First up was the legendary Bad Brains at a sold out State Theatre in St. Petersburg. The opening band, Propaghandi, played a strong set of socially-conscious punk rock. While many of their contemporaries tend to be a little preachy (for my taste) about their political views and being vegan, Propaghandi keep it snarky and fun. If you don't buy into all of their beliefs, you can still have a good time the show. Bad Brains, however, is a whole other beast. The original lineup reformed in 2007 and released one helluva new album, Build A Nation. While some friends at the show complained that singer HR "phoned in" his performance, I strongly disagree. Back in the early 1980s, HR was one of the most volatile persons to front a band. These days, he and the rest of Bad Brains are older and most certainly wiser. The band played as well as they ever have, mixing their groundbreaking hardcore songs with some of the best dub/reggae this side of Jamaica.
Bad Brains playing Banned in DC at the State Theatre
Friday, March 6
Friday night, we were off to a sold out New World Brewery for David Dondero and Lucero. Dondero's opening acoustic set was one of minimalist beauty. There are no frills with him; just a man, his guitar and his songs. Lucero, for all intensive purposes, are a country band; they just play really loud. Their set was about two-and-half hours long and never lost energy or the interest of the crowd (a rare feat for any band). Lucero mixed in several new songs (from their forthcoming major label debut due out later this year) with fan favorites, requests from the audience, and their killer cover of Jawbreaker's "Kiss The Bottle". (Listen here.)
Sunday, March 8
On Saturday morning, my girlfriend had to go to Houston for work, so I took the day off from shows. She flew back to Tampa on Sunday and we hit the road to St. Augustine for the last day of the Harvest of Hope festival. The first thing we noticed upon finally arriving (thanks for the wrong directions, Google Maps!) was the stench of the camp ground wafting into the parking lot. Dirty punks, dirty hippies and even a few dirty ravers all stinking together as one. Unity, baby! Can you smell it? As far as festivals go, this one was well-organized. All four stages were running according to schedule. Really good yet inexpensive food (the $6 soba noodles and veggies was the deal of the weekend, two of us could hardly finish one serving!) and beer were readily available. Great music was happening all around and everyone was having a good time. I found that photos were hard to get at the festival. Even when I was close enough to the stage, my flash was reflecting off the dust in the air. Oh well. Below are the video highlights of the day (and some photos)
The sun seting while Ra Ra Riot plays.
Beer! Double fisting was the way to go!
Fashion Fun at the HOH fest!
Jonathan of SUNBEARS!
I almost stepped on these folks that were sleeping on the ground.
Diplo laid down a very fun DJ set.
Chris singing along to Diplo's set.
Jacksonville's The Black Kids tore up the main stage with booty shaking indie rock.
KRS1 did an almost all freestyle set that was simply amazing.
I implore you to watch both KRS1 videos.
The National played what was arguably the best and most inspired set of the weekend; here they are performing "Baby, We'll be Fine" and "Slow Show."
After their set, The National's Bryce Dessner was kind enough to chat with me for a few minutes about their new record (he says it won't be out until early 2010).
Tuesday, March 10
On Monday, my girlfriend and I bummed around St. Augustine and got home that night. After sleeping most of the day, we hitched a ride with some friends to Orlando Tuesday night to catch Lucero (again) at The Social. I decided to not take any photos at this show as I took plenty of them in Tampa. My friend, Andy, took this video of the end of Lucero's set. It involves drunk, half naked, interpretive dance. It was a nice way to wrap up an insane but wonderful six days.
Where to begin? Last Thursday seems like so long ago, the start of a very long weekend of incredible music. With the Harvest Of Hope festival bringing bands by the boatload to Florida, many of them played shows throughout the state before and after the weekend. I (with my girlfriend and a few other friends) went to four shows in six days across the state. I did my best to document all of this with pictures and video; and even managed to score a short video interview with Bryce Dessner of The National.