Summer Jam offered a pleasant surprise this past Saturday. In in a world of "maybe," they came through with a yes.
The West Palm Beach festival successfully brought local acts of varying genres out into the open air. What made the lineup so intriguing, and even somewhat unfamiliar to the Palm Beach County scene, was the fact that event organizer Patrick Maraist of Music Jam Productions has a wider definition of "local music." "We use the term 'local' on a broad scale," he said, "to include the encouragement and promotion of original music from throughout the state, not only from South Florida."
Though the crowd was slow to get moving, the same can't be said for the bands. Opening up day one of this two-day fest was Orange Juice, a Naples band with a sunny disposition who seemed to embody the Floridian lifestyle. The Florida pride continued with metal band Ornimental out of Fort Lauderdale. Not the biggest genre at the fest, Ornimental manged to make a few reggaeheads say "Damn, they're good."
By the time Alana Davis hit the stage, the crowd was still small but growing steadily. She played a solo acoustic set, highlighting her strong voice and songwriting abilities. But more than just a solid set of pipes and a cool groove, Davis was also funny. She made up for the patchy crowd with some introspective banter like "I just re-released an old record [Surrender Dorothy] and am working on a new one. If you like it and buy something, that's awesome. If not, don't tell me because that's just rude."
Her five-year-old daughter rocked a matching hairstyle and was bouncing in the front row rooting on her mom. Now living in Hollywood, Florida, Davis doesn't play many shows and considers motherhood her full-time job. But it's obvious she still likes to have a good time, especially when music is involved. "When dance songs from the '80s come on, everyone gets extra happy. Mostly me. So I decided I would play an '80s dance song in my set," she said, before ripping into "Let The Music Play" and Bananarama's "Cruel Summer." At the end, her daughter had her turn on the stage, blowing everyone kisses and even busting out a curtsy.