Tampa music takes over Ybor – Tbo.com
TAMPA The Tampa area music scene was out in force in Ybor City Saturday.
At the New World Brewery, the Bay Area Arts and Music Organization (BAAMO) celebrated the release of its latest compilation CD, “Tales of Highways and Low Roads,” with performances by 14 bands.
Four blocks down at Crowbar, Sleepy Vikings performed at the CD release party for its debut album, “The Will Find You Here,” which already has won national acclaim prior to its official release.
The BAAMO show featured plenty of Tampa scene veterans. Robert and Stephen Vessenmeyer fronted Men From Earth in the early ’90s, when Ricky Wilcox was one-third of Deloris Telescope. Saturday, the Vessenmeyer brothers’ Experimental Pilot laid down some catchy roots rock, while Wilcox’s Moonsnakes merged jangle pop and Merseybeat seamlessly.
Younger bands made strong impressions as well. Sons of Hippies generated an enormous sound for a three piece, thanks to Katherine Kelly’s creative use of guitar effects. The band gave the most dynamic performance of the acts I saw at the New World Saturday.
Also impressive were Alexander & the Grapes, playing splintered pop that suggested Pavement in all its jagged, sardonic glory.
The Briar Hill Band sported fine harmonies and a West Coast country-rock sound. Rebekah Pulley & the Reluctant Prophets backed Will Quinlan before performing their own set. Pulley provided some great harmonies for Quinlan and sounded more bluesy than usual during her own set.
Have Gun Will Travel’s set had the floor in front of the stage jam-packed. Possibly the best Americana act in the Tampa area – and there is plenty of competition – the Sarasota band is building a reputation well outside Florida for Matt Burke’s sharp songwriting.
Sleepy Vikings drew a mostly young and particularly enthusiastic crowd to the Crowbar. The band mixed the subtle and the shocking, with multiple guitars and vocals intertwining to hypnotic effect, while frequent rhythmic and tempo shifts – drummer Ryan Slausson was excellent throughout – made sure no one confused it with dream-pop.
It may be impossible to make genuinely original pop music but Sleepy Vikings comes closer than most. Its sound doesn’t conform to the restrictions of any genre; nor did its choice of cover material: Its ghostly take on The Misfits’ “Skulls” managed to make Glenn Danzig’s cartoon horror truly haunting, while Britney Spears’ “Toxic” was funny and disturbing at the same time.