The Summer Slaughter Tour made its way into Tampa Monday night, and brought with it great music — and a little drama for the fans.
And not to distract from the music of the day, but you can only add so much authority at a metal show before fans start hiding in the bathrooms. So when law enforcement started mixing in with the crowd, fans knew something was awry. But more on that later.
On a lighter note, maybe it’s because I have lived in Florida my entire 38 years, but I think of metal like I think of hurricane categories. For example, there were bands ranging from Category 2 (Periphery) to Category 4 (Cannibal Corpse, above, and Goatwhore) at the Ritz Ybor, but there were no Category 5s. Still, this tour brought in a ton of fans from around Central Florida, from commercial radio yuppies to true followers of the Tampa death metal scene.
The show started out great. I got there just as Exhumed were playing their last song, and from what I could tell, the audience was already on beer No. 3 and enjoying the day. Up next were Goatwhore, who scrambled the brains of the early arrivals. (I did not expect fans to be there so early — it was Monday afternoon after all. I guess people held off on applying for jobs until after this tour passed, because The Ritz was packed by 4 p.m.)
As Job for a Cowboy was setting up, 15 minutes past schedule, I started reading the body language of the stagehands and band members. Something was not right. The band members were pulled from the stage, and there was silence. No background music, and all lights on in the venue. Fans eventually started grumbling. Eventually, the lights lowered and the stage took life.
Job for a Cowboy started ripping through their set, but I could tell they were not at ease . They didn’t move much and they didn’t have the same energy as expected. Suddenly, in mid-song on the second song, they were rushed offstage without warning. The music stopped. Lights came on. Boos came from throughout the venue. This was a first.
"Who would want to kill at a death metal show?"
That's what one patron said after the Ritz Ybor was evacuated during Monday's Summer Slaughter Tour at the Ritz Ybor in Tampa. The venue had received a threat saying someone with a gun and knife was going to assault people during a set by Job For a Cowboy. Midway through the band's set, police turned the whole place out.
After two hours and a heavy security check, fans were let back in -- with free beer -- and the show resumed with performances by Cannibal Corpse, Between the Buried and Me and more. But in the wake of the recent Aurora, Colo. movie theater shootings, police couldn't be too careful.
For more on the incident, click here for Jodie Tillman's story.
As for the music itself? We'll have a full review coming later today.
Photo: Andrew Carlton, tbt*
Even for ’90s diehards like yours truly, this is almost too much to take in.
An unprecedented glut of early-’90s MTV Party to Go hip-pop artists are making their way to Tampa Bay in September and October, so dust off those spandex shorts and Zubaz pants.
It all starts at Shephard’s Beach Resort in Clearwater Beach, whose annual Labor Day “Old Skool Weekend” will bring in Kid ’n Play, C+C Music Factory, Vanilla Ice and Rob Base.
Kid ’n Play will turn Shephard’s into a House Party on Sept. 1, and they’ll be joined by C&C Music Factory, who are Gonna (try to) Make You Sweat. Now, we know something about this show is making you go, “Hmmm...” — probably the fact that one of the C’s in C+C Music Factory, David Cole, died in 1996. Well, the group reformed in 2010 with new vocalist Eric Kupper joining Robert Clivillés. (Seems like he should have adopted the spelling “Cupper,” right? We digress.) Admission is $15.
On Sept. 2, Vanilla Ice will return to Shephard’s for a little Ice Ice Baby, joined by Rob Base (It Takes Two ... though apparently it doesn't take DJ E-Z Rock, Base's partner on that hit single) and DJ Skribble. Tickets will be $20. Click here for info.
But don’t think the party stops on Labor Day weekend. Far from it. On Sept. 14, Grammy-winning hip-hop group Arrested Development (above), famous for alternative pop hits like Tennessee and Mr. Wendal, will bring their 20th anniversary tour to the State Theatre in St. Pete. Tickets are $17. Click here.
Finally, on Oct. 5, Tone Loc will return to St. Pete for a show at the State Theatre. He gets paid to do the Wild Thing, so if you want tickets, they’re $16. Click here.
Now, if someone can only get Crystal Waters and Tony Toni Tone on the phone...
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*
Tampa Bay native Nikki Shau has been making her way in the Los Angeles and London music scenes, performing with the likes of Chaka Khan and Charlie Wilson. Occasionally known as Nikki D’Kat, she has a diverse range, performing songs in genres ranging from jazz and blues to R&B and dance. From 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Shau will perform at Shamrock’s Ale House, 7805 Temple Terrace Highway, Temple Terrace.
-- California metal group Otep, above, are returning to the State Theatre on Sept. 6. Tickets are $15. Click here for details.
-- There's going to be a release party for Rick Ross' new album God Forgives ... I Don't on Aug. 1 at Club Underground in Tampa, and word is the Boss himself is going to be there. That's right: Bruce Springsteen. No, wait -- we mean the other Boss, Rick Ross. Click here for details.
