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Tropical Heatwave Review

Naveen Sultan about about 1 year ago

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Heatwave has come and gone but we're still loving all the great buzz it's creating. Check out this Creative Loafing article that captures the essence of our epic music festival.

A look back at the 32nd annual Tropical Heatwave, Ybor City

by Tyler Killette

WMNF's 32nd annual Tropical Heatwave left me with a cracked iPhone, sore feet, a lost pen (that I “borrowed” from a friend), a severe lack of sleep and a driver’s license never to be seen again. None of these losses, however, are as great as what I gained. In two days, I experienced more than 20 bands across nine stages in what I now believe is one of Tampa’s greatest local events.

Though I grew up just miles away, I never made it to a Heatwave before this one. As a newbie my expectations were low. I figured I’d be overwhelmingly outnumbered by the Mimis and Pop Pops of my scarcely post-adolescent peers. I thought I’d be scouring the scene for something worthy of my notepad all night and end up fighting sleep in front of a smooth jazz band by 10 p.m. I’ve never been so glad to be so wrong.

In the combined 12 hours I spent at Heatwave, I saw two of my favorite bands play absolutely perfect sets, fell in love with a few lead singers, and developed a profound appreciation for the local music scene — which I’m almost ashamed to have lacked before. My calendar is now booked with local shows for the next few months.

Heatwave’s intention is to introduce people to music they otherwise may never have heard. Perhaps I’m a special case, but based on my experience, WMNF more than accomplished their goal this year.

DAY 1: Friday, May 10 Check-in: 6:18 p.m. The Mercy Brothers are the first band to go on outside the Cuban Club. Their bluesy, jazzy, occasionally funky religious sermon of a set screams Louisiana. Though the frontman throws out a few too many hallelujahs for my taste, the crowd of about 100 people — mostly grey-haired — takes to the Brothers well. A couple of devout fans stand in front of the stage, clapping and throwing their hands in the air, praising the Lord, or possibly, the guitarist’s sweet Fu Manchu 'stache.

The sun seems to be shining directly on the Cuban Club courtyard. To escape the heat, I head inside to the Cantina. It smells like scachatta, though I don’t see any, and now I’m hungry. The crowd is smaller inside. Ray Bonneville is on stage ripping on a harmonica. A man, whose braided hair and fringed shirt lead me to believe he might be Native American, just threw his straw hat on the floor, stuck his arms straight out at his sides and began bobbing up and down from his knees. I can't help staring.

I walk back outside and catch the end of the Mercy Brothers’ set. An older gentleman wearing a Wilco T-shirt passes by me. I want to be friends with him. I also catch a glimpse of a guy with a crazy afro in dressed hot pink from head to toe. I want to be friends with his hair.

7:30 p.m. There’s a big crowd inside for Applebutter Express, a country folk band consisting of a double bassist, a banjoist, a violinist and a female singer. On the way inside I run into my friend’s parents, who seem to be enjoying themselves.

After a few songs, I head back outside. It turns out my afro-sporting future best friend is Selwyn Birchwood (could his name be any cooler?), the smooth yet smoky-voiced guitarist who fronts a Tampa-based bluesy jazz band. The courtyard is pretty packed now. I’ve seen this one man swing dancing/jiving/possibly jitterbugging (clearly, I’m no expert on dance styles) with at least five different women throughout the night. Good for him.

9:42 p.m. Things are in full swing now. The breeze is nice. My bangs are no longer clinging to my forehead. The courtyard filled in with some movers and shakers. A few couples twirl each other around while others just sway their hips. And some keep their feet firmly planted, moving nothing but their forearms, as though lifting hand weights. Apparently this is how one dances after becoming eligible to collect Social Security. Perhaps they think they’re at Jazzercise.

I imagine the stand-in bartenders are giving generous pours. The sun set a while ago but blood alcohol levels have certainly risen. I’m going to pop my head in the Cantina for the beginning of American Aquarium’s set then duck out to rest up for tomorrow night.

DAY 2: Saturday, May 11 5:10 p.m. Parking was more expensive than yesterday, so clearly, tonight is a bigger deal. I walk to the CL Space, taking the long way around the Cuban Club to catch a glimpse of the stage. Some sort of string orchestra is playing and the violins are lovely but seem out of place. My bangs are already matted to my skin. The act on the El Pasaje stage just asked how to pronounce 'Ybor.'

After setting my bag down and saying hi to friends in the office, I head down Ninth Avenue, through a haze of barbecue and cigar smoke, trying to avoid the dozens of tents selling artsy handmade knickknacks and accessories that I’m usually such a sucker for. Vendors offer everything from glass “tobacco” pieces to free stress tests.

5:40 p.m. The Wholetones are playing inside the Cuban Club Cantina — decidedly my favorite venue solely for its AC and friendly restroom attendant. The crowd is decent. I was excited to see this band but wasn’t expecting them to be so good. These dudes look like Blink-182 but play like Charlie Daniels with fast guitar riffs and a bouncy banjo. I’m no expert on banjoists, but I’m pretty sure theirs is the best I’ve seen. And the double bassist is literally slapping the neck of the his instrument, bringing new meaning to “slappa da bass, mon.” (Paul Rudd quote — I’ll use any excuse).

After a few mosh-worthy bluegrass tunes, I head for the door to see who’s playing outside. But wait — what’s that familiar guitar hook? I realize The Wholetones are covering Modest Mouse’s “Bukowski” and swing back around to get a spot right by the stage. It’s awesome and I’m officially in my zone.

6 p.m. I manage to pull myself away from The Wholetones and wander around for a bit before realizing there are two more stages in the Cuban Club. I head to the Theater for Mountain Holler, where the ginger grizzly bear of my dreams, Mark Etherington, is on stage with an acoustic guitar — barefoot, of course.

At first I’m disappointed he got stuck up here because the crowd is less than impressive but after a few 'oh ohhh oh-oh-ohhhhs,' I realize the acoustics in the theater are absolutely necessary. As I swoon, I wonder how this man is not world famous. The Heatwave guide describes Mountain Holler as haunting and magical, which is spot on. As Mark closes with his nine-minute Neil Young-inspired medley, his voice cracks for the first time and it’s the loveliest voice crack I’ve ever heard. Clearly, my previously established affinity for Mountain Holler/anything this man does makes me biased, but this performance will definitely be tough to beat. His set runs about 10 minutes over but I ain’t complaining. I consider sticking around to ask him to marry me but decide I should move on before my story becomes a fangirl blog. Sigh.

