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Monday, Dec 22, 2014
Arts & Music

There's a band for everyone at Gasparilla Music Festival

BY ED CONDRAN
Tribune correspondent

Published:   |   Updated: March 7, 2014 at 12:51 PM

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It's another diverse, talent-laden lineup set for the 2014 Gasparilla Music Festival, slated for Saturday and Sunday at Curtis Hixon Park and Kiley Gardens.

More than 40 recording artists will showcase material at the annual fest. There are a number of can't-miss acts coming to town.

The Flaming Lips, who will headline Saturday, top the list of adventurous recording artists set to play. At this time last year, the Lips stole Austin's South By Southwest previewing tracks for its latest album, “The Terror.”

The band didn't just debut cuts from “The Terror,” the Lips played the deep, dark and at times, harsh album in its entirety. The combination of heavy guitar and blasts of electronics makes for a surprising combination of overwhelming noise and gorgeous sonics.

“We aren't going to make the same album twice,” vocalist-guitarist-drummer Steven Drozd said during a phone call from Raleigh. This might be the most bleak album we've ever made, but bizarrely it's the easiest record we've ever made. This is our late career, self-realization, self-doubt freakout record.”

Arrive early Saturday to catch a number of noteworthy bands, such as Delta Spirit, which is a clever alt-country act. It was based in Southern California but is now gaining inspiration in its new home, Brooklyn, N.Y., the latest hipster capital of the music world. The band is out behind its latest offering, an eponymous collection of passionate, earnest cuts.

Anders Osborne epitomizes the diverse festival. The Swedish native, who has embraced the style and culture of New Orleans, offers a sonic amalgam of funk, blues, soul and R&B. Osborne's shows border on incendiary, and his material is moving and deep.

If you love heavy, trashy garage rock, look no farther than Hymn For Her. The duo are often compared to the White Stripes, but they have more in common with the Kills. Their bluesy, boozy rock is off kilter and a tonic for those who appreciate quirky songs.

Venezuela is a funky place, to put it mildly, these days. But it's surprising that it produced arguably the best dance-rock act on the circuit. The funky Los Amigos Invisibles incorporates salsa, rock, disco and anything else that will make bootys shake.

There are a number of laudable acts which will hit the stage Sunday.

Trombone Shorty, aka Troy Andrews, will perform. He'll deliver his jazzy R&B. “I love to play,” Andrews said. “That's always been my passion.”

It's difficult to describe the energetic Hackensaw Boys, who are arguably a punk bluegrass act. The band brings it courtesy of fiddles and banjos and unbridled enthusiasm. The Hackensaw Boys, who have played Bonnaroo, Telluride and All Good Music, may know more about playing festivals than any recording artist coming to Gasparilla.

Amanda Shires is a pretty, quirky Americana singer-songwriter. She's a gifted violinist who belts out songs like Dolly Parton. Shires is charming, engaging and an under-heralded tunesmith.

Her other half, Jason Isbell is an exceptional singer-songwriter in his own right. The former member of the Drive-By Truckers has taken it to another level as a solo artist. He's out behind his latest album, “Southeastern,” which includes Shires.

Austin is the home of free form music, and the capital city of Texas is the land of Grupo Fantasma. The Latin funk band is unlike any other act. The nine-piece orchestra has played many South By Southwest music festivals and stood out, which is not an easy thing to do at SXSW.

Expect a non-stop, sonic potpourri when the Gasparilla Music Festival commences. “There's no other event like it,” Best Coast vocalist-guitarist Bethany Cosentino said. “We loved it (in 2013). There's something for everybody.”

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