Clear67° WeatherClear67° Weather

2013 in review: Best concerts, top Tampa music stories, best 2014 concerts and more

We’ve come to the end of the year on Soundcheck. Time to look back and look foward at the same time. Trippy!

First, here’s a recap of our top 10 local music stories of 2013:

10. Bands, brewers team up for music-themed beers

9. Taylor, Selena, Rihanna and more pop divas storm the Forum

8. Hip-hop headliners’ up-and-down year

7. Dave’s Aqua Lounge, Club Detroit, Ringside Cafe come and go in St. Pete

6. ‘Spring Breakers’ shows off all our s---

5. Caroline Kole’s breakout year

4. The Capitol Theatre reopens with lofty ambitions

3. 97X puts listeners in charge

2. Underoath calls it a career

1. Live Nation transforms Tampa Bay’s festival scene

*****

And here are links to our contributors’ favorite Tampa Bay concerts of 2013:

Jay Cridlin: Underoath, Gasparilla Music Festival, Leonard Cohen, Live, Depeche Mode, Miguel, The Weeknd, Sigur Ros

Jimmy Geurts: Big Boi/Metz, Andrew W.K., Iceage/Lower, Pity Sex, Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor

Carole Liparoto: The xx, Gasparilla Music Festival, Grizzly Bear, The Weeknd, Jonny Craig, OneRepublic, Jessie Ware, Beres Hammond

Stephanie Bolling: The xx, My Morning Jacket, Alabama Shakes, The Weeknd, Big Boi, the Lumineers  …

Full Story

The best Tampa Bay concerts of 2013, Part 7: Drake, LL Cool J, Imagine Dragons and more

Drake performs at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Nov. 6, 2013.

Luis Santana

Drake performs at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Nov. 6, 2013.

(All week on Soundcheck, our contributors are looking back at the best local concerts of 2013. Today: tbt* photographer Luis Santana.)

2013 was a good year for music in the Tampa Bay area with big-name tours stopping by. Here are some of my favorite concert moments of 2013:

LL Cool J (June 6, Mahaffey Theater): I photographed dozens of concerts in 2013, but none can compare to the experience I had at the Kings Of The Mic Tour at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. As a photojournalist my job is to document and not be part of the story, but when LL Cool J pulls you onto the stage and poses for you in the middle of his performance, you gotta do what you gotta do! This was probably the coolest experience I have ever had photographing concerts. So my “performance” with LL Cool J was not only my 2013 best concert moment, but as of today, my top concert moment of all time. …

Full Story

The top 10 Tampa music stories of 2013, No. 1: Live Nation transforms Tampa Bay's festival scene

(Through the end of the year on Soundcheck, we’re counting down some of the top local music stories of 2013.)

Festivals seem to come and go in Tampa Bay. The Gasparilla Music Festival has proven to be a huge success, but Antiwarpt imploded in 2013, and Tropical Heatwave seems to struggle to keep up.

It was in this climate that Live Nation decided to go all-in on music festivals in 2013.

The concert promotions giant launched three huge new festivals in Tampa Bay this year -- January's Sunshine Music and Blues Festival, May's Funshine Music Festival and November's Coastline Festival -- each one serving a different market.

Sunshine was a straight-up blues festival. Not like Tampa Bay needs another one of those, right? But it was a success, and a big enough of one to merit a return in 2014 -- it'll be back at Vinoy Park on Jan. 19, with headliners Tedeschi Trucks Band. …

Full Story

The top 10 Tampa music stories of 2013, No. 2: Underoath calls it a career

When it was announced in October 2012 that Tampa’s Underoath were breaking up following a final hometown show at Jannus Live, fans started to call about tickets from all over the world.

That’s how much the Christian metalcore band meant. With a pair of Grammy nominations and well over 1 million albums sold, they were arguably Tampa’s biggest musical export — at least, the biggest export that still called Tampa Bay home — and for them to close that chapter of their lives was kind of a sea-change moment.

Of course, Underoath wasn’t the same band it was when it founded in the ’90s. Every original member had since departed. It was time to try something new.

