Music Review

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Weekend wrap-up: Florida Night Heat at New World, George Clinton at Ferg’s

A look back at shows that happened on May 31 and June 1, 2013; photos & video included.

Posted By and on Thu, Jun 6, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Last weekend proved a lively musical romp despite the rain, with Florida Night Heat raging the standing room stage at New World Brewery in celebration of releasing a new recording, and George Clinton bringing his sticky-icky funk to St. Pete for A Slice of the Burg Music & Food Festival on Saturday in what became a throwdown at Ferg’s because of the nonstop downpour on the fest’s outdoor stage. [Text by Leilani, photos by Phil.]

The Friday night Florida Night Heat show at New World opened up with performances by Sun Signs, Alias Punch and AJ Vincent, though we managed to miss the first two and arrived at the start of AJ’s set, joining the healthy 100-plus crowd that had come out to enjoy some brews and local(ish) tunes.

You likely remember sandy-haired keysman AJ best from his tenure playing with Austin-bred The Bright Light Social Hour; he hit the falsetto notes, brought dynamic stage presence, and busted out a keytar for the occasional high-powered jam. Solo, he shows strong promise and already has a full repertoire of songs ranging from more straightforward electro-rock dance numbers to synth-trippy instrumental soundscapes, all of it blasted at frequencies so loud I had to bust out the ‘plugs. AJ still has the ability to enthrall with his good looks, great keyboard stylings and impressive vocal range, but he’d benefit from the support of a band, or at least a drummer; there’s a certain sonic vibrancy a live kit adds to the mix that a drum track just can’t replicate.

Florida Night Heat strolled to their spots at around 12:20 a.m., and after a brief scuffle that actually tumbled into the stage area from the patio and interrupted their set relatively early on (stop drinking if you can’t handle your alcohol, people!), the musicians got into the building and crushing part of the night, bassist Andre Jones, guitarist Jensen Kistler and drummer Chris Wood joined by unofficial member Matt E. Lee (Poetry n’ Lotion, Brahm Bones); Lee actually appeared on 2011’s #Immortality and has been contributing to recent live performances on keyboards and guitar, adding a fresh dimension of hazy texture and sci-fi psychedelia to their grimy post-rock n’ hard groove sound.

On the whole, the foursome's playing was tight, focused and plenty vigorous in a setlist that included older tracks (“Bobby,” “BK Outro”), a cover (Nirvana’s “About a Girl”), and all four cuts off their newly-pressed Omegas EP, unveiled for the first time on this night and available on 180g vinyl; copies were hawked along with limited edition Simpsons-inspired tee-shirts made specially for the occasion. The band even changed things up a for a song that found Dre and Jensen trading instruments, Dre’s brow furrowed in concentration over the axe while Jensen looked extra angular wielding Dre’s bass. FNH returned for an encore with guest trumpeter Kenny Pullin and closed the night with the dramatic spaghetti western march and crash of “The Last Bandito.”

Florida Night Heat

Saturday night was drenched in rain and a few events seemed to suffer, though the shows went on as scheduled, if slightly altered. The St. Pete Bike Co-Op Grand Opening was moved into the small confines of the shop, a building adjacent to the Shufflboard Courts, and I arrived to find it surrounded by giant puddles; Early Forms was setting up, the rain was still coming down and I managed to immerse my feet (flip flops a bad idea in hindsight) and soak through the bottom of jeans feet before even getting to the door. Since I’d seen Early Forms the weekend before at Fubar, I decided to return home to change into drier clothes before venturing back out to catch George Clinton and P-Funk at A Slice of the Burg. (More info about the Co-Op opening in Meghan's report.)

A few stops later, I was at The Bends drinking with friends in the nighclub-like laser-lighted backroom and bobbing to some hip hop when word finally arrived that The Mothership had landed. We started the process of closing multiple tabs, and made a hasty retreat as the music took a dance-unz turn. Next stop: Ferg's.

