Published on February 8th, 2023

Os Mutantes by Adriana Moraes

There’s a reason people can be fanatical about imbibing live performances: Music elevates the human experience, sometimes transcendentally. When certain chords or patterns of sound unlock the pleasure centers in the brain, it changes people. Aural intoxication really is that powerful. Especially when it’s paired with the bonding effect of community.

Florida’s record in cultivating both — potentially transformative live music experiences in truly shared and community-minded settings — is up and down. Techno festivals such as Ultra serve one tribe, with Miami and Miami Beach as gleaming destinations for a jet-setting EDM populace. How localized they are, culturally speaking, is debatable.

Across South Florida, good news and setbacks compete: Respectable Street in West Palm Beach turning 35 as venue for local, national and international acts; the apparent demise of Churchill’s Pub in Miami leaving the region with no clear gathering place for punks and purveyors of artistic cacophony such as the International Noise Conference. Mourners of Churchill’s take consolation in homegrown annual live-music events including the Dan Hosker Music Continuum in Fort Lauderdale and (wink wink) PureHoney’s own Bumblefest block party in West Palm Beach.

So here’s a bow to our North Florida counterparts at Winterland V for recognizing both the necessity and fragility of music as a community venture. Heading into its fifth edition, the Winterland festival in downtown Jacksonville, Feb. 25 and 26, is the handiwork of a nonprofit organization focused on uniting music lovers with music from near and far. There is no set genre and no major agenda other than giving exposure to new and interesting music while exposing attendees to the beauty of Riverfront Plaza along the St. John’s River, the city’s central artery.

The Winterland organization is partnering with the regional National Pubic Radio outlet, WJCT’s JME 89.9HD, to help promote the festival and carry live performances. A grant from a Jacksonville institution, The Jessie Ball duPont Fund, is helping to stand up Winterland V and underwrite festival costs.

And the entire two-day festival is free, although Winterland is also offering merch, VIP packages and other paid inducements (like a commemorative pint glass whose bearer gets access to a roped off VIP area with a free local beer tasting, seating, heaters –and a fancy bathroom). For attendees also curious about the surroundings, Winterland is within stumbling distance of jazz clubs, cocktail bars and cafes; the waterfront location offers all manner of diversions for people craving alternative stimulation. 

But the Winterland lineup this year doesn’t leave much room for boredom. It’s a stacked group of skilled veterans and up-and-coming genre busters that should keep concertgoers rapt. Here are some highlights.

Os Mutantes — As in “The Mutants,” this out-there Brazilian band from the ‘60s is closely associated with the Tropicalia movement that blended the Afro-Brazilian core of bossa nova and samba with avant-gardism and American- and British-influenced psychedelia and pop. Tropicalia became a political statement during the time of Brazil’s military dictatorship and a reaction against political extremism of all kinds including the rightwing fascism embodied by the junta. Os Mutantes influenced generations of musical artists, with Kurt Cobain writing a letter to co-founder Arnaldo Baptista in 1993 requesting the band reunite.

The Dandy Warhols

The Dandy Warhols — An alternative rock band formed in Portland, Oregon in the ’90s, the Dandy Warhols are known for songs including “Bohemian Like You,” “Not If You Were The Last Junkie on Earth and “We Used to Be Friends,” aka the “Veronica Mars” theme song. They are the subject of the fascinating 2004 documentary, “DIG!” along with their then-rivals The Brian Jonestown Massacre. The band experimented with garage rock, power pop and psychedelia en route to carving out its own distinctive, Dandy Warholian sound.

Sudan Archives by Ally Green

Sudan Archives — Born Brittney Denise Parks in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sudan Archives is an electro and r&b violinist whose instrument has — in Western music, at any rate — traditionally enjoyed more MC status in classical, jazz and country. She began playing violin at the age of 4 and, possessed of a true, magnetic talent, eventually found her place not in an ensemble but on her own. At raves, she had seen how DJs made music by themselves. Later while studying the history of violin, it all clicked. “I found violinists who looked like me in Africa, playing it so wildly,” the told The Guardian. “It’s such a serious instrument in a western concert setting, but in so many other places in the world it brings the party.” Sudan Archives’ 2022 album, “Natural Brown Prom Queen” is on numerous best-of lists for the year.

