat 06/14/14 Black Taxi – Jax Underbelly
Sat 06/14/14 Counting Crows – St. Augustine Amphitheatre
Sun 06/15/14 Bane – Jax Underbelly
Tue 06/17/14 Beach Day – Jax Underbelly
Thu 06/19/14 Andy Grammer and Brendan James – Freebird Live
Thu 06/19/14 Goo Goo Dolls, Daughtry and Plain White T’s – St. Augustine Amphitheatre
Sun 06/22/14 Paul McCartney – Jacksonville Veterans Mem. Arena
Sat 06/28/14 Boys No Good – Jax Underbelly
Tampa Area Concerts
Sun 06/01/14 Carman – Shiloh Baptist Church (Plant City)
Tue 06/03/14 Drive-By Truckers – Tampa Theatre
Wed 06/04/14 American Aquarium – New World Brewer
Wed 06/04/14 Peter Murphy – Orpheum
Thu 06/05/14 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Stagnant Pools – Orpheum
Thu 06/05/14 Keb’ Mo’ – Capitol Theatre (Clearwater)
Thu 06/05/14 Mieka Pauley – The Hideaway Cafe (St. Petersburg)
Fri 06/06/14 Boston Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater)
Sat 06/07/14 Paleface – Blue Rooster (Sarasota)
Sun 06/08/14 Paleface – Dunedin Brewery (Dunedin)
Mon 06/09/14 Black Star Riders – State Theatre (Saint Petersburg)
Tue 06/10/14 Foxy Shazam – Orpheum
Wed 06/11/14 Counting Crows – David A. Straz Jr. Center For The Performing Arts
Fri 06/13/14 Colt Ford – The Round-Up
Fri 06/13/14 Cope – Skipper’s Smokehouse
Fri 06/13/14 The “Happy Together” Tour: The Turtles feat. Flo & Eddie, Chuck Negron, Mark Farner, Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels and Gary Lewis & The Playboys – Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater)
Sat 06/14/14 “Summerland” Tour: Everclear, Soul Asylum, Eve 6, Spacehog – Vinoy Waterfront Park (Saint Petersburg)
Sun 06/15/14 Black Taxi – Dunedin Brewery
Tue 06/17/14 Cut Copy – The Ritz Ybor
Wed 06/18/14 Moon Hooch – The Crowbar
Wed 06/18/14 Say Anything and The Front Bottoms – The Ritz Ybor
Thu 06/19/14 Classic Albums Live The Lakeland Center (Lakeland)
Thu 06/19/14 Doppelgangaz Orpheum
Fri 06/20/14 Goo Goo Dolls, Daughtry, Plain White T’s – MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre
Fri 06/20/14 Andy Grammer and Brendan James – Capitol Theatre (Clearwater)
Wed 06/25/14 Agalloch – Orpheum
Wed 06/25/14 Blackbird Blackbird The Crowbar
Fri 06/27/14 Badfish – Trib. to Sublime – Jannus Live (Saint Petersburg)
Fri 06/27/14 Damon Fowler Group – The Ale And The Witch (St. Petersburg)
Sun 06/29/14 Phantogram – The Ritz Ybor
Mon 06/30/14 Katy Perry with Capital Cities – Tampa Bay Times Forum
Skaters – Manhattan Album Review
Manhattan – If you couldn’t tell by the title or the mini city-life vignettes splattered strategically throughout the album, this offering is an ode to New York City. This New York City based quartet has delivered a tome to life in the Big Apple at least from the perspective of a young male protagonist getting to really know the city. On this, their debut, Skaters offer up an album that absolutely demands your attention.
At times, I picture the band as the next Cage The Elephant, Replacements, or sticking closer to their home, The Strokes, but other times they seem just another over-hyped New York next big thing. So which one are they? I’d say that they’re more of the former. There’s talent here for sure and plenty a cause for optimism. Toss out a few of the weaker offerings and it’s a damn good album.
The album is packed with catchy rock offerings interestingly arranged around little vignettes of life in the city. There’s a copious amount of catchy rock tunes, but all is not perfect in The Big City.
Let me start the review by peeking at the first four songs, track by track. Doing this, we see a nice microcosm of the entire album.
