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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Summer Jam 10: Must-see acts

CL Music Editor Leilani Polk cherry-picks the best of an all-out excellent bill.

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 1:08 AM

Beach Day.
  • Beach Day.

While the Summer Jam 10 lineup only encompasses 13 bands – relatively light in lieu of other multi-act, multi-venue music events – every single one is worthy of your attention. So, which to choose? We’ve highlighted six mandatory sets below.

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The last damn jam

Summer Jam 10 marks the end of this beloved, homegrown Ybor mini-fest.

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 1:01 AM

Joe D'Acunto and Durium "Deacon" Jones. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • Joe D'Acunto and Durium "Deacon" Jones.

Joe D’Acunto’s heart isn’t on his sleeve. It’s in his mouth, ready to be unleashed at a moment’s notice. And regardless of the situation — be it a mellow afternoon chat at New World Brewery or a last-call rant at The Hub — you’re going to get every ounce of that heart shoved down your throat.

The hulking, bearded New York transplant has cultivated a passion for Tampa Bay since he started booking shows here in 1998. Part of that passion dies on Saturday, when the curtains fall on the 10th and final installment of Summer Jam — one of Ybor City’s longest running music festivals.

This year’s lineup is arguably its best, most eclectic to date and includes a few Georgia bands (dance-pop weirdos Reptar and garage-rock savants New Madrid) plus nearly a dozen Sunshine State artists plying everything from Americana to electronica on two stages. The party has been known to host local acts before they break, too. Merchandise’s Carson Cox (now signed to UK imprint 4AD) brought an early band — Dry County — to play Summer Jam 2, and fast-rising blues rocker Benjamin Booker (a Hillsborough High School grad now signed to ATO Records) played just last year.

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Lucky number 50: Local folk icon Ronny Elliott celebrates a career milestone

Ronny celebrates five decades of playing at the Skipperdome this Saturday

Posted By on Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 4:00 AM

Fifty years. Five decades. Half a century. That’s a lengthy stretch to do anything, let alone work a local music scene. But Tampa Bay’s own Ronny Elliott has been active in these parts for all that time, a drawling dry-witted Americana and folk-rock hero whose richly-hued narratives are imbued with a sense of straightforward honesty whether he’s reflecting on history, social issues or love gone wrong.

One of his earliest bands opened for Jimi Hendrix back in ’67. Afterwards, Ronny was asked to stick around and hold the amps steady during Hendrix’s set, for fear the guitar legend might knock them over during a particularly unruly moment. Ask Ronny about his Hendrix experience, however, and he just shrugs, claiming, “Most of my stories have more to do with just being there, a Forrest Gump kind of thing.”

Elliott with his 1932 National guitar at one of his favorite haunts, Ybor’s New World Brewery. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • Elliott with his 1932 National guitar at one of his favorite haunts, Ybor’s New World Brewery.

The title of his latest album, 2012’s I’ve Been Meaning to Write, sums up his work ethos perfectly: he might be full of songs but he’s not necessarily in a hurry to put them to paper. In fact, he didn’t actually start producing original material until he’d been a musician for nearly 30 years, because, he says, “I never wanted to be anything but a bass player and be in bands.” But he finally figured out “grown-ups can’t get along” and if he wanted to be a part of a band that lasted, he’d have to start one himself. So he picked up a guitar (his original instrument), put together a band of his musician friends (axe-slinger Steve Connelly, drummer Harry Hayward, singer Natty Moss Bond and bassist Walt Bucklin), and eventually issued his full-length debut, Ronny Elliott and the Nationals, in 1995. “I don’t have any real regrets but I probably should have gotten to it sooner.”

Nine albums later and a week before his 50-year anniversary show this Saturday at Skipper's Smokehouse, we sat down over beers at New World to discuss his life and times. Check it out after the jump...

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Down to Ybor City again: The return of The Hold Steady

The cult-beloved Brooklyn rock act headlines this year's Tropical Heatwave.