6:27 p.m. I should be at New World by now but I want to check out the Ballroom on the fourth floor real quick. At the top of the stairs, I’m asked for my credentials (I guess my notepad is a bit conspicuous) by a 60-something man holding a Miller Lite tall boy. My shoulder gets a nice buffing from his spiny white beard he tells me I have “a beautiful smile.” It’s time to go. The sound up here sucks, anyway, and the Gulfport Swamp Opera ends up just sounding like noise.

The walk to New World is quick and getting through the gate is easy. The crowd is much younger here — fewer Hawaiian shirts, more tattoo sleeves. I’m glad Benjamin Booker and Max Norton are still playing. Though I can’t see the Tampa-based duo through the crowd, Norton’s twangy guitar and silky vocals carry nicely across the patio. Their sound is bluesy, singed in classic rock’n’roll roots. I stand towards the back of the crowd, next to New World’s sound guy, who looks like Severus Snape — if Snape wore Converse.

7 p.m. The Happiness Machine, another local band, is up next and I’m about to pee myself with excitement. As a disclaimer, this band’s vintage folk-pop EP, Dumb Blonde, has been in the “recently listened to” section of my Spotify profile for months now. The lead singer, Kathleen McGuire, reminds me of a young Lauren Bacall minus the perma-pout. She could stand behind her keyboard quacking like a duck and I’d find it enchanting. I’m not sure if I want to be her or date her. Her younger sister, Shaundra, plays bass and does back up vocals.

I’m thrilled to see such a large crowd — much bigger than the last time I saw them at the CL Block Party in St. Pete last month. They play better, too. Kathleen’s voice sounds a lot younger live but she hits all the notes.

I’ve made a habit out of watching keyboard/organ players at shows because they always do weird things with their mouths. The Happiness Machine’s organist, in his old school Devil Rays shirt, is no exception.

At one point, the entire audience bobs up and down, perfectly in sync. A group of crazy hat wearers (a Speedy Gonzalez sombrero, a feather-brimmed leopard print sun hat) begin chanting, “One more song!” Kathleen informs them they actually have two songs left, so the crowd then begins begging for three more. The band is obviously humbled by the feedback. And not the unnatural-Taylor-Swift-oh-my-gosh-ya’ll kind of humbled. During a synthy interlude in their final song, pierced with ear-shattering whistles from the crowd, Shaundra looks at her big sis with wide eyes and tosses her hands up (which have X’s on them) in a way that says, “Is this real life?”

They finish their set and the crowd is still thirsting for more. The stage guy has to step in and quiet everyone down. Even though I knew this group so well before tonight, I feel their set captured the theme of Tropical Heatwave, which is all about giving people the opportunity to find their new favorite band.

I want to see Day Joy play here next but I think I have time to catch Nikki Hill at The Ritz real quick.

7:50 p.m. It’s a few minutes walk from New World to The Ritz and there’s definitely a disconnect from the Cuban Club area to Seventh Avenue. It looks a bit gloomy outside. I hope it doesn’t rain. I wave my ID around in the bag check line at The Ritz waiting for someone to check it but apparently there’s a special area for that. It’s convenient for me, but I imagine it would be annoying for those drinking.

I’m surprised with the turnout in the theater. Nikki Hill owns the stage with a velvety smooth voice and a beehive that would make Amy Winehouse envious from the grave (may she rest fabulously in peace). Nikki’s sultry rockabilly style is pretty yet soulful.

The crowd in The Ritz is a bit rowdy. Middle-agers don’t conduct themselves any better at shows than middle schoolers. I grab a $1 ice water (opting out of the $4 bottle) and head outside. It’s drizzling.

Sacrificing my nicely waved hair, I brave the moisture and stop by The Roosevelt 2.0, a Heatwave venue that didn't have any actual schedule listed for its stages. The crowd is small. There are five or six people sitting in chairs facing a DJ who is hiding behind his Macbook. I don’t know if they’re watching him or just sitting down for the heck of it. The actual instrument-playing band outside attracted a slightly larger crowd. It’s still kind of boring, though. I peace out and walk back to New World.

8:01 p.m. I would have caught the second half of Day Joy’s set … if I hadn’t lost my ID. I shuffle around in my bag for a good five minutes, dig through my pockets, check my bra — nothing. I decide a 15-minute break to retrace my steps and possibly find it is worth missing Day Joy. Wrong. After a few laps through The Ritz and the Roosevelt 2.0 and pestering doormen and security guards, I am both ID-less and (day) joyless. Discouraged, I head to Crowbar for Beach Day.

I explain my situation to the door guy at Crowbar and he lets me in. I beeline for the restroom where I do a much needed bang check. I look like I’ve been in a fight. And lost. I give up on looking pretty and go listen to the band.

Beach Day is basically Best Coast. They’re poppy and groovy and, although from Hollywood, Fla., could easily get away with telling people they’re from "the real" Hollywood. There’s a big happy crowd here but I’m not feeling it. I walk back to the CL Space to brush my now ratty hair and drop my iPhone on the way. Despite my bulky rubber Vans case, it cracks at the bottom. I’m sad, but as I walk along I hear an old hippie in a tank top say, “Man, fuck that conformity shit,” and it cheers me up a little.

9:05 p.m. After freshening up and grabbing a water at the space, I go back to New World and talk my ID-less self passed the door man for Swimm (formerly Le Blorr). I listened to this band online a few days ago but they’re a lot heavier live. The pretty boy bleached-blonde frontman has a slightly nasally delivery, but in a way that works. The band’s dreamy melodic sound reminds me of Beach House — if Beach House were a rock band. I stay for five songs or so and head back to the Cuban Club.

Bungled and Botched, a “newgrass” band, is playing in the Theater. It’s nice to sit down but I’m kind of bored. The band is really quiet, despite the small venue. I don’t see any speakers or amps (not that I looked very hard) so maybe that’s the issue. I think I’ve reached my limit for double basses and banjos for one night so I head back to the CL Space for a change of pace. Heatwave’s best (only) rapper, Infinite Skillz, is about to go on there.

9:40 p.m. I grab a snack and some more water in the office and sit in the green room for a while to rest. Cats in the Basement, whose set I missed about an hour ago, are in here doing the same thing. Shannon, CL’s beautiful sales and marketing assistant, decides an impromptu interview is necessary. She asks the band how they feel about sandwiches, which we’re eating. I learn that Cats in the Basement is for the institution of sandwiches. They’re also equally as creeped out by the guards outside the Scientology building next door as we are.

