Music on the Bay
Day 1: Ready-Set-Go Music on the Bay
Whiskey Joe’s started to transform into a Parrot Head Retreat for the 4th annual Trop Rock music festival, Music on the Bay, in Tampa, FL. Goodie bags being stuffed, vendors arriving with fully loaded vehicles and trailers. The staff at Whiskey Joe’s hauling loots and boxes of beverages to stock the bar and the new outdoor food trailer that will help take some of the load off the kitchen indoors. The outdoor view of the beach area was full of busy volunteers transforming the vacant beach area into a Parrot Head shopping village and seating area for the weekend residents. The palapas were tagged with the winners names and the beach chairs began to claim their spots in front of both stages.
Registration was soon in the works and lines went fast as everyone entered to gather around the Tiki stage and the new fire pit near the dance floor to listen to Charlie Imes. Charlie warmed up the phlock as he sang warm songs about islands and summer. Beer songs always get the crowd of feathers going. He also gave us a little IPA beer education and recommendation for a local tourist attraction, the Tampa Bay Brewery Company, he enjoyed visiting while staying in the area. Who came on stage to join Charlie? Emcee “Sunny Jim” James White. The two performed as if they played everyday together. I have yet to see an artist Sunny Jim can’t play with. The sun was going down and taking all the warmth with it but leaving us to enjoy one hot stage as Charlie finished his set singing a Hugo Duarte song that brought out the hugs and love in memory of this great artist.
The crowd was ready for the next duo to get up and start us on our traditional Let’s-Get-This-Weekend-Kicked-Off performance. “Are you ready for some fun, sun and music this weekend?” The famous question. John Frinzi and Sunny Jimmy (sporting their new hair cuts) took the stage with a smiling force of songs, puns and yes the annual wine toast was done on stage. Both showcased their songs from their new cds. Sunny Jim’s newest cd is “Rum Shoes” and John Frinzi with his new 2014 cd “Salt River.”
Day 2: Texas-Florida-Georgia and a Mermaid
Day two of the ultimate line-up, started with a cloudy morning and Sunny Jim on the Tiki stage entertaining us as we enjoyed Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s. Yes the very first conga line of the weekend began during Sunny Jim’s set. “Pushing the Bus” is now a fun conga line song. The dark heavy clouds over the bay kept the temps cool and no need for sun screen, but a few folks could have used some wind screen.
Jerry Diaz and Hanna’s Reef were the first to perform on the beach stage christening it with some Texas tropical country music. Jerry and the boys brought out some mighty fine Gulf music to sing and dance to. I have to admit the “Beer” song had Parrot Heads singin’ and toasting with laughter. Something about those beer songs has the Tampa Bay Parrot Head club shouting “What time is it?” – Everyone by the end of the weekend would shout the answer “Its time for a team drink – woooooo!”
Duo Highway 1 Band had the Tiki stage all day between band set ups on the Beach stage. Joel and Tea of Highway 1 Band had the crowd dancing and laughing with their entertaining style of lyrics. These two won Florida’s Brevard County – Brevard Live Music Award for entertainers of the year in 2014 and put Trop Rock as a genre on the award venue. The two did not disappoint this Parrot Head Phlock at all. Tail feathers came together to catch the show and shake their feathers as the music would not let you sit still. The Tiki area was pretty crowed once these two began to play. I even saw Sunny Jim pull out a pan to play with them.
Steve Tolliver of the Trop Rock Junkies could be heard sounding off a few test shout outs. Yes the Trop Rock Junkies had a great set of sound guys this year and they sounded awesome. Steve and guys set us off on little tours from one island to another and they did not leave out the “O” song. Bill McLees leads us through the instructions along with laughter as we all try to make that “O” with our arms over our heads. This may sound simple to some, but to the early birds who have caught their buzz (this is the 4th band at 2 o’clock in the afternoon) might have to go back to school for this lesson. Thanks to the Trop Rock Junkies for the Caribbean 1, US 1 and A1A songs that had us dancing in Florida time.
Next up on the Beach stage, a South East Florida favorite Jimmy Buffett Tribute band (who has performed with Jimmy Buffett) is Jimmy Stowe and the Stowaways aiming for us to hear every Buffett song made. Jimmy and the Stowaways exclusively perform Jimmy Buffett songs and they know a lot of them. We heard some we hadn’t heard in a while or had forgotten. Trivia of “what year?” started in some parts of the crowd and in other areas of the crowd it was “I remember that concert tour.” Jimmy Stowe and the Stowaways brought out a lot of stories and fun times for the phlockers.
Watch out for a mermaid dressed for photo ops and fun entertainment at the Tiki bar. Free shots of Fireball and Austin’s Original Deep Eddy Ruby Red Grapefruit infused Vodka were offered at booths near the Tiki stage.
Not a bad intro by Sunny Jim and Steve Huntington of Radio Margaritaville “If the Boat Drunks can come see us in the Keys – We can go see the Boat Drunks.” Too much fun watching Mike Miller and the band perform some of my favorite songs which included “Hollow Man” and dancing with my roommates. The Boat Drunks are full of talent and characters! They played us into the last set of the Highway 1 Band back on the Tiki stage.
What a treat to see Jim Asbell and the Tropiholics closing the night on the Beach stage. Nine people in the band and Sunny Jim on the pans was the perfect way to end a Friday night on Tampa Bay. The horn section was amazing and Jim Asbell gave a spectacular performance from start to end. The Tropiholics and Sunny Jim kept us dancing on the beach in the cool sand like hot potatoes. There is something to be said about a tropical band that has a horn or two or three – Amazing.
