MS MR @ Gasparilla Music Festival 2016 Tampa, FL PHOTOS

Here are some shots from the NYC based band MS MR’s set. I was really into their first album, Secondhand Rapture, but wasn’t impressed by their second one. They started their set with more recent songs, and I wasn’t feeling it quite honestly. Towards the end of their set, they got into their older stuff and that was really cool. They are very entertaining to watch, all dancey and fun. Lizzy has a quite the set of pipes, and clearly likes to dance wildly just like I, myself, like to do! Enjoy the photos!

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Houndmouth @ Gasparilla Music Festival 2016 Tampa, FL

I went to Gasparilla to see my beloved, Houndmouth. My friends and I back home made “Sedona” the anthem to the end of high school. We would listen to it on the lawn during lunch, and maybe too many times driving with the windows down in my baby Rhonda the Honda, but it never got old, ever.

Their set was amazing, to say the least, and if you haven’t listened to them before, do it now. I deeply appreciated how happy they all were on stage, lots of smiling, laughing, and goofing around. Katie did a killer job with “Houston Train” and “Gasoline” (one of my favorites) no surprise because she’s crazy talented. It seemed that all the members played nearly all the instruments, as they rotated who played what throughout their set.

I was lucky enough to get to see them twice that weekend, in Tampa and in Ft Lauderdale the next day! Shout out to my roommate Abigail who called me that Friday to tell me she won tickets to the Houndmouth show in FLL! “I heard they had a contest on the radio, and I knew you liked them, so I just entered online!” ❤

The following photos are from their set at Gasparilla. I feel lucky, now, that I was able to see them before vocalist and keyboardist, Katie Toupin, left the band mid-tour in April. (Yes, I know these photos are from March. Yes, I know I’m posting these really late).

Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival 2016 – Day 3 @ Okeechobee, FL

I had the opportunity to attend the first year of the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival in Okeechobee, Florida. Before I jump into the music, let me just mention that I drove about 50 miles down a single lane road into the center of Florida and when I arrived at the venue, it was like a magical world in the middle of the woods. There was a lot of thought that went into planning for this, so much attention to detail, down to the last twinkling light strung through the trees and hand painted designs on nearly every paintable surface. The whole thing was a beautifully put on production and very smoothly run. Here I am going to recap a bit from all three days, and look out for full reviews of the best shows! Check out my full photo album from Okeechobee here!

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Sometimes the mellower, experimental music isn’t such a great genre to see live, but I’ve been listening to Youth Lagoon for a while now especially when I’m drawing, or painting, or just anything creative; it really sparks my imagination. The crowd erupted into cheers as “Cannons” began, and in a few of the instrumental sections of songs, front man Trevor Powers made his way around the stage thrashing about in a tantrum-like fit. He kept up humorous banter between tracks with mentions of his mother’s homemade cookies versus Oreos, and the difference playing Florida, when they were just in Russia three days prior. The only thing that disappointed me was a group of overly exuberant girls right behind me talking through the whole set; if you’re gonna stand in the crowd, be there for the music instead of talking over it, and being disrespectful of other’s experience. He finished the set with “Dropla” and a mic drop during the little tantrum dance around the stage at the end. Trevor started making music as Youth Lagoon in 2011, released three albums, and as of this past February, announced the end of Youth Lagoon; I sure hope it’s not the last of Trevor’s music.

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Now for the band I was most excited to see, Mumford & Sons. I should preface this by noting that they were only letting a certain number of photographers in the pit for their set, so I camped out in a front row spot for five and a half hours; this meant so much. The came out onstage to a crowd of thousands and calmly began “Snake Eyes” under the ghostly blue lights. I have never experienced so many people all singing along to the same song. They followed with “I Will Wait” which had everybody dancing and bouncing in the limited space each person had in such a crammed audience. Before starting “Awake My Soul,” Marcus said “we’re gonna sing one together right? Its fucking easy,” and instructed the crowd on the chorus. He mentioned how weird it was to be playing a festival in March, and addressed the whole Trump deal; “Also what the fuck are you thinking with Donald Trump!?” He also called Trump a name that should not be repeated, and dedicated “The Cave” to him. Marcus played drums on “Lover of the Light” and “Dustbowl Dance” the latter of which ended their set . . . But wait there’s more!

