New Times' Guide to the Music at SunFest
Thursday, April 30, through Sunday, May 3, in downtown West Palm Beach along Flagler Drive from Banyan Boulevard to Lake Avenue. Gates open at 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday and at noon Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost $10 to $65. Visit sunfest.com.
Thursday, April 30
8:15 p.m. on the Tire Kingdom Stage
Clarence Greenwood — AKA Citizen Cope — occupies an oddly decorated space. His music incorporates elements of blues, turntablism, hip-hop, and R&B, resulting in the sort of moody, languid rock that advertisers lean on to help sell cars. That isn't necessarily a knock, though Greenwood has taken lumps enough for it. Truthfully, he should be commended, but he consistently gets mentioned along with Everlast and the mostly boring Jack Johnson, though even on his worst day, he stands head and shoulders above them. While having a certain dreamlike quality to them, his songs are also anxious and agitated, like they might spin out of his careful control into full-blown rap anthems or Delta blues standards. Others have tried this "everything and the kitchen sink" approach with lesser results, but Citizen Cope has found a way to please both the man drinking a domestic beer and the woman sipping a $12 glass of French wine across the table.
Also performing: Black Finger, 5:30 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com Stage. Griffin Anthony, 6 p.m. on the Tire Kingdom Stage. Risa Binder, 7:15 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com Stage. James Taylor, 8:45 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com Stage.
Friday, May 1
6:50 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com stage
Pennywise isn't so much a band these days as it is an institution. For more than two decades, this Southern California act has pioneered the genre of melodic punk rock — and although it's never had the mainstream success of peers such as the Offspring or Green Day, neither old age nor parenthood has succeeded in tempering the band's aggression. Last year, Pennywise released its ninth studio album, Reason to Believe, as a free digital download on MySpace, and the forward-thinking punk act is currently headlining this year's Jägermeister Music tour. Stop by to sing along, start a circle pit, and relive the 1990s — or, if you're feeling ultra-adventurous, ask frontman Jim Lindberg to sign a copy of his book Punk Rock Dad: No Rules, Just Real Life.
9:50 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com stage
A generation of teenagers is actively pissed off that Sublime's Brad Nowell overdosed after making only three albums — and for them, Slightly Stoopid, joined here by Sly & Robbie, Pepper, and Half Pint, might be the next best thing. During the mid-1990s, Stoopid ones Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald signed to Nowell's Skunk Records imprint and immediately began churning out recordings that drew on the same sort of modified reggae vibe that inspired Sublime. Granted, their work wasn't modified quite as much, and that remains true to this day. Slightly Not Stoned Enough to Eat Breakfast Yet Stoopid, the band's latest disc, mates odds and sods recorded over the past decade-plus with a few new songs that sound an awful lot like what they've been doing all along. Nowell brought more personality to his work, but both Doughty and McDonald have survived in the music life much longer than he did. Maybe they're not so Stoopid after all.
Also performing: The Ben Robinson Band, 5:15 p.m. on the Tire Kingdom Stage. The Expendables, 5:30 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com Stage. Monty Warren & the Whatevers, 5:45 p.m. on the Coors Light Stage. Crisis in Hollywood, 6:05 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com Stage. The Nouveaux Honkies, 7:15 p.m. on the Tire Kingdom Stage. Mark Gaignard & the Also Ran, 7:30 p.m. on the Coors Light Stage. Pepper, 8:20 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com Stage. Collective Soul, 9 p.m. on the Coors Light Stage. Randy Backman, 9:15 p.m. on the Tire Kingdom Stage.
Saturday, May 2
Cold War Kids
9:15 p.m. on the Coors Light Stage
Members of the rock intelligentsia both love and hate these Kids — and the trio's latest album, last year's Loyalty to Loyalty, is a divider, not a uniter too. On the positive tip, guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Nathan Willett remains a fiercely intelligent storyteller, as he proves in "Every Valley Is Not a Lake," which brims with grandmotherly wisdom such as "Use your wits, child, 'cause nothing stays the same." But Willett's keening yelp can be irritating at times (mark his repeated "Welcome to the Occupation" claim that "the devil's in the details!" as exhibit A), and the band's sound draws a bit too heavily from the bluesy indie lexicon many others employ. The results are always interesting but only intermittently compelling — promising to some, threatening to others.