Day 3: Umbrella Conga Lines with a side of Gumbo
Saturday rain did not stop Sunny Jim from serenading us while we hovered under the big tiki bar enjoying another morning of Mimosa’s and Bloody Mary’s. He tried singing every sunny rainy song from “Falling in the rain” and “I can see clearly” by Bob Marley to his own original “Sky ,Sand, Water, Moon” to dry up the rain. The crowd of funny moms were even singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” It did not work.
Latitude took the Tiki stage looking and sounding great considering the pouring rain and wind. How wonderful Michele looked in her hat and Tom looked handsome in his too. No bad wind or rain hair day for these two super trockers. Playing their finest songs and joking about the weather. Sunny Jim even did a dance on the fire pit to try to scare away the rain (at least I think that’s what he was doing). Tom and Michele couldn’t stop the rain or the conga lines. That’s right…. a real parrot can shake the water off.
The Parrot Heads on Saturday were real Trockers, having a blast despite the weather. Renn Loren gave us two performances on the Tiki stage, bringing a big island feel with his music adding the Hawaiian sound from his vocals. Due to the weather the Tiki stage was the only stage open and Renn managed a quick change over to the Sauce Boss. Not letting the rain stop the him from making gumbo, Bill “Sauce Boss” Wharton took his wireless act into the crowd of rainy parrots singing and dancing.
He even laughed saying “Got make the gumbo” rain or shine. As part of Music on the Bay’s fundraising for the Shriners Hospitals for Children, fans contribute a little something for a hot cup of Sauce Boss Gumbo freshly made during his show.
As the rain slows and The Young Rebel Goombas set up on the beach stage. Richie & Cosmo welcomed everyone to the wet beach with Goomba style. Rob Cutts (sax player) did not shy away from the sprinkles as he went out and performed on a picnic table. Thanks for the shout out from the Young Rebel Goombas announcing the winner of The Shore Radio and Trop Rockin’ Magazine swag basket of goodies to attendee, Bob Johnson. Bob also received a brand new copy of the Goomba’s new cd “go key west”… lucky guy! The new cd songs were played and the crowd loved them. Sticking true to the Goomba style the new cd has a big sound. Parrot Heads once again weathered the wind and rain for the Goombas.
Next on the scene was Jimmy and The Parrots. Jimmy welcomed many special guests this year join him on stage including his cousin, who helped teach him guitar and introduce him to wide variety of music. Jimmy being Jimmy said “Do you want to meet my cousin?” which quickly turned into “lets hear my cousin sing!” You can always count a fun unscripted show from these guys. Energy and great music are always on their play list. Mark Leimbach did some fancy playing on his electric guitar, even out on the beach surrounded by the crowd. It was just an all around great performance which included Sunny Jim too.
The Tiki stage hosted Rich “Schooner” McGuire performing the last two sets of its stage. Rich kept the phlock phlocking through the crazy weather changes. For his second performance, it was just what the phlock needed, a slower pace before the next big band. The Beach stage began to make some noise as Tall Paul and Quincey ran around setting up and doing sound tests. Ramajay Intercoastal hit the beach with a force of island sounds and lyrics to make you move your feet and flap those feathers. You can’t help but to smile and shake shake – shake your body now. Howie (Boat Drunks) and Sunny Jim joined in on the stage event. This was an all out beach party jam island Caribbean style. I felt like my body was Bernie’s from weekend at Bernie’s. I was dead on my feet after a wonderful wet cold day of dancing and this music making me move in ways I do not know. Yea Mon – great way to end a Saturday night on Tampa Bay.
Day 4: Jammin’ with the J’s
Seems your name needed a prominent “J” to be on the stage today! Sunny and a warm Sunday we gathered our old saved up hotel keys grabbed our mimosa’s and hit the Beach stage for Capt. Josh and Banjody. I joked with Banjody asking if he brought his heating pad this year? He said “why no I didn’t” and it’s a good thing because the weather is hot and Banjody had no shade on his side of the stage. So we really did get a hot banjo performance out of him. Capt. Josh had the ladies plus three guys run up to the stage to throw their hotel keys during his famous “Room Key” song.
Michael J. Weiss had the Tiki stage all a glow with his youthful self singing in that county style with that cute smile. The ladies phlocked the stage to hear this young cutie sooth a microphone. His brother Ethan joined him as his merchandise sales representative and a young shirtless salesman he was.
The Beach stage was getting loud as the crowd phlocked to hear Jack Mosley Band warm up and test their mics. There was no sand unclaimed as Jack came out on stage and began to play his songs from his new cd “Sail On ( Return to the Edmund Fitzgerald).” Jack also added in a few Hugo Duarte songs and stories. Thanks for the memories and a wonderful tribute to Hugo.
Back at the Tiki stage Ethan joined his brother Michael J. Weiss for a song as he did an art dance acting out the song lyrics. Sunny Jim played right on through the song with just a Sunny stare watching Ethan. Sunny Jim announced this is either the start of something new or a once in a Trop Rock moment. Yeah… it happened. Great job Michael did playing through with only a snicker or two reminding Ethan that his wife will see this.
Time for the finale on the Beach stage as it was being loaded with talent of the send off band. Jim Morris and the Big Bamboo Band had the sun and fans shining and beaming to every tune. There is always wine, women and someone showing off their party dress. That is just part of why we love the Big Bamboo Band. Jim showcased new songs from his latest cd and to his surprise, the crowd already learned all the words.
It was a good time at this all season – all weather event! Once again Thank You to Music On The Bay for giving us another memorable weekend of Trop Rock Music.
Photos by: Millie Marie Taylor, Ann Ballard, Rick Spink & Linda Hebert
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