“One Of Us” is an aggressive edgy rocker that gets the album off to a smashing start. The song features a bouncy synth opening, but at its core, it’s simply killer guitar-driven rock. “Miss Teen Massachusetts” is an abrupt change of pace. It’s a more melodic offering with a slick guitar riff and it’s another excellent track, this one quite reminiscent of Cage The Elephant. Then it’s “Deadbolt,” a breakneck rocker that absolutely exudes cool punk swagger. Three excellent offerings but all quite different.
It’s about this time where I started wondering “what the hell do these guys want to be?” Then to drive the point home further, the next track is a reggae infused jam in the snappy “Band Breaker. I’m not intent on a every band fitting neatly into a tight niche that defines the artist perfectly, but these guys are too scattered; a shame because their stuff is well-written and generally catchy as hell.
I found myself instantly drawn towards half a dozen songs on the album, but still felt like I was listening to an iPod on shuffle, as the selections were all over the rock music map.
There’s little doubt that this band will be a player in the rock scene for years to come, they just drip with musical talent and exude potential. Personally, I’d like to see them focus their approach a bit and decide what they really want to be when they grow up. Until then, listen to the album yourself and buy the tracks that best fit your tastes. I can absolutely guarantee there are at least a few gems for everyone’s liking.
To me, Skaters are at their absolute best when they’re tearing through pop punk offerings; songs like “I Wanna Dance But I Don’t Know How” and “One Of Us.” Check out Manhattan below an decide for yourself. I’d love to hear your thoughts; let us know what you think in the comments below, on Twitter or Facebook.
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The Best Rock Albums of 2013
(Also, make sure you check out our Best Rock Songs of 2013)
Lots of strong music again this year across the rock music landscape, but truthfully, there were only a handful of superb albums from start to finish. I’m not sure that’s really a bad thing, as in today’s digital download world, an album is less important as the delivery mechanism for excellent music.
My list is a lot different than all of those at the big time websites. That’s because they’re smarter, and I have better taste in music. Check out the list and let us know what we missed; and if you’re new to RARA’s Farm, we are Rock And Roll Animals, and this is where we hang out, and we’d love to have you join us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or right here in the Comments section.
Just like our list of the Best Songs of 2013, each album is linked to iTunes if you want to check it out or purchase it.
Here’s our Top two dozen:
Bonus Selection: Where the Kids Are – EP – Blondfire – Not technically an album, but every one of these four songs is superb. Hopefully we’ll see a full-length soon from this dynamic brother-sister combo who mix good old American rock with Brazilian influences. Best tracks: Waves, Where The Kids Are, Hide And Seek. (Read the RARA’s review here)
24. Damage – Jimmy Eat World – There’s something to be said for consistency. These four Arizona lads have been together for eight albums and twenty years. Their sound has softened and sweetened a bit, but it’s still good stuff. Best tracks: Lean, Book Of Love, I Will Steal You Back.
23. The 1975 – The 1975 – It’s not perfect, in fact, I feel the music is a little slicker and less raw than I’d prefer from these lads from Manchester, but there’s some creative artistry for sure from Matthew Healy and the band. Best Tracks: Chocolate, Sex, Girls.
22. Paramore – Paramore – The band’s first Farro-free effort, as brothers Zac and Josh left the band after their third album. The music revolves around Hayley Williams’ vocals, but it also offers a refreshingly rougher sound at times (as well as some fluffy stuff I typically skip over). Best tracks: Fast In My Car, Now, Anklebiters.
21. The Next Day – David Bowie – Bowie is back with his 24th studio album. It’s a nice offering, hearkening back to some of his earlier sounds. Pop rock songs, with meaningful lyrics about our world today. Best tracks: Day, You Will Set The World On Fire, The Next Day.
20. By the Lamplight – Larry and His Flask – Hillbilly, Cajun punk at its finest. These guys have a unique raucous sound and are an absolute blast, a different kind of blast for sure, but that’s what we love about rock ‘n roll. Best tracks: Pandemonium, Home of The Slave, Out Of Print. (Read the RARA’s review here)
19. The Bones of What You Believe – CHVRCHES – Just love Lauren Mayberry’s vulnerable vocals, but there’s a lot more to this trio from Scotland. One of the best new Alt-Rocks on the scene this year. Best tracks: The Mother We Share, Lies, Under The Tide.