When Infinite Skillz comes on stage, he tells the audience of about 25 people his goal of the night is to transfer bodily fluids to them. He means sweat, but still. I pick a seat towards the back of the room and stay there. I admittedly know nothing about rap/hip-hop/R&B that wasn’t made by Usher circa 2006. But Mr. Skillz raps about women he calls “less than respectable,” so I think he’s doing it right. The crowd fills in a little bit. Some of the older folks occupying the back with me look confused.

10:20 p.m. I’ve taken so many notes tonight I had to steal a new notepad from the office. The Paul Thorn Band is about to go on at El Pasaje. I decide the CL balcony is an ideal viewing location so I prop myself against the railing, happy to avoid the hundreds of people gathered in the courtyard below.

I start chatting with a sweet couple, probably in their 50s, about the show. The man happens to be the drummer for the Gulfport Swamp Opera. He says Heatwave’s greatest fault is its lack of a big name headliner. I sort of agree. He throws out names like Willie Nelson, Ziggy Marley, Bad Religion, Alabama Shakes and Tom Petty (can you imagine?). I agree that a big name headliner would attract a bigger crowd, but it would detract from the intimacy of the show. Not to mention, up the ticket price.

Across the street, Paul Thorn is going on in his Southern drawl about pet adoption and shaking a maraca. The crowd is actually singing his lyrics back to him — something I haven’t seen all night. His bluesy Southern rock is easy to enjoy and the energy in front of El Pasaje is quite lively, but I’m itching to get to Crowbar for Ponderosa. Paul’s set slows down a bit with a country ballad as I walk down the street.

10:51 p.m. I pass the Roosevelt 2.0 on my way to Crowbar and see fire spinners performing while Applebutter Express plays on stage. An odd combination but it’s cool.

There’s a decently sized, mostly younger crowd in Crowbar for Ponderosa, an Atlanta-based indie rock band. Though they share their name with a steakhouse buffet, I find them more like a fresh California roll. They’re serene, hazy and psychedelic with sleepy melodies punctuated by assertive drums, tinged with delicate symbol chimes that play with the dynamics of loud and soft.

A girl in the audience came prepared with her own tambourine. An elderly man, parked front and center on her power scooter, nods his head to the beat. I hope I’m as rad as he is in 60 years. Select audience members seemed to have overindulged. I’m curious to check back in with the Paul Thorn bunch so I wander back to El Pasaje to immerse myself in the crowd. The older couples slow dancing are cute. The older couples making out — not so much.

11:49 p.m. Awkward Age is playing the CL stage. They offer up pretty straightforward, late 1990s/early 2000s punk pop. Samiam, Hot Water Music and The Bouncing Souls come to mind. I appreciate their lack of progression. More people should be here. There are only about a dozen people up by the stage and a few more hanging out in the back. The guitarist has his back to the audience for most of the set. I don’t blame him. I feel guilty for leaving prematurely but really want to catch set and setting back at Crowbar.

Despite the late hour, the crowd perseveres. The all-instrumental post-rock outfit builds a loud, mournful, ethereal atmosphere enhanced by two dramatic drumkits. It’s the kind of music you should listen to while laying in bed during a thunderstorm, but it sounds nice in Crowbar too. A shirtless Mark Etherington, aka Mountain Holler, bangs one set of drums, contrasting with the sensitivity of his earlier acoustic set, yet matching its eeriness. I could stay and listen in my hazy trance for hours but my friend is calling and she has my bag.

Too late to still be here After swinging by The Ritz for Cope and getting my fill of one-love-one-heart-I’m-the-white-Ziggy-Marley reggae/jam/roots/funky rock in about five minutes, I head to New World (again) for Wolf-Face. I had no idea what to expect from this band but I knew they play in gym shorts and wolf masks so sticking it out into the wee hours of the night for them was a must.

Wolf-Face comes on about 30 minutes late. They’re certainly the most theatrical band I’ve seen tonight, howling and telling stories about life as a teen wolf. Their fast-paced set is essentially the 1980s Michael J. Fox film expressed through punk rock. That’s not a metaphor — they’re a Teen Wolf concept band. It’s awesome but I’m exhausted. They’re local so I figure I’ll get to see them again soon.

At this point I’m taking my notes on my phone because it’s too dark to write on a notepad and I lost my pen about an hour ago. Though I missed one or two bands on my list of must-sees, and am still bummed about my ID and phone, I’m satisfied with my night and will sleep soundly. That is, if my ears ever stop ringing. Mental note: invest in earplugs. WMNF's 32nd annual Tropical Heatwave left me with a cracked iPhone, sore feet, a lost pen (that I “borrowed” from a friend), a severe lack of sleep and a driver’s license never to be seen again. None of these losses, however, are as great as what I gained. In two days, I experienced more than 20 bands across nine stages in what I now believe is one of Tampa’s greatest local events.

Though I grew up just miles away, I never made it to a Heatwave before this one. As a newbie my expectations were low. I figured I’d be overwhelmingly outnumbered by the Mimis and Pop Pops of my scarcely post-adolescent peers. I thought I’d be scouring the scene for something worthy of my notepad all night and end up fighting sleep in front of a smooth jazz band by 10 p.m. I’ve never been so glad to be so wrong.

In the combined 12 hours I spent at Heatwave, I saw two of my favorite bands play absolutely perfect sets, fell in love with a few lead singers, and developed a profound appreciation for the local music scene — which I’m almost ashamed to have lacked before. My calendar is now booked with local shows for the next few months.

Heatwave’s intention is to introduce people to music they otherwise may never have heard. Perhaps I’m a special case, but based on my experience, WMNF more than accomplished their goal this year.

DAY 1: Friday, May 10 Check-in: 6:18 p.m. The Mercy Brothers are the first band to go on outside the Cuban Club. Their bluesy, jazzy, occasionally funky religious sermon of a set screams Louisiana. Though the frontman throws out a few too many hallelujahs for my taste, the crowd of about 100 people — mostly grey-haired — takes to the Brothers well. A couple of devout fans stand in front of the stage, clapping and throwing their hands in the air, praising the Lord, or possibly, the guitarist’s sweet Fu Manchu 'stache.

The sun seems to be shining directly on the Cuban Club courtyard. To escape the heat, I head inside to the Cantina. It smells like scachatta, though I don’t see any, and now I’m hungry. The crowd is smaller inside. Ray Bonneville is on stage ripping on a harmonica. A man, whose braided hair and fringed shirt lead me to believe he might be Native American, just threw his straw hat on the floor, stuck his arms straight out at his sides and began bobbing up and down from his knees. I can't help staring.

