Sunfest 2013 – Downtown West Palm Beach

In just a few weeks West Palm will be overflowing with music lovers, neon-colored bathing suits and the delicious scent of funnel cakes. I know you are probably passing the time by shuffling Train and the Offspring on Pandora, but don’t forget to stream a few lesser-known names on the lineup.

SunFest has a spectacular knack for booking artists before their careers skyrocket. Did you catch the Avett Brothers in 2011? This year, the folky boys are committed to major music festivals across the United States. Matt Nathanson and the Cold War Kids both played SunFest in 2009. Grammy award-winning John Legend came to West Palm the year prior.

John Mayer was here in 2003. The controversial (but insanely talented) musician just announced a world tour, and we know there are still South Floridians bragging, “I saw him when…” The next big thing could be another SunFest performer this year. Here are a few acts you should not miss.

The Chevin

Members: Coyle Girelli – Vocals/Guitar, Mat Steel – Guitar/Keyboards, Jon Langford – Bass, Mal Taylor – Drums

Hometown: Otley, West Yorkshire

The Scoop: Allow me to gush a little. When I started streaming The Chevin’s debut album “Boarderlands,” I could not shake the surreal feeling that I had heard Girelli’s voice before. With a few quick clicks on Google, I discovered why.

In 2008, a budding pop-rock band called Your Vegas released a very promising album…and then disappeared from the face of the earth. Or so I thought! Instead, they just changed their name. Your Vegas IS The Chevin.

The new moniker was borrowed from a ridge overlooking their hometown, and hopefully proves to be a successful tweak. I am just thrilled that their sound is as unique now as it was then.

Since their name change, the boys have toured with Franz Ferdinand, White Lies and The Airborne Toxic Event (who will also be at SunFest!). Last year, two of the band’s songs were listed in The Huffington Post’s “Top 52 Songs of 2012.”

My humble recommendation would be to not miss this band. Their sound is sure to excel in a live setting. I’m also keeping my fingers crossed that they will throw in a Your Vegas song (or two) for their happy listeners.

Roadkill Ghost Choir

Members: Andrew Shepard – Vocals/Guitar, Zach Shepard – Bass, Maxx Shepard – Drums/Vocals, Joey Davoli – Keys/Trumpet/Vocals, Stephen Garza – Guitar/Vocals, Kiffy Myers – Pedal Steel/Banjo

Hometown: DeLand, Florida

The Scoop: These Florida natives list “long hair” under their interests on Facebook. Not only can they sing, but they can make me crack a smile.

Brothers Andrew, Zach and Maxx formed Roadkill in 2010, and claim to be heavily influenced by the sounds of Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac and Wilco.

Even with only one EP under their belt, Roadkill Ghost Choir shows incredible potential. We are in a time where this sleepy Southern music is in high demand. Mumford and Sons, Of Monsters and Men, and Fleet Foxes have all helped elevate these brave banjo songs into mainstream.

But I wouldn’t be quick to call Roadkill country. There is a rattlesnake bite to these bad boys. They are talented and are certain to be scooped up by some major label soon. The band from DeLand is also set to play New York City’s Governor’s Ball this summer, so as this blog title teases– catch them in West Palm while you can.

Aan

Members: Jon Lewis – Drums, Reese Lawhon – Bass/Vocals, Jeff Bond – Guitar/Vocals, Bud Wilson – Vocals/Guitar

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

The Scoop: This “psychedelic-tinged rock group” has the pleasure of touring with the Smashing Pumpkins this year, and was able to snag a stage at SunFest as a result. After only a few seconds into my first audio sample and I can see why Aan (pronounced “on”) would be a great complement to the Pumpkins’ tour.

Songwriter Bud Wilson has been creating experimental sounds since 2007, under the handle “Amor Ad Nauseum.” With the addition of his bandmates, Aan’s gritty, wild noise has only grown to demand attention.

Even if Aan’s sound isn’t your normal cup of lemonade, I would suggest catching at least part of their set. Any band invited to tour with a legendary act like the Pumpkins is on track for fame and fortune.