A critics' guide to Tropical Heatwave

Who to watch for at the Cuban Club and environs

Cuban Club Courtyard

6-7:05 p.m., Waitiki — The band is from Boston but makes balmy Polynesian music infused with Latin, jazz and lounge flavors to create what they call "Exotic Tiki-tainment." The theme of this year's Tropical Heatwave is "Tiki Tango." WMNF organizers have dubbed Waitiki the night's "theme band." —WT

7:25-8:35 p.m., The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker — Buoyed by the midnight howl of Charles "Wigg" Walker — a veteran vocalist who recorded for Champion, Chess and Decca in the '60s — this Nashville 10-piece plays Southern-fried funk and soul that's tight yet rubbery and guaranteed to get bodies movin' in the courtyard. —WT

8:55-10:05 p.m., Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue — This young guy may have finally figured out how to make the cumbersome trombone hip. Shorty (real name: Troy Andrews) stirs up a heady blend of jazz, hip-hop and R&B, with a healthy undercurrent of Crescent City flava. The six-piece band's funky sound ranges from smooth instrumentals to chunky rap. Expect these cats to bring the party y'all. —ES

10:25-11:35 p.m., Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers — Twenty-eight-year-old Dwayne (Dopsie) Rubin went into the family business — making zydeco music. He's the son of zydeco titan Alton "Rockin' Dopsie" Rubin. Although deeply rooted in tradition, zydeco makes stylistic tweaks with each new generation, and Dwayne, a singer and button accordionist, brings contemporary twists to the storied Louisiana style. By the way, it's pronounced "Doop-sie." —ES

11:55-end, Oteil and the Peacemakers — The Allman Brothers Band's Oteil Burbridge practices a technically adroit form of bass-playing that takes the spotlight in The Peacemakers. His band performs easy, funk-infused jazz accompanied by the soulful vocals by Paul Henson. —Leilani Polk

El Pasaje Plaza

6:20-7:30 P.M., ZAC HARMON AND THE MIDSOUTH BLUES REVUE The first song on Zac Harmon's CD The Blues According to Zacariah is "That Mighty High," a gospel roof-raiser. So much for the blues as devil music. The Dallas vocalist and fiery guitar-slinger has played with Z.Z. Hill, Dorothy Moore and Sam Meyers. —ES

7:50-9:05 P.M., JAMES MCMURTRY AND THE HEARTLESS BASTARDS The Austin-based singer/songwriter specializes in emotionally wrenching narratives as well as political commentary, delivered with an intimate, conversational singing style. He's a little bit country, a little bit folk, a little bit rock — a lot Americana. —ES

9:25-10:40 P.M., PAUL THORN BAND This Mississippi roots-rocker and gifted songwriter is one of WMNF's all-time faves. When Thorn's album Ain't Love Strange came out in '99, the station's programmers played the poignant break-up ballad "I Have a Good Day" and the equally moving "Where Was I?" Listeners loved what they heard, resulting in numerous, well-received area concert appearances by Thorn over the years. —WT

11-12:15, THE HOLMES BROTHERS See main story on the opposite page.

12:35 A.M.—END, LEGENDARY J.C.'S — This Orlando old-school soul/funk ensemble has built an avid following around Tampa Bay thanks to spirited, smile-and-dance-inducing performances at the Skipperdome. Lead singer Eugene Snowden is about as charismatic as a fellow can be, with an uncanny ability to evoke the sound and stage presence of R&B greats like James Brown and Otis Redding. —WT

Cuban Club Ballroom

6:25-7:30 P.M., INFECTIOUS BY NATURE New York-based jam band consisting of college students from the University of Albany brings a Sublime-y mix of ska, punk and funk. —WT

7:50-8:55 P.M., FREDDY MONTES Y SU SON You can't have a Heatwave without some salsa/Cuban jazz for Latin-dance enthusiasts. After tearing up WMNF's Birthday Bash last fall, Montes brings his 10-piece band to the stage for the station's marquee event. —ES

9:15-10:20 P.M., ROCKET 88 Veteran Orlando rockabilly quintet raises hell with honky tonk piano, doghouse bass, thundercrack drums, twangy electric guitar and the wild antics of frontman Michael Bales. —WT

10:40-11:45 P.M. BILLY BACON AND THE FORBIDDEN PIGS This Austin, Texas-based band plays the kind of Texas soul pioneered by Doug Sahm, from hoedown fun to poignant ballads. Bacon cites Sahm as his number one inspiration and had the honor of the legendary performer covering one of his songs before passing away several years ago. —WT

12:05 A.M.-END, MR. SPECIALIST — He's opened for a roll call of reggae and dancehall artists. Mr. Specialist's biggest influences are Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye and Jacob Miller. —ES

Cuban Club Cantina

6-6:40 p.m, Live Dog — This punk-blues power trio that likes to groove and get a little poppy at times is from Plant High in South Tampa. The band was selected to play the Florida leg of Warped Tour and has also opened for Bob Seger. —WT