I walk back outside and catch the end of the Mercy Brothers’ set. An older gentleman wearing a Wilco T-shirt passes by me. I want to be friends with him. I also catch a glimpse of a guy with a crazy afro in dressed hot pink from head to toe. I want to be friends with his hair.

7:30 p.m. There’s a big crowd inside for Applebutter Express, a country folk band consisting of a double bassist, a banjoist, a violinist and a female singer. On the way inside I run into my friend’s parents, who seem to be enjoying themselves.

After a few songs, I head back outside. It turns out my afro-sporting future best friend is Selwyn Birchwood (could his name be any cooler?), the smooth yet smoky-voiced guitarist who fronts a Tampa-based bluesy jazz band. The courtyard is pretty packed now. I’ve seen this one man swing dancing/jiving/possibly jitterbugging (clearly, I’m no expert on dance styles) with at least five different women throughout the night. Good for him.

9:42 p.m. Things are in full swing now. The breeze is nice. My bangs are no longer clinging to my forehead. The courtyard filled in with some movers and shakers. A few couples twirl each other around while others just sway their hips. And some keep their feet firmly planted, moving nothing but their forearms, as though lifting hand weights. Apparently this is how one dances after becoming eligible to collect Social Security. Perhaps they think they’re at Jazzercise.

I imagine the stand-in bartenders are giving generous pours. The sun set a while ago but blood alcohol levels have certainly risen. I’m going to pop my head in the Cantina for the beginning of American Aquarium’s set then duck out to rest up for tomorrow night.

DAY 2: Saturday, May 11 5:10 p.m. Parking was more expensive than yesterday, so clearly, tonight is a bigger deal. I walk to the CL Space, taking the long way around the Cuban Club to catch a glimpse of the stage. Some sort of string orchestra is playing and the violins are lovely but seem out of place. My bangs are already matted to my skin. The act on the El Pasaje stage just asked how to pronounce 'Ybor.'

After setting my bag down and saying hi to friends in the office, I head down Ninth Avenue, through a haze of barbecue and cigar smoke, trying to avoid the dozens of tents selling artsy handmade knickknacks and accessories that I’m usually such a sucker for. Vendors offer everything from glass “tobacco” pieces to free stress tests.

5:40 p.m. The Wholetones are playing inside the Cuban Club Cantina — decidedly my favorite venue solely for its AC and friendly restroom attendant. The crowd is decent. I was excited to see this band but wasn’t expecting them to be so good. These dudes look like Blink-182 but play like Charlie Daniels with fast guitar riffs and a bouncy banjo. I’m no expert on banjoists, but I’m pretty sure theirs is the best I’ve seen. And the double bassist is literally slapping the neck of the his instrument, bringing new meaning to “slappa da bass, mon.” (Paul Rudd quote — I’ll use any excuse).

After a few mosh-worthy bluegrass tunes, I head for the door to see who’s playing outside. But wait — what’s that familiar guitar hook? I realize The Wholetones are covering Modest Mouse’s “Bukowski” and swing back around to get a spot right by the stage. It’s awesome and I’m officially in my zone.

6 p.m. I manage to pull myself away from The Wholetones and wander around for a bit before realizing there are two more stages in the Cuban Club. I head to the Theater for Mountain Holler, where the ginger grizzly bear of my dreams, Mark Etherington, is on stage with an acoustic guitar — barefoot, of course.

At first I’m disappointed he got stuck up here because the crowd is less than impressive but after a few 'oh ohhh oh-oh-ohhhhs,' I realize the acoustics in the theater are absolutely necessary. As I swoon, I wonder how this man is not world famous. The Heatwave guide describes Mountain Holler as haunting and magical, which is spot on. As Mark closes with his nine-minute Neil Young-inspired medley, his voice cracks for the first time and it’s the loveliest voice crack I’ve ever heard. Clearly, my previously established affinity for Mountain Holler/anything this man does makes me biased, but this performance will definitely be tough to beat. His set runs about 10 minutes over but I ain’t complaining. I consider sticking around to ask him to marry me but decide I should move on before my story becomes a fangirl blog. Sigh.

6:27 p.m. I should be at New World by now but I want to check out the Ballroom on the fourth floor real quick. At the top of the stairs, I’m asked for my credentials (I guess my notepad is a bit conspicuous) by a 60-something man holding a Miller Lite tall boy. My shoulder gets a nice buffing from his spiny white beard he tells me I have “a beautiful smile.” It’s time to go. The sound up here sucks, anyway, and the Gulfport Swamp Opera ends up just sounding like noise.

The walk to New World is quick and getting through the gate is easy. The crowd is much younger here — fewer Hawaiian shirts, more tattoo sleeves. I’m glad Benjamin Booker and Max Norton are still playing. Though I can’t see the Tampa-based duo through the crowd, Norton’s twangy guitar and silky vocals carry nicely across the patio. Their sound is bluesy, singed in classic rock’n’roll roots. I stand towards the back of the crowd, next to New World’s sound guy, who looks like Severus Snape — if Snape wore Converse.

7 p.m. The Happiness Machine, another local band, is up next and I’m about to pee myself with excitement. As a disclaimer, this band’s vintage folk-pop EP, Dumb Blonde, has been in the “recently listened to” section of my Spotify profile for months now. The lead singer, Kathleen McGuire, reminds me of a young Lauren Bacall minus the perma-pout. She could stand behind her keyboard quacking like a duck and I’d find it enchanting. I’m not sure if I want to be her or date her. Her younger sister, Shaundra, plays bass and does back up vocals.

I’m thrilled to see such a large crowd — much bigger than the last time I saw them at the CL Block Party in St. Pete last month. They play better, too. Kathleen’s voice sounds a lot younger live but she hits all the notes.

I’ve made a habit out of watching keyboard/organ players at shows because they always do weird things with their mouths. The Happiness Machine’s organist, in his old school Devil Rays shirt, is no exception.

At one point, the entire audience bobs up and down, perfectly in sync. A group of crazy hat wearers (a Speedy Gonzalez sombrero, a feather-brimmed leopard print sun hat) begin chanting, “One more song!” Kathleen informs them they actually have two songs left, so the crowd then begins begging for three more. The band is obviously humbled by the feedback. And not the unnatural-Taylor-Swift-oh-my-gosh-ya’ll kind of humbled. During a synthy interlude in their final song, pierced with ear-shattering whistles from the crowd, Shaundra looks at her big sis with wide eyes and tosses her hands up (which have X’s on them) in a way that says, “Is this real life?”

