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The State Theatre: Tampa Bay's hippest concert venue?


It may not happen often, but next week, a 705-seat concert venue in St. Petersburg will be the envy of any hipster music club in Williamsburg, Silver Lake or Portland.

With four concerts in four nights by indie-freak heroes Animal Collective, acoustic folk act Bon Iver, punk legends the New York Dolls and alt-troubadours mewithoutYou, the State Theatre is about to have its moment in the Tampa Bay music spotlight.

“When a week like that happens, it’s just one of those magical things,” said Mark Assiff, managing partner of the State Theatre (shown above, in 1977, when it was still a movie theater). “I’d like to say that it was devised, but it wasn’t. The Lord blessed us with a great week of diverse acts.”

Assiff took over concert operations at the State in 2007 from John C. “Jack” Bodziak, who was arrested last week on charges he defrauded the state out of some $250,000 in taxes. (Assiff and Bodziak are involved in ongoing litigation over the terms of the State Theatre deal.)

Since then, Assiff has worked to bring an eclectic array of national artists into the venue, from pop acts like Jack’s Mannequin, Gavin DeGraw and the Veronicas to edgier acts like Manchester Orchestra, the Dresden Dolls’ Amanda Palmer, Gorilla Sleepytime Museum and even the stars of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! In January, Fall Out Boy, who played the State Theatre as young punks back in the day, returned for a secret show during Super Bowl week.

Assiff can’t quite remember a week like this, though.

“I had Bad Brains and Propaghandi the first week of March, and to have both those bands on the same bill was incredible,” he said. “But no, even that week, I had Tricky and Skindred, but I don’t think it matches up to what I’ve got going on this week.”

The New York Dolls show will be their first in Tampa Bay. And Animal Collective and Bon Iver (as well as Bon Iver‚Äôs opener, Elvis Perkins) will basically be going straight from the State Theater to the Bonnarroo Music Festival in Tennessee.

Credit for booking the experimental trio Animal Collective — which has transfixed festival crowds all over the world, and released the critically hailed Merriweather Post Pavilion in January — Assiff said, goes to Jack Spatafora of Aestheticized Presents, who had an in with the band. The show is sold out, though there may be more tickets sold at the door.

“All the other promoters were green with envy the second they saw Animal Collective,” Assiff said. “From the moment he had the inside scoop, we were like, wow. We knew that was going to be special.”

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

[Last modified: Friday, June 5, 2009 12:30pm]


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