Thomas Jack Brings Tropical House (Not Screams and Thumps) to Mad Decent

If you’re headed to the Mad Decent Block Party on Saturday, Australian-born Thomas Jack's will be one of the only sets that won’t be entirely made up of screaming, thumping, hard electronic music.

Thomas Jack is best-known as one of the faces of the rising “Tropical House” style: slow paced, melodic, vocal dance music that uses guitars, marimbas, horns, xylophones, and similar instrumentation as opposed to the strictly electronic sounds that make up most other styles of dance music. On Saturday, this means his set will be something of an oasis in a desert of raw electro, trap, and moombahton beats.

The most incredible thing about his rise is his relatively small output. A series of mixtapes and a few remixes were enough to put him on stage at Ultra this year, and he just put out his first single last week. This reflects two things: the power of being in on the beginning of a new trend, and the speed at which music can travel around the world.

Thomas Jack’s new single, “Rivers,” is a clear nod to Mr. Probz's smash hit “Waves,” and it uses the same technique. He has taken the Jack Johnson style of acoustic surfer music and put it to a dance tempo. It’s not hard to see why this has so much crossover appeal: You could be a fan of Avicii or Keith Urban and probably find yourself enjoying this song.

Personally, I dig it when he gets away from his tropical sound on a mixtape and gets deep, funky, and weird. But that’s just me. Check out Vol. 2 in his Tropical House mix series for a taste of what I’m hoping we’ll hear this weekend…

Mad Decent Block Party, featuring Jack Ü, Major Lazer, Zeds Dead, Jauz, Ricky Remedy, Thomas Jack, and Yellow Card. Saturday, August 1, at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-449-1025; Doors at 3 p.m.; 16 and over. Tickets $35.50 plus fees via
KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Adam Foster