Field Trip South, Day 2
The Belltowers, The Midnight Larks, The Stents, The Schizophonics, The Ar-kaics, The Woggles, and Southern Culture on the Skids
Friday, February 25, Orlando, FL
Day two of Field Trip South and the levels of anticipation are palpable. Each band on Friday was sharp,with The Little Richards setting an impossibly high bar on the energy level. But Saturday was anew day with different flavors to experience and enjoy.
Orlando’s own the Belltowers got the party started early with their jangly, swirling psychedelic flavored rock. With standout track “Wait!” as the centerpiece of the show. Their best numbers had a sense of urgency and impeccable harmonies.
From Atlanta, G-A,came The Midnight Larks. With matching black outfits complete with capes, Sasha Vallely and Nikki Speake cut a striking presence onstage. Theirs was a darker, moodier brand of music. Full of chiming reverb and harmonies, it’s as if Annabelle Lee’s granddaughters found their way into a music room and went electric.
The Stents came all the way from Baltimore and made the most of their hour on stage. With a muscular set they plowed through grimy, sooty blues, this must be what the Vanilla Fudge sounded like when they were still The Pidgins. “Bird Doggin’” growls and snarls trying to break free its restraints. There’s a dangerous feel to all of it. Clearly you don’t want to turn your back on them lest things take a turn for the worst.
The Schizophonics have to be seen to be believed. From the ranks of The Little Richards came Pat Beers, Lety Beers, and Brian Reilly. Guitarist and vocalist Pat Beers having an less cluttered stage, took full advantage of the space and threw himself about in a manic, inspired performance which called to mind the most legendary frontmen of days gone by. But this is 2017. James Brown really is dead. Iggy pop’s numbered days are increasingly fewer (God bless him), and most every young act seems relatively safe. But Pat Beers enters the pantheon of the enigmatic, by leaving all who see him live exhilarated and uncertain of how to explain what they’ve seen. The Schizophonics are the band of your fevered dreams come to life.
The Ar-kaics are as raw as that first batch of homemade wine you’re a little too eager to try. It’ll give you a buzz you’ll never forget. Consumed by the moment, the band gave a resolute set of 60’s styled, no BS rock.
The Woggles have been at this for 20 years and have it down to a science. With matching shirts they look like they could be sharing the stage with Paul Revere and the Raiders in ’66. And they were seriously amazing.” A blistering version of Chubby Checkers, “Karate Monkey” was a highlight.
Southern Culture on the Skids were absolutely perfect. With an effortless delivery Rick Miller, Mary Huff, and Dave Hartman took the stage and opened with the Link Wray inspired “Skullbucket.” SCOTS has been doing this forever and are beyond reproach. The worlds only deep fried, reverbed, tiki lounge, surf band are still hard to top.
Field Trip South organizers Carol Benanti and Scott Sugiuchi knocked this out of the park on their first attempt. Bands from the West Coast and North East and points in between were represented. Garage bands of every stripe from well established to up and coming were included and all of went off without a hitch. There are rumors that another another festival,most likely for 2018, is currently in the planning. One can only hope.