Local Natives: SunFest’s Florida Bands, Part 1
March 20th, 2014 by Cassie Morien
In addition to bringing big names to West Palm, SunFest is known for letting Florida-grown bands have an opportunity to shine. This year’s lineup features a handful of local, budding talent. Be sure to catch these sunkissed acts while you can!
Members: John Paul Pitts, Thomas Fekete, TJ Schwarz and Kevin Williams
Hometown: West Palm Beach, Fla.
Listen up: I have grown up catching the musicians from Surfer Blood at my favorite local venues, like Respectable Street and Bardot. Our hometown heroes have opened for stellar acts like The Pixies, Japandroids and Foals, and poured through our television screens on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2012.
This year the infectious alt-rock band is commanding stages at California’s Coachella and SunFest.
All of their noisy, alternative-pop songs are irresistible, and their recent 2013 release “Pythons” was greeted with much critical acclaim. We can expect to hear their new single “Demon Dance” in just a few weeks, but my recommendation to new fans would be start with their 2010 single, “Take It Easy.” It’s one of my favorite gems by the band, as it instantly conjures up memories of Boynton’s warm breeze, the sea, and rambunctious Saturday nights.
Song: “Take It Easy”
Before You Exit
Members: Connor, Riley and Toby McDonough
Hometown: Orlando, Fla.
Listen up: Orlando must have something in the water. Before You Exit, a trio of talented brothers, calls the same city responsible for the massive success of *Nsync and the Backstreet Boys home.
Formed in 2007, the charming sibling group released their third EP, “I Like That,” last year. Since its release, the band has received praise from MTV, Seventeen Magazine, Radio Disney, and Teen Vogue. Fans of the Jonas Brothers and Cody Simpson will go weak in the knees for the McDonoughs.
Grab your sister (and your mom) and catch them on the FPL Stage to help wind down SunFest!
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Listen up: I’ve been secretly practicing my best handshake in the event I cross paths with South Florida’s budding R&B star B. Smyth during the first week of May. I only have one shot to play it cool and tell the talented artist that I’m eagerly looking forward to his future successes.
This handsome and incredibly ambitious 20-year-old has been my most refreshing discovery so far. His press release is bold. The artist, who cites Usher and Chris Brown as professional inspirations, stated, “I won’t be happy until I’m in the number one spot on Billboard, at the Grammys…That’s how confident I am in the music I’m making and show that I put on.”
After listening to his work, I back his confidence. This kid knows how to sing and dance and dress. You have to lend him a listen immediately.
His EP “The Florida Files” dropped last year. He attributes his rising success to his mom, who outed his pipes after she heard him singing in the shower. B. Smyth has built a large online fanbase from uploading Usher and Frank Ocean covers to YouTube. Check out his single “Leggo” below!
Song: “Leggo” ft. 2 Chainz
Hometown: West Palm Beach, Fla.
Listen up: Brooke Eden had her first big sip of stardom after she was featured on Season 7 of American Idol. The bombshell artist has been singing her entire life and this year SunFest will be another shining accomplishment.
A graduate of the University of Florida, one of Eden’s current career highlights includes performing at Gator-Growl, the world’s largest student-run pep rally, where she opened up for the a previous SunFest veterans, Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Eden has also opened for all-star acts like Florida Georgia Line, Brooks N Dunn, Alan Jackson and Sara Evans.
The West Palm Beach native now splits her time between Nashville and South Florida as she prepares her debut album. I can’t wait to hear this talented rocker in person.
Song: “At Last” (cover)
For a preview of more talented Florida artists, check back next week!