The band went out with a bang in January at Jannus Live, in a concert fraught with emotion at every turn. Founding drummer-vocalist Aaron Gillespie even returned for a couple of songs. Here’s what we wrote at the time: …

Full Story

The best Tampa Bay concerts of 2013, Part 6: The xx, Grizzly Bear, Gasparilla Music Festival and more

Jessie Ware performs at the State Theatre on Oct. 23, 2013.

Brian Mahar

Jessie Ware performs at the State Theatre on Oct. 23, 2013.

(All week on Soundcheck, our contributors are looking back at the best local concerts of 2013. Today: Soundcheck contributor Carole Liparoto.)

When I visit my favorite restaurants in Tampa Bay, I rarely order the same dish twice. (That way I needn’t worry about the soup that got away.)

My concert-going experience this year told a different story. Ninety percent of the acts on my top list are ones I’d seen before (although not always in Tampa Bay). And in some instances, I’d seen these acts not once or twice, but three times (the lady).

Am I settling into a married, 30-year-old’s comfort zone? I can’t say for sure. The thing is, these artists never bored. They only got better — some more ballsy, some more buttoned-up. Some just found better settings or stages. Here’s a wrap of my favorites... …

Full Story

The top 10 Tampa music stories of 2013, No. 3: 97X puts listeners in charge

Local alt-rock station 97X isn’t afraid to try big new things — heck, that’s why they named their annual year-end rock festival Next Big Thing.

But the Cox Radio station completely transformed itself in January by becoming the first local station, and the second in the nation, to be programmed entirely by listeners, via 97xonline.com and an interactive app. Critics and tech-watchers around the country took notice — some called it a “DJ-killer app,” while TechCrunch wrote, “Is this what the future of terrestrial radio looks like? It just might be.”

The format change was met with resistance by some, but by mid-year the station and its fans had ironed out most of the kinks, and some surprising stuff started to get pushed through to the radio. For example, Frank Turner’s Recovery — an upbeat ditty about addiction — became one of the hottest and most requested tracks through the app. By the end of the year, 97X had booked Turner for Next Big Thing. …

Full Story

Review / photos: Deadmau5 brings a 'Gift' of candy, costumes, selfies and killer beats at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium

DJ and producer Deadmau5 headlined "The Gift" on Dec. 26, 2013, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, along with Adventure Club, Nervo, GTA and Nom De Strip.

Luis Santana

DJ and producer Deadmau5 headlined "The Gift" on Dec. 26, 2013, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, along with Adventure Club, Nervo, GTA and Nom De Strip.

If ever there was an event to help you get up and out of the holiday food coma, one-night EDM fest "The Gift" just might have been it.

DJ Deadmau5 (or Joel Zimmerman) and openers Adventure Club, Nervo, GTA and Nom De Strip, got a young, good-looking Tampa Bay crowd into cathartic dance mode in the parking lot of Raymond James Stadium on the night after Christmas. Here are the 10 best things we heard and saw at The Gift, most of which didn't actually happen on the stage.

-- Grown men exchanging candy bracelets. On more than one occasion, we caught adult, heterosexual men enthusiastically exchanging beaded friendship bracelets (also nicknamed "kandi" or candy bracelets) as if they were trading cards. Our photog Luis got one that said "vagina." Classy, I know. We hear that's like the Mickey Mantle for collectors.

-- One of the largest selfies ever. It was a huge year for the "selfie," and we're happy we could close out 2013 with a big one. There must have been 40-plus people (duck faces included) posing in front of one long, outstretched arm. Wait. Is it us, or is that defeating the purpose of the selfie in the first place? …

Full Story

The best Tampa Bay concerts of 2013, Part 5: Kanye West, Bruno Mars, Bob Dylan and more

Loretta Lynn performs at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Sept. 14, 2013.

Chris Zuppa

Loretta Lynn performs at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Sept. 14, 2013.

(All week on Soundcheck, our contributors are looking back at the best local concerts of 2013. Today: Tampa Bay Times pop music critic Sean Daly.)

