The best Tampa Bay concerts of 2011 (Part 4): The Joy Formidable, Coolio, Peelander-Z and more
(Just as we did in 2009 and 2010, this week Soundcheck is reflecting on the greatest Tampa Bay concerts of 2011. All week various Soundcheck contributors will weigh in with their picks. Today we turn the mic to a pair of photographers: tbt* paparazzo and party photographer extraordinaire Luis Santana, and avowed punk and metal fan Andrew Carlton. And of course, we're including some of their photos of each show.)
Andrew Carlton: There are a few bands that stood out as my “best of” for 2011:
The Joy Formidable (Sept. 26, Orpheum): Hailing from North Wales, Ritzy Bryan’s vocals are subtle yet explosive, and their music is an original blend of hardcore and feather-soft synth rock. (That's Ritzy, above.)
One Eyed Doll (June 25, State Theatre): This Austin, Texas duo opened for Otep at the State Theater June 25, and has a stage performance of a five-piece horror show. Vocalist/guitarist Kimberly Freeman’s “I love you but I am going to kill you” persona is a must-see, and the thrashing of their drum set after the show just added to the choas.
Fake Problems (Crowbar, Sept. 22): A local standing ovation for Fake Problems from Naples, who killed it opening for Surfer Blood at Crowbar on Sept. 22. I look forward to seeing vocalist/guitarist Chris Farren perform again soon. Their beach-bum punk rock is a style you can take home to your mother and also play at your “my parents are out of town” keg party.
Peelander-Z (July 30, Orpheum): I'd have to say that photographing Peelander-Z was my most memorable show in 2011. Unlike others on my favorites list, I had no idea what to expect from them. I usually research the artists a bit before I actually shoot the show, but I did not get a chance to check them out before they rocked out the Orpheum in Ybor. From human bowling to the guitar player running up to the balcony and playing a song upside-down, dangling from the balcony, to the crazy outfits and songs, Peelander-Z was definitely my most memorable show in 2011.
Flo Rida (June 25, The Venue): I have followed Flo Rida's career for a few years, from his first singles until now, so I kind of knew what to expect. It had been some time since he had made it back to the bay area, and as usual, he did not disappoint. Flo Rida is known for lots of crowd participation, especially walking through the crowd, but this time he decided to wander through the crowd while he rode on the shoulders of his security guard as he performed his songs and high-fived fans along the way. Flo Rida rocked the Venue to a huge crowd, spraying expensive champagne into the crowd, pouring mouthfuls of champagne into the mouths of fans and then even throwing his Jordans into the crowd, leaving the stage wearing only socks.
DJ Pauly D (Sept. 14, The Venue): When this show was announced, I was really looking forward to seeing him back at the Venue. DJ Pauly D visited in the spring to a nearly sold-out crowd. It was unbelievable how much people loved the Jersey Shore reality star. I really wondered if he would still draw all the fans he did when he last came, and he did. Pauly D did his thing on the turntables, spinning the top hits of the summer, and ended the night spraying a few bottles of champagne into the crowd.
Coolio/Slick Rick (Sept. 4, Shephard's Beach Resort): Shephard's Beach Resort in Clearwater hosts an annual Labor Day Old Skool Weekend, which draws artists from back in the day, but in my opinion, no artist raised more eyebrows than Coolio. After all, where has he been, other than jail and on a brief reality show? Would people show up to see the old schooler? Well, the combination of Slick Rick and Coolio really had the nearly sold-out crowd pumped for some good ol' old-school hip hop. Although Coolio only performed a handful of his own songs, he still rocked the crowd, including a shirtless crowdsurfing stunt at the end of the show. The highlight of the night for me was when I spotted Slick Rick and Coolio chatting backstage and catching up on old times. I snapped the photo and probably sealed a memory that won't ever be photographed anytime soon.
PREVIOUSLY ON THE BEST TAMPA BAY CONCERTS OF 2011:
Carole Liparoto’s picks: Dance Gavin Dance, Little Dragon, Clearwater Jazz Holiday