The fundraiser to help preserve the historic YMCA had endured a wetting all day, and as the day grew late, was finally moved from its downtown St. Pete street stage to the sports bar near Tropicana Field. Pay-what-you-can tickets turned into a free-for-all walk-up by the time we strutted and sauntered into Ferg’s (because that’s what you do when you hear P-Funk playing) to what sounded like the tail end of “Cosmic Slop” based on the guitar soloing. The closer I got, the better I could make out Clinton’s head bobbing in the distance. The only thing visible above the surging crowd of bodies was his white fedora and that was my view of him for the rest of his set, as pushing through the too-thick crowd surrounding the stage was more trouble than it was worth for a view that didn’t change much despite me being closer. But I didn’t mind; the atmosphere was a festive and high-spirited one, the crowd getting down and totally enthused as Clinton and the band cycled through various Afro-futuristic P-Funk hits — “One Nation (Under a Groove),” “Make My Funk P-Funk” and the like. Even the clusters of cops standing with crossed arms on the sidewalk to the left of the stage (which opened out onto the street) seemed to be in a mellow mood, ignoring or ignorant to the occasional scent of greenery wafting on the late night air.

A short video of the night below...

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Review: Dopapod continues to re-invent at the Dunedin Brewery

Dopapod serves Dunedin Brewery's IPA Festival "a synchronicity of smooth, psychedelic jams.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 5, 2013 at 12:21 AM

Dopapod brought two high-energy sets to a packed house on Saturday night at Dunedin Brewery’s sold-out 5th Annual IPA Festival.

Dopapod members L to R: Rob Compa, Eli Winderman, Chuck Jones, Neal Evans
  • Nicole Abbett
  • Dopapod members L to R: Rob Compa, Eli Winderman, Chuck Jones, Neal Evans

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Streisand would be proud: Ann Hampton Callaway and The Boston Pops soar at the Mahaffey

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Ann Hampton Callaway.
  • Ann Hampton Callaway.

Heading into "The Streisand Songbook" last night at the Mahaffey with the Boston Pops and Ann Hampton Callaway, I was admittedly more excited about the singer than the orchestra. I'm a longtime fan of Callaway, and had enjoyed talking with her in a phone interview before the show. So when I looked at the playbill and saw that she wouldn't be coming on till after intermission, I was a little dismayed.

Shouldn't have been. Turns out hearing a full-on orchestra dig into Broadway overtures and, gasp, Marvin Hamlisch, was a hell of a lot of fun — and an experience you don't get when you see a show on Broadway or at the Straz, where the orchestra is often out of sight in the pit, not front and center in all its glory. Suave young Pops conductor Keith Lockhart led the white dinner-jacketed ensemble with grace and even a bit of nimble soft-shoe, leading his musicians through the urban bedlam of a Bernstein suite from Wonderful Town and West Side Story; the sly lilt of Jule Styne's overture to Gypsy; and the irresistible hooks in Hamlisch's Chorus Line overture, including the unmistakable opening piano chords of "One."

The ostensible connecting thread between these selections was that they all bore some connection to Streisand. That thread got stretched pretty thin at times: the theme from Ice Castles? Turns out that's another one by Hamlisch, a great pal of Streisand's. And Hello, Dolly? OK, right — as Lockhart reminded us, Streisand played Dolly in the flop film version of the Jerry Herman musical. The orchestra's rendition of the all-too-familiar song was my least favorite number in the program — you need a Carol Channing or a Louis Armstrong as the astringent to Herman's sugary melodics, and the Pops version bore dangerously close to elevator music.

At first, I worried that Ann Hampton Callaway, armored in a Kate Smith-y blue gown and Michelle Obama bangs, was going to do her segment in full emcee mode; the intro was a little too rah-rah, kind of like a PBS pledge break ("if you love Streisand as we do …"). But once she settled in, all doubts faded.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Photo review: Less Than Jake at the Florida State Fair, Tampa

The Gainesville act took fans on a special Valentine's Day date at the fair

Posted By on Fri, Feb 15, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Less Than Jake took Tampa Music lovers on a special Valentine's Date to the Florida State Fair, Tampa, FL on February 14, 2013. Such nice boys!

