The Clematis By Night stage is set in downtown West Palm Beach ready for its shows every Thursday.
Photo by the City of West Palm Beach.
One sign that autumn is at least approaching in South Florida is the return of downtown West Palm Beach’s Clematis By Night series, which features free Thursday concerts through the rest of 2022.
The series goes back over 20 years. Local artists perform every Thursday on a large portable stage that sits where the old library once was, facing east toward the water and the Great Lawn.
The 2022 Clematis By Night series started Sept. 1 with the modern country music of local group the Andrew Morris Band. Sept. 8 brings one of the series’ most requested and frequently returning performers, West Palm Beach group Making Faces.
Labeling itself “ROGGUNK” for its mix of rock, reggae and funk, the quintet (vocalist/guitarist John DeMatteo, bassist/ vocalist Matt Brown, saxophonist/ percussionist John Boes, keyboardist/ vocalist Efraim Emback and drummer Matt Gaulin) went far beyond local status in 2013 when it played at the Zhangjiajie Music Festival in China.
“We’d opened for Barenaked Ladies at SunFest,” DeMatteo says. “An agent from the Hunan province in China saw us, said we were her favorite band and encouraged us to submit.”
The resulting 11-day festival trip still resonates with DeMatteo, Boes and Gaulin, the band’s veteran members, who made that flight and were able to play original material from their “Bright Roads Ahead” debut CD.
“The experience of a lifetime,” DeMatteo says, “from hanging and jamming with musicians from 27 countries to the shows, the food and the hotel. One stage was in the national forest they used in the film ‘Avatar.’”
Making Faces has since been fortified by the additions of Emback, a native of Brazil, and Brown, a multi-instrumentalist who appeared at SunFest 2022 with his own self-titled band.
On Sept. 15, Luis Manuel & the Charambo Band help celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. With band members from Cuba, Puerto Rico and Venezuela, the seven-piece group can cover practically any Latin music style.
On Sept. 22, South Florida high-energy cover act Hot Mess plays favorites from the 1980s through 2020s. On Sept. 29, Pompano Beach jam band Tasty Vibrations shows why it was named “Best Local Band 2020” by Fort Lauderdale magazine.
Clematis By Night runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays through the end of 2022 at the Great Lawn, 100 N. Clematis St. People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for seating. For further information, call 561-822-1515, or visit www.wpb.org.