Tropical Heatwave: the view from the Cantina


Next to appear was the Eilen Jewell Band — which was really pretty fun. She's hard to categorize. She has this lovely little smooth, jazzy voice but the band has more of a toned-down rockabilly vibe with a little bit of country thrown in. Yeah. Anyway I liked them.

Jerry Miller on guitar was one of those guys who mouths the notes he plays on the guitar like he's singing along, and he did make the guitar sing. Eilen herself was fun & sweet, and let us all know that our reluctance to dance was gonna drive her to drink. "WTF!" (At least she was ladylike and used an acronym.) I wish I had a decent pic of her but she was standing right in this pool of red light. Note to self: avoid red lights from overhead — not flattering.

Moving on to Kinobe & Soul Beat Africa. I'll start with wow, but maybe not a wow in the best sense. They were introduced with instructions to the audience to quiet down so we could hear them properly. It was immediately apparent that they were not going to blow the roof off the joint. Right up front they sounded pretty good — the name does not deceive — they played African beats. And they sounded pretty good if you were right up front, though you could hear the sound guys having a hard time with their  world instruments.


Basically, this wasn't my kind of thing, but my favorite song was about a little fish. Actually, I'd really enjoy them at a place that was more friendly to their sound. They need to be playing in some kind of lush tropical setting where people know when to hush for a band & really listen. I don't know any place like that. Maybe they can find one, though. At any rate they were clearly a very talented group.

Next up was The Pack A.D. We all know I dig these chicas because I blogged about them last week, but I'll try not to over do it here. First of all, I felt kind of bad for the sound guys. I mean, aren't the settings for an African band that is all soft strings & percussion going to be way different


than the ones you are going to use for a garage rock duo? Maybe I don't know what I am talking about. Anyway, The Pack said they couldn't hear themselves, but we all heard them loud & clear. And they played a really energetic set that I think won over the crowd right from the start. When they were done I was already looking forward to listening to their CD in my car on the way home. And isn't that kind of what Tropical Heatwave is all about? Discovering someone great, buying a signed copy of their CD & blasting it in the car all the way home? Yeah.

Closing the stage was The Beauvilles — hometown boys — but you probably knew that. I think they're pretty popular in these here parts. I believe they've just come home from some touring. These guys are really tight, they couldn't possibly have day jobs. The crowd was kind of thin at first, but it filled up pretty fast and really got into the show. Definitely some interesting dancing. I saw a girl in a loose-fitting dress really getting into it, and I saw quite a bit more of her than I would care to. Actually, I think next year someone should just cover the Heatwave "characters." That would be an interesting blog.

Anyway. it was a great night & I am exhausted. I look forward to next year, and the year after that & so on & so on. Now off to the beach!

So — right off the bat I wasn't there on time to see the Mojo Gurus. Sorry gurus. Then, as the rain poured down, the next band went on. That band was Thomas Wynn & the Believers, and they had a real good time at Tropical Heatwave. I didn't get to see them have that good time because the fire Marshall wouldn't let me in.

Sigh. But Mr. Wynn said the folks at WMNF were nothing but nice, the crowd was responsive & "wonderful", and that it was really great to be able to play in an environment that was so supportive of the occassional 7-minute-long version of a regularly 3-minute song. Sure wish I would have caught 'em. Actually, this is the second time in as many months that I have accidentally missed them. Lucky for me they'll be back on June 5 at New World Brewery with the Beauvilles & Shawn Fisher.

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