Posted By on Wed, May 7, 2014 at 12:54 PM

  • Danny Clinch

When Hold Steady vocalist Craig Finn wrote the lines “Ybor City is tres speedy / but they throw such killer parties” and “Well, hold steady, Ybor City / You’re up to your neck in the sweat and wet confetti” — from the songs “Killer Parties” and “Most People Are DJs,” respectively, both on the group’s 2004 debut Almost Killed Me — he hadn’t yet visited Tampa’s notorious party district.

“I asked Craig early on, ‘Where the fuck is Ybor City?’” says guitarist Tad Kubler. “And he’s like, ‘It’s in Tampa, it’s kind of the sketchy part of Tampa … I just like the way it sounds.’”'

Back then, Ybor was still shrugging off its “sketchy” reputation as a still-dangerous, in-transition haven for punk clubs and artists’ lofts. And nobody knew a damned thing about The Hold Steady, a unique rock band the two musicians built after the demise of their previous group, Lifter Puller, on the foundation of Finn's detailed spoken-sung lyrical narratives and Kubler's hooky, anthemic guitar work.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

10 must-see acts at the inaugural Big Guava Music Festival, from Outkast to HAIM

Uncertain about what acts to prioritize at this weekend's fest? Here's 10 you shouldn’t miss; Spotify playlist included.

Posted By on Thu, May 1, 2014 at 4:01 AM

  • Outkast
Tampa Bay is ablaze with music fest fever. One of the area’s oldest and most beloved festivals, WMNF’s Tropical Heatwave, is coming up May 9-10 in Ybor (stay tuned for coverage in our May 8 issue), following hot on the heels of the newest, debuting this weekend: the aptly named Big Guava.

Anchored by headliners Outkast, Vampire Weekend and Foster the People, Big Guava emulates big festivals like Coachella while adapting the most successful components of last year’s Funshine and Coastline music fests. The inaugural edition, brought to you by Live Nation and the Florida State Fair Authority, kicks off at the fairgrounds and adjoining amphitheater on Friday. 

In addition to four stages' worth of live music, Big Guava boasts 40 food trucks and beer gardens pouring 23 different brews, including craft selections by Cigar City and Florida Avenue, and all attendees enjoy free unlimited access to a “Monster Midway” of thrill rides. Attendees who bring five non-perishable food donations for Metropolitan Ministries get a Big Guava poster created by Miami artist David Lebo; the first 250 people to bring 20 items get numbered original silkscreen prints of the same work. Shaded chill zones with hammocks and ping-pong tables, gigantic inflatable art installations, live mural painting by David “DaveL” Lavernia, a Foto Box… the possibilities for fun are endless.

Still, it’s the music that matters to everyone most. If you’re uncertain about what acts to prioritize, here are 10 you shouldn’t miss.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

The boundary-pushing rock poster art of St. Pete-based Greg "Stainboy" Reinel

"A real piece of art, that stuff is timeless. No one's going to be collecting digital files 20 years from now."

Posted By on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 4:00 AM

Greg "Stainboy" Reinel - TODD BATES
  • Todd Bates
  • Greg "Stainboy" Reinel
Greg “Stainboy” Reinel has been practicing silkscreen print traditions for more than two decades, one of those resilient rock poster artists who've transformed the typical gig advertisement into limited-edition runs of signed and numbered posters sought after by collectors. He’s kept up with the graphic design programs that are used by every savvy promoter these days, though he views them as just another tool to help him make his art.

“Drawing is everything,” says Reinel. “The best digital artists are great artists without a computer. I have nothing against digital art — I use a lot of digital stuff. But to me, it’s just another pencil. My computer breaks down, I can still make art.”

I chatted with Reinel over coffee at Kahwa last week. The 49-year-old artist, who settled in St. Petersburg last year (he was born in Bradenton but his family moved around a lot), looks like a well-aged British punk rocker with his spiky dark-rooted, fading-bleached hair and sharp leather outerwear. His good-natured, refreshingly brash attitude matches his audacious poster style. 

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