This Saturday marks a rare coup for Florida lovers of heavy music — the annual free Scion Rock Fest returns, and this time it’s in Tampa! Past editions have hit Atlanta, Columbus, Ohio, and Pomona, California. And while the past couple of years have skewed more to the death and thrash side of things, this one brings a wider spectrum of acts. This time around, there are a few noted doom, sludge, and hardcore heavyweights — Sleep, Down, Sick Of It All. Then there are a few creatively booked outliers who defy simple genre categorizations — Psychic TV and Merzbow among them.
But among the marquee names are a handful of acts actually from Florida who who are worth arriving early — well, on time — to see. Check them out below. The full lineup and schedule for the event is now online here.
South Florida heavy music fans may likely already be familiar with St. Petersburg group Cellgraft. The guys recently opened for Phobia at Churchill’s Pub and have appeared at other multi-band events at the venue like 305 Fest. Relatively few acts proudly wave the grindcore flag these days, but this trio are happy to cite acts like Assuck as influences. That means songs like Aphasia are full of fiercely growled, unintelligible lyrics, lightning-speed drumming, and all-out ear assaults.
4:30 to 5 p.m. at Crowbar.
This is another band on the bill from the Tampa area, and sounds about as crusty as you can get. Think sludge, doom, metal, and punk all scuffed up and ugly on purpose.
4 to 4:30 p.m. at the Orpheum.
This Brandon, Florida-based act is one of a small handful of bands from the actual Tampa area picked to play the fest. Unsurprisingly considering its name, this is a fast form of punk, thrash, and hardcore hinging on gang vocals, stompy breakdowns, and borderline nihilistic lyrics. “No gods, no masters, no fucking friends!” They proclaimed on “Blasphemy is a Blast For Me,” the band’s contribution to the recent all-Florida metal comp Swamp Abyss Sorcery.
4:50 to 5:20 p.m. at the Orpheum.