Less Than Jakes Circle Pit
  • Less Than Jake naturally inspired a good natured Circle Pit

Less Than Jake in lights
  • Less Than Jake in lights

More after the jump...

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Photo Review: Hot Water Music, La Dispute & Menzingers at Orpheum

Shots from the Wed., Jan. 13 show

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Hot Water Music kicked off their new tour at a packed Orpheum on Wednesday night. Opening the show was La Dispute and punk rock darlings, the Menzingers.

Hot Water Music

Hot Water Music Mosaic 1.16.13
  • Nicole C. Kibert /
  • Hot Water Music @ Orpheum, Ybor City, FL on January 16, 2013

It warms my punk rock heart to have a band that I loved in college playing to a packed house in Tampa, FL in 2013. No matter where I've seen Hot Water Music over the years - from basements to the Wilkes-Barre Festival to huge crowds in Germany - they play their hearts out and we love them for it. Here's to many more years - just remember "...if you live by your heart and value the love that you find, then you have all you need."

Hot Water Music 1.16.13
  • Hot Water Music 1.16.13

Check out more photos from Hot Water Music's set including a setlist photo here.

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Friday, June 29, 2012

CL on the Road: Backstage at Bonnaroo, Part 2 (with photos, video)

Deborah rocks it like a VIP and offers her wrap up of the Tennessee music fest, days 3 and 4, with photos & video

Posted By and on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 2:00 PM

My VIP 'Roll Like a Rockstar' Bonnaroo adventure continues with days three and four. To read about days one and two (Part 1), and see pics and video, click here. Read about Andrew's very different experience here [Text and Instagram photos by Deborah, band shots by Mike].

Waking up to a late start, we realized we needed to venture back out to Walmart to pick up some crucial supplies for the group, a process that only took only about 45 minutes; from what I've heard, GA passholders can't leave the farm at all. Though momentary civilization was a nice break, especially the wifi, while we were out I missed the first of four Blind Pilot sets. Though I'd recently seen them play at Crowbar, I've been playing their album nonstop and really wanted to see the band perform in front of a crowd this large. I heard they played a cover of the Grateful Dead's "Friend of the Devil," which would've been really cool to hear at a festival with jammy roots.

Since there was some time before the next show I headed over to guest hospitality, a private area press and VIP has access to. It's a good rest stop that's filled with groves of shade trees, Adirondack chairs, private Porto-potties, and a bar. While hanging out, our friend was speaking with the staff from Bonnaroo Studios, who graciously gave us laminated passes providing access to their exclusive open-bar. The bartender mixed us up some refreshing vodka/orange/cranberry with lime, which we enjoyed sitting on sofas in the secluded shady tent before heading across the way to artist hospitality. As rock stars and industry-types mingled, we watched a bit of Champ Kind from Anchorman (Dave Koechner) hosting a chat for Bonnaroo 365, while sitting under a giant shady canopy chatting with more new friends. As some of our group received chair massages from the staff on hand, we listened to The Temper Trap playing from the What Stage adjacent to the area.

After the relaxing morning we'd just experienced, emerging out into the masses was like encountering a scene from The Grapes of Wrath. Mid-day in the hottest sun of the weekend, the day pass holders had invaded the festival in what seemed to instantly double the amount of sizzling sunburned bodies sprawled in the dust. It was bizarre realizing just how different this festival is for general admission, as we shook our heads in sympathy for the swarms of people waiting in line to fill their water bottles. [More after the jump.]

