Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Plan for Tropical Heatwave this Saturday

Ella is in for it this weekend... My daughter doesn't know it yet, but I'm dragging her and her mom to one of my favorite events of the year.

WMNF's Tropical Heatwave is our community radio station's big fundraiser/concert/block party in Ybor City. This is something that is well covered by the official media with lists of bands not to miss and all that.

Some of the things that they don't talk about in all of the news coverage is the unpredictable and outlandish fun that is inherent to this show. The volunteers at WMNF are really dedicated folks who pour their hearts into this event with decorations and details to handle for months in advance. The funny thing is that all of that love and good spirit flows over to the crowd and for the most part, this will be one of the nicest blend of crowds all year. Parents with kids stand shoulder to shoulder with old hippies and young rockers in a real testament to the way this music overlaps and influences each genre.

Also, don't forget the food! Vegetarian options are usually well represented at WMNF shows. I remember crouching down on the sidewalk last year and sopping up tibs from the Queen of Sheba restaurant with some of their world class injera bread.

For me, I want to see lots of bands, but also, I realize that you don't want to spend the whole show just juggling for position and running up and down stairs at the Cuban Club. My plan (which will definitely fall apart by Saturday) consists of catching a few bands I want to see and not running around too much because I'll be wearing a backpack with our little Ella in it and she'll be wearing the adorable pink ear protection seen above.

My Heatwave plans basically consist of deciding where I want to be and who I really don't want to miss. My personal preference is to stay near the Cuban Club and not slog too far afield.

Here's my plan so far:

5:00 -- 5:55
Tomas Delamnoy & Somos Musica
Salsa and merengue - Cuban Club Bandshell
(catch the first part of this set, I hear they are amazing)
5:25 -- 6:25
Nervous Turkey
Raucous blues - around the back at El Pasaje Plaza
(we'll get here in time to catch all of Ernie's fun and full on harmonica action )
6:20 -- 7:35
Mark Levine and the Latin Tinge
Latin jazz - Cuban Club Bandshell (top notch latin jazz and representative of the Saturday Latin Jazz and Salsa show on WMNF - one of the best shows on the radio anywhere)
(I'm already in too many places at once!!!)
6:00 -- 6:55
Electronic rock - at Crowbar
(hope to catch them although Crowbar might be too much of a haul and it'll be time for a beverage...)
6:50 -- 8:10
Ruthie Foster
Blues, folk & R&B - Back at El Pasaje Plaza
(I saw Ruthie back in the day in Texas when I was in college - she was awesome then and she has only gotten better, this is one of my do not miss shows of the day)
8:00 -- 9:05
Rachel Goodrich
Quirky folk-pop - down in the Cuban Club Cantina
(this looks like a fun show and I've heard good things about her - check out her Youtube videos from her New World Brewery shows)
8:10 -- 9:15
Lumiscent Orchestrii
Romanian Gypsy punks from New York City - Cuban Club Ballroom
(there will be dancing and this is one of the best rooms for dancing in the city, honestly this room always makes me happy I came to the show - it just sends your mind spinning to ballroom dances of a bygone era)

After that it is useless to plan. We might be worn out by then, or we might go on to see something at a far flung venue. I have never made it to the end of the night at Heatwave and that always means I miss someone I would love to see. This year with my new daughter I don' t expect to make it much past 9:00. That's okay though, the music is contagious and I know that these are the experiences that will shape her mind and tastes whether she remembers it or not.

With such a great selection of bands and the friendliest concert goers in town, I wouldn't have her first real concert be anywhere else... See ya Saturday!!!

Photo from the amazing local photographer Elawgrrl who will most definitely be at Heatwave...

Check her out at Flickr -

1 comment:

  1. Hi - I have both batteries charged for Heatwave... looking forward to seeing the whole family out and being part of Ella's first concert experience. I'll be sure to wear some cool sunglasses so she will smile even more for me while trying to snatch them:)