They finish their set and the crowd is still thirsting for more. The stage guy has to step in and quiet everyone down. Even though I knew this group so well before tonight, I feel their set captured the theme of Tropical Heatwave, which is all about giving people the opportunity to find their new favorite band.

I want to see Day Joy play here next but I think I have time to catch Nikki Hill at The Ritz real quick.

7:50 p.m. It’s a few minutes walk from New World to The Ritz and there’s definitely a disconnect from the Cuban Club area to Seventh Avenue. It looks a bit gloomy outside. I hope it doesn’t rain. I wave my ID around in the bag check line at The Ritz waiting for someone to check it but apparently there’s a special area for that. It’s convenient for me, but I imagine it would be annoying for those drinking.

I’m surprised with the turnout in the theater. Nikki Hill owns the stage with a velvety smooth voice and a beehive that would make Amy Winehouse envious from the grave (may she rest fabulously in peace). Nikki’s sultry rockabilly style is pretty yet soulful.

The crowd in The Ritz is a bit rowdy. Middle-agers don’t conduct themselves any better at shows than middle schoolers. I grab a $1 ice water (opting out of the $4 bottle) and head outside. It’s drizzling.

Sacrificing my nicely waved hair, I brave the moisture and stop by The Roosevelt 2.0, a Heatwave venue that didn't have any actual schedule listed for its stages. The crowd is small. There are five or six people sitting in chairs facing a DJ who is hiding behind his Macbook. I don’t know if they’re watching him or just sitting down for the heck of it. The actual instrument-playing band outside attracted a slightly larger crowd. It’s still kind of boring, though. I peace out and walk back to New World.

8:01 p.m. I would have caught the second half of Day Joy’s set … if I hadn’t lost my ID. I shuffle around in my bag for a good five minutes, dig through my pockets, check my bra — nothing. I decide a 15-minute break to retrace my steps and possibly find it is worth missing Day Joy. Wrong. After a few laps through The Ritz and the Roosevelt 2.0 and pestering doormen and security guards, I am both ID-less and (day) joyless. Discouraged, I head to Crowbar for Beach Day.

I explain my situation to the door guy at Crowbar and he lets me in. I beeline for the restroom where I do a much needed bang check. I look like I’ve been in a fight. And lost. I give up on looking pretty and go listen to the band.

Beach Day is basically Best Coast. They’re poppy and groovy and, although from Hollywood, Fla., could easily get away with telling people they’re from "the real" Hollywood. There’s a big happy crowd here but I’m not feeling it. I walk back to the CL Space to brush my now ratty hair and drop my iPhone on the way. Despite my bulky rubber Vans case, it cracks at the bottom. I’m sad, but as I walk along I hear an old hippie in a tank top say, “Man, fuck that conformity shit,” and it cheers me up a little.

9:05 p.m. After freshening up and grabbing a water at the space, I go back to New World and talk my ID-less self passed the door man for Swimm (formerly Le Blorr). I listened to this band online a few days ago but they’re a lot heavier live. The pretty boy bleached-blonde frontman has a slightly nasally delivery, but in a way that works. The band’s dreamy melodic sound reminds me of Beach House — if Beach House were a rock band. I stay for five songs or so and head back to the Cuban Club.

Bungled and Botched, a “newgrass” band, is playing in the Theater. It’s nice to sit down but I’m kind of bored. The band is really quiet, despite the small venue. I don’t see any speakers or amps (not that I looked very hard) so maybe that’s the issue. I think I’ve reached my limit for double basses and banjos for one night so I head back to the CL Space for a change of pace. Heatwave’s best (only) rapper, Infinite Skillz, is about to go on there.

9:40 p.m. I grab a snack and some more water in the office and sit in the green room for a while to rest. Cats in the Basement, whose set I missed about an hour ago, are in here doing the same thing. Shannon, CL’s beautiful sales and marketing assistant, decides an impromptu interview is necessary. She asks the band how they feel about sandwiches, which we’re eating. I learn that Cats in the Basement is for the institution of sandwiches. They’re also equally as creeped out by the guards outside the Scientology building next door as we are.

When Infinite Skillz comes on stage, he tells the audience of about 25 people his goal of the night is to transfer bodily fluids to them. He means sweat, but still. I pick a seat towards the back of the room and stay there. I admittedly know nothing about rap/hip-hop/R&B that wasn’t made by Usher circa 2006. But Mr. Skillz raps about women he calls “less than respectable,” so I think he’s doing it right. The crowd fills in a little bit. Some of the older folks occupying the back with me look confused.

10:20 p.m. I’ve taken so many notes tonight I had to steal a new notepad from the office. The Paul Thorn Band is about to go on at El Pasaje. I decide the CL balcony is an ideal viewing location so I prop myself against the railing, happy to avoid the hundreds of people gathered in the courtyard below.

I start chatting with a sweet couple, probably in their 50s, about the show. The man happens to be the drummer for the Gulfport Swamp Opera. He says Heatwave’s greatest fault is its lack of a big name headliner. I sort of agree. He throws out names like Willie Nelson, Ziggy Marley, Bad Religion, Alabama Shakes and Tom Petty (can you imagine?). I agree that a big name headliner would attract a bigger crowd, but it would detract from the intimacy of the show. Not to mention, up the ticket price.

Across the street, Paul Thorn is going on in his Southern drawl about pet adoption and shaking a maraca. The crowd is actually singing his lyrics back to him — something I haven’t seen all night. His bluesy Southern rock is easy to enjoy and the energy in front of El Pasaje is quite lively, but I’m itching to get to Crowbar for Ponderosa. Paul’s set slows down a bit with a country ballad as I walk down the street.

10:51 p.m. I pass the Roosevelt 2.0 on my way to Crowbar and see fire spinners performing while Applebutter Express plays on stage. An odd combination but it’s cool.

There’s a decently sized, mostly younger crowd in Crowbar for Ponderosa, an Atlanta-based indie rock band. Though they share their name with a steakhouse buffet, I find them more like a fresh California roll. They’re serene, hazy and psychedelic with sleepy melodies punctuated by assertive drums, tinged with delicate symbol chimes that play with the dynamics of loud and soft.