-- Crowbar regulars Langhorne Slim and the Law are making their way back to Ybor City. Look for 'em on Oct. 9; tickets are $11-$14. Click here.
-- Country star Wynonna is coming to the Mahaffey Theatre on Dec. 21 for "Wynonna's Rockin' Christmas," a review of holiday music backed by a full band. Tickets are $39-$69, and they'll go onsale to the public on Friday Click here.
-- No one has ever accused Your Humble Soundcheck Editor of being a massive Primus fan, but we still kind of wish the band's groundbreaking "3D Tour," featuring 3-D-enhanced visuals and Quad Surround Sound, was coming to Tampa Bay. Instead, look for them at Orlando's Hard Rock Live on Nov. 9. Click here.
Via Stuck in the '80s comes one of the most intriguing concert announcements we've heard in quite some time. Public Image Ltd., the British post-punk band fronted by former Sex Pistol John Lydon, are coming to the Cuban Club in Ybor City on Oct. 6.
You read that right. Johnny Rotten in the Cuban Club. Even if you don't dig Public Image Ltd., you have to admit, that's pretty cool.
The current incarnation of PiL also features guitarist Lu Edmonds (The Damned), drummer Bruce Smith (The Slits, The Pop Group) and bassist Scott Firth.
Ticket info is hard to come by at this point, but according to PiL's website, they'll be available via Ticketfly.com on Friday. Click here for more info.
And hey, is the Cuban Club becoming Tampa Bay's punk venue of choice? Pennywise, MxPx and Unwritten Law are playing there in October, too. Interesting.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*
Unless you're a delegate, donor or some other very powerful Republican, you're not getting in to see Lynyrd Skynyrd when the Southern rock legends perform in Tampa during the Republican National Convention in August.
The Sweet Home Alabama rockers are reportedly booked to kick off a week of concerts at "Liberty Plaza," a makeshift concert venue near the Tampa Bay Times Forum in downtown Tampa, on Aug. 26. Kid Rock, Trace Adkins and other acts will also perform. But unless you're credentialed to be inside the Forum's security radius, you're out of luck.
But later this fall, even blue dog Democrats will get a chance to see Skynyrd in concert.
Lynyrd Skynyrd are coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Oct. 24, according to the venue. Tickets are listed at $61 to $186. Click here for info.
On Oct. 26, they'll be at the UCF Arena in Orlando (click here for info), then it's off to their annual Simple Man Cruise, leaving from Miami on Oct. 27. So if you want to spend a full week shouting "Free Bird!" -- and actually meaning it -- this might be your chance.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*
This week's edition of the Relentlessly Positive Rock 'n' Roll Energy Power Rankings looks like this:
5. Mountain Goats (especially following Saturday's uber-smiley performance at the State Theatre)
4. Foxy Shazam
2. Andrew W.K.
1. Matt and Kim
Why do Matt and Kim get the nod over Andrew W.K. this week? Because they're coming to the Ritz Ybor, and we're homers. Sue us.
The unabashedly gleeful, insanely energetic Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino, whose effervescent piano-pop singles include Daylight and Sidewalks, are returning to Tampa Bay on Oct. 17 for a concert at the Ritz. Tickets are $22, and if you're having a bummer of a week, it'll be the best $22 you ever spent. Get 'em on Friday.
Here's what we wrote when we saw Matt and Kim at last fall's DeLuna Fest in Pensacola Beach:
Matt and Kim were so furiously into the music they kept shaking the stage – SHAKING THE STAGE, PEOPLE – and stagehands had to keep running out to fix their mic stands and drum kit. All the while, Matt and Kim were asking the audience to play along in their reindeer games. First Kim threw dozens of flaccid balloons into the crowd and asked the crowd to blow them up and bat them around, which they did. Then she wanted them to take off their shirts and whip them around like Willow Smith’s hair, and they did that too. Then she wanted to walk on the crowd, so she hopped down and started surfing on fans’ hands. If Matt and Kim started a cult, I’m not saying I’d join, but I’d certainly leaf through a pamphlet.
Trust us: This'll be a fun one.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*
While most beach-based singer-songwriters are content to play Margaritaville at clubs up and down Gulf Boulevard, Jim Lanier is taking his act international.
A while back, the Indian Rocks Beach guitarsmith was performing at the Thunderbird Beach Resort in Treasure Island when a Finnish hotelier who happened to be in town stopped by. “What would it take for you to play at my hotel in Finland?” Lanier says he was asked.
“You meet all kinds at beach bars, many are weirdos,” Lanier said in an email. However, the hotelier was persistent. And this week, Lanier is on his way to the Hotel Kultahippu in Ivalo, Finland, where he is billed, no joke, as “Jim Lanier/USA.”
The owner “loves American music, especially country music,” Lanier said. “He came to Florida to find entertainment for a weekend of American music at his hotel. I’m sure I wasn’t his first or best choice. I was probably the first person to ultimately say, 'Sure, I’ll go to Finland!’”
