One of the acts at this year’s Tampa Tropical Heatwave 2016, put on by 88.5 WMNF Community Radio, was Trae Pierce & the T-Stone Band. This Florida-based band, well-deserving of headlining any concert, to say the least, put on a show! As I watched the 5 members of the T-Stone band evaluate and analyze their instruments during sound check, I noticed there was one element missing…4 time Grammy Award winner Trae Pierce!
Now, as everyone set up, I did notice a lonely microphone stand shining in the stage light, possibly this was for Trae. Not 5 seconds after David “D1” Grant’s thumbs up to the engineers did he appear on stage, freshly disembarked from his funk vehicle. The crowd roared as the band commenced their performance, Trae’s stage presence is as unnoticeable as a mutant pink elephant sitting in the room drinking a martini. Like Peter Frampton and Joe Walsh before him, Trae employs the use of a talk box but uses it with his bass, how many artists can you say do that? His son, vocalist Ramon “Rae Pierce”, and the rest of the band were in sync and tack-sharp as they busted through original material and oh-so-cool covers of what happened to be a few of my favorite tunes. “No Diggity” (Blackstreet), the theme song to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince), “Fire” (Ohio Players) and “Killing in the Name of” (Rage Against the Machine).
You could treat this performance like a recipe; equal parts funk, rock, hip-hop, and soul. Combine ingredients into blender, mix well, simmer over heat, and out comes Trae Pierce & the T-Stone Band hot and ready. After the band had rocked the Ritz in Ybor City, Pierce jumped off of the stage making his rounds through the crowd greeting and high-fiving the fans. At this point, I was musically exhausted from this high-energy, pulse-pounding concert. As the group walked off the stage much to the disappointment of the crowd, they started chanting “encore”, and the band obliged. As their final song of the night, they chose to pay tribute to the late icon Prince with “Purple Rain.” As purple lights reigned in the background and emotions stirred, it was a more than fitting way to end the night.
Trae Pierce & the T-Stone Band on Youtube