Published on August 21st, 2021
Room Thirteen play Bumblefest

Room Thirteen play Bumblefest

It’s no surprise that Florida native Danny Clifton concocted the idea of Room Thirteen over a “tiki drink,” as he tells the story. A typical Room Thirteen song is a leisurely pour of liquefied sound that summons the Florida of another era, like a drive along Worth Avenue in a vintage two-toned Corvette. So please welcome Room Thirteen to Bumblefest on September 17 in downtown West Palm Beach.

Room Thirteen’s tropical, wavy lounge pop pays open homage to the father of exotica, the late Martin Denny. Composer and bandleader Denny introduced Americans in the 1950s to instruments and rhythms from across the globe in frothy, jazzy tracks also teeming with bird noise and other fun oddities. In its heyday exotica was synonymous with midcentury Sun Belt glamour — “Mad Men” fans heard Denny’s music weaved into an episode, “The Jet Set,” situated poolside in Palm Springs.

Clifton expands on Denny’s work by introducing a strain of eerie psychedelia — hence the Gainesville band’s self-description of a dualistic sound “inspired by gold oldies” with a touch of “dark, spooky, goth lounge.” The upshot is a feeling of “a vacation that lasts too long,” in their words. Room Thirteen songs, like the faded era they mine, start out summery and dissolve into an uneasy twilight.

Room Thirteen albums “Daytona Beach View” (2019) and “Roccopulco” (2017), and the first songs from the forthcoming LP “Crooked Palm,” are also nostalgic nods to a bygone Space Age concept of the future. The shiny, beaming industrial trade fair version of tomorrow that never came to pass. The effect of listening with eyes closed is transporting and intoxicating, eerie and a little sad.

Listeners new to this revived subculture will find echoes of classic exotica in the music of Tiki Tones, Misun, Lana Del Rey and Julietta. So before checking into Room Thirteen at Bumblefest, be sure to slip into their psychedelic swimming pool for a good long soak, and your summer mood will be set.

Bumblefest, celebrating 10 years of PureHoney, is Friday, September 17 in the 500 Block of Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach, featuring Unwed Sailor, Surfer Blood and more. Admission is 18+. Doors open 5pm. Tickets are $20 at ~ Amanda Moore 

Coming to West Palm Beach from elsewhere and want to spend the night? The Hyatt Place Downtown WPB has Bumblefest guests hooked up with a special rate! Click HERE to make your reservations.

STAGES: Respectable Street (inside/outside) * Subculture Alley * O’Shea’s * Alchemy * BRK Republic


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