Review / photos: Yelawolf shows skateboarding roots at the Tampa Pro Party at Czar
What’s better then a parade with beads, beer and scantily dressed leprechaun pirates? How about continuing the evening with a Skatepark of Tampa afterparty hosted at Czar?
And what better person to plan the event than Brian Schaefer, owner of SPoT and The Bricks Restaurant in Ybor City? Saturday’s party was a continuation of a weekend-long event celebrating the Skatepark of Tampa’s Tampa Pro competition, with skater-turned-rapper Yelawolf and San Francisco’s Bad S---. Czar was packed to the hilt with beanies and Vans.
I’ll start by saying I was pretty impressed with Czar’s ability to host this show. It took a lot of effort to build a five-foot-tall, 30-foot-wide wooden stage at Czar. It was just enough to make me feel like I was at a venue that was accustomed to concerts rather than weekend clubbing and dancing.
First up: Bad S---, just a really awesome live threesome. Singer-guitarist Ground Chuck, bassist T-Bone and drummer Trixie Con Leche played a powerful set that at first sight may have scared true musicians. Chuck begged for punishment like a masochist. Any local lead vocalist would agree that you should never call out a crowd of Tampa skaters for throwing beads on the stage. Chuck told the packed audience, “In San Francisco the crowd throws beers and rocks, not beads, you pussies!”
Well, that didn’t make things any better. Before you knew it, full beers were being chucked at Chuck. He smiled and laughed as they killed their set, and even got a huge request to do an encore. It wasn’t like they were throwing beers out of disrespect. The audience just enjoyed the fact that the abuse was upon request.
When the Czar staff finally got the stage cleaned up from the beads and beers, it was time for Yelawolf. I’ve never seen Yelawolf (Michael Atha) live, and honestly never followed him closely. I was pretty unsure what to expect from his performance. It’s difficult to set yourself apart from others in the hip hop arena. But I was really impressed by not only the performance, but the connection he made with the crowd.
And Yelawolf was not “trying” to be hip hop. No gold chains. There was no stereo typical flashy rap garb. It was flannel shirts and blue jeans. The maroon beanie may have been purchased from the skate shop across the street. You just never know, but I felt an original feel from the start. He wasn’t even wearing dark shades. When was the last time you saw a hip hop artist not wearing shades on stage? Exactly!
His show started with love from the crowd. No beads were thrown. No half beers tossed toward his mic stand. Yelawolf connected with the skate crowd, and between songs explained about some of his struggles and failures. He even reminded the crowd that his roots were in skating and that he would always be a skater. He mixed his own material with a Yela version of Boyz 'N Da Hood by N.W.A., and the crowd loved the transition.
This was a powerful show that was basically just a huge party. At one point, Yelawolf removed his maroon beanie and thrashed his buzz-saw hair, bringing back the fact that his roots were skating.
I have to give kudos to Schaefer for putting this show together. It was a rough, grunge-filled punk and hip-hop mix that made the Skatepark of Tampa’s weekend of parties the real deal.
— Review / photos: Andrew Carlton, tbt*