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They came out for encore with famed guitarist Tom Morello, The Avett Brothers, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band and covered “House of The Rising Sun” “You Really Got Me.” Winston Marshall took the Marcus’s mic to do “You Shook Me All Night Long” prefacing it with “tonight I’m gonna be the Bee Gees doing AC/DC!” And boy did he deliver! After that cover, Winston spoke with Marcus and came back to the mic with “well, I’ve just been fired from Mumford & Sons [. . .]” and continued with a funny little thank you speech. Their guests left the stage, save for Tom Morello, and they thanked everyone again, and thanked the creators of the festival for providing such a “collaborative atmosphere” before they signed off and closed Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival with an expressive rendition of “The Wolf.”

Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival 2016 – Day 2 @ Okeechobee, FL

I had the opportunity to attend the first year of the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival in Okeechobee, Florida. Before I jump into the music, let me just mention that I drove about 50 miles down a single lane road into the centre of Florida and when I arrived at the venue, it was like a magical world in the middle of the woods. There was a lot of thought that went into planning for this, so much attention to detail, down to the last twinkling light strung through the trees and hand painted designs on nearly every paintable surface. The whole thing was a beautifully put on production and very smoothly run. Here I am going to recap a bit from all three days, and look out for full reviews of the best shows!

Saturday started with Swimm’s set at 12:30 am, which Chris Hess, lead vocals and guitar, joked about by saying, “it’s also 9:30 in the morning right now, so I’m grateful for all this!” referencing the crowd. Chris started the show with a quiet little number he wrote about south FL, “Darkness of Love.” They have a very psychedelic indie-rock presence on stage, everlastingly cool. “Belly” seemed to be a crowd favorite as well as the song that drew in the most passersby.  Probably my favorite parts of their set is when they jumped into a short cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and Adam Winn, drums, played harmonica in “Suddenly.” Chris’s mother was in the crowd and he dedicated a song to her, and after a joking reference to mushrooms and acid combinations, said “I’m just kidding! Police, don’t take me to jail, I just want to be here with my mom!” You can read my interview with them here.

After Swimm, I ran over to another stage to catch Givers. I hadn’t listened to them in the years since “Up Up Up” came out. The five piece was here from Lafayette, Louisiana, and proud of it. They began their set with “Saw You First” and had everyone smiling from the beginning. The audience seemed to be a group of dedicated fans, singing along to most every song. There wasn’t much banter with the crowd between songs, but during them Taylor Guarisco, guitar and vocals, and Tif Lamson, percussion and vocals, asked for a lot of crowd participation: clapping, swaying, fill-in-the-lyrics, and dancing.  They had a very festival look, with the eclectic outfits and plants draped over their instruments; they fit in well and helped in making a positive, creative atmosphere.
The highlight of Saturday night was hands down the once-in-a-lifetime PowWOW! The masterminds behind the Bonnaroo Super Jam, created this to set this brand new festival up for success. Those who were announced before hand to take part in this was John Oates, who was receiving cries of “John, you make my dreams come true!” before the PowWOW started, Win Butler of Arcade Fire, one of my favorite bands ever, and Miguel. The three covered an array of songs, from Earth, Wind, & Fire’s “Let’s Grove,” to Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” to a heartfelt cover of “Rebel Rebel” lead by Win who said some heartfelt words after about the dearly departed David Bowie. Towards the end of their two hour set, surprise guests started showing up on stage for a song here and there, namely Skrillex, Mac Miller, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Zigaboo Modeliste, Kamasi Washington, and Mumford & Sons, the latter of who I freaked out because I was front row and wasn’t expecting to see them until the next day, let alone that close.