Sasami by Andrew Thomas Huang

Sasami — Sasami Ashworth is an indescribable juggernaut of talent who flawlessly floats between genres. She’s primarily known for country rock, indie rock and, with her 2022 album, “Squeeze,” alternative metal. Sasami has described “Squeeze” as an incursion into the doggedly white male cultural space of metal, which she occupied in order to make her own incendiary racket. Pitchfork gave the album a mostly admiring 7.2 out of 10, calling it “awfully fun” at its best. Consequence of Sound placed it at No. 13 in their top 30 albums of 2022, hailing it as “a daunting feat other artists couldn’t even dream of attempting.”

The Nude Party

The Nude PartyOriginally from Boone, North Carolina, lately of the Catskills in upstate New York, The Nude Party are mountain men. They don’t believe in shirts or pants, or any clothes, for that matter. What they do believe in is The Velvet UndergroundThe Rolling Stones and The Kinks, and really, when aiming that high, what else is there? Their 2017 cover of The Kinks’ “Sittin’ On My Sofa,” is a spaced-out garage tune about getting baked and chilling on the chaise, because who says rock ’n’ roll needs to be political or a deep dive? Sometimes it’s just the party wherever you find it. Their 2020 album, “Midnight Manor,“ was aptly described by one reviewer as “a chooglin’ good time,” and here’s hoping there’s more good times on the way.


Gustaf — The nom de plume of New York-based artist Lydia Gammill, the band called Gustaf calls itself an irresistibly danceable combination of ESGJonathan Richman and Alan Vega. Dropping those names in an official bio sets the cool bar very high, but Gustaf sounds confident enough to deliver. The group formed in 2018 and Gammill, a veteran player, has put the work into making people sit up and take notice even in jaded Brooklyn, where you can’t swing a cat without hitting a musician. The band’s newest album, “Mine,” has garnered some impressive attention due to heavy rotation on BBC 6, NME’s Essential Emerging Artists and NPR’s Slingshot Artists to watch.

Jacuzzi Boys

Jacuzzi Boys — Miami’s answer to garage/indie rock is the Jacuzzi Boys. The band formed in 2007 and have been at it ever since. They count Iggy Pop as a fan and got a chance to play with him. Their fuzzed-out swamp rock will go nicely with a cold beer and hanging by the river.

Ben Katzman — With and without the “Degreaser” modification to his name, Ben Katzman is the soundtrack to a Florida Man weekend: All metal riffs and good-time party-down music. A member at various points of the bands Guerilla Toss and White Fang, Katzman is also the founder of By Us For Us Records (BUFU), which has put out music by Mannequin Pussy, Japanther, Krill and Miami’s own Las Nubes, among others. To say this restless, rock-obsessed dude has given his all to make the world safe for shred is an understatement.

rickoLus — Singer-songwriters can be stale; rickoLus, however, is not like other singer-songwriters. He’s a one-man band with DIY roots and a penchant for giving great live performances. Half of the yacht rock, hip-hop duo Hurricane Party, rickoLus — nee Rick Colado — has been making music in one form or another for more than 20 years. That diverse background and tenure ensures a good time at any rickoLus show.

The Dewars — Originally from St. Augustine, the Dewars took their dream-pop, indie rock selves to New York and have been making waves ever since.

But wouldn’t it be great if band like the Dewars didn’t feel like they had to change cities? “Support your scene!” has long been the battle cry for musicians far and wide. Winterland V and its partners are poised to do just that. The payoff, hopefully, is a city and a region that every artistic type would be lucky to live and work in.

Winterland V runs Feb. 25 and 26 along Riverfront Plaza in Jacksonville ft The Dandy Warhols, Os Mutantes, Sudan Archives, Sasami, The Nude Party, Gustaf, Jacuzzi Boys, Kairos Creature Club, Ben Katzman, Rickolus, The Dewars, Visitation, Chew, The Venus, Gringo Star, Spirit & the Cosmic Heart, Afrobeta,  Chlorinefields, Rudy De Anda, Howdy, Jay Myztroh & Friends, Kenzieís Place, Ducats, Gnarcissists, Seagate, The Palmettes, Luci Lind, Jessica Pounds, Bebe Deluxe, Geexella ~ Tim Moffatt