By GINA VIVINETTO
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 17, 2001
The annual WMNF Tropical Heatwave brings an eclectic mix of music to Ybor City. Tickets for Heatwave are $25 advance, $30 at the door, $12 for under 21, free for kids under 12. Late-night tickets, for those arriving after 11 p.m., are $12.
Cuban Club Patio
6-7 p.m. -- the Strangeways
7:30-9 -- the Prodigals
9:30-11:10 -- Dave Alvin and the Guilty Men
11:45 -- North Mississippi Allstars
6:30-7:55 p.m. -- Michael Hill's Blues Mob
8:30-9:55 -- King Chango
10:20-11:45 -- Sam Rivers' Rivbea Orchestra
12:10 a.m. -- the Abyssinians
6:30-7:30 p.m. -- the Gita
7:50-9:05 -- Melissa Ferrick
9:25-10:40 -- Split Lip Rayfield
11-11:40 -- Blectum From Blechdom
Midnight-1 a.m. -- River City High
1:20 -- Dumbwaiters
7-8:15 p.m. -- Kelly Hogan and the Pine Valley Cosmonauts
8:35 -- Andrew Bird and His Bowl of Fire
10:15-11:30 -- Magic Red and the Voodoo Tribe
11:55 -- Paul Thorn Band
1:30 a.m. Geggy Tah
6:50-7:50 p.m. -- Fallopian Tubes
8:15-9:20 -- Irritable Tribe of Poets
9:35-10:45 -- Wally Pleasant
11 p.m.-12:15 a.m. -- James Intveld
12:30-1:30 -- Howie Day
1:55 -- Unrequited Loves
7:30-8:45 p.m. -- Blue Plate Special
9 -- DJs Brian Busto, Rane, Courtney K
Alvin made a name for himself with the Blasters after a short stint guitaring for legendary roots punk band X. For years now, Alvin has been churning out blistering roots rock of his own. His Guilty Men help Alvin sing his songs of blue-collar woes and wildness. A devotee of Merle Haggard and all those gruff country greats, Alvin learned a thing or two about impeccable songwriting from his idols.
North Mississippi Allstars rose from the ashes of punk band DDT when brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson grabbed bassist Chris Chew to make raucous blues rock. The Allstars take all the best elements of swamp blues, alt-rock and tight jam band noodling and somehow serve it up in a way that is delicious, calling to mind other great power trios such as Cream and Nirvana. (You can also catch the Allstars at 9 p.m. Friday with Backtrack Blues Band at Bourbon Street Nightclub, 4331 U.S. 19, New Port Richey. $15. (727) 843-0686.)
Rivers is a Florida treasure. The 70-year-old free jazz saxophonist from Orlando is a legend in the genre's avant-garde. Rivers' playing is brisk and uncompromising, with a tone more fierce than fluid.
The Abyssinians got its start in reggae in 1969. It specializes in classic roots music of the genre, combining luscious harmonies, songs of Rastafarian faith and African pride to create a buoyant sound. This version of the band features two of the three original members, the brothers Donald and Lynford Manning.
King Chango is a New York-based combo playing Latin ska. The band is huge and features plenty of horns, percussion and accordion to keep things sultry and exhilarating. It's perfect for Heatwave.
Ferrick is not your everyday female folk singer. For one thing, she rocks. And she's not as overwrought as that other Melissa. Ferrick is fierce and fiery onstage, known for her live performances and off-the-cuff humor.
An explosive guitarist, Hill is a big buzz on the electric blues circuit. His slide playing is amazing, and Hill's cover of Papa Was a Rolling Stone makes you second-guess the original. His backup Mob ain't too shabby either.
Bird's recent Swimming Hour is amazing. Violinist Bird and his Bowl of Fire mesh 1930s swing, German Lieder music and New Orleans jazz to create a gorgeous pastiche. Bird's music isn't just clever, it's sincere and brimming with passion.
The Prodigals calls itself "jig punk," and the name works. The New York band blends Celtic music with good old-fashioned punk and a bit of the danceable stuff. It's one of the few bands -- okay, the only band -- out there combining accordion with drum and bass beats.
Intveld has been doing that cow punk thing, you know, playing surly roots music and alt-country, since before these Wilco and Son Volt characters were even out of high school. Like his rockabilly idol, Gene Vincent, Intveld sings with classic, lip-curlin' cool. Intveld's was the singing voice for Johnny Depp's hood in Cry Baby.
From Tupelo, Miss., Thorn was a boxer and a sky diver before entering the crazy world of rootsy rock. Thorn's delivery is a bit quirky, humorous in the way of Lyle Lovett, though some brows may furrow at his Oprah Winfrey references.
Split Lip Rayfield is actually a string band with stand-up bass and mandolin. Some fans call it "speed metal-bluegrass," which is funny until you hear Split Lip's taut, feisty picking and it starts to make sense. The songs are all about losing women and drinking whiskey. But, then, all the best ones are.
After gigs in the Rock*A*Teens and the Jody Grind, the marvelous Hogan now blesses us and the Cosmonauts with her gorgeous alto. Hogan does it all: twangy standards, torch songs, rock 'n' roll gems and stunning originals.
Oakland's Blectum From Blechdom is two ladies who like to experiment with electronics, weird costumes and occasionally onstage karaoke to teen pop boy band hits. Last year's The Messy Jesse Fiesta was filled with fun songs about love, sheet rubble and pool etiquette.
Magic Red is a blues guitarist known for his ballistic, crazy style. Backed by the Voodoo Tribe, the sound is heavy, rhythmic and driving.
Pleasant uses irony and humor to convey his wry messages of life. Songs such as Bad Haircut, Psycho Roommate and She's in Love With a Geek speak for themselves.
Richmond, Va.'s, River City High plays fast, energetic, bright, young punk rock.
Boston's Day plays intelligent acoustic pop. The 20-year-old has developed a loyal following by touring all over the country.
Don't make the mistake of assuming "local music" means somehow "inferior." Some of the Tampa Bay area's finest take to the stage for Tropical Heatwave, including jazz collective the Irritable Tribe of Poets, all-female folk rockers the Fallopian Tubes, jazzy freaks the Gita, arty alt-rockers Dumbwaiters, the smart and poppy Unrequited Loves, ska and reggae band the Strangeways, newgrass funksters Blue Plate Special and DJs Brina Busto, Rane and Courtney K.