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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dark & Sinful: Primus instinct

The concert on that hazed-up night proved to be one of those times when I didn’t feel like the odd woman out.

Posted By on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 2:00 AM

WONKA WONKA: Les Claypool of Primus at Ruth Eckerd Hall. - TRACY MAY
  • Tracy May
  • WONKA WONKA: Les Claypool of Primus at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

A couple weeks ago, I went to see Primus at Ruth Eckerd Hall with my boys David and Dan. Yes. Me: the woman who regularly shouts out Wu-tang! Wu-tang! apropos of nothing. I knew nothing about the Primus: nothing about its members or even how many there were, not even what kind of music they played. But I love my boys and their white-guy guitar jam sessions (mostly Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive”), even their occasional need for death metal. And David told me Primus was going to do some kind of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory thing in the middle of the show.


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Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Gulfport Neighborhood Guide: O’Maddy’s, oh, man

A few nights of adventure at Gulfport’s storied karaoke destination

Posted By on Thu, Aug 7, 2014 at 4:02 AM

O'Maddy's Bar & Grille, located across the street from the Bert and Walter Williams Pier on Shore Boulevard - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • O'Maddy's Bar & Grille, located across the street from the Bert and Walter Williams Pier on Shore Boulevard

I have a new friend in Baby Jesus and he’s about to perform an Eminem track, “Without Me.”

He insists he’s either going to jump-start the party or trigger the crickets on this Wednesday night edition of O’Maddys’ karaoke night, which is scattered with middle-aged regulars, some 20-somethings getting Hump Day soused, and a gnarly beardy dude who selects shuffling blues-rock numbers and plays harmonica instead of singing (harmoni-oke?). Right now, a couple’s on stage wailing through Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home” as if it were a duet and clutching each other in a slow-swaying embrace during the instrumental breaks.

Baby Jesus, aka David, is the first person I meet at the Gulfport waterside bar and grill renowned for its nightly karaoke shennanys. O’Maddys is ripe with people-gawking opportunities, and those single-serving friends you make when you’re both enjoying (or enduring) the same experience. There’s an overall beach-vacation vibe amidst the blue-painted walls and bright patio furniture, though the karaoke crowd throws it all into a tailspin of human miscellany.

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

The CL Intern Issue: The vibrant viral voices of Florida’s collegiate a cappella groups

Florida’s collegiate a cappella groups are a web sensation

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Whether you’d dare to admit it or not, you had a blast watching Pitch Perfect. Yes, I’m even looking at you, middle-aged man in the Joy Division T-shirt and fully tatted sleeves. Betwixt the jazz hands, beat-boxing and bombastic singing, what’s not to love about a cappella groups?

No Southern Accent
  • No Southern Accent
In summary, a cappella is a group of people who strip down and rearrange music to be performed without any instruments, often reinventing familiar or popular tunes. They sometimes even use their voices to emulate the instruments themselves, while the more traditional groups focus solely on harmonizing. The a cappella scene is blossoming, and it’s been sweeping across the collegiate stratosphere.

One group of performers particularly talented at making music with their mouths is No Southern Accent, from the University of Florida. It’s a completely student-run award-winning coed a capella group originally established in 2001. No Southern Accent annually attends SoJam, a convention held in North Carolina, and ICAA, the International Championship of Collegiate Acapella (which was the exact competition featured in Pitch Perfect).

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The CL Intern Issue: Hometown heroes - Florida artists making it big

From Benjamin Booker to Hundred Waters, we've put together a list of some noteworthy talent coming out of the Sunshine State

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 11:04 AM

While Florida may not boast as many national artists as NYC or LA, we’ve still got a few great ones repping our weird state. Tom Petty, KC and the Sun-shine Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rick Ross, Against Me!, and Less Than Jake got their starts in Florida and paved the way for four rising acts currently making waves. Representing Tampa, Orlando, and Gainesville, they may just carry the torch (or in Florida’s case the orange) into the national spotlight.

Benjamin Booker - MAX NORTON
  • Max Norton
  • Benjamin Booker
Benjamin Booker Let’s kick off this list with someone who quite literally embodies the “hometown hero.” Benjamin Booker grew up in Tampa, graduated from Hillsborough High School and moved to New Orleans after playing solo shows in the Tampa Bay area. Drummer Max Norton accompanies the rocker and their debut album drops August 19 on ATO Records (joining labelmates like the Alabama Shakes and Band of Horses). ATO Records head Jon Salter flew down to catch Booker’s set at New World Brewery for WMNF and offered him a deal shortly after. Booker crafts pure rock ‘n’ roll flavored with a side of gritty grunge, blues and soul, armed to the teeth with a raspy croon, rollickin’ guitar jams, and speedy drumming. Who can argue the success of a musician who's performed on The Late Show with David Letterman, opens for former White Stripes frontman Jack White this summer, and joins the lineups of festivals like Lollapalooza and Newport Folk Fest? Booker returns to Tampa on October 25 for the Coral Skies Festival and a welcome-home set.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Why Phish? Let me break it down for you...

When you see a band 65 times, they’ve got to be doing something right.