4 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com Stage
When the Gin Blossoms broke up in 1997, it seemed like a strange decision for a band that had just released two modestly successful albums and earned two Billboard Top 10 singles ("Til I Hear It From You" and "Follow You Down"). But the underlying turmoil of alcohol addiction — along with an industry that was growing less and less accommodating to straightforward rock bands without a novelty hit or Vedderesque lead singer — makes the band's choice to call it quits seem less surprising in hindsight. Still, the Tempe, Arizona, outfit regrouped several years later and even released an album (Major Lodge Victory) in 2006. Much like previous releases, Victory sounds quintessentially Gin Blossoms — which is to say, it connects the dots from the Byrds to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to the Replacements and would have sounded just as relevant had it been released in 1986. The timeless design of a Gin Blossoms song truly makes the band's music stand the test of time — and it's also the reason you've likely been caught at a stoplight with the windows down singing "Hey Jealousy" at the top of your lungs. It's OK. There's no shame.
Also performing: Card Sound Road, 12:15 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com Stage. The Resolvers, 1 p.m. on the Coors Light Stage. Classic Albums Live, 1 to 4:45 p.m. on the Tire Kingdom Stage. Tonic, 2 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com Stage. Sly & Robbie, 3 p.m. on the Coors Light Stage. Wait for Green, 5:15 p.m. on the Coors Light Stage. Hep Cat Boo Daddies, 5:30 p.m. on the Tire Kingdom Stage. New Noise Standard, 6:15 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com Stage. Ever So Klever, 7 p.m. on the Tire Kingdom Stage. Dharmata, 7:15 p.m. on the Coors Light Stage. NeedtoBreathe, 7:30 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com Stage. UB40, 9 p.m. on the Tire Kingdom Stage. David Cook, 9:30 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com Stage.
Sunday, May 3
G. Love and Special Sauce
3:45 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com Stage
Garrett Dutton's Philadelphonic tonic — a potent blend of hip-hop and blues — still plows fresh ground as a mingling of seemingly closely related genres on his latest album, First Avenue. Besides some North Mississippi bands and a few scattered others, G. and his pals pretty much set the standard for mixing rural roots and urban sounds, further complicating things by stirring in such disparate stuff as Philly soul, psychedelia, even rock steady. Hybridization flourishes throughout: O'Jayisms surface on "Crumble," blues-rock referencing Sly drives "What We Need," "Peace, Love and Happiness" crosses the Stones with Neville Brothers' second-line rhythms, and "Georgia Brown" lashes together the Meters, Allmans, and Little Walter, every cut dialing in various doses of hip-hop. The title cut is Delta blues plopped down in the Bronx, with G. ruminating on the sorry state of the world, name-checking Britney Spears, Jesus, Saddam Hussein, and pygmy marmosets. With Elmwood.
7:30 p.m. on the Coors Light Stage
The arrival of summer is the perfect occasion to break out Jack's Mannequin's two albums, 2005's Everything in Transit and last year's The Glass Passenger. Ebullient piano, sugary pop harmonies, and bright California rock barely conceal each album's melancholic undercurrent, from Transit's odes to heartbreak to Passenger's triumphs over mortality. Optimism wins out on the latter album, due to euphoric moments such as the string-laced "The Resolution" and the Fleetwood Mac-like "American Love."
7:45 p.m. on the Tire Kingdom Stage
Soul singer Bettye LaVette and the Drive-By Truckers recorded her 2007 album, The Scene of the Crime, in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where one of the most significant things in LaVette's 47-year singing career happened. In 1972, she recorded Child of the Seventies for Atlantic Records, but instead of it being the breakthrough record she hoped it would be, the record got shelved, and she was heartbroken. Rhino eventually released the album in 2005, the same year Anti released I've Got My Own Hell to Raise, a phenomenal record that helped a lot more people discover LaVette's potent and gritty vocals. Because critics raved over The Scene of the Crime, she has continued to gain recognition as a classic voice in true R&B.
Also performing: Cerveza, 12:15 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com Stage. Debbie Orta, 12:15 p.m. on the Tire Kingdom Stage. The Pretty Faces, 12:30 p.m. on the Coors Light Stage. B-Liminal, 2 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com Stage. Thriving Ivory, 2 p.m. on the Coors Light Stage. Shauna Sweeney & Friends, 3:45 p.m. on the Coors Light Stage. Candlebox, 4:15 p.m. on the Tire Kingdom Stage. Erin McCarley, 5 p.m. on the Coors Light Stage. The Jesse Young Band, 5:45 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com Stage. The Darrell Raines Band, 6:15 p.m. on the Tire Kingdom Stage. Matt Nathanson, 6:15 p.m. on the Coors Light Stage. The Steve Miller Band, 7:30 p.m. on the Pbpulse.com Stage.
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