Thursday, July 24, 2014

Music Issue 2014: Venues — Downtown Tampa

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 1:15 AM

click to enlarge The Flaming Lips at Curtis Hixon Park. - DRUNKCAMERAGUY
  • drunkcameraguy
  • The Flaming Lips at Curtis Hixon Park.

Café Hey The bands and artists that play Café Hey’s shows are analogous to the fresh and funky food and drink they serve — good for you, tasty, creatively executed and out-of-the ordinary. Plus, two of the establishment’s longtime employees — Chris Wood and Jenson Kistler — make up two-thirds of the ever-popular Tampa band Florida Night Heat. 1540 N. Franklin St., Tampa, 813-221-5150,
Upcoming: Make It Happen PreFest showcase with Fleabane, Joyspent, Agents of Dimension X (7/25).

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park Located along the Hillsborough River with a trademark view of the University of Tampa, the 8-acre Curtis Hixon Park is the friendliest of family-friendly (and dog-friendly) venues. Fully equipped with a pavilion, a dog run, interactive fountains and the Great Lawn for concert seating, the park is the heart of downtown Tampa and site of big-name events like the Gasparilla Music Festival, the Mayor’s Mac n’ Cheese Festival, and was even the stomping ground for IIFA back in May. You can enjoy free live music and quality canine hangout time on the first Thursday of every month with the Rock the Park concert series. 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa,
Upcoming: Rock the Park with UNRB, Kenosabi w. Gwan Massive, Kyle Chason (8/7); Swiss Sauce Vol. 4 with DJ Exodus, George Acosta, DSK CHK, Doc Brown, Phase I (9/13).

David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts The downtown Tampa performing arts center welcomes national headliners in three rooms of varying size — the cabaret-style Jaeb Theater (268 capacity), the roomy yet cozy 1,042-seat Louise Lykes Ferguson Hall (which has two tiers of curving balconies), and Carol Morsani Hall, a luxurious horseshoe-shaped opera house-style space with continental seating on four levels. The Straz also hosts local talent from its Patel Conservatory at the Shimberg Playhouse and at the Patel’s Teco Theater. 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa, 813-229-7827,
Monthly music: The Club Jaeb concert series celebrates 10 years of indie folk, alt-country, Americana and other rootsy artists in its 2014-15 season.
Upcoming: JOHNNYSWIM (7/26, Jaeb); Ethan Bortnick featuring Damian McGinty (10/01, Ferguson); Tiempo Libre (10/11,  Carol Morsanil); Garfunkel and Oates (11/21, Ferguson).

The Hub Bar The beloved downtown Tampa bar and package store presents live music by locals and the occasional touring act. Originally built in 1949 as a piano cocktail lounge for a swanky clientele of mob bosses, boxing champions and attorneys, the Hub has since become popular for its heavy “Hub pour” and jukebox — and for being perhaps the diviest of Tampa dive bars. With a capacity of 100 people, the small venue often welcomes musicians of the hip-hop, garage and alt rock persuasion, as well as hosting open mics, comedy acts and your obligatory ’90s dance night. 719 N. Franklin St., Tampa,
Past shows: The Growlers, Florida Night Heat, Bright Light Social Hour, Ponderosa, ...Y Los Dos Pistoles.

Tampa Bay Times Forum Tampa’s answer to mega-stadiums like Madison Square Garden holds up to 20,500 people and recently underwent a $40 million renovation. The arena boasts top-grade sound and lighting systems, viewable from all three decks and seven levels of its mammoth 670,000-square-foot space, and food and drink options on its perimeter, along with plenty of restrooms. The Forum’s events range from big concert tours to family-friendly entertainment. 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa, 813-301-6500,
Upcoming: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (9/21); The Black Keys with St. Vincent (12/16); Fleetwood Mac (12/20)

Tampa Theatre Tampa’s historic gem (built in 1926) has maintained its timeless elegance thanks to the loving attention of preservationists and fans. Home to the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ and best known for screening classic cinema and indie flicks, the 1,410-seat auditorium welcomes musical acts, too; Annie Lennox, Elvis Costello, B.B. King and David Byrne are among the big names who have played here. With its mock starlit sky, ornate statuary and monumental twinkling marquee, Tampa Theatre is a one-of-a-kind place to see a show — or just drink in the atmosphere. 711 N. Franklin St., Tampa, 813-274-8981,
Past shows: Drive-By Truckers, Lyle Lovett, Matisyahu. 
Upcoming Show: A Hot & Saxxy Night with Eric Darius, Shawn Brown & BK Jackson (8/23).

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