By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa
Venue: Clearwater Sea-Blues Music Festival at Coachman Park, Clearwater, Florida–February 22nd–23rd, 2020
Rock At Night ventured down to Coachman Park in Clearwater, Florida, late Saturday afternoon, to check out the annual Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival. The festival, which was founded in 2007, features top names in the blues industry for two nights of great entertainment and plenty of seafood. The festival is actually free to the public but a VIP area near the stage was available for a small fee.
When Rock At Night arrived, blues singer and harp player Brandon Santini was entering the stage. The sun glared on the stage as Brandon played for little over an hour of foot-stomping blues. Many of the concert-goers, which consisted of mostly Baby Boomers, created a “dance floor ” outside of the fence, dancing arm-in-arm in the grass, and booty-shaking. The enthusiasm of the crowd warmed up the 50-something temperature, which was even chillier as the flame-hued sun set behind the stage.
Next up was Grammy-nominated contemporary blues band Southern Avenue. Hailing from Memphis, the band infused funk and R&B into what was a very energetic show! Fronted by singer Tierinii Jackson, this dynamic singer and dancer packed a punch as she shimmied and belted out songs from the band’s latest album Keep On. Guitarist Ori Naftaly, who is Jackson’s husband, played soulful lead guitar solos and sister T.K. Jackson was killed it on the drums. Jeremy Powell played the B-3 with Leslie speaker, often playing playful riffs, and bassist Daniel McKee, skillfully kept the rhythm going in sync with Jackson. The 90-minute set was worth the trip alone to the festival, which many will be talking about for a long time to come.
The last act of the evening at almost 9 p.m. was the talented blue-eyed soul singer Allen Stone. The crowd was thinning by this time, likely due to the chill, but Allen Stone performed his songs with gusto, many with lyrics that take on humorous notes. Stone’s voice is very reminiscent of R&B singers of the 60s, and the songs has the old Stax flavor. Again, another top notch act that some woefully missed.
Despite the chilly weather, Saturday night at the Clearwater Sea-Blues Music Festival proved to be the “place to be” in Tampa Bay, and for those that attended, was deemed totally “worth it”.