6:55-7:35 p.m., Roppongi's Ace — Formed at USF, this trio of multi-instrumentalists plays an impressive mix of neoclassic rock augmented with fiddle, banjo and mandolin. —WT

7:55-9 p.m., Unknown Hinson — The trio's namesake frontman calls himself the "King of Country Western Troubadours" and plays a brand of psychobilly as over-the-top as his title. —WT

9:20-10:25 p.m., Glossary — The Tennessee-based band is helping to redefine what it means to play Southern rock these days. With twangy guitars and bourbon-soaked accents, the band tells Springsteenian tales about 20-somethings seeking romance and escape from their dead-end towns. —WT

10:45-11:50 p.m., Adrienne Young and Little Sadie — Clearwater native Young fronted one of Florida's most popular bands in the '90s, the Big White Undies. She's since relocated to Nashville and cobbled together a style that blends folk, bluegrass, mountain music, old-time country and pop, the ideal vehicle for her crystalline voice. —ES

12:10 a.m.-end, The Vodkanauts — The venerable Bay area band does a pomo take on surf music, blending in lounge schmaltz, Tex-Mex, rockabilly, skronk and just about anything else they can think of into a loopy stew that's always a blast live. —ES

Orpheum

6:30-7:20 P.M., THE DEDRINGERS — The Oblivion, Texas, alt-country trio weaves tales of working class struggles over the kind of hard twang that smacks of long stretches of open road, smoke-filled saloons and sincerity. These guys are barely old enough to legally drink, but they sure sound like they've seen some hard times — or else absorbed the complete works of Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt et al. —WT

7:40-8:40 P.M., URBANE COWBOYS — One of the best alt-country bands in the region, Tampa's Urbane Cowboys sing lovesick blues and deliver roadhouse rockers for the new millennium. —WT

9-9:55 P.M., PLAIN JANE AUTOMOBILE — This Orlando band has the kind of sound that seems destined for broader recognition. You could end up saying you saw them at Heatwave back when ... . PJA combine chiming Brit-pop-style guitars and the impassioned tenor of frontman of Duke Crider; their songs range from trembling ballads to stately anthems. —ES

10:15-11:10 P.M., THE POSTMARKS — The biggest buzz band to come out of Florida in recent memory, Miami's The Postmarks play soothing (but never boring) keyboard-driven pop that's carried by the enchanting vocals of Ms. Tim Yehezkely. Since being released earlier this year, the band's self-titled debut disc has garnered glowing reviews in national mags like Rolling Stone and Spin. —WT

11:30-12:20 A.M., DOLL PARTS — Terrifically named all-female punk (with a little bit of pop) group from Clearwater has a great ear for hooks but stays clear of the more bubbly sound of a band like, say, The Donnas. —WT

12:40 A.M.-END, GIRLS ON FILM — The all-female quartet from Tallahassee brings a campy, high-fashion image to the stage, all in service of their icy blend of New Wave and dance-pop, replete with belching synths, robotic beats and airhead vocals. —ES

New World Brewery

6:30-7:15 P.M., PICKFORD SUNDRIES — Tampa bluegrass band that keeps it more old-timey than many of the other "jamgrass" acts on the scene. —WT

7:30-8:15 P.M., POETRY N' LOTION — The high-energy jazz/jam/funk instrumental act from Tampa led by mandolin ace Jim Page has had no problem holding audiences' attention and building a local fan base since forming last summer. —WT

8:30-9:15 P.M., GERI X — One of Tampa Bay's favorite singer/songwriters (and featured in CL's recent "Chicks Rock" Music Issue), she has since relocated to Wisconsin but returns to make her Heatwave debut. —WT

9:30-10:15 P.M., GIDDY-UP, HELICOPTER! — Spacey keyboards will wrap around squealing guitars and collide with pensive vocals, livening spirits while lulling drunken nerves when this Tampa indie-rock outfit graces attendees with songs from their upcoming June debut album release, I Am Secretary. —Dawn Morgan

10:30-11:15 P.M., ZILLIONAIRE — Tampa foursome plays moody shoegaze that's tailor-made for folks who love gray skies and rainy afternoons. —WT

11:30-12:15 A.M., MILITARY JUNIOR — St. Pete trio plays mathy prog-rock with heart. Their debut album, When You Get Lost on Those Brick Streets, earned CL's Best of the Bay honor for CD by a Local Band last year. —WT

12:35-1:20 A.M., PINK LINCOLNS — A veteran of the Tampa Bay punk scene for two decades, the band plays snotty, sparse, tongue-in-cheek songs with cute, little titles like "Fuck Madonna" and "Spank Your Kids." —WT

About The Authors

Eric Snider

Eric Snider is the dean of Bay area music critics. He started in the early 1980s as one of the founding members of Music magazine, a free bi-monthly. He was the pop music critic for the then-St. Petersburg Times from ‘87-’93. Snider was the music critic, arts editor and senior editor of Weekly Planet/Creative...
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