Sweet Crude (Gasparilla Music Festival) – March 12th, 2015 – Bulls Radio Concert Review

Written by Jackson Cardarelli

Hailing from New Orleans, this seven-piece band evokes the huge presence of other bands who perform in large numbers. In particular, the quirky grandeur of Arcade Fire and tUnE-yArDs resembles Sweet Crude’s ability to move an audience. And by move, I mean emotionally and in dance fashion.

The heartbeat of any good dance party is a driving groove or rhythm. The fine folks of Sweet Crude seem to believe that everybody is a drummer at heart. At different points of the band’s performance, there were upwards of five of the seven musicians banging on percussion or drums.

“This is one of those silly boyband-type songs,” the lead singer joked, hinting that several voices were to feature on the proceeding song. This setup was prevalent, with each member performing as a multi-instrumentalist across the setlist.

Expect nothing with these gurus; a keyboard player one minute is a trumpet player the next; a drummer might also play guitars, and the frontmandefinitely bowed and plucked a violin intermittently. Then again, with such diversity, it’s hard to pin down just one frontman, frontwoman or leader. Sweet Crude delivers an engaging party that everyone is invited to participate in.

Sweet Crude’s awesome NOLA roots in Creole music produce the only thing more unorthodox than their instrumentation- their off-the-wall sound. Do you like tenants of pop music like predictable song structures and easy lyricism? Sweet Crude challenges these totems while still somehow earning your heart as your favorite pop band.

“Nah nah nahhhhhhh,” the band wails at the jovial audience. The soaring choruses are electric, sandwiched by atempo verses at different time signatures. A Sweet Crude show is exhilarating. There are antics, instrument changes, at least two languages sung, and twenty other reasons to experience this band live. Like their hometown, the choice to check this group out or not can be summed up as big, easy.

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