Sunfest 33: Fireworks!


The full moon shines on the Sunfest fireworks as they burst above the trees surrounding the Clematis St. fountain

[Typist Notes: Today is New Year’s Eve; at the end of today, cities all over the world will be welcoming the New Year with fireworks at midnight. One of those cities will be West Palm Beach. But in addition to New Year’s and the Fourth of July, the other big fireworks occasion for West Palm is the final night of Sunfest. Here are some pictures and recollections from that night.]

About thirty minutes after the final notes of the Fall Out Boy concert that brought this festival to an end, Sunfest put on their usual stellar fireworks show to conclude the festivities. Prior to their start, Empress K and I had been inside the festival’s media center (in the Cuillo Centre for the Arts, on Clematis Street), so we just walked out into the street and started taking photos.

I benefited greatly from using film-camera lenses on a DSLR. Empress K explained to the newbie digital-SLR photographer that due to the DSLR in question not having a full-size sensor, the magnification for the lens is actually 1.5 times what it would normally be. So a lens that zooms to 200mm on a film SLR will actually go to 300mm (I’m sure I’m not doing the technical explanation justice, but I imagine you can find the details on some photography website, if interested.) I also benefited from the full moon appearing that evening and acting as a nice complement to the man-made light show.

I never imagined I could capture the beauty of fireworks in photographs, so it was nice to be proven wrong. Enjoy the rest of my images from this colourful conclusion of a great music/arts festival.



More Shrimp?

Jumbo Shrimp Inc. at Sunfest 2015
Jumbo Shrimp (four members)
Members of Jumbo Shrimp Inc. at Sunfest 2015. (l-r) Dylan Thomas (guitar), Ben Rothschild (guitar/vocals), John Cardillo III (drums), Angel Leiser (bass)

There are a few reasons to be talking about Jumbo Shrimp Inc. this Thanksgiving weekend. First, discussing shrimp is very timely, given that  it was seafood on the menu of the original Thanksgiving dinner, not turkey. But more importantly, Jumbo Shrimp Inc. is hosting a party this weekend on Saturday, November 28th for its second release this year. Yes, a scant six months after the release of Nostalgia Calls, this School-Of-Rock band is ready with another album, entitled Thoughts. This weekend’s show is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the School of Rock’s South Palm Beach Campus (7433 S. Military Trail, Lake Worth, FL 33463).

Austin Klewan of Jumbo Shrimp Inc. on keyboard
Austin Klewan on keyboard

The other reason to be doing a Jumbo Shrimp post at this time is in keeping with the Thanksgiving theme of abundance. When I had my press pass for this year’s Sunfest, most bands would only allow you to photograph for 2-3 songs anyway, but that was not the case for these young rockers, so I was able to shoot over two rolls of film on them. Yeah, that’s right, I said “film”; the picture below is proof of that and more:

Jagged-Edge Shrimp


Yes, not only do I still shoot on film, one of the SLRs I use is completely manual, and the picture above is the result of a less-than-accurate film advance. But I felt the unintended appearance looked cool, so I used it anyway…

At any rate, some more of my bonus Sunfest pictures appear below, and if you’re in the South Florida area, stop by the album release party on the 28th. Enjoy the abundance…





Eats and Beats on Mainstreet


The latest music happening brought to you by Belle Forino, everybody’s favourite event organizer, is “Eat to The Beat on MainStreet“, to be held on Saturday November 21st, from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Mainstreet at Midtown outdoor area in Palm Beach Gardens.

The press release for this event promises “ thirteen food trucks, three bands and five hours of dancing, eating, drinking and fun”, so let’s get into the details of the bands. Of the three musical acts slated to perform, the one best known to local music fans is probably Miami’s Spam All-Stars. This nine-piece hip-hop/Latin/ funk/electronica band counts many musicians within its fanbase, so you know they don’t suck. The Spam All-Stars have also performed at West Palm’s premier music event, Sunfest.

The other Miami act on the bill is Magic City Hippies (formerly the Robbie Hunter Band). This group’s sound is best described as acoustic guitar music mixed with Latin and hip-hop grooves.

The band Flow Tribe hails from New Orleans, and lately The Big Easy has been noted for producing jazz/soul acts with jam-band sensibilities (think Galactic and Trombone Shorty). So expect a lot of bluesy-soulful music you can jam out to.

So to recap, Eat to The Beat promises three very danceable bands, a plethora of food options, and did we mention it’s free? Get your hungry, hip-shaking butt up to Palm Beach Gardens for a good time this Saturday afternoon…

Sunfest 33: Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump, with bassist Pete Wentz
Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump, with bassist Pete Wentz

The crowd that gathered for the final festival headliner could be described as large, young, mostly female and very passionate. How passionate? When I first arrived at the photo pit between the front of the stage and The Stand, the first thing I noticed about that reserved SRO section was that it was already packed to the gills with enthusiastic fans.