A girl in the audience came prepared with her own tambourine. An elderly man, parked front and center on her power scooter, nods his head to the beat. I hope I’m as rad as he is in 60 years. Select audience members seemed to have overindulged. I’m curious to check back in with the Paul Thorn bunch so I wander back to El Pasaje to immerse myself in the crowd. The older couples slow dancing are cute. The older couples making out — not so much.

11:49 p.m. Awkward Age is playing the CL stage. They offer up pretty straightforward, late 1990s/early 2000s punk pop. Samiam, Hot Water Music and The Bouncing Souls come to mind. I appreciate their lack of progression. More people should be here. There are only about a dozen people up by the stage and a few more hanging out in the back. The guitarist has his back to the audience for most of the set. I don’t blame him. I feel guilty for leaving prematurely but really want to catch set and setting back at Crowbar.

Despite the late hour, the crowd perseveres. The all-instrumental post-rock outfit builds a loud, mournful, ethereal atmosphere enhanced by two dramatic drumkits. It’s the kind of music you should listen to while laying in bed during a thunderstorm, but it sounds nice in Crowbar too. A shirtless Mark Etherington, aka Mountain Holler, bangs one set of drums, contrasting with the sensitivity of his earlier acoustic set, yet matching its eeriness. I could stay and listen in my hazy trance for hours but my friend is calling and she has my bag.

Too late to still be here After swinging by The Ritz for Cope and getting my fill of one-love-one-heart-I’m-the-white-Ziggy-Marley reggae/jam/roots/funky rock in about five minutes, I head to New World (again) for Wolf-Face. I had no idea what to expect from this band but I knew they play in gym shorts and wolf masks so sticking it out into the wee hours of the night for them was a must.

Wolf-Face comes on about 30 minutes late. They’re certainly the most theatrical band I’ve seen tonight, howling and telling stories about life as a teen wolf. Their fast-paced set is essentially the 1980s Michael J. Fox film expressed through punk rock. That’s not a metaphor — they’re a Teen Wolf concept band. It’s awesome but I’m exhausted. They’re local so I figure I’ll get to see them again soon.

At this point I’m taking my notes on my phone because it’s too dark to write on a notepad and I lost my pen about an hour ago. Though I missed one or two bands on my list of must-sees, and am still bummed about my ID and phone, I’m satisfied with my night and will sleep soundly. That is, if my ears ever stop ringing. Mental note: invest in earplugs. WMNF's 32nd annual Tropical Heatwave left me with a cracked iPhone, sore feet, a lost pen (that I “borrowed” from a friend), a severe lack of sleep and a driver’s license never to be seen again. None of these losses, however, are as great as what I gained. In two days, I experienced more than 20 bands across nine stages in what I now believe is one of Tampa’s greatest local events.

Though I grew up just miles away, I never made it to a Heatwave before this one. As a newbie my expectations were low. I figured I’d be overwhelmingly outnumbered by the Mimis and Pop Pops of my scarcely post-adolescent peers. I thought I’d be scouring the scene for something worthy of my notepad all night and end up fighting sleep in front of a smooth jazz band by 10 p.m. I’ve never been so glad to be so wrong.

In the combined 12 hours I spent at Heatwave, I saw two of my favorite bands play absolutely perfect sets, fell in love with a few lead singers, and developed a profound appreciation for the local music scene — which I’m almost ashamed to have lacked before. My calendar is now booked with local shows for the next few months.

Heatwave’s intention is to introduce people to music they otherwise may never have heard. Perhaps I’m a special case, but based on my experience, WMNF more than accomplished their goal this year.

DAY 1: Friday, May 10 Check-in: 6:18 p.m. The Mercy Brothers are the first band to go on outside the Cuban Club. Their bluesy, jazzy, occasionally funky religious sermon of a set screams Louisiana. Though the frontman throws out a few too many hallelujahs for my taste, the crowd of about 100 people — mostly grey-haired — takes to the Brothers well. A couple of devout fans stand in front of the stage, clapping and throwing their hands in the air, praising the Lord, or possibly, the guitarist’s sweet Fu Manchu 'stache.

The sun seems to be shining directly on the Cuban Club courtyard. To escape the heat, I head inside to the Cantina. It smells like scachatta, though I don’t see any, and now I’m hungry. The crowd is smaller inside. Ray Bonneville is on stage ripping on a harmonica. A man, whose braided hair and fringed shirt lead me to believe he might be Native American, just threw his straw hat on the floor, stuck his arms straight out at his sides and began bobbing up and down from his knees. I can't help staring.

I walk back outside and catch the end of the Mercy Brothers’ set. An older gentleman wearing a Wilco T-shirt passes by me. I want to be friends with him. I also catch a glimpse of a guy with a crazy afro in dressed hot pink from head to toe. I want to be friends with his hair.

7:30 p.m. There’s a big crowd inside for Applebutter Express, a country folk band consisting of a double bassist, a banjoist, a violinist and a female singer. On the way inside I run into my friend’s parents, who seem to be enjoying themselves.

After a few songs, I head back outside. It turns out my afro-sporting future best friend is Selwyn Birchwood (could his name be any cooler?), the smooth yet smoky-voiced guitarist who fronts a Tampa-based bluesy jazz band. The courtyard is pretty packed now. I’ve seen this one man swing dancing/jiving/possibly jitterbugging (clearly, I’m no expert on dance styles) with at least five different women throughout the night. Good for him.

9:42 p.m. Things are in full swing now. The breeze is nice. My bangs are no longer clinging to my forehead. The courtyard filled in with some movers and shakers. A few couples twirl each other around while others just sway their hips. And some keep their feet firmly planted, moving nothing but their forearms, as though lifting hand weights. Apparently this is how one dances after becoming eligible to collect Social Security. Perhaps they think they’re at Jazzercise.

I imagine the stand-in bartenders are giving generous pours. The sun set a while ago but blood alcohol levels have certainly risen. I’m going to pop my head in the Cantina for the beginning of American Aquarium’s set then duck out to rest up for tomorrow night.

DAY 2: Saturday, May 11 5:10 p.m. Parking was more expensive than yesterday, so clearly, tonight is a bigger deal. I walk to the CL Space, taking the long way around the Cuban Club to catch a glimpse of the stage. Some sort of string orchestra is playing and the violins are lovely but seem out of place. My bangs are already matted to my skin. The act on the El Pasaje stage just asked how to pronounce 'Ybor.'

After setting my bag down and saying hi to friends in the office, I head down Ninth Avenue, through a haze of barbecue and cigar smoke, trying to avoid the dozens of tents selling artsy handmade knickknacks and accessories that I’m usually such a sucker for. Vendors offer everything from glass “tobacco” pieces to free stress tests.