The funny thing is, Lanier isn’t strictly a country artist. Like most beach bards, he favors oldies, Buffett and “trop-rock.” “But I must have been in a country music mood when Marko heard me because he thought I was a country artist.”
When Lanier isn’t busy performing in Finland, you can usually see him on Tuesdays at the Thunderbird. His next scheduled performance is Aug. 14. Click here for more dates.
It's the last weekend in July, which means it's time once again for the Vans Warped Tour to hit Vinoy Waterfront Park in St. Petersburg. All Time Low (above), New Found Glory, Blood on the Dance Floor, Machine Gun Kelly and others were among the top names on this year's bill.
Click here for Peter Jamison's report from the Reverse Daycare Tent for parents at this year's Warped Tour. And click here for more of Eve Edelheit's photos from Warped and Saturday's Antiwarpt Music Festival.
Pairing KISS and Motley Crue for a co-headlining tour seems like a no-brainer. After all, the young Motley Crue looked like KISS with the sleaze factor cranked to 11. Both favor the “bigger is better, even bigger is even better” approach to concert staging. Most importantly, both still can put the fans in the seats, long after their new releases stopped seeing the chart’s upper reaches.
KISS and the Crue were loved by the kids and loathed by parents in the ‘70s and ‘80s, respectively. Time (or the collapse of civilization, depending on our viewpoint) has dulled the edge of outrage for both bands. The kids at Saturday’s Tampa stop on “The Tour” weren’t rebelling against their parents; Mom and Dad were shouting it out loud at the devil right beside them.
Heck, Crue bassist Nikki Sixx even brought an adorable little girl (in a KISS T-shirt) onstage for a minute just to show the Crue has heart.
Still, the Los Angeles quartet did its best to ensure their portion of the show wasn’t family entertainment.
Almost everywhere you looked Friday night, you could see the word in big white letters, on red T-shirts and teal posters and black and orange banners: ANTIWARPT.
That alone should tell you the Antiwarpt Music Festival has graduated to the no-foolin’-around, we-mean-business class of music fests. Like Bonnaroo, Ultra and the Warped Tour, among many others, it’s a legitimate brand – not just locally, but around the state, and, soon, potentially, beyond – and it’s one worth crowing about. When you have 99 bands (give or take) spread across 10 downtown St. Petersburg venues (11 if you count the corner of Central and Sixth, where Lake Worth’s Everymen jambushed a crowd around midnight), you’re officially big-league.
While most of the Tampa Bay indie music scene (and at least 70 percent of Tampa Bay’s facial hair) turned out for the third annual Antiwarpt, you didn’t have to be part of the scene to enjoy it. Antiwarpt was a smorgasbord of talent from every corner of Florida.
While most in the music-craving indie scene were pointing out beards and plaid shirts on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg Saturday night, there was, in fact, another concert across the bay at Ybor City's Crowbar.
New York's The Casualties returned to Tampa Bay with Nekromantix, and burst open a show I haven't seen in quite some time. From rockabilly slickers to Mohawk-toting punks, Crowbar was jam-packed, and not one of the attendees cared about Antwarpt.
The last time I saw The Casualties was with Gwar in 2010. It was my first time seeing them live, and I voted them as one of my favorite live concerts of the year. And Saturday’s show was no different. In fact, it was much better.
On the third song of the set, bass player Rick Lopez, told the crowd, "This isn't our stage. This is your stage, and we're just borrowing it. So everyone come up on stage and make use of it.”
From that point, a slight moment of chaos ensued. From a practically sold-out crowd, about 50 mohawks and studded jean vests crammed the stage. I was counting dives like they were coming from a factory assembly line. I believe I counted 143 stage dives before I lost count and gave up.
In terms of popularity, the Zombies were in the British Invasion’s second division, denied the mass adulation and run of hits enjoyed by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones (or Herman’s Hermits and the Dave Clark Five, for that matter).
In terms of talent, musicianship and songwriting skills, the Zombies were in a class of their own.
Those qualities were on display Friday night when original Zombies Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone led the band’s current lineup through a well-received set at the Largo Cultural Center.
Opening number I Want You Back Again illustrated what was great about the Zombies as well as what set them apart.
The song swung more than rocked, with drummer Steve Rodford practically insinuating the beat. Argent’s jazzy piano solo further made the case for the Zombies as the most sophisticated of the mid-‘60s British Invaders.
Tough to get too mad about this one, since Ethan Bortnick is just a lil' kid and all.
But the 11-year-old piano prodigy, who recently scored a Guinness World Record for being the youngest artist to headline a solo concert tour, has postponed all of his summer tour dates, according to a short press release. The release did not specifically mention his Sept. 1 concert with Kidz Bop at the Tampa Theatre, but the show is no longer listed on his website, and it's no longer on the Theatre's calendar of upcoming events. According to the release, refunds will be offered at point of purchase.
We'll update you as we hear more.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*