Date: Saturday, May 3rd, 2014
Line Up: Slightly Stoopid
Venue: Big Guava Music Festival Tampa, FL
This past Saturday, The Pier was fortunate enough to get a chance to check out the inaugural Big Guava Music Festival. The event boasted a BIG line-up including a set from one of our favorite bands, Slightly Stoopid!
For events hosted in Florida, rain is just something that’s dealt with. Normally it’s beautiful, but in the summer, there is always that chance of an afternoon storm. When an event sets a date, it’s really just the luck of the draw. For example, back in April, when Livenation put on the Wanee Festival, they lucked-out with great weather the entire weekend. On this weekend, however, Livenation’s event happened to fall during a bit of Florida climate change.
Though many people didn’t brave the weather, those who did sawm not only an amazing line-up of talent, but also a fairground transformed into a land of music, food, and fun. Typically, when we venture out to Tampa, we either see a show at their enormous amphitheater or hit up the fairgrounds for a carnival. But never have we got to experience an event that fused all that fun.
Pulling up to the festival in the early evening, the clouds covered the atmosphere, but it seemed the storm was quickly blowing east. We walked past the main Big Guava amphitheater stage, through a trail of glowing inflatables that lined the path. Through the Craft Beer Garden, with a quick stop, and unfortunately passing food truck row, we cut through the vendors’ area and the Thrill Zone to a packed crowd, jammed in front of the Grove Stage, ready to see San Diego’s Slightly Stoopid.
As soon as Slightly Stoopid started playing, it seemed as if everyone was standing on a sunny, sandy beach. The group started out with a short instrumental intro before easing through a few older favorites, ”Till It Gets Wetm” “Wicked Rebel” and then ”Hold Onto The One”, a track Miles dedicated to his parents, Florida residents, in attendance for the night.
That intro really seemed to set the mood for the show as that older vibe seemed to dictate the musical energy coming off stage. The band played several songs off their latest release, Top Of The World and several tracks off Chronchitis, keeping a chill mellowness. There was more of the band’s base sound, their original beachy reggae-tinged, bouncy, dance tunes, rather than their fusion of harder Rock.
Mid Way through the set, to the crowd’s surprise, Don Carlos was brought out to join in on several songs. As always, dressed to the nines, the Reggae legend took the mic at center stage, leading on vocals, all while performing his beloved dance steps. After a few more tracks, including a few personally favorite covers of “Jet Plane” and “Express Yourself”, Slightly Stoopid’s hour was up. And while fans screamed for one more, the instruments had been unplugged, the strikers were out and the set was over.
It was another great set by Slightly Stoopid. One that proves once again that despite weather or anything else, it’s about the music, it’s about just chilling-out and having a good time. A characteristic this band is known for. Another being, their ability to diversify their set-list, switching things up on the fly. This set was completely different than the one The Pier saw weeks ago on April 19th at Red Rocks, and we can’t wait to see what Slightly Stoopid brings to Bonnaroo, and on their upcoming Summer Sessions Tour.
Being that Big Guava takes place on the Florida Fairgrounds, there was a ton of space and facilities to work with during the event. Brilliantly, festival organizers had decided to make use of the giant exhibit hall, turning the venue into an indoor arena. Playing on that stage, 30-minutes into the Slightly Stoopid set was Jason Bohnham’s Led Zeppelin Experience. Knowing the history of Zeppelin, after Slightly Stoopid was over, we rushed to the Nectar Stage to rock!
Jason Bonham the son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, has played with the remaining members of Led Zeppelin several different times, namely at the O2 Arena reunion show in 2007, as well as in rehearsal during the following year for the never-to-happen reunion tour. More recently, Jason played drums on a performance of ”Stairway to Heaven” during the Led Zeppelin tribute at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2012. Since 2010, Jason continues to keep the music alive, performing many infamous Led Zeppelin tracks, live with his band.
Walking into the building almost mid-way through the set, it seemed like we arrived at the perfect time, as the band was barring down on a run of famed-hits. As the iconic count-off of The Ocean started and the intro beats belted out, we moved over to stage right, gaining a better view of Bonham working the kit. Coincidentally, standing just to the side of us was Slightly Stoopid saxophonist Daniel Dela’ Delacruz, along with the band’s drummer Ryan ‘Rymo’ Moran. Something worth mentioning, only because of how cool it was to see someone from your favorite band, someone you have watched play for years, watch another musician.
The band closed with a beautiful version of “Stairway” before coming back out to play ”Whole Lotta Love” as the sets encore. The show was quite the experience, one of those sets you are really glad you got to see!
To finish out the day, we decided to catch the headlining set from Vampire Weekend. Going into this show was a unique experience, simply because we had not really listened to their music. We had only just heard of the band, from the 2013 release of their third studio album, Modern Vampires of the City, a record that won them a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album in 2014.
The group has gained a large following over the past few years. We’ve seen their name atop of many festival line-ups and now was the chance to see them live.
Zigzagging through various sections of the crowd, fans were noticeably excited, as they waited to see the anticipated headlining act. Once the group took the stage, they charmed almost 10,000 people or so with their classy-pop-rock. The group kept to a tight set working the amphitheater, maximizing the sound quality with a well balanced blend of acoustics during 80-minutes of their hits.
All in all, we had a great time out a Big Guava. Livenation really pulled out all the stops, and had a festival packed with music, delicious food and activities. The event was a definitely a step up from its founding event, last year’s Funshine Music Festival, as there seem to be more focus on artists and acts from a younger and more mainstream talent pool. If Livenation keeps this up, Florida is looking to have a line-up of many amazing festivals in the near future!
Slightly Stoopid Setlist:
Hold Onto The One
Up On A Plane
Anywhere I Go
Way You Move
Just A Passing Glance*
Hog & Goat*
Never Give You Up
Trying To Conquer Me
Pon Da Horizon / Dancing Moodz
We Don’t Wanna Go
Big Guava Music Festival Links:
Big Guava Website
Big Guava Facebook
Article and Photos By: Aaron Solomon