Gasparilla Music Festival March 11 and 12
March 9, 2017
Started in 2011 by small business owners and music lovers as a 501(c)-3 non-profit corporation, the Gasparilla Music Festival is an annual festival in Downtown Tampa to promote international and local artists, local vendors, and a shared passion for music. Previous headliners have included Dr. Dog, Modest Mouse, and the Flaming Lips. This year’s event will be held in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park on March 11th and 12th.
Cage the Elephant- Saturday’s Headliner
With their grassroots stoner rock guitar lines and lead singer Matt Shultz’ signature gritty voice, Cage the Elephant rose to fame in 2009 after the re-release of their hit single “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked”. The song can be easily identified by its uneasy opening guitar riff, and its chorus is catchy and has proven to be anthem for troublemakers everywhere.
Last on the radio circuit was Cage the Elephant’s 2013 album “Melophobia,” which includes such hits as the whining ballad “Come A Little Closer” and heartfelt acoustic melody “Cigarette Daydreams”. However, at GMF, I predict some of the singles off of their latest album “Tell Me I’m Pretty” will make an appearance. “Trouble” samples a riff which reminds me of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera” and would likely get the crowd involved with Shultz’ long “woo-oo” breaks. “Cold, Cold, Cold” is the newest song being broadcast, which turns to a more upbeat tempo as it boldly announces the song’s title.
Ryan Adams- Sunday’s Headliner
Ryan Adams was first introduced to me by my cousin Gregg following his covers of Taylor Swift’s entire “1989” album. He played “Shake It Off” for me, one of the songs he proudly announced his 18 month old daughter dances to by clasping and unclasping his tiny, pudgy little hands. This edition of the song sounded more like Lana Del Ray’s “Summertime Sadness” than the overly peppy, earworm version that I was used to, but the song eventually won me over with the inclusion a strong midway-through guitar melody.
Adams’ cover of the song “Wonderwall” by Oasis, one of my favorite bands, can best be described with a single word: soft. This rendition of the song eliminates the Manchunian flare of the original in favor of a Dave Matthews Band slow jam, on the verge of heartbreak softness.
“Do You Still Love Me?” from his Feb. 17th album “Prisoner” reminds me of a song I may have heard on an 80s progressive rock station.
Well known as a member of the famed rap group the Wu-Tang Clan, Ghostface Killah released his first solo album “Ironman” in 1996. One of his most popular songs, “Nutmeg,” features the RZA, also of Wu-Tang fame. The opener is very characteristic of mid-1990s rap, with background music reminiscent of “Gangsta’s Paradise,” but also borders on Macklemore’s 2015 “Downtown.” The song’s deft rhymes allude to icons from a variety of time periods- tennis player John McEnroe, president Calvin Coolidge, and beloved cartoon dog Scooby Doo- and overall, GK exudes the confidence only a well-established rapper can.
Parrotfish is an alternative rock band currently based in Nashville, TN., but originally from Tampa, FL. Former drummer Matt Sabo, a Robinson High School alum, listed the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Incubus as two of the bands’ main influences in a 2015 interview with RHStoday. Upon listening to their newest EP “306,” it seems their Floridian roots are showing through the tropical Satanta-esque riffs in “Mosquitos” and the softer, beach bum chords in between faster-pace Bad Company or Fratellis-type bursts of “Patience Patience”.
Chronixx & the Zincface Redemption
Though his band’s name sounds more like my sunscreen application procedures than a Rastafarian soul search, Chronixx and the Zincface Redemption bring much needed reggae grooves to the festival. Chronixx as a solo artist grew popular in Jamaica during 2013 and toured the US and UK the following year with his Zincface Redemption band with songs such as “Smile Jamaica” and “Here Comes Trouble,” which seems to act as a genre bridge between reggae dubs, slightly synth ska horns, and, despite their Jamaican origins, an Enrique Iglesias-like Latin pop.
For full schedule, click here.
General Admission tickets are still available (GA 2 day for $60, GA Saturday for $40, and GA Sunday for $30) here, but there are still spots available for festival volunteering. Volunteers receive free credentials for the day they are volunteering and a free GMF t-shirt once their size is provided. If you’re interested in volunteering, check it out here.