Orlando's House of Blues: The 'hottest club in North America?'
Part of being a music fan in Tampa Bay is expressing great jealousy whenever an act chooses to come to Orlando instead of Tampa Bay.
Never mind that Tampa has the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheater, and therefore gets a ton of acts that wouldn't otherwise sniff Central Florida. Orlando has venues like Hard Rock Live, the House of Blues, the Beacham Theater, the Social and the brand-spanking new Amway Center. Over the last few years, if you've wanted to see acts like Guns N' Roses, Bob Seger, Phoenix, LCD Soundsystem, Death Cab For Cutie (above), The National and many more, Orlando was your best hope. And in the coming months, acts like Justin Bieber, The Who, Jennifer Lopez and Gotye will all skip Tampa for O-Town.
Still, we weren't expecting this: Billboard magazine has ranked the House of Blues at Downtown Disney in Lake Buena Vista No. 1 on its annual list of "The 25 Hottest Clubs in North America." Granted, it's one of eight Houses of Blues in the top 10, but it's also ahead of storied venues of a similar size, like Washington, D.C.'s 9:30 Club, Austin, Texas' Stubb's Bar-B-Q and Los Angeles' Club Nokia.
The list is based on attendance -- Orlando's House of Blues drew 375,524 fans to concerts from July 1, 2011, to June 20 of this year. That's nearly 100,000 more fans than passed through the gates of the 9:30 Club, the No. 2 venue on the list.
Looking ahead at the House of Blues' summer and fall concert calendar, one sees a handful of acts who aren't coming to Tampa Bay: M83, Passion Pit, Neon Trees, Walk the Moon and the aforementioned Gotye. Some pretty good ones in there.
Is anyone else surprised to hear one of the biggest music publications in the world call Orlando's House of Blues the "hottest rock club in North America?"
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*