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Thursday, Apr 26, 2018
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Big Guava Day 3 review: Chance the Rapper, Grouplove, more

After two dreary days at the Big Guava Music Festival, the sun finally shined (and shined, and shined) on the Florida State Fairgrounds for the third and final day of the inaugural Tampa concert festival.

For hip hop fans, it was all about the indoor Nectar Stage inside the fairgounds' expo hall, where Earl Sweatshirt, Chance the Rapper and Girl Talk performed back-to-back. Meanwhile, the outdoor Grove stage was a paradise for lovers of left-of-center synth and indie pop, with fans sprawling out on the grass for sets by Magic Man, as well as Brooklyn-based Neon Gold labelmates MS MR and St. Lucia.

Foster the People closed out the night on the main stage in the MidFlorida Amphitheatre.

Here are some of the highlights from Day 3 as I saw them:

♦ Singer, songwriter and guitarist Jean-Philip Grobler, of St. Lucia, soaked in sweat during the hottest part of the day, playing with fierce emotion and flopping down on his back during “Elevate.” The studio version of St. Lucia is Grobler alone, so I was really curious how the touring band would reproduce his complex, electronic tracks in a live setting. It took two drum kits, a cowbell, lots of synths and a few pieces of gear I don't have the vocabulary for, but they nailed it.

Chance the Rapper channelling James Brown as he hot-stepped, leaped, kicked, slid, spun and totally got down with a live guitarist, drummer and trumpet player as they turned “Brain Cells” into a rock song. At one point an assistant even came over and toweled off Chance as he recovered. What a set. The guy is more animated than a cartoon character.

Grouplove's Christian Zucconi throwing his teal electric guitar about six feet in the air and catching it without missing a lick during “Raspberry.”

ZZ Ward seeming genuinely shocked when a fan yelled out the next song she was going to play before she'd started playing it. “I'm glad you guys are on top of things, because I'm definitely not,” Ward said.

♦ A guy on stage with an electric leaf blower rigged to shoot toilet paper covering several photographers in a massive web of t.p. as Girl Talk mashed up Weezer and Ice Cube.

Earl Sweatshirt skateboarding out of the Expo Hall, high-fiveing fans along the way after his performance. The rapper walked through the festival grounds, took pictures with a few fans and rode a couple of the thrill rides.

♦ A deep fried hot dog covered in taco meat, tortilla chips and cheese from the Hot Mess food truck. Also, the free kangaroo on a stick from Not Your Ordinary Food Truck. Apparently they had overestimated the amount of business they would do at the fest and started giving away what was left.

♦ Random quote of the day: “Ohh man, I really want another yogurt.” - spoken by some guy in the front row the moment St. Lucia began playing its final song.

♦ Most popular wardrobe item: frayed denim shorts in every color.

♦ Most popular non-food vendor (at the moment I happened to be walking by): Rearrange Us, seller of frayed denim shorts in every color.