Saturday night always brings an array of options of things to do. Over in Lakeland, Heavy Hitter brought out not only a good crowd, but also an even better mix of genres. The entire lineup: Trials, Wiltshire, Dropin Pickup, Hoss, and Emily Jones, seamlessly kept the crowd entertained throughout the night. There was constant interaction between the bands and the audience, overall grooving, and most of all, genuine enjoyment of the night and the music.
First up was the young Emily Jones. This 16 year old, with pink tipped hair, from Lakeland started out the night on a laid back note. Emily’s soulful songs had a bit of a darker edge, which fit perfectly with her haunting voice. And while her voice is a bit rough around the edges, there is no denying that this girl is talented.
Next up was Hoss. These four Lakeland guys, along with their newly appointed bassist, picked up the pace right away with their rock influenced sounds. Mixed with guitar riffs, ace vocals, and heavy beats, Hoss electrified Preservation Hall. There was no doubt that Lakeland loved them, keeping them clapping and singing along all through their set.
The next band was impossible to miss, Dropin Pickup. These six, yes count them six, guys hail from Tampa. Having seen them before, I was excited to see if they were as good as I remembered. Oh, they were. Dropin Pickup interlaced “normal” instruments with others like a violin, trumpet, and bongos, and not to mention an awesome indie voice to create an eclectic, awesome sound. Great chemistry amongst the band transferred into great energy throughout the crowd. Dropin Pickup was on another level, and thankfully they took Preservation Hall with them.
Next up on stage was local band Wiltshire. I’ve seen these guys play before, so I thought I knew what to expect from this folk inspired band, but I was pleasantly caught off guard. Wiltshire amplified their sound and their set with the help of a new member, Clint, who you may know as the drummer from Pilgrimage. On hand for keys and percussion, Clint added an ethereal element to Wiltshire’s folk-rock inspired sounds. This new member was not alone in Wiltshire’s changing sounds; the band also incorporated a megaphone into their set. These two new additions helped Wiltshire take their music to an epic new level, and the crowd definitely approved.
Last, but not least, was Trials. These four local Lakeland guys ended the night in true rock n’ roll fashion. They had virtually everyone up on their feet and head banging, or just moving, to their amazing heavy rock inspired sounds. Like I mentioned before, a common theme of the night was great chemistry and crowd interaction, and I think Trials set that standard in the end. The crowd didn’t want the night to end it seemed; they insisted that Trials play an encore song, and they willingly obliged, of course.