Review: MS MR wrap Tampa Bay travelogue with chic show at the Vinoy in St. Petersburg
By the end of MS MR’s free concert Friday night at the Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club, keyboardist Max Hershenow was literally soaked in St. Petersburg. His bandmate Lizzy Plapinger had just doused him with a can of 3 Daughters Brewing Beach Blonde Ale.
“I’ve never had beer poured directly on my face before,” Hershenow said. “It feels very Florida, in a way.”
For the New York indie pop duo, it was a fitting end to their whirlwind spin through Tampa Bay, as they filmed an episode of the AXS TV travel and music series The Navigator Live. After visiting breweries, museums and local shops, and even taking a waterfront horseback ride, the concert at the Vinoy — part of the Renaissance chain, which sponsors the series — was a chic and stylish send-off.
The historic Vinoy’s Tea Garden resembled a South Beach oasis, with several hundred smart fans who signed up for a free ticket enjoying a most luxurious concert experience. Guests sipped 3 Daughters beer and cocktails made with Old St. Pete vodka. They noshed on lamb belly from the Mill, salmon pastrami from Stillwaters Tavern, clams on the half shell from FarmTable Kitchen and bourbon burnt sugar ice cream from Marchand’s.
It was, if anything, perhaps a bit too swanky, as more fans seemed invested in the food and drinks than in MS MR’s performance. That’s no fault of Plapinger and Hershenow, who whipped, popped, clapped and beamed for the cameras like they were playing the main stage at Coachella (which, it’s worth noting, is something MS MR has actually done).
Playing one of their final shows of the year in support of new album How Does It Feel, Plapinger and Hershenow performed with acrobatic abandon on opening numbers Reckless and Fantasy, and dialed up a cybergospel vibe on the twinkly Think Of You and Criminals, two songs that justify longtime comparisons to Florence and the Machine.
And while MS MR eventually danced themselves into a sweat (“Florida humidity has done very unfortunate things to my hair,” Plapinger said), the crowd — looking stylish and largely young professional — never quite did the same. Many simply hovered farther back, sipping drinks and chatting.
Vinoy officials say they wouldn’t mind hosting more live music in the future, and Friday’s setup proved they could do a bang-up job of it. MS MR’s performance attracted plenty of curious onlookers on the largely unobstructed sidewalk outside, as well as a few hotel guests peeking out from their windows.
“We are going to try to continue to do events — probably not of this magnitude, but we are certainly open to it,” said Vibeke Sansone, the Vinoy’s director of sales and marketing.
By the time MS MR’s episode of The Navigator Live airs on AXS TV and in other Renaissance hotels this spring, a little editing-bay magic will make the night, and the Vinoy, look even cooler.
It’ll probably help sell move a few sixers of 3 Daughters, too.
— Jay Cridlin