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

CL on the Road: Backstage at Bonnaroo, Part One (with photos, video)

Deborah rocks it like a VIP and offers her wrap up of the Tennessee music fest, days 1 and 2, with photos & video

Posted By and on Sun, Jun 17, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Every year tens of thousands of music fans flood into tiny Manchester, Tenn. for a week that changes their lives and making Manchester, briefly, the third largest city in Tennessee before an abrupt fall back to its sleepy ways. I was unbelievably fortunate that my first journey to Bonnaroo was spent enjoying it in a way that few of those many people get to. [Text and Instagram photos by Deborah, band shots by Mike]

You see, there is a bit of a caste system to the wristbands that provided access to this year's completely sold-out festival. The vast majority of Bonnaroovians have GA wristbands. They stay in tents, rarely shower (if ever), buy food from vendors (often eaten while walking), and spend hours baking in the hot sun to get a glimpse of bands amid thousands of others in a grassy field. Of course, that's if they aren't passed out in one of the plentiful spots of shade, simply too exhausted to carry on to the next show. The next level is VIP, which offers better access to the stages, private campgrounds with showers, or RV rentals. The highest level of wristband is Roll Like a Rockstar, a special package that provides accommodations on a fully stocked tour bus, chauffeured golf carts whisking around on hidden back roads, private viewing areas and restrooms, and hospitality lounges spread throughout the farm.

Our group wasn't just rolling like rockstars, we were rolling as rockstars. We wore the coveted yellow ‘Artist’ wristband, with full access to nearly every area at Bonnaroo one could ever wish to see, and plenty of perks that no paying attendee can experience. I didn't realize before the trip but this is much more access than even press receives, as my experience seems to have been much different from Andrew's. We didn't have a tour bus or golf carts, but none of that nonsense mattered because we had the most superior access to music out of anyone in attendance.

Sometimes, the good things in life are just about knowing the right wonderful people.

Danny Brown
We arrived at artist check-in after a long drive and a stop for a mind-boggling amount of food at Walmart, where the locals seemed completely amused by the chaos that landed upon them. We drove right in to our parking lot with no wait and no bag or body checks, checked in at our RV, and settled in for the weekend. Since getting onto the farm took less than 5 minutes, there was plenty of time before the first show we wanted to see to wander around and experience the calm before the storm. At this point, I hadn't yet accepted the Bonnaroo code of "Be In Here," and was struggling to find wifi and send texts, not comprehending my phone would be little more than a camera and notepad for the rest of the trip. After a quick walk back to the RV to freshen up, our group split apart, with some of us heading to an backstage crawfish boil complete with open-bar and the others towards the music. We were rested and ready to go.

We were instantly sucked in by heavy bass filling the grassy area in front of This Tent, walking right into the private viewing area at the foot of the stage to catch the beginning of Danny Brown's set. His biting delivery and filthy lyrics were nearly overcome by the bass, which up this close twitched the hairs on my arms to the beat. This was the first of several fantastic hip-hop sets we wandered into, and my introduction the the unbelievably enthusiastic Bonnaroo crowds. I've never seen anything like how ballistic the packed tent became when Brown shouted out, "Bonnaroo, y'all some freaky motherfuckers! You gonna be getting dirty up in those titties later?" Brown played a bit of Blondie's "Rapture," dancing around onstage to recapture the crowd's attention before launching directly into the aggressive "Die Like a Rockstar."

I don't know that I've ever left a show in the middle of a set, but had a sense it was going to become a trend as we headed briskly to the front of the Other Tent to see the act we'd originally planned to start with, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.. Their indie-rock seems deceptively simpler live than recorded, as I'd never realized their perfectly harmonized songs are fleshed out by recorded electronic elements. Not only did the band bring a killer cover of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You," they also brought a little something special for the crowd. Josh Epstein explained that they were so grossed out by the porta-johns when the band played their last festival that they decided to buy a bottle of Dom Perignon and leave it in one of the 7,500 facilities spread across the Manchester farm. Though Epstein encouraged "whoever finds it, goddamnit, have a good time," I'm pretty sure anything I found in one of those things would be staying there for the next person to enjoy.

