North Beach Music Festival (NBMF) is just one week away! The second iteration looks to be funk filled and jam packed, right up my alley and can’t wait. It’s hard to top last year’s inaugural but the brothers Plotnicki have outdone themselves with several of of my favorite bands and musiciancs on the planet!
It features Lotus and Lettuce, two perennial favorites as the Saturday and Sunday headliners and opens with the jammiest of jam bands Moe. on Friday night. Skerik, the mystical saxophonist and keyboardist, will add spice to several acts as the Artist-at- Large. On top of all of that, they’ve added a spectacular late night program each night with ensembles of the daytime performers and more, that is gonna make this a non-stop 72-hour party. Here’s a rundown of the day-by-day lineups and highlights.
Friday, December 9th
Moe. bring their jam heavy sound to the band shell for opening night of the festival. For me, the vibes and the extra keyboardist gets me excited for the guitar dominated jam sound. The band is a prototypical jam roots band that I first saw at Bear Creek Music Festival in 2010. It’ll be great to see them perform their final two sets before Chuck Garvey returns for their epic NYE show. Check out the Rebubula video, probably my all-time favorite tune of theirs.
Brandon “Taz” Niederauer is a guitar prodigy, now a full grown towering virtuoso that I first caught at Bear Creek Music Festival 2014 when he sat in with everybody as an Artist-at-Large. Looking forward to seeing him rage with his band right before moe.
Lemon City Trio based out of Miami has that fusion groove feel and is a favorite of one of my best music buddies. I first caught them at Suwannee Rising earlier this year and really felt the good vibes immediately – looking forward to this reprise sesh.
Lotus = top jamtronica live band. I can’t say enough about their music – such funk, fusion, futuristic feels all the time. The addition of Tim Palmieri in the lead guitar slot has added a new energy to the band in replaced the uber talented and loved long-time band member Mike Rempel. Tim exudes electricity and looks like he’s having a blast every time out. Check out the video from the Sacred Rose Festival this past summer and check out the band’s latest album Bloom and Recede as well.
Trouble No More, a supergroup paying homage to The Allman Brothers immediately precedes Lotus. The 8-piece jam band features close relatives and friends to the original group. Their intense and up-tempo renditions of the bands’ classic songs aim to bring energy and vitality back to the legacy of the greatest southern rock band to date. The lineup includes Taz from the prior evening and all-stars Nikki Glaspie from The Nth Power on drums, Lamar Williams Jr. (whose father was in the original band) from The New Mastersounds on vocals and the “Dr” Roosevelt Collier on pedal steel guitar.
Doom Flamingo is a band that I seen clips of but haven’t caught live other than their fabulous Queen is Doomed cover set at this year’s Sweetwater 420 Festival. They feature the fabulous frontwoman, Kanika Moore and I’m so stoked for this.
Dopapod always puts on a great funk-jam show and their early evening set will be a nice blend at sundown. I’ve caught them at festivals and club shows and the audience is sure to get down with it.
Melt out of New York City has been around since 2017 but only passed through Atlanta once as far as I can see, and I haven’t caught them so I’m glad they’re gonna be down at NBMF. Their website says, “With a sound that continuously pulls from new realms, at Melt’s core is a shared love of soul and psychedelia, existential pop songs and ethereal jam sections, and a deep love for each other.” That’s a great description and I’m looking forward to a soulful set.
Keller Williams plays an eclectic mix ranging from bluegrass to funk and we’ll see what he’s gonna cook up. He can loop just about anything and I expect some surprises on Saturday afternoon.
Shira Elias just released a new EP SERVICES today! She’s another artist doing double-duty at the fest with her solo sesh as well as a member of Cool Cool Cool who I’ll get to later. Check out the single Hook’d off the LP that I’m looking forward to seeing her belt out live. Shira is formerly a lead vocalist for Turkuaz and now a member of the derivative CCC. What I know is she’s a great vocalist and performer – at last year’s NBMF, she was lead vocalist for The Motet and absolutely crushed it. I’m sure she’ll do the same this year.
Sunday, December 11th
Lettuce is always the band that I most look forward to seeing at any festival. They’re that great — the funkiest band on the planet bar none. The band’s album Unify is the third in the trilogy following Resonate and Elevate and all three are masterworks. The band always puts new spins on every song and I love everything they do – super cool vibes every second, from old to new and covers to boot. At a recent show in Atlanta, they covered Sun Goddess from EWF and Ramsey Lewis and transported me back to another time and place. Can’t wait to take my next trip.
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe (KDTU) is another funk-boogaloo favorite. Karl is one of the baddest sax and flute players in the universe and his singing is damn good too. He’s been touring with none other than The Rolling Stones over the last few years and that’s a testament to his legend status. It’s such a perfect setting for him here and I love the energy he brings to his sets – I have a crazy wish that he’ll stick at least one song with Skerik and maybe with Lettuce too? A man can dream.
Antibalas are one of afro-beat’s royalty and a long time star on Daptone Records. Their horn section plays most every year with String Cheese at Suwannee Hulaween. They make this closeout Sunday lineup absolutely crazy with funk and horns, I’m sure my mind’s gonna be blown. It’s been a minute since I’ve seen them so I’ll be wired for this.
Neighbor is new to me but I know they’ve been riding a huge hype wave over the last couple of years. They’ve jumped in Atlanta from a small venue capacity of around 300 to 1200 on the Friday the 9th at the start of this festival before making their way down to Miami. From a quick screening of their music videos, they look to have melodic, well composed tunes with some honky tonk sounds.
Cool Cool Cool is a a band reconfigured by members of Turkuaz and in the year since that band’s breakup I’ve seen the Horn Section, Shira Elias and Craig Broadbent. I’m looking forward to seeing the reunion with Mikey Carubba on drums and Sammi Garett on vox. As far as I know, they’ve only performed live as a group on a few shows and are opening for their Stop Making Sense Talking Heads cohorts on tour. Stoked to see what fresh material they’ll bring.
Guavatron, based out of West Palm Beach Florida is a jam band making a lot of waves on the festival set, most recently at Suwannee Hulaween. One of the bennies of NBMF is that there are only two stages so no music need be missed and I’m looking forward to grooving to the ‘Tron on Sunday.
Afrobeta is a local Miami avant-dance duo and from the sound of their online stuff, they’ll get Sunday off to a great start, maybe with some mimosas for brunch?
Late night adventures are new to NBMF this year and will ingrain the fest into the December landscape in Miami, hopefully for years to come Opening night will feature the Lotus and Moe. guys so obviously they’ll be coming in early and sticking around which is always super groovy.
The second night is another Moe. / Lotus mashup so it’ll be intersesting to compare and contrast and also looking forward to DJ Yesmann (Craig B and The Horn Section) in a free flowing sesh.
Lastly, Deitch Producer set on the final night. Holy shit – it’s gonna be a partay! Opening on the last night are my good buds, perennial Miami favorites and fantastic fusioneers Electric Kif who were on the main program last year – can’t ask for a better closeout!