Conceived as the adult locally-centric alternative to the overblown corporatism of Warped Tour, last year's inaugural Antiwarpt Music Fest drew more than 700 people to downtown St. Petersburg to see a range of local and regional talent perform right up the street from Vinoy Park and The Real Warped.
For their second annual event, Daddy Kool Records and Brokenmold Entertainment are back with a bigger, bolder lineup. The 2011 edition boasts three times as many bands (more than 60, including national acts and the return of Nervous Turkey), double the number of venues (from four to eight), and an extension of the fun with a pre-party at the Shuffleboard Courts on Friday, and an after-party at Ella's on Sunday. Plus, Antiwarpt no longer competes with Warped — which happens Sunday — so you could potentially do both, if you're feeling energetic.
The CL Team has helped me assemble a group of must-see highlights from each stage at Antiwarpt, with the complete schedule included for your stage-hopping pleasure.
Spotlight On: The London Souls
Few musicians can say they've recorded at the iconic Abbey Road Studios, let alone with a superstar producer like Ethan Johns — unless they have major label backing or name recognition (Kings of Leon, Ryan Adams). But The London Souls were pretty much handed the opportunity, and they weren't even trying for it.
"We got a call saying that Ethan Johns had heard our EP and was interested in doing an album," Tash Neal told me in a recent CL interview. "And then we heard he was interested in doing it at Abbey Road. We were like, 'What?!?'"
Neal (guitar, vocals), Kiyoshi Matsuyama (bass, vocals) and Chris St. Hilaire (drums, vocals) formed London Souls in 2008. They snagged a weekly residency in Brooklyn shortly after, and started building up their repertoire, drawing upon their shared late '60s and early '70s Brit invasion influences, and developing a sound that fused elements of heavy metal, hard blues, groove and funk-fused psychedelia, and rootsy folk rock. They recorded the EP that caught Johns' attention in January, 2009; they arrived in the UK to record their eponymous debut later that fall. "Just walking into Abbey Road was an overwhelming experience," Neal told me, seemingly still awestruck at having recorded in such a hallowed spot.
They had seven days to lay down the LP. "We cut all the basic tracks live, and nine out of the 13 tracks on the album are fresh takes," he said, and explained "We've been such a hit-'em-hard live band for so long and played so many shows, that it all sort of came out in that week that we had to record it. And I think it comes across on the album, that live energy."
The London Souls does, indeed, capture the band's explosive live energy. All three players sharing vocal duties, trading off on lead and harmonies. Neal offers up a sneering husky-voiced growl, Matsuyama busts out the falsetto highs, and St. Hilaire brings straightforward earnest white boy angst, the band's memorable hooks delivered with self-possessed confidence against a powerful, propulsive rock sound. "We're definitely so excited for people to hear this album, because we put so much into it and so much into the songwriting. We're really happy about how it turned out." (12:15-1:15 a.m., 687 Central Ave.)
Also at State Theatre: Damion Soumi & the Minor Prophets (5:15-6 p.m.), Thomas Wynn & The Believers (6:20-7:05 p.m.), Have Gun Will Travel (7:25-8:10 p.m.), Seryn (8:30-9:15 p.m.), Nervous Turkey (9:35-10:35 p.m.), Bright Light Social Hour (10:55-11:55 p.m.). —LP
THE LOCAL 662
Spotlight On: Reptar
There's so much to like about the Athens band named for the Rugrats dinosaur. First, there's the nerdy-intellectual-but-Southern-gentleman charm of singer Graham Ulciny, who sallies forth with his indie-electro army of merrymakers: Ryan Engelberger (bass, keys, vocals), William Kennedy (keys, drums), and Andrew McFarland (drums, vocals). Second: Reptar is known for staging shows that transform into sweat-drenched reveries. These spectacles have won the hearts of rabid fans who dress up in costumes and wear face paint. The cult-like throng even has a name — Reptards. The band is no less wacky. At one Atlanta gig, they came out in Star Wars costumes and battled a mystery guest dressed up like Darth Vader with plastic light sabers. Additional toy weaponry was given to the crowd. Third and lastly: these young men are a talented bunch, deftly combining Afro-pop and dance rock in a tasty a mishmash that'll appeal to fans of Black Kids and Vampire Weekend. Reptar played their first gig in May 2010 and has generated a buzz ever since. They caught the attention of Animal Collective producer Ben Allen, and were named among SPIN's "Top 20 Must Hear Acts" and Paste's "Best of What's Next." Their Oblangle Fizz, Y'all! EP drops Aug. 2. (1:15-2 a.m., 662 Central Ave.)
Also at the Local 662: Loud Valley (4-4:40 p.m.), Infinite Groove Orchestra (5-5:45 p.m.), An Introduction to Sunshine (6-6:45 p.m.), Auto!Automatic!! (7-7:45 p.m.), Radioboxer (8-8:45 p.m.), Andy Matchett and The Minks (9-9:45 p.m.), The Semis (10-10:45 p.m.), Set and Setting (11-11:45 p.m.), The Beauvilles (12:05-12:50 a.m.) —Julie Garisto