Tampa Bay's best concerts of 2013, Part 2: Big Boi, Andrew W.K., Iceage and more
(All week on Soundcheck, our contributors are looking back at the best local concerts of 2013. Up first: tbt* staff writer and frequent Soundcheck contributor Jimmy Geurts.)
Big Boi/Metz (March 23, Ritz Ybor): The Skatepark of Tampa’s cross-pollination of rap and punk struck maybe its strongest combination so far in this show for their 20th Tampa Pro Party. Headliner Big Boi put on a very solid set split between songs from his two solo albums and Outkast cuts like B.O.B. and Mrs. Jackson (no surprise that group will soon reunite.) But even better were noisy Toronto rockers Metz in their opening set. The moment I’ll never forget: singer Alex Edkins shouting and slinging sweat on two horrified-looking concertgoers up front, then chatting with them afterwards. Now that’s winning a crowd over.
Andrew W.K. (May 31, Orpheum): This show turned from a potentially good one to a great one when it was announced it would be the only full-band stop on W.K.’s solo tour. So instead of watching the party rocker perform with just a keyboard and his voice, concertgoers got an I Get Wet-style show in a smaller venue than that would normally entail. And Tampa responded by packing in the Orpheum for a raucous, enthusiastic concert. By the end, half of the crowd was on stage dancing in a scene that just needed Rodney Dangerfield to be complete.
Iceage/Lower (June 8, Crowbar): How’s this for culture shock — two bands from Denmark’s capital of Copenhagen playing Tampa in the midst of a sweltering summer? Opening was Lower, who put on just as strong of a set as the headliners. Then Iceage took the stage, swathed in icy blue lighting, for a surprisingly subdued and brooding hardcore show. But there was still plenty of aggression too, like when frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt swiftly kicked a cell phone out of a concertgoer’s hands (full disclosure: my poor brother.)
Pity Sex (June 21, Epic Problem): This Ann Arbor group played the first show I saw this year, on New Year’s Day with Waxahatchee in Orlando. But it wasn’t until seeing them in June at Epic Problem (Transitions Art Gallery with a new owner and coat of purple paint) that they fully clicked for me. Even in a short set opening for the lengthily-named The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, the loud, shoegaze-sounding guitars of tracks like Flower Girl and Dogwalk struck hard. Seeing them alone in a room full of teenagers probably added to the overall moodiness as well.
Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor (Oct. 29-30, various venues): It’s uncertain whether this inaugural two-day offshoot of Gainesville’s Fest was financially successful enough to return next year. But certainly it was a success in every other way — Ybor City fit an indoor, multi-venue fest very well and there was plenty of diversity for a festival focused exclusively on punk. Highlights included the first night at New World Brewery, with an excellent set by Pennsylvania pop-punkers Nona followed by the first-ever show for noisy, grungy Pale Angels, and the second night at Crowbar, which included Vancouver punk group White Lung and Rick Froberg-fronted garage rockers Obits.
-- Jimmy Geurts, tbt*