When handsome Soundcheck rogue Jay Cridlin asked me for my top show picks of 2013, I went with the ones that immediately came to mind for standing out among the pack. Each had flaws but stayed with me. Herewith, six gigs and an excerpt of whatever I managed to scribble at the time:

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell (May 23, Mahaffey Theater): “Yes, there was nimble bluegrass and pretty lights and perfect sound and Martin’s deft clawhammer banjo picking, a hobby that’s given the funnyman a second career. But there was also comedy, belly-laugh heaps of it: dry chuckles, goofy snorts, a silly sight gag involving a stand-up bass as a refrigerator. From the second the white-haired icon came out to wild applause, he was locked in and riffing: 'Now I wished I’d practiced!’” …

Full Story

The best Tampa Bay concerts of 2013, Part 4: The Lumineers, The Weeknd, Alabama Shakes and more

Alabama Shakes perform at Jannus Live on Dec. 6, 2013.

Michelle Stark

Alabama Shakes perform at Jannus Live on Dec. 6, 2013.

(All week on Soundcheck, our contributors are looking back at the best local concerts of 2013. Today: Soundcheck contributor Stephanie Bolling.)

The xx (Feb. 7, Ritz Ybor): ’Twas a big deal when the British trio announced several stops in oft-forgotten-Florida, including one in Ybor City. The sold-out crowd absorbed the delicate dream pop flawlessly delivered from a dark, moody-lit stage. Who knew that the intimate, breathy tracks would translate into surging, soulful musical pulses, reeling you into a deep, romantic reverie? Way to kick off 2013.

Big Boi (March 23, Ritz Ybor): Besides the 20-minute plus Skatepark of Tampa Pro Party video that stalled the anticipated arrival of one-half of OutKast, this gig makes the list due to danceability and nostalgia. Big Boi pulled out all the classic OutKast jams on top of his solo stuff and everyone in the house came down with a case of restless leg syndrome. Hats off to SPoT for bringing back 2004 and before. …

Full Story

The top 10 Tampa music stories of 2013, No. 4: The Capitol Theatre reopens with lofty ambitions

It’s fitting that Tampa-raised comic Gallagher closed down Clearwater’s Capitol Theatre in March. The venue was about to undergo some $10 million in renovations, and the man does wield a mean sledgehammer, after all.

In December, the Cap finally reopened with a concert by Michael McDonald, giving locals a look at the increased space and amenities.

Ruth Eckerd Hall, which books shows there, is attempting to turn the Cap into a major venue. In August, they announced an ambitious slate of events with Jay Leno, Katharine McPhee, Michael Bolton and many more; they’ve since added shows by B.B. King, Art Garfunkel, Amy Grant, Eddie Money and more. It’s an ambitious slate; by booking shows at both the Cap and the Palladium, Ruth Eckerd Hall is extending its reach throughout Tampa Bay.

Who knows? Maybe someday soon, they’ll book every show in town.

Full Story

Artist of the day: Therapeutic Chokehold

Therapeutic Chokehold is a Tampa trio of early 30-something gents who aren’t afraid to scream at you to get their point across. Musically diverse and loud as all hell, they reach out and grab your ears by the throat.

Thumbing through their playlist, you find their music is neither static or stationary. Each song steers you in a different musical direction: No Light is a thumping romp through Tool-style ’90s alt-metal, Get Your Head Right is a piece of pure Pixies/Weezer pop, Piece of Mind is straight-up Red Hot Chili Pepper-infused funk and You Want Love recalls Nirvana.

Therapeutic Chokehold are Jeff Fox, guitar and vocals; Angel Lopez, bass and vocals; and Jay Gervais, drums and backing vocals. Fox and Lopez met with us on a cold December evening to enlighten us on their musical plight.

How long have you been working together?

Fox: As far as calling ourselves Therapeutic Chokehold, seven years. We’ve been playing together for 13 years.

What is it that has kept you together for 13 years?

Lopez: Well, that’s on and off. He (Gervais) was in other bands, and would come back and jam with us. We’ve had several drummers.