18. Revolution – Jupiter Falls – The album highlights the band’s diversity; at times they sound like 70′s or 80′s classic rock, current era Alt-hardcore, or turn of the century metal. Fantastic guitar work, memorable licks and powerful vocals throughout. Best tracks: Forgiven, To The Point, Story Of A Liar. (Read the RARA’s review here)
17. AM – Arctic Monkeys – This, their fifth album is a showcase for guitarist Jamie Cook and continues to show their evolution as a band. Not their best effort ever, but still excellent Alr-rock with a snarl. Best tracks: Do I Wanna Know? R U Mine? Mad Sounds.
16. Outlaw Gentlemen & Shady Ladies – Volbeat – Heavy metal with a rockability twist from these Danish rockers. Anthrax guitarist Rob Caggiano makes a great first impression for this band that is rocketing up the heavy metal scene. Best tracks: My Body (Young The Giant cover), Lola Montez, Pearl Heart
15. Reflektor – Arcade Fire – Without a doubt, my most anticipated release of the year. It’s a bit pretentios, and not as good as their previous offerings, but there’s plenty to like on this one as the Montreal rockers continue to push their limits. Best tracks: Normal Person, Flashbulb Eyes, Afterlife.
14. Hail to the King – Avenged Sevenfold – One of America’s best metal bands continues to evolve. A bit more commercial than their earlier stuff, but they don’t sacrifice any of their core values. Best tracks: Acid Rain, Hail To The King, This Means War.
13. Night Visions – Imagine Dragons – This is actually a late 2012 release, but we didn’t listen until this year when it became the most successful new Alt-rock offering in years. Best tracks: Hear Me, It’s Time, Demons.
And, our Top Dozen:
12. Signed and Sealed in Blood – Dropkick Murphys – These blue collar Irish punk rockers continue to defy expectations. In this, their seventeenth year, they release their most main stream offering. A few big hits on a very deep album. Best tracks: : The Boys Are Back, Rose Tattoo, Burn.
11. The Sticks – Mother Mother – From the stark opening notes of the ethereal “The Omen,” this album grabs your attention and locks you in for a forty-eight minute journey through genre-defining rock ‘n roll. Best tracks: Bit By Bit, Let’s Fall In Love, Dread In My Heart. (Read the RARA’s review here)
10. Shangri La – Jake Bugg – Bugg’s distinctive voice is not for everyone, but I love it, and the way the 19 year-old churns out poppy punk-infused ditties. Best tracks: Slumville Sunrise, What Doesn’t Kill You, Me An d You.
9. Bigfoot – Cayucas – The album, the brainchild of singer Zach Yudin, has an absolutely distinctive Alt-Rock sound highlighted by a cool sixties surf vibe that dominates their intriguing ethereal debut. Best tracks: Cayucos, High School Lover, Will The Thrill. (Read the RARA’s review here)
8. Vessel – twenty one pilots – This duo has a sound all to themselves. A little ukulele, killer drums, sweet keyboards and Tyler Joseph’s infectiously unique vocals power the band’s first major label release. Best tracks: Migraine, House of Gold, Holding On To You.
7. Twistification – The Last Royals – It’s an absolute blast to listen to as this duo just churns out fun, catchy rock tunes. Still cannot fathom why this one did not explode on the music scene, with a half-dozen potential hits on the album. Best tracks: Friday Night, All Over Again, I Hate California. (Read the RARA’s review here)
6. I Love You. – The Neighbourhood – No album this year starts off as strongly as this one. The first three songs are all stellar tracks. The rest of the album is pretty damn good. A slinky dirty and absolutely addictive debut. Best tracks: Sweater Weather, Female Robbery, Afraid.
5. Modern Vampires of the City – Vampire Weekend – In general, it’s a bit more stripped down than their excellent first two albums, but there are exceptions, like the rollicking Diane Young that make every song a sonic surprise. Best tracks: Diane Young, Unbelievers, Everlasting Arms.
