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Tampa Bay Margarita Festival

Tampa, Florida Weather Couldn’t Stop Plain White T’s + The Wallflowers Performances

Tampa, Florida (May 26 – 27, 2018) It’s the last weekend in May in Tampa, FL, and you would think it’s sunny and warm, but no, it is rainy, windy, and altogether a weekend best spent inside. Did that stop people from showing up at the 2018 Tampa Bay Margarita Festival? No! When it comes to tequila and great music, rain just isn’t enough to stop people from showing up.

This year’s Margarita Festival offered up some great alternative rock acts. Acts on deck included Fastball, Plain White T’s, The Wallflowers, and Everclear. Over the course of the Memorial Day weekend, Saturday featured Plain White T’s, and The Wallflowers. While Sunday Fastball and Everclear were slated to perform.

With bands of on and off rain and the mud that ensued, everyone was wondering if mother nature would let the music play tonight. As show time neared, the rain started to let up and the crowd knew they were going to get to see the bands that were up for tonight’s show.

Plain White T’s © Splice Magazine – Mark Matson. Please do not alter images.

First up was Plain White T’s. The Plain White T’s were formed back in 1997 in Lombard, IL, originally as a trio. The group had Tom Higgenson as guitarist and vocalist, Ken Fletcher on bass, and Dave Tirio as the drummer. Over time Fletcher left and was replaced by Mike Retondo, and the band was eventually filled out with Tim Lopez as the lead guitarist, De’Mar Randell Hamilton as the drummer, and Tirio shifting from drummer to rhythm guitarist.

When the band hit the stage, everyone was thrilled. Opening their set with “Pause” from their 2015 release, American Nights, the guys were tack sharp. Higgenson’s vocals sounded like they were lifted right off the album. As they moved from song to song on their set the rest of the band did a fantastic job. From Lopez’s inspired guitar work and interplay with rhythm guitarist Tirio to the rock solid rhythm section of Retondo and Hamilton on drums.

When it came time for the band to play it’s Grammy Award-nominated hit, “Hey There Delilah”, it was what everyone was waiting for. Rain or not, the band delivered. As they were throughout the night, they performed flawlessly. Higgenson’s delicate acoustic guitar work matched the song to a T, and of course, with the crowd singing along it really made for a great moment.

The Wallflowers © Splice Magazine – Mark Matson. Please do not alter images.

As the 9:30 pm start time for The Wallflowers approached, the rain started to rear its ugly head once again. The on and off drizzle had settled into a steady rain. Rain or not, the crowd wasn’t going anywhere; everyone wanted to see Jakob Dylan and the rest of the band.

The Wallflowers were formed in Los Angeles, CA, in 1989 by Dylan with the band going through several lineup changes through the years. The latest version, of course, has Jakob Dylan as the vocalist and guitarist, Stanton Adcock the lead guitarist, bassist Steve Mackey, drummer Lynn Williams, and keyboardist, Jimmy Wallace.

They opened their performance with “Three Marlena’s” from their album, Bringing Down the Horse. What a top-notch band Dylan has put together. It was a real treat listening to guitarist Adcock; his slide guitar work simply amazing. Even though it was raining, everyone was thrilled with their performance and the rain made the party that much more fun. Things really kicked into high gear when it came time for them to play their mega-hits, “One Headlight” and “Sixth Avenue Heartache”, both from Bringing Down the Horse. You could tell this was the highlight for many in the crowd, as everyone knew the words and wasn’t afraid to sing along and dance in the rain!

Rain or no rain, what a great night of music by both bands. If you were one of the lucky people to brave the weather, not only did you get to enjoy all sorts of great food and amazing margaritas, but you also got some world-class entertainment by The Plain White T’s and The Wallflowers.

Unfortunately, everyone found out what can stop tequila, and great music, subtropical storm Alberto. Due to the impending storm, the governor of Florida declared a state of emergency. For the sake of everyone’s safety, the second day of the festival had to be canceled. The promoters of the 2018 Tampa Bay Margarita Festival will have their hand’s full topping the music acts they had this year, and I am looking forward to next years festival to see what they do.


Plain White T’s:

The Wallflowers:

Tampa Bay Margarita Festival:

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