WE DON'T NEED NO WATER FOR INFERNO STREET PARTY
Bootleggers' Ball, Shrimp Festival, Charles Bradley, Onward, Etc., Bear Hands deliver the goods
WE DON’T NEED NO WATER …
INFERNO STREET PARTY
The idea behind this shindig is that passion for the arts will burn up Downtown, and while that’s all well and good, and we’re cool with the fiery imagery, we’re really psyched to see Molotov Cocktail Party (pictured) play with fire. The professional (and insured) fire entertainment troupe has been wowing for years and drew raves at One Spark for “The Show Must Burn On.” 7-11 p.m. May 1, intersection of Laura and Adams streets. The only slightly overused “Downtown is on Fire” theme continues during First Wednesday Art Walk, with glassblowers, blacksmiths and artist Mark Zimmerman’s interactive memorial to the Great Jacksonville Fire of 1901. 5-9 p.m. May 7; includes more than 50 Downtown venues.
Charles Bradley is a soul revival staple — a man dubbed the “Screaming Eagle of Soul” for his devastating vocal abilities and intensely emotional performance style. But 15 years ago, Bradley was an unknown James Brown impersonator who’d endured homelessness, dead-end kitchen jobs and the murder of his brother. Once the Daptone Records crew discovered Bradley, however, the 50something’s life changed irrevocably: two critically acclaimed albums, the remarkable documentary Soul of America, worldwide tours for adoring fans. As Bradley told us in 2011, “I’m just fighting to [give] people the decency and honesty of a human being that loves.” Can’t argue with that. 8 p.m. May 6 at Freebird Live, Jax Beach, $15.
FARM GOES PUNK
Abandoning the South Dakota lifestyle of chucking hay bales and plowing crop soil, Onward, Etc. founding member Rosco Wuestewald hit the road at a young age. The traveling project collected a permanent violinist and a percussionist while touring in Hawaii and Washington, and the resulting trio delivers pure, minimalistic Americana fare. Weustwald’s gritty rebel yell soars over cowboy chords and loose percussion as he sings about love lost, drunken nights and life on the road with a whiskey-bottle-full of melancholy-tinged conviction. Oh, and the Civil War-era beards are pretty boss, too. 9 p.m. May 1 at Underbelly, Downtown, $5; 8:30 p.m. May 3 at Ann O’Malley’s, St. Augustine.
Indie rock comes in a billion flavors, and discerning stylistic differences among them is increasingly an effort in futility. Kaleidoscopic Brooklyn quartet Bear Hands represents that impeccably, mixing the electro-pop flourishes of former Wesleyan classmates MGMT with the punk-inspired bark lead singer Dylan Rau puts to snarling, wheezing use. Recent album Distraction (particularly “Peacekeeper” and “Giant”) hits the same urgent, dance-your-ass-off high notes as the band’s 2010 debut. Jangly early-morning comedowns are well-represented, too. And tenderly psychedelic album-closer “Thought Wrong” reveals the deep emotional undercurrents anchoring all of Bear Hands’ party-starting jams. With T3AM and Case Work, 8 p.m. May 1 at Jack Rabbits, San Marco, $10.
ROARING & BOOZING
Everything in excess, especially excess. Riverside Avondale Preservation’s zoot-suit-friendly Roaring ’20s fundraiser/celebration returns to an as-yet-undisclosed location in the spirit of Prohibition, moonshine and gambling. The 77Ds play, flappers dance and everyone eats and drinks courtesy of Biscottis, Blind Fig, Hawkers, Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails, Mojo No. 4 and Pele’s Wood Fire. May 3 at an undisclosed site on Riverside/Avondale Trolley route (trolley runs 6 p.m.-2 a.m.), $70, riversideavondale.org.
ISLE OF EIGHT FLAGS
These folks take their shrimpin’ seriously. We’re talking a Miss Shrimp Festival Pageant (!) with a scholarship on the line and a pirate parade where some revelers have been known to dress as the cute crustaceans. Captain Edgar Hansen, the “hard-working and conscientious taskmaster” on Deadliest Catch (that’s how Discovery Channel touts him) appears May 3. The weekend includes pirate invasions, arts, antiques, crafts, a 5K run and a boat parade. Did we mention the Miss Shrimp pageant? Pirate parade, 6 p.m. May 1; festival 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 2, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. May 3 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 4 in downtown Fernandina Beach.