Best Local Rock Band - 2008
Readers' Choice: Spam Allstars
Local quartet Black Tide has accomplished what few far-Kendall rock acts could ever even pretend to dream of doing. Within the past two years, they've been discovered by an A&R rep at a Florida music festival and been flown across the country as subjects of a major-label bidding war. They've landed a plum deal with Interscope and been duly carted off to Chicago to record a high-budget debut album. They've toured the States for half of last year's Ozzfest, hit the UK with hard-rock heavyweights Avenged Sevenfold, and then returned again to England to headline their own tour. They're heading out this summer as part of the megawatt Mayhem Tour. Can we blame them, then, for putting on hold those plans to finish high school? Yep, the old-school, thrashy metallers formerly known around the local all-ages scene as Radio boast an average age of 18. Frontman Gabriel Garcia couldn't even get a driver's license if he wanted to — the pint-size, long-haired dude with the ballsy wail is just 15 years old. He was a student at Claude Pepper — the elementary school — when he met the rest of the band, then-freshmen at Felix Varela High. Unable to legally play at most of the usual venues around town, the bandmates perfected their act by performing at house parties and the Kendall strip-mall spot Kaffe Krystal, until their first major break came at the 2006 edition of the Florida Music Festival in Orlando. Luckily they've got the chops to back it up: Light from Above, the band's first full-length, was released this past March to fanfare from national mags such as Spin and hard-rock bible Revolver. Its 11 tracks are a sucker-punch of true old-school heaviness, all Maiden'ed- and Megadeth'ed-out, a refreshing change in a sea of teenage bands wedded to their makeup kits. Forget that — the debut puts many of the peers twice their age to shame.