Fox: We went through many, many auditions through the years. …

Full Story

The top 10 Tampa music stories of 2013, No. 5: Caroline Kole's breakout year

People have long known big things were in store for Caroline Kudelko, the pop-country prodigy from Clearwater who went by the name Suite Caroline and later Caroline Kole.

Since performing with Alan Jackson and Rodney Atkins at WQYK’s Santa Blast last December, Kole has toured with Reba McEntire, signed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV and released a new single, Money to Me. She landed another slot at the Florida Strawberry Festival in February, played a homecoming concert at St. Pete’s Club Detroit, performed at her alma mater, St. Paul’s in Largo; and headlined a benefit concert for the local charity Instruments of Change.

Caroline Kole is still just a teenager, but that’s a pretty big year for anyone. We’re curious about what she has in store for 2014.

Full Story

This week in Tampa: ZZ Top, B.B. King, Switchfoot and more

The week between Christmas and New Year's is usually kind of a slow one, concert-wise, but not this year. It starts tonight with Deadmau5 at Raymond James Stadium, and continues into next week with ZZ Top, B.B. King, Switchfoot, Kansas, Man Or Astro-Man?, Laidback Luke, Zach Deputy, Donna the Buffalo, Little River Band, Tommy Trash and more. Here to walk you through it all is Ray Roa...

Kansas
FRIDAY 9 p.m. Hard Rock Café, 5223 Orient Road, Tampa. $55 and up. (813) 627-7757.

If you disregard a brief hiatus in the mid-’80s, Kansas and their wayward sons have been blowing around like dust in the wind for 40 years. To celebrate the occasion, the Topeka-born band is livening up your post-Christmas itinerary by taking their British-influenced brand of good-ol’-boy prog-rock to the casino’s Hard Rock Café, where beloved songs like Hold On and Song For America are sure to mix in just fine with cuts from Kansas’ latest LP, 2009’s There’s No Place Like Home. Superfans who got a little something extra from Santa might be able to spring for the deluxe meet-and-greet VIP package, too. …

Full Story

The best Tampa Bay concerts of 2013, Part 3: Justin Bieber, Coastline Festival, Twenty One Pilots and more

Lord Huron performs during the Gasparilla Music Festival on March 9, 2013, at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa.

Jay Cridlin

Lord Huron performs during the Gasparilla Music Festival on March 9, 2013, at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa.

(All week on Soundcheck, our contributors are looking back at the best local concerts of 2013. Today: Hannah Elliott and Max Asayesh-Brown, music critics for the Tampa Bay Times’ high school newspaper, tb-two*.)

This was a somewhat odd and sporadic year of music for me. I felt a little oppressed by school, and it kept me from being able to justify driving to Orlando to gritty music venues on “school nights” (My lameness is cringe-worthy, I know). I went to Bonnaroo for the second time in June, which fulfilled a large portion of my live music cravings for the year, and the rest was satisfied by whatever concert I was lucky enough to find myself able to attend. Therefore, I wouldn’t necessarily say these were my favorites, rather an appreciation for what I ended up with. …

Full Story

The top 10 Tampa music stories of 2013, No. 6: 'Spring Breakers' shows off all our s---

It was the film on every hipster’s candy-colored lips: Spring Breakers, which was filmed in St. Petersburg in 2012 but finally saw release in March of this year.

The fact that Spring Breakers was such a pop-cultural touchstone this year wasn’t exactly a music story, per se, but music played a huge role in every facet of the film, from its stars (Gucci Mane and Selena Gomez, who both returned to Tampa Bay for concerts later in the year) to its soundtrack (produced by Skrillex).

And then, of course, there was St. Pete rapper Russ Curry, a.k.a. Dangeruss, upon whom James Franco reportedly based his acclaimed, gonzo performance as Alien. Dangeruss and Franco must have hit it off on set, because Franco ended up directing the rapper’s video for Hanging Wit Da Dopeboys (the actor and rapper actually perform the song together in the film). …

Full Story