5:40 p.m. The Wholetones are playing inside the Cuban Club Cantina — decidedly my favorite venue solely for its AC and friendly restroom attendant. The crowd is decent. I was excited to see this band but wasn’t expecting them to be so good. These dudes look like Blink-182 but play like Charlie Daniels with fast guitar riffs and a bouncy banjo. I’m no expert on banjoists, but I’m pretty sure theirs is the best I’ve seen. And the double bassist is literally slapping the neck of the his instrument, bringing new meaning to “slappa da bass, mon.” (Paul Rudd quote — I’ll use any excuse).

After a few mosh-worthy bluegrass tunes, I head for the door to see who’s playing outside. But wait — what’s that familiar guitar hook? I realize The Wholetones are covering Modest Mouse’s “Bukowski” and swing back around to get a spot right by the stage. It’s awesome and I’m officially in my zone.

6 p.m. I manage to pull myself away from The Wholetones and wander around for a bit before realizing there are two more stages in the Cuban Club. I head to the Theater for Mountain Holler, where the ginger grizzly bear of my dreams, Mark Etherington, is on stage with an acoustic guitar — barefoot, of course.

At first I’m disappointed he got stuck up here because the crowd is less than impressive but after a few 'oh ohhh oh-oh-ohhhhs,' I realize the acoustics in the theater are absolutely necessary. As I swoon, I wonder how this man is not world famous. The Heatwave guide describes Mountain Holler as haunting and magical, which is spot on. As Mark closes with his nine-minute Neil Young-inspired medley, his voice cracks for the first time and it’s the loveliest voice crack I’ve ever heard. Clearly, my previously established affinity for Mountain Holler/anything this man does makes me biased, but this performance will definitely be tough to beat. His set runs about 10 minutes over but I ain’t complaining. I consider sticking around to ask him to marry me but decide I should move on before my story becomes a fangirl blog. Sigh.

6:27 p.m. I should be at New World by now but I want to check out the Ballroom on the fourth floor real quick. At the top of the stairs, I’m asked for my credentials (I guess my notepad is a bit conspicuous) by a 60-something man holding a Miller Lite tall boy. My shoulder gets a nice buffing from his spiny white beard he tells me I have “a beautiful smile.” It’s time to go. The sound up here sucks, anyway, and the Gulfport Swamp Opera ends up just sounding like noise.

The walk to New World is quick and getting through the gate is easy. The crowd is much younger here — fewer Hawaiian shirts, more tattoo sleeves. I’m glad Benjamin Booker and Max Norton are still playing. Though I can’t see the Tampa-based duo through the crowd, Norton’s twangy guitar and silky vocals carry nicely across the patio. Their sound is bluesy, singed in classic rock’n’roll roots. I stand towards the back of the crowd, next to New World’s sound guy, who looks like Severus Snape — if Snape wore Converse.

7 p.m. The Happiness Machine, another local band, is up next and I’m about to pee myself with excitement. As a disclaimer, this band’s vintage folk-pop EP, Dumb Blonde, has been in the “recently listened to” section of my Spotify profile for months now. The lead singer, Kathleen McGuire, reminds me of a young Lauren Bacall minus the perma-pout. She could stand behind her keyboard quacking like a duck and I’d find it enchanting. I’m not sure if I want to be her or date her. Her younger sister, Shaundra, plays bass and does back up vocals.

I’m thrilled to see such a large crowd — much bigger than the last time I saw them at the CL Block Party in St. Pete last month. They play better, too. Kathleen’s voice sounds a lot younger live but she hits all the notes.

I’ve made a habit out of watching keyboard/organ players at shows because they always do weird things with their mouths. The Happiness Machine’s organist, in his old school Devil Rays shirt, is no exception.

At one point, the entire audience bobs up and down, perfectly in sync. A group of crazy hat wearers (a Speedy Gonzalez sombrero, a feather-brimmed leopard print sun hat) begin chanting, “One more song!” Kathleen informs them they actually have two songs left, so the crowd then begins begging for three more. The band is obviously humbled by the feedback. And not the unnatural-Taylor-Swift-oh-my-gosh-ya’ll kind of humbled. During a synthy interlude in their final song, pierced with ear-shattering whistles from the crowd, Shaundra looks at her big sis with wide eyes and tosses her hands up (which have X’s on them) in a way that says, “Is this real life?”

They finish their set and the crowd is still thirsting for more. The stage guy has to step in and quiet everyone down. Even though I knew this group so well before tonight, I feel their set captured the theme of Tropical Heatwave, which is all about giving people the opportunity to find their new favorite band.

I want to see Day Joy play here next but I think I have time to catch Nikki Hill at The Ritz real quick.

7:50 p.m. It’s a few minutes walk from New World to The Ritz and there’s definitely a disconnect from the Cuban Club area to Seventh Avenue. It looks a bit gloomy outside. I hope it doesn’t rain. I wave my ID around in the bag check line at The Ritz waiting for someone to check it but apparently there’s a special area for that. It’s convenient for me, but I imagine it would be annoying for those drinking.

I’m surprised with the turnout in the theater. Nikki Hill owns the stage with a velvety smooth voice and a beehive that would make Amy Winehouse envious from the grave (may she rest fabulously in peace). Nikki’s sultry rockabilly style is pretty yet soulful.

The crowd in The Ritz is a bit rowdy. Middle-agers don’t conduct themselves any better at shows than middle schoolers. I grab a $1 ice water (opting out of the $4 bottle) and head outside. It’s drizzling.

Sacrificing my nicely waved hair, I brave the moisture and stop by The Roosevelt 2.0, a Heatwave venue that didn't have any actual schedule listed for its stages. The crowd is small. There are five or six people sitting in chairs facing a DJ who is hiding behind his Macbook. I don’t know if they’re watching him or just sitting down for the heck of it. The actual instrument-playing band outside attracted a slightly larger crowd. It’s still kind of boring, though. I peace out and walk back to New World.

8:01 p.m. I would have caught the second half of Day Joy’s set … if I hadn’t lost my ID. I shuffle around in my bag for a good five minutes, dig through my pockets, check my bra — nothing. I decide a 15-minute break to retrace my steps and possibly find it is worth missing Day Joy. Wrong. After a few laps through The Ritz and the Roosevelt 2.0 and pestering doormen and security guards, I am both ID-less and (day) joyless. Discouraged, I head to Crowbar for Beach Day.