From the back of the field we caught the last two songs from Orgone. Their funky R&B had Soul Train written all over it, like a fantastic 70's blaxsploitation soundtrack. Vocalist Niki Crawford encouraged the crowd to get into her vibe, saying "Orgone has been making sweet, sweet love to you for the last hour. Did you feel it? How you gonna make love back to us?" before the crowd enthusiastically responded with a sing-along to "Love Maker" as we started our walk back to This Tent. Stopping briefly by one of the smaller side stages, the Great Taste Lounge Brewed by Miller Lite (one of the thankfully rare visible sponsorships), we enjoyed some psychedelic basement rock from Monstro before continuing on to catch Yelawolf. [MORE photos, video and wraps after the jump.]

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

CL on the Road at Bonnaroo 2012

On-site coverage of the mega music fest.

Posted By and on Sat, Jun 9, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Here I am once again, typing away in a musty press trailer and basking in the air-conditioning at Bonnaroo here in Machester, Tenn. While I laugh at my peasant friends who are currently sweltering in our cheap tents drinking equally cheap beer at 10 a.m., the joke's on me. I'm working. [Text by Andrew, most photos by Mike.]

Why? Who knows? Three years ago, in my lowly intern status here at Creative Loafing, I asked to cover this thing and, through the power of the PR machine, was granted a photo and media pass. I was, to put it lightly, a pig in shit. When the time came, I obsessively documented the festival via pictures and thousands of words of daily recaps and insights with my cohort-now-food-editor, Arielle Stevenson.

Through some masochistic sense of consistency and a strange fondness for this pleasurably depraved festival, I did the same thing again last year. And now, I've returned for a third round.

I'll break Bonnaroo down day by day with set recaps, mundane observations, and whatever else pours into this unwashed head of mine. Check it out after the jump.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

#MusicMonday, Vol. 68: Silversun Pickups, Miike Snow & more

What the CL Team is jamming this week; audio & video included.

Posted By , , , , , , , and on Mon, May 7, 2012 at 12:48 PM

What the CL Music Team is listening to on this fine Monday to rocket launch the work week. Click here to check out previous entries.

Joel - Silversun Pickups, Neck of the Woods (Out tomorrow, May 8, 2012, via Dangerbird)
Singer/guitarist Brian Aubert told Spin months ago, "We really wanted to play with drums as textures. We played around with drums coming in here and there and building atmosphere, which guitars usually do." While Neck of the Woods lacks barnburners like "Panic Switch" or "Well Thought Out Twinkles" (from the band's first two full-lengths), they still occasionally integrate some heavier rock moments as they explore and evolve musical ideas within each song. But for the most part, I hear their Smashing Pumpkins heavy fuzz giving way to early Death Cab at times. I liked Carnavas (2006) almost instantly. I think Neck of the Woods will settle with me like 2009's Swoon, one that grows on me slowly but surely with time... Check out first single "Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)" after the jump, along with the rest of this week's entries.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Review: Eddie Money - It's Only Money at State Theatre, St. Petersburg

Thursday night's show at State Theatre proves a disappointment.

Posted By on Fri, Feb 3, 2012 at 12:03 PM

I have to preface this with a few caveats: I am a huge Eddie Money fan, and have seen him perform countless times. I believe he's a very generous and gregarious performer, and is gracious with his time in every market he tours. Money is a brilliant composer and lyricist, and I genuinely like the guy. That being said, his show on Thursday night at State Theatre was… well, painful to witness.

To be honest, I didn’t even know until the day of the show that he was playing in town. A friend put it together last minute, calling to ask us to join him and some others for drinks and the show. At $10 admission, we figured why not? Eddie Money’s always been the consummate professional; he performs the songs he knows everyone wants to hear and does it in an entertaining way.

The lineup included a local vocalist and a couple of local bands, and The Rockstar Riders out of St. Louis, Missouri, who tour with Eddie Money. (The name of this last band was bit of foreshadowing, in hindsight, my reasons for which will become clear as you read on.) The show was billed as Eddie Money - It's Only Money: The Stories Behind the Hits, “Eddie will bring you his favorite hits - and the stories behind them - with an intimate, audience-interactive presentation.” Fair enough. Drinks, hanging out with fun people, Eddie Money at a small venue, close to home… sounds like a decent way to spend a Thursday night: I’m in.

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