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Rain can’t stop the rock

Despite the humidity and scattered rain showers, there was still an impressive turnout at the Band of Horses concert Saturday. Although the show was held at the Cuban Club in Ybor City, the venue was outdoors, to the surprise of many.

Saturday also marked the second day of the Skatepark of Tampa’s Pro 2008 skate competition. The Skatepark made the event appealing for both competitors and guests by also including the Heritage Art Show on the agenda, to which the Cuban Club played host Friday night. The reception featured art by Lance Mountain, Mark Gonzales and Neil Blender, all of whom are legends in the skateboarding world.

Although it was raining, the evening festivities continued, beginning with a performance by rising solo-artist Kimya Dawson. This “anti-folk” musician’s curly coif was the only thing visible over the mass crowd of attendees, but her catchy and relatable lyrics remained audible.

Dawson gained popularity after the 2007 release of the Academy Award-winning film, Juno. The best-selling soundtrack featured many songs from her solo albums as well as a cover of “Anyone Else But You,” recorded with her former band The Moldy Peaches, and performed by the two main characters of the film.

Dawson maintains a sweet appearance on stage – until she opens her mouth.

“Stop looking at my vagina,” she said in between songs. Her songs are relatable, however sometimes rather explicit, especially for an all-ages event.

Unfortunately for Dawson, her set didn’t receive the attention it merited because the weather continued to intervene. Many relocated inside to escape the threat of frizzy hair and were entertained by other, less well-known acts.

Although Dawson’s music has been circulating the underground since 2002, the majority of the crowd was there to see Band of Horses, who didn’t release an EP until 2005. It’s difficult to hear any distinction between her songs, all which have the same intimate feeling of solitude. Her stage persona, however, is nothing less than charming and her witty remarks made the soggy experience more bearable.

The set ended with a spirited dance on stage featuring some enthusiastic audience members. Dawson’s playful attitude should shine through in her upcoming album, Alphabutt, a children’s album she’s working on, inspired by the birth of her daughter in 2006.

The number of people there were surprising, so the chance of not seeing a few familiar faces was slim. The main reason for the event was the Tampa Skatepark’s Pro Vert contest, so a sighting of Bam Margera, professional skateboarder and TV personality – whose presence is not uncommon at the world-famous Skatepark of Tampa – was expected.

Another famous face was Chloe Sevigny, an Academy Award-nominated actress, known for her roles in Boys Don’t Cry and Kids along with her more recent appearances on the television series Big Love. Sevigny is also known for her distinct style and has modeled for many popular brands such as Louis Vuitton, as well as her own clothing line she released with the avant-garde boutique, Opening Ceremony.

The weather conditions calmed down for the anticipated opening act. Band of Horses is known for their folk-pop sound and innovative lyrics. The vocals of Ben Bridwell, the bands front man and guitarist, resemble Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips and have also been compared to Jim James, the lead singer of My Morning Jacket.

The set list featured songs from their acclaimed sophomore album, Cease to Begin as well as older stuff from their 2006 release, Everything All the Time. However, Bridwell’s vocal comparisons are more evident in the first album. In Cease to Begin, which was recorded in the band’s new home of Asheville, N.C., their Southern-roots influence is more recognizable.

There was less banter throughout the Band of Horses set, compared to Dawson’s talk-filled performance. Bridwell agreed with the overall attitude of the crowd: “It feels good,” he said, being one of the only things he said during the night.

Silence took over the crowd for Band of Horses most popular song, “The Funeral,” making it easier to hear the drunken conversations of the aging hipsters in the very back of the courtyard. “The Funeral” has been featured on hit shows such as The O.C. and One Tree Hill as well as a commercial for the Ford Edge.