Saint Motel, The Hails and King Complex Talk Wetlands Festival
The University of Florida’s Student Government Productions has stepped up the game with their spring concert lineup. The Wetlands Music Festival will be held at Flavet Field on February 25 from 3 to 10 p.m.
Student Government Productions (SGP) has pulled together artists that span far beyond the confines of most musical events. Whether you’re into rap, electronic, alternative, indie or a combination of genres that don’t fit a particular set of parameters, you can go to the festival excited to see one artist and leave fully captivated by another.
SPG chairman Alex DesRosiers said that the national artists they decided on were picked for their relevancy and for the way they’ll bring together a diverse group of students. As for the local acts, they spent time thoughtfully scouting out rising musicians that they’re truly thrilled to have on the lineup.
The national act that I am most excited about is hands-down Saint Motel. I had the opportunity to see them play back in 2015 at a festival in Tampa and their set was pure fun. I remember dancing around the lawn in front of the stage like an absolute fool with my friends to “My Type.”
The indie-pop group’s lead singer A/J Jackson said no one from the band has been through Gainesville before. Despite that, I’m sure our city of music lovers will welcome them wholeheartedly.
“In general, at college shows, people let their hair down, so to speak,” Jackson said.
As we discussed the importance of artists being active in the local music scene, he remembered competing in different college competitions, back in the days before the Saint Motel we now know. His advice to other musicians trying to make it is to really focus on the music.
In general, at college shows, people let their hair down, so to speak.
He shared that the band is in the early stages of creating their next album while still playing shows here and there. When I asked what sets this album apart from their previous work, he jokingly replied that it’s just better.
“The goal is hopefully that we’ve improved and that we make better art,” Jackson said.
Operating on their home turf, The Hails have proven time and time again that they know how to put on a memorable performance. The alt-rock group, built up of Robbie Kingsley, Zach Levy, Dylan McCue, Andre Escobar and Franco Solari, is known for their infectious tunes and live energy.
You can mention The Hails almost anywhere on campus and expect someone to chime in about their love for the band or about how they’ve been meaning to check them out.
“It’s gonna be exciting because it’s going to be the biggest show we’ve played in Gainesville,” Levy said. “It’s definitely going to be big for us because this is technically our home.”
Escobar agreed that the home-court advantage will really allow them to bring out their fanbase, while reaching a whole new audience of UF students.
It’s definitely going to be big for us because this is technically our home.
“It’s four great acts that play in Gainesville a lot, so I think it gives you a good idea of the music that’s spawning from here,” said Kingsley of the other local artists on the lineup.
The event will really give people a deep look in to the unmatched talent that is bred in Gainesville. The timing of the Wetlands Festival will line up perfectly with the release of the band’s new single “Younger.”
The Hails are excited to share their latest work since their debut EP, “Impel.”
Another venerated act that spends a good deal of time around Gainesville is King Complex. The city of St. Pete is kind enough to share the musical talents of Bracher Brown and Cody Doss with us, as the indie-electronic duo seems to always be on the road. Masked and suited up, King Complex has created this mesmerizing grip that perfectly links their image with their sound.
Brown said that SGP did a good job bringing together eclectic national acts for the festival. As for the local acts, they really showcase the bands from our area that are on the trajectory for big things.
“I think they got the hottest shit,” Brown said.
Him and Doss really admire all the other groups that will be gracing the stage with them.
Even though they aren’t Gainesville natives, the guys from King Complex love playing here and have been able to build a great following.
“There’s a lot of people that go out to see music and it’s very cool to live in a place where that’s the case,” said Doss.
The people of Gainesville take the time to pay attention to up-and-coming artists that really do deserve recognition.
I think that people who have yet to hear about King Complex are in for a welcomed surprise. After the first time I saw them play, I would not shut up about how blown away I was. Hopefully, that same reaction overtakes the crowd at Wetlands.
There’s a lot of people that go out to see music and it’s very cool to live in a place where that’s the case.
As for what’s been in the works lately, King Complex recently dropped a sci-fi-charged music video for their song “Pulling Strings.” The video personifies the intense, dark creativity that represents them as artists.
Check out SGP’s playlist for the event to give you a taste of what you’re in for.
But of course, since nothing will compare to the live performance itself, claim your festival tickets here.