Review: Jannus Live goes local with the Black Honkeys, Semis at Marmalade Music Series
The venue formerly known as Jannus Landing celebrated a reawakening encounter of the local kind with the first installment of its new free concert series Friday night.
The well-attended event at the slicker, sleeker Jannus Live highlighted high-caliber Tampa Bay bands Old North East, Someday Souvenir, the Semis (above), rapper Shawty and the Black Honkeys.
The variety of acts, ranging from rock to funk to folk to hip-hop, offered a little something for everyone, seeming to please the front-to-back-packed crowd, people who varied in age, but the prevailing demographic leaned toward the 35-50 slot of the scale.
Speaking of which, a little too much middle-aged body grinding was going on, but, hey, folks were having fun.
Considering what a great contribution the new series is making to local culture, it’s hard to be critical, but to say the night went off without a hitch wouldn’t be altogether accurate. The bands all performed energetic sets -- no complaints there, but the sound was a little muffled and inconsistent, and DJ sets were loud and too clubbish.
Part of the magic of a local music show is that it takes you away from the same ol’, same ol’, and gives you something a little more authentic than what a nightclub has to offer. Marmalade's attempt at duplicating a club vibe with the DJ sets between performances detracted from the evening more than enhancing it. It's a matter of preference, but some of us just don't enjoy manic mashups of oldies and hit songs played really loudly. We look forward to those chill moments between bands to catch up with our friends, but conversing was often difficult if not impossible.
Musician Stephen Vessenmeyer of St. Pete duo Experimental Pilot, who attended the show with his brother and musical partner, Robert Vessenmeyer, expressed excitement about a local show being propped up so majorly at a concert venue and gave kudos to Jannus for throwing it but suggested that the DJs in the future play some tunes by Tampa Bay artists past and present between sets.
Several other St. Pete musicians came out to support: Dave Reeder of Car Bomb Driver, Eric Glinsboeckel of Military Junior, solo electronic whiz Ryan Wendell Bauer, Brian Merrill of the Ditchflowers and Joran Slane of Auditorium.
Some rain between the Semis and Shawty's sets threatened to spoil the party but only presented a temporary setback.
The Black Honkeys gave the most exuberant set. The nine-piece ensemble cranked out funk and soul classics along with some originals. Their eye-catching choreography included one super-cool frozen-statue pose during Chain of Fools. Singer Phil Esposito behaved like a lovable spaz. At one point he declared that the Black Honkeys stimulate sex drives all over Tampa Bay.
-- Julie Garisto, tbt*. Photos by Stephen Vessenmeyer.