Fall Out Boy audience
The Fall Out Boy audience

Then in checking out the stage setup, I realized my best vantage point for taking pictures, i.e., standing on one of the fold-down seats in front of The Stand, would have me obscuring the view of whichever avid concertgoer happened to be behind me. So I turned to the woman I’d most likely be blocking and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll only be here for three songs.”

She shot me a horrified look and wailed “Three songs???”

So needless to say, when alt-rockers Fall Out Boy took to the stage, the reaction was immediate and loud. So loud, the band’s amps almost couldn’t keep up. But frontman Patrick Stump, bassist Pete Wentz , guitarist Joe Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley soldiered on,  playing mighty hits such as “Sugar We’re Going Down Swinging”, “Centuries”, “Alone Together”, “Thnks fr th Mmrs” (text-speak for “Thanks for the Memories”) and the group’s latest single, “Uma Thurman”, a song that’s been all over every kind of radio all summer long. All in all, a very spirited way to end a very spirited festival…

Drummer Andy Hurley
Drummer Andy Hurley

Patrick Stump, lead singer for Fall Out Boy

Sunfest 33: Matisyahu


[Typist’s Notes: While the Type Writer was waiting in vain for The Pixies to play “Here Comes Your Man”, his press partner Empress K of Reggae Reflection was at the other end of the festival listening to (and photographing) Hebrew reggae artist Matisyahu. Here is her account (and photographs) of that concert]

It’s been three years since Matisyahu and his 3 piece band Dub Trio last performed at SunFest.  At that time, Matisyahu had recently transformed his image with short blonde hair, a clean shaven face and without his yarmulke.  This year, Matisyahu has slightly transformed his image again; his hair is slightly longer, definitely more gray than blonde and he now has a short graying beard, for the time being at least.


What hasn’t changed is the quality of the message in his music and the love of his fans. We thought he had a capacity crowd during his last performance on the same stage at SunFest.  We had no idea until we saw the massive crowd in attendance this year, all trying to fit into the small FPL stage area.

The late afternoon set included music from most of his albums including his 5th studio album, “Akeda”, released in June of 2014.   For his closing song he performed his chart topping song “One Day”, a song expressing hope for peace from his 2009 album, “Light”.  Matisyahu then invited many of his enthusiastic fans to join the celebration on stage, some waving Israeli flags.  We fully expect that the next time Matisyahu performs at SunFest, he will be scheduled for one of the larger festival stages where his fans will have even more room to embrace the unique blend of Reggae Music that Matisyahu brings to the fans.


Sunfest 33: The Pixies

Pixie frontman Black Francis
Pixie frontman Black Francis

A large multi-generational crowd weathered the mid-afternoon heat to watch this veteran alternative band. The Boston-area group opened their set with an ode to front-man Black Francis’ college, “U-Mass.” This crunchy track from the group’s 1991 release Trompe Le Monde set the stage for a loud performance of guitar-driven New Wave such as “Wave of Mutilation.”

Lead guitarist Joey Santiago
Lead guitarist Joey Santiago

Francis alternated between acoustic and electric guitars while singing bawdy but learned lyrics such as “You are the son of a motherf**ker” from the track “Nimrod’s Son”, a reference to the incestuous behaviour of that biblical character. The group also introduced a new song during the set, which mainly seemed to consist of Francis yelling out “I’m a super!” repeatedly.

Drummer David Lovering
Drummer David Lovering

The position of bassist, held originally by Breeders ‘ front-woman Kim Deal, has been filled by Paz Lechantin from A Perfect Circle since late 2013. The group may no longer be performing songs where Kim sang lead, but Paz does supply background vocals on several numbers.

While the material bordered on punk at times, some tunes near the end of the set were a bit more melodic. But what might have seemed to be a lead-in for the group’s best-known single, “Here Comes Your Man” was not to be, as that song did not make this set-list. Like the lyrics say, “there is a wait so long” for a song that did not come. Surely the omission of a band’s biggest hit from a festival performance has to be the ultimate in party fouls.


Sunfest 33: Iration

Iration frontman Micah Pueschel, with bassist Adam Taylor in the background
Iration frontman Micah Pueschel, with bassist Adam Taylor in the background

The blue sky of Sunfest’s final day was complemented by the “sunshine reggae” of this Hawaiian/Californian band. Guitarist/frontman Micah Pueschel led the band through a sampling of the group’s nine years’ worth of releases, and also a couple new songs. The upbeat single “Reelin” was released about a week before that show, and “Midnight”, a track from the upcoming summer release “Hotting Up” was also performed. The appreciative college-aged audience sang along with a lot of the material, which included crowd favourites such as “Turn Around” and “Summer Nights.”   The group’s other guitarist/vocalist Micah Brown sang lead for the Bob Marley cover “Is This Love”, with bassist Adam Taylor smiling behind his shades the whole show. The encore consisted of more popular material: “Falling” and “Time Bomb.”

Bassist Adam Taylor
Bassist Adam Taylor [photo by Empress K of Reggae Reflection]