The last day of the 2014 Florida Music Festival (FMF) was Saturday, April 26 in downtown Orlando. This is a full day at the festival with the morning BMI Brunch at the Gibson Orlando Showcase, the music industry and artist conferences all afternoon and then more music showcases to cap off the day.
The BMI Brunch showcase at Gibson offered up some sweet musical treats for attendees. First up was a solo acoustic performance from Orlando singer/songwriter Matthew Fowler. His passionate vocals and the bluesy tone of his music made for a great start to the day. Next up was a set from Lucy Iris an artist with a big voice and feisty, up-tempo music with a danceable flair.
Reggie Williams was next with a solo acoustic performance. His booming voice, soulful vocals and memorable songs are just the beginning of all that is right from this performer on the rise. Closing out the BMI showcase was another powerful vocal performer, Lara Johnston.
While the conferences were going on, music fans got to enjoy a several song sound check from Ed Kowalczyk and his band. The former Live singer/songwriter sounded great and gave the fans a lot to look forward to later in the evening for his headlining set.
The first band of the evening at Wall Street Plaza was Save the Radio. The Tampa band was fun to watch and TL Jentgens is quite the dancer on stage, during the show, while playing drums and sometimes instead of playing drums. As an added bonus, the music was really good, super catchy and made their set even more enjoyable to witness.
Once their set was done, The School of Rock Oviedo band members started up on the main stage. The school kids played terrific covers of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix to open their set.
Then it was back to the second stage at Wall Street Plaza for a solo acoustic set from Thomas Nicholas. Yep, the actor is also a talented singer/songwriter. Using loops to expand his sound, Nicholas opened his set with the song made famous through the “American Pie” movies, “Laid.” He also played his own song that made the “American Reunion” soundtrack “My Generation” as well as songs from his four CDs. It was a good storytellers session for old and new fans of his music.
After his set, it was time for A Brilliant Lie at The BackBooth. The band had the crowd eating out of their hands from the moment they started playing. The energy flow went over the top when the band played their version of Journey’s “Separate Ways” complete with 80’s wardrobe additions.
Over at Wall Street Plaza, fans were excited for a set from the Tallahassee based Americana band David Lareau & the Copperpots. At Magnolia’s FMF open mic it Orlando singer/songwriter Loi Head had the stage. Her voice ran the spectrum from soft and gentle to soaring with passion as she played her songs for the music fans lucky enough to have made it over to her show.
After her set, it was time for The Electric Sons at The Social. The four piece Atlanta band was making their first foray into Florida on tour with their high-energy alternative/electronic music. Up at Café Annie’s was the Orlando power trio The Dealers. The band slams out so many hard rocking notes during their songs it’s as if they were a 20 piece band. While at Wall Street Plaza, Neil Alday and Further South was playing some rocking Americana songs.
After their set, Savannah started up on the mainstage. The Orlando band had posted that they would be playing a set of all new songs from their upcoming album and that’s what they delivered, receiving a very enthusiastic crowd response. The new songs represent a change in sound for the band with more of a rock edge and sounded so very good, whetting everyone’s appetite for the new CD.
Once their set was finished, Groove Trunk started up on the other Wall Street stage. The four piece band got the crowd all rowdy and dancing to their funky rocking blues tunes.
Then it was back to the main stage for hard-hitting rock from Bellusira. This was the band’s second music festival appearance of the day (they played earlier at Fort Rock), but their performance didn’t show it. Lead singer Crystal Ignite was a little spitfire on stage, up and down and all over the place as she belted out the band’s hard rocking tunes.
Over at The Social, Reggie Williams was gearing up for his second performance of the day at FMF, this one with a full band. For this set the band was decked out in dress shirts and ties and of course Williams was barefoot as usual. The word must be out about Williams’ passionate vocals, quality songs and charming stage presence, because the venue was packed.
After his set, it was up to Café Annie’s for some pop/rock with Orlando band Shout London. The audience was drinking in what lead singer Tyler Whiting described as “magical songs” from the band.
Down at Wall Street Plaza, Orlando band Rug drew in a good crowd with their Americana flavored pop/rock music. Jonathan Messeroff’s smooth, captivating lead vocal has a special way of drawing listeners in and not letting go. Over at The Social, music fans were packed in for The Sh-Booms. The 11 piece band’s retro music is a terrific combination of soul, jazz and funk. They are a big hit every time they play.
Then it was over to Tanqueray’s for RJ Harman & Company. The band’s funky, bluesy jams are punctuated by Harman’s talented harmonica playing. Over at Bullit, SlickWood was giving the crowd a dose of their jamgrass roots music that included their version of a Led Zeppelin cover.
Closing out the night was Orlando’s The Bloody Jug Band at The Social. A live performance from The Bloody Jug Band is more than just the music; it’s an atmosphere, a state of mind. It’s always a high-energy good time when The Bloody Jug Band is on stage. They were a great choice to close out the festival this year.