Innings Festival 2023 Day 2 – By Joshua Hertz
After an amazing time on day one, I was fortunate enough to return for Day 2 of the Innings Festival! Before the first act took the stage, my dad and I decided to check out the baseball activities on the festival grounds. I tested my luck at the quick pitch and batting cages, and it’s safe to say I am not destined to play organized baseball. The weather on this Sunday was a bit cooler in Tampa, leading to me donning a Brandeis hoodie. Soon after, it was time for the first act to step up to bat at the Home Plate stage, so off we went to take in the music.
Three Strikes and You’re Out: Photo evidence of your former WBRS sports director moments before embarrassing himself in the batting cage
Band #1: The Ries Brothers, 1:25 – 2:10 PM @Home Plate
With the guitarist clad in Tampa Bay Devil Rays gear and the drummer in Chicago Cubs gear, the duo from local St. Petersburg, Florida kicked off day two with bluesy hard rock. Impressively, their drummer doubled as their lead singer, and even at times played drums one handed while also serving as the keyboardist. Their guitarist was equally as talented, with impressive guitar solos in much of their setlists. A notable moment was when they incorporated a
cover of Sublime’s “Doin’ Time”, including a melodica solo by the guitarist, as a transition into one of their own songs.
Band #2: The Heavy Heavy, 2:10 – 2:55 PM @Right Field
After the strong opener by the Ries Brothers, the second day of music at Right Field stage began with the Heavy Heavy. The British alternative act played hard rock songs, with dual vocals complementing their classic rock inspired sound well. Their sound fit perfectly with rock that may be played at a baseball game between innings, fitting even better into the festival’s theme.
Band #3: Faye Webster, 2:55 – 3:40 PM @Home Plate
Third up at the grounds of Raymond James Stadium was 25-year old folk rocker Faye Webster. Webster, a singer-songwriter whose songs blend folk with indie rock and country influences, featured all sorts of instruments in her backing band, including a violin and slide guitar. To keep with the Innings theme, Webster is a huge Braves fan, and cites her love for outfielder Ronald Acuña as an inspiration for some of her music. Continuing after Webster, the action returned to Right Field stage, where 90s rock group the Breeders were up next.
Band #4: The Breeders, 3:40 – 4:40 PM @Right Field
Led by twin sisters Kim and Kelley Deal, the Breeders drew in a large crowd to the stage. They played many of their classic songs, and included a cover of the Beatles song “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” as a part of it. With lead singer/bassist Kim Deal being a member of the Pixies as well, they also covered a song she sang lead on as a member of the Pixies, “Gigantic”, and played their breakout hit “Cannonball” as a strong finish to their set.
Band#5: Third Eye Blind, 4:40 – 5:40 PM @Home Plate
Next up was one of the acts I was most excited for, 90s rock group Third Eye Blind. Early on, the band played hits such as “Never Let You Go”, “Graduate”, “Losing a Whole Year” and the fan-favorite “Motorcycle Drive By”. They also included a partial cover of “Your Love” by The Outfield into one of their songs, and although it may have been coincidental, it also fits into the baseball theme. They closed out their set with their biggest hits, playing “Jumper”, “Semi-Charmed Life” and “How’s It Gonna Be”, with much of the crowd singing along to every word.
Band #6: The Revivalists, 5:40 – 6:40 PM @Right Field
The day of music continued into the evening as the Revivalists began playing Right Field stage. The eight person rock act from New Orleans kept the energy up with their upbeat modern rock sound. They closed out their hour set of feel-good music with their hit song “I Wish I Knew You”, ending an impressive set.
Band#7: Marcus Mumford, 6:40 – 7:40 PM @Home Plate
Back at Home Plate, Marcus Mumford, of the rock band Mumford and Sons, nonchalantly strolled onto the stage with just an acoustic guitar in hand. With no backing band whatsoever, the British singer began to play a mix of songs, including covers of hits from his band such as “The Cave” and “Little Lion Man”. The crowd enjoyed his banter between songs, as well as his cover of the Taylor Swift song “Cowboy Like Me”. He also played a cover of “Kansas City”, a song by his supergroup The New Basement Tapes, a group that includes Elvis Costello. To close out his acoustic solo set, he covered one final Mumford and Sons song, a passionate rendition of “I Will Wait”.
Band #8: The Avett Brothers, 7:40 – 8:55 PM @Right Field
To close out the Right Field stage for this year’s festival was country/bluegrass group The Avett Brothers. Throughout the day, many of the festival goers wore merch for the group, and going in I had never heard of them, but was really impressed by their performance. The band performed with very high energy, and featured a string trio(violin, cello and bass), piano, drums, and dual vocals performed by the brothers themselves, who played guitar and banjo respectively. While I admit I am not the biggest fan of the bluegrass or country genres, the Avett Brothers were a lot of fun, and clearly enjoyed dancing around while they performed and went into numerous difficult instrument solos. They also served as a great opener for the final act of the festival, as their jam band-esque performance was the perfect introduction for the act waiting at Home Plate.
Band #9: Dave Matthews Band, 8:55 – 11:00 PM @Home Plate
Last up for the festival was the major rock act Dave Matthews Band. An act known for their cult following, they drew one of the largest crowds I have ever seen to Tampa, with many of the fans coming only for the second day to see the group perform. In what had begun to be an cold night,, their two hour set included hit songs such as “So Much to Say”, “Crush” and “The Space Between”, and the audience seemed to know the words to all the songs in their catalog. As one might expect, they boasted a large band, featuring instruments such as the saxophone and violin, which are prevalent in many of their songs. They also played a few covers, including “Fool in the Rain” by Led Zeppelin and “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel. To keep in line with the baseball theme, their drummer donned a vintage Arizona Diamondbacks cap with the snake “D” logo. The festival ended when Dave Matthews and his band played their hit song “Ants Marching”, closing what had been an amazing experience. I had a blast getting to attend this festival for the second time and am excited to see what music I may get to see live in the future. (Maybe even a show put on by WBRS!) Thank you to everyone who took the time to read about my trip to the 2023 Innings Festival!