4. Waiting For the Dawn – The Mowgli’s – This album is a masterpiece. It’s a cool summer groove just overflowing with sweet rock ‘n roll gems and in a refreshing change from much of the music dominating today’s airwaves, The Mowgli’s offer up a host of tracks about love, hope and unity. Best tracks: San Francisco, Time, Emily. (Read the RARA’s review here)
3. Melophobia – Cage the Elephant – The term melophobia means fear of music, but there’s nothing to fear on this release. On this, their third album, Cage The Elephant continues to evolve as one of this country’s premier rock bands. Their 2011 release, Thank You, Happy Birthday was our album of the year, this one was close… Best tracks: Spiderhead, Telescope, It’s Just Forever. (Read the RARA’s review here)
2. Blunderstone Rookery – Stephen Kellogg – I used to be annoyed reading through these lists and finding an author who spotlighted a little known artist near the top of their list. Now, I’ve done it myself, but this album from an uber-talented singer-songwriter is absolutely deserving of its lofty ranking. The collection of songs is as creative as it is supremely enjoyable. It’s a rambling tour through Kellogg’s memories and a great listen. Best tracks: Thanksgiving, Good Ol’ Days, Forgive You Forgive Me. (Read the RARA’s review here)
1. Tape Deck Heart – Frank Turner – This was almost pre-ordained. Turner is a former punk front man turned rock ‘n roll troubadour. He’s a talented vocalist, guitar player and maybe the best lyricist in the business. Tape Deck Heart is a rare marriage of stirring song-writing and creative passionate music. Turner is a talented poet, sincere story-teller and tremendous musician and this album is the first time he’s put it all together. Fabulously diverse stuff that demands attention. Best tracks: Four Simple Words, Recovery, Good & Gone, Oh Brother, and many more… (Read the RARA’s review here)
So, there you have it, the best rock albums of 2013. Let us know what you think. What did we nail? Where did we fail? And, make sure you check out our Best Songs of 2013, too.
Cage The Elephant Album Review
Melophobia, the latest release from Cage The Elephant hit the streets more than a month ago and has created significant buzz ever since. After my initial listen, it was easy to see why. We were a little late getting our copy, but damn, this one was well worth the wait.
The term melophobia means fear of music, but there’s nothing to fear on this release. On this, their third album, Cage The Elephant continues to evolve as one of this country’s premier rock bands. Melophobia continues the band’s assault on the Alt-Rock music landscape that they began with 2011’s fantastic Thank You, Happy Birthday, which was RARA’s Farm’s 2011 Album of the Year. (See our 2011 Best Albums Link)
Is Melophobia as good as it’s predecessor? Probably not, but it’s still an excellent album and another nice step forward for these Kentucky-based Alt-rockers. In typical Cage The Elephant fashion, the music on the album is an eclectic mix. Part-punk, part-garage stomp, a bit folksy with classic rock influences, and truthfully, it’s a bit more polished and clean than their previous offerings – a sign of the band’s maturation perhaps?
“Come A Little Closer,” the first single from the album is a good barometer for what’s in store. It’s an excellent, well-polished track which nicely features lead singer Matt Shultz’s dynamic voice and is one of many diverse offerings. The album kicks off with a fantastic song, “Spider Head” where the lyrics immediately demand your attention: “I am the one you left for dead, say you want it too. You are the bullet in my head, and as you stand over my grave, tell me it’s okay.” The song itself is a hard-driven rocker with addictive guitar riffs from Brad Shultz and Lincoln Parrish as well as stirring vocals from Matt Shultz. It’s got a gritty edge that will make it a favorite of the band’s long-time fans.
Other highlights include the piano driven romp “Halo” and the horn-infused rocker “Hypocrite.” The Kills’ Alison Mosshart makes a guest appearance sharing lead vocals on “It’s Just Forever,” a raucous rocker. A bit on the lighter side, we hear “Telescope,” a captivating introspective look at life, and a fantastically produced track. It’s actually, dare I say, a beautiful song with poignant lyrics. Hardcore Cage fans probably won’t love it, but it’s a damn good song.
The only disappointment on the album was the overindulgent mess that is “Teeth.” At three minutes, it would be an annoyance on an otherwise excellent album. At 5 and a half minutes, it’s a disappointing interruption.
Fortunately, the album closes with another strong offering, “Cigarette Daydreams.” The excellent song quickly washes away the bad taste of “Teeth.” It’s a tender ballad with fantastic lyrics and offers a great culmination to one of the year’s best albums.
RARA’s Farm Rating: 8/10