Top 10 Tampa music stories of 2011, No. 1: Dubstep reigns supreme
In the span of six days this month, I reviewed concerts by David Guetta and Skrillex in Tampa. The shows capped a year in which I also caught sets by the Crystal Method, A-Trak, Rusko, Steve Aoki, Pretty Lights, A-Trak, Samantha Ronson, Girl Talk (twice), Mix Master Mike and Syd tha Kid, among others.
This is by far the most live electronic music I've ever experiened in one year. And most of it took place in Tampa Bay.
We realize the use of the word "dubstep" in the headline is a little misleading; what we're really talking about is all of electronic dance music (EDM) in general. DJs and EDM artists broke into the mainstream in a major way in 2011, even if some of its biggest stars have been slowly growing in popularity for a few years now. And Tampa got to experience most of the sea change in person.
Tampa hosted the only Identity Festival stop in Florida, thanks to a hurricane-out in Miami, and Orlando got its first taste of the Electric Daisy Carnival. The area seemed to host a different world-class DJ every weekend, from superstars like Bassnectar and Carl Cox, to upstarts like Mord Fustang and Excision, to curiosities like DJ Pauly D and silent discos, to the incessant popularity of DayGlow, neon, foam and paint parties.
But it wasn't just national acts that made waves. Local DJs like Subpirate, Nerd Rage, Thee Joker, Kid Pacific, Luminary Youth and Blenda helped shape the scene in new and unexpected ways. Nights like Turbo Tuesday, Ol' Dirty Sundays, # (Pound), and Retro Red Square Recall Saturdays kept drawing out party-hardy kids every week. Sure, Pulp the Party ended, but any number of nights are stepping up to take its place. There's a moombahton party coming to Crowbar in January.
Tampa's thirst for dubstep and EDM seems to know no limits at this point -- just see the recent Skrillex show at the Ritz Ybor, which sold out three and a half months in advance -- so it's impossible to predict what might happen for local electronic music fans in 2012. We predict at least one large-scale arena or amphitheatre show (Avicii already has a show planned at Orlando's UCF Arena on Jan. 27, right between shows by Rise Against and Miranda Lambert.) We're about overdue for another appearance by Deadmau5 or Tiesto. Maybe one of them will bring the party back to Tampa Bay.
I don't claim to be an expert in the genre. But after experiencing more EDM in 2011 than I ever have in any other year, I feel like I'm ready for more. The direction of EDM in America may change as artists like Skrillex, David Guetta and Deadmau5 keep going mainstream, but it doesn't appear to be slowing down. It feels like the party's just getting started.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*