I explain my situation to the door guy at Crowbar and he lets me in. I beeline for the restroom where I do a much needed bang check. I look like I’ve been in a fight. And lost. I give up on looking pretty and go listen to the band.

Beach Day is basically Best Coast. They’re poppy and groovy and, although from Hollywood, Fla., could easily get away with telling people they’re from "the real" Hollywood. There’s a big happy crowd here but I’m not feeling it. I walk back to the CL Space to brush my now ratty hair and drop my iPhone on the way. Despite my bulky rubber Vans case, it cracks at the bottom. I’m sad, but as I walk along I hear an old hippie in a tank top say, “Man, fuck that conformity shit,” and it cheers me up a little.

9:05 p.m. After freshening up and grabbing a water at the space, I go back to New World and talk my ID-less self passed the door man for Swimm (formerly Le Blorr). I listened to this band online a few days ago but they’re a lot heavier live. The pretty boy bleached-blonde frontman has a slightly nasally delivery, but in a way that works. The band’s dreamy melodic sound reminds me of Beach House — if Beach House were a rock band. I stay for five songs or so and head back to the Cuban Club.

Bungled and Botched, a “newgrass” band, is playing in the Theater. It’s nice to sit down but I’m kind of bored. The band is really quiet, despite the small venue. I don’t see any speakers or amps (not that I looked very hard) so maybe that’s the issue. I think I’ve reached my limit for double basses and banjos for one night so I head back to the CL Space for a change of pace. Heatwave’s best (only) rapper, Infinite Skillz, is about to go on there.

9:40 p.m. I grab a snack and some more water in the office and sit in the green room for a while to rest. Cats in the Basement, whose set I missed about an hour ago, are in here doing the same thing. Shannon, CL’s beautiful sales and marketing assistant, decides an impromptu interview is necessary. She asks the band how they feel about sandwiches, which we’re eating. I learn that Cats in the Basement is for the institution of sandwiches. They’re also equally as creeped out by the guards outside the Scientology building next door as we are.

When Infinite Skillz comes on stage, he tells the audience of about 25 people his goal of the night is to transfer bodily fluids to them. He means sweat, but still. I pick a seat towards the back of the room and stay there. I admittedly know nothing about rap/hip-hop/R&B that wasn’t made by Usher circa 2006. But Mr. Skillz raps about women he calls “less than respectable,” so I think he’s doing it right. The crowd fills in a little bit. Some of the older folks occupying the back with me look confused.

10:20 p.m. I’ve taken so many notes tonight I had to steal a new notepad from the office. The Paul Thorn Band is about to go on at El Pasaje. I decide the CL balcony is an ideal viewing location so I prop myself against the railing, happy to avoid the hundreds of people gathered in the courtyard below.

I start chatting with a sweet couple, probably in their 50s, about the show. The man happens to be the drummer for the Gulfport Swamp Opera. He says Heatwave’s greatest fault is its lack of a big name headliner. I sort of agree. He throws out names like Willie Nelson, Ziggy Marley, Bad Religion, Alabama Shakes and Tom Petty (can you imagine?). I agree that a big name headliner would attract a bigger crowd, but it would detract from the intimacy of the show. Not to mention, up the ticket price.

Across the street, Paul Thorn is going on in his Southern drawl about pet adoption and shaking a maraca. The crowd is actually singing his lyrics back to him — something I haven’t seen all night. His bluesy Southern rock is easy to enjoy and the energy in front of El Pasaje is quite lively, but I’m itching to get to Crowbar for Ponderosa. Paul’s set slows down a bit with a country ballad as I walk down the street.

10:51 p.m. I pass the Roosevelt 2.0 on my way to Crowbar and see fire spinners performing while Applebutter Express plays on stage. An odd combination but it’s cool.

There’s a decently sized, mostly younger crowd in Crowbar for Ponderosa, an Atlanta-based indie rock band. Though they share their name with a steakhouse buffet, I find them more like a fresh California roll. They’re serene, hazy and psychedelic with sleepy melodies punctuated by assertive drums, tinged with delicate symbol chimes that play with the dynamics of loud and soft.

A girl in the audience came prepared with her own tambourine. An elderly man, parked front and center on her power scooter, nods his head to the beat. I hope I’m as rad as he is in 60 years. Select audience members seemed to have overindulged. I’m curious to check back in with the Paul Thorn bunch so I wander back to El Pasaje to immerse myself in the crowd. The older couples slow dancing are cute. The older couples making out — not so much.

11:49 p.m. Awkward Age is playing the CL stage. They offer up pretty straightforward, late 1990s/early 2000s punk pop. Samiam, Hot Water Music and The Bouncing Souls come to mind. I appreciate their lack of progression. More people should be here. There are only about a dozen people up by the stage and a few more hanging out in the back. The guitarist has his back to the audience for most of the set. I don’t blame him. I feel guilty for leaving prematurely but really want to catch set and setting back at Crowbar.

Despite the late hour, the crowd perseveres. The all-instrumental post-rock outfit builds a loud, mournful, ethereal atmosphere enhanced by two dramatic drumkits. It’s the kind of music you should listen to while laying in bed during a thunderstorm, but it sounds nice in Crowbar too. A shirtless Mark Etherington, aka Mountain Holler, bangs one set of drums, contrasting with the sensitivity of his earlier acoustic set, yet matching its eeriness. I could stay and listen in my hazy trance for hours but my friend is calling and she has my bag.

Too late to still be here After swinging by The Ritz for Cope and getting my fill of one-love-one-heart-I’m-the-white-Ziggy-Marley reggae/jam/roots/funky rock in about five minutes, I head to New World (again) for Wolf-Face. I had no idea what to expect from this band but I knew they play in gym shorts and wolf masks so sticking it out into the wee hours of the night for them was a must.

Wolf-Face comes on about 30 minutes late. They’re certainly the most theatrical band I’ve seen tonight, howling and telling stories about life as a teen wolf. Their fast-paced set is essentially the 1980s Michael J. Fox film expressed through punk rock. That’s not a metaphor — they’re a Teen Wolf concept band. It’s awesome but I’m exhausted. They’re local so I figure I’ll get to see them again soon.

At this point I’m taking my notes on my phone because it’s too dark to write on a notepad and I lost my pen about an hour ago. Though I missed one or two bands on my list of must-sees, and am still bummed about my ID and phone, I’m satisfied with my night and will sleep soundly. That is, if my ears ever stop ringing. Mental note: invest in earplugs.

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