Posted By on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 6:00 AM

As soon as I meet someone new and the introductions are out of the way and we get to the requisite “What do you do?” part of the conversation, a question arises that I both dread and anticipate in equal parts, depending on how knowledgeable the person claims to be:

It's all about the love, baby.
  • It's all about the love, baby.
“Oh, you write about music — what’s your favorite band?”

It’s almost like a trick question, because often, the person asking isn’t as interested in hearing my answer as giving one of his own and immediately astounding me with his tuneful awareness, or using my answer as a basis for comparison to her own seemingly superior (and usually rather rigid) musical taste, then listing all the reasons I’m wrong. It turns into a debate; we’re arguing in circles and neither side is really listening to what the other has to say.

It’s this willful ignorance that usually dictates my response to the question: a vague “too many to name,” because why go through all that? But if the person continues to pry, I’ll be honest and without batting an eye, respond, “Phish. What else is there?”

I’m not ashamed of my love of Phish. I’m just reluctant to have to justify the music that has informed the decisions I’ve made and the path I’ve taken for the past decade, which ultimately led me to the person I am today.

But, for the folks who are genuinely curious as to why I’ve seen this band 65 times, and will continue to see them until they stop touring, it’s a Tao sort of thing, and I’m gonna break it down, as simply as possible. 

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

A feast for the ears: Four food-centric party scenarios & playlists for each.

Leilani Polk helps craft the perfect soundtrack to your next summer food-fest.

Posted By on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Iggy Azalea
  • Iggy Azalea

Even if your occasion only vaguely resembles the ones I’ve described below, the playlists I’ve put together – or at least some of the songs recommended – should work for you regardless. Or, perhaps these’ll inspire an idea for a party you should be throwing, or simply turn you onto some songs you should be vibing. Enjoy.

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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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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hyde Park Cafe keeps the underground house music scene alive in SoHo

CL looks at a local venue with international cred and the people who keep it relevant.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 6:25 AM

Peel away SoHo’s protective outer layer of partying and posturing, and you’ll find an entire underground house-music scene that has existed for two decades, and took root with the opening of Hyde Park Café in 1995.

HPC resident Brian Busto runs Serious Soul on Fridays from the Velociti room. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • HPC resident Brian Busto runs Serious Soul on Fridays from the Velociti room.
Through highs, lows, and typical ebb-and-flows, Hyde Park Café has endured, not only becoming a fixture of the SoHo landscape and the vital core of the local underground house scene, but also developing an international reputation as a preferred destination for house and techno DJs to play in Florida.

HPC owner Tommy Ortiz operated the club in virtual obscurity for its first five years, barely managing to stay afloat as he attempted to foster a nightlife scene in SoHo, and throw a weekly underground house-music party featuring the artist who’d originally introduced Ortiz to the genre, DJ Jask (still an HPC resident to this day).

“My bathrooms didn’t even work for a while,” he says.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Safety Harbor Singer Songwriter Festival launches this weekend

Arts crusaders Kiaralinda and Todd Ramquist present a new major music fest in Safety Harbor.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 12:30 PM

Tucked almost out of sight in northeast Pinellas, Safety Harbor offers bayfront views and scenic parks, a quaint Main Street and early 20th century bungalows that line shady, hilly two-lane roads. It's known as a quiet town, but a buzz of new activity has been tinkering with Safety Harbor’s sleepy reputation.

At the waterfront park behind the town’s famous Resort and Spa, the Safety Harbor Singer Songwriter Festival will give North Pinellas its first major concert festival that isn’t strictly a blues or jazz fest — a sprawling, eclectic three-day event with Grammy-winning headliners, food trucks, a fashion show and performance art that should appeal to music lovers of all ages.

Artist/decorating company Beautiful Streamers will provide their dreamy touches, and circus arts performers will twirl and defy gravity.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Florida Listening Room Festival expands to an office near you.

The living room concerts-spawned fest brings musical cheer to local workplaces this April.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Not to be confused with the punk and hardcore-oriented DIY house shows, living room concerts are acoustic-oriented affairs with audiences that seek a quieter, more intimate live music experience than typically found in bars and clubs. Hence the name of venues that cater to these audiences, listening rooms, and the title of the multi-day event that brings a range of artists to private house concerts around the area in April — the Florida Listening Room Festival (FLiRF). The Listening Room Festival was founded and organized by singer-songwriter Fran Snyder, also the music entrepreneur behind ConcertsInYourHome.com, and in its third year, he introduces Office Concerts, a brand new performance concept held in conjunction with the 2014 fest.

Ed Woltil at the CL Offices, before he coerced us into getting closer...
  • Ed Woltil at the CL Offices, before he coerced us into getting closer...
Last Friday, March 7, the CL staff was treated to an Office Concert performance by Ditchflowers primary Ed Woltil, who’d just released his debut solo outing of warm and easy pop-and-folk-oriented rock tunes, Paper Boats. Woltil strummed and plucked melodies on acoustic guitar, his strong, lightly husky vocal quality reminiscent of George Harrison with a touch of Sondre Lerche sweetness as he shared anecdotes about his material and serenaded around a dozen of us with new tunes and old, like the math-meets-life ode “Algebra” and a few Ditchflowers cuts. He closed with a ditty by one of his early bands, Drive Thru Church. “I almost didn’t finish this song,” he commented about the nonsensical tune, “but it sprang out of my head and I had to get it out of my system.”

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