The best Tampa Bay concerts of 2013, Part 4: The Lumineers, The Weeknd, Alabama Shakes and more
(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.
The Weeknd (Sept. 26, Straz Center): Aside from the incessant screams and bra tosses from randy ladies, this gig proved The Weeknd to be on top of the R&B game. Nevermind the sex, drugs and other controversial song matter; his unwavering falsettos, seductive sways and elaborate stage production secured him a spot in my top three. He shed the mask of mystery, faced up (on 10-plus large screens) and easily convinced the crowd that “PBR&B” is our gusto de Goldilocks.
The Lumineers/Dr. Dog (Oct. 19, USF Sun Dome): Home is where the heart is, and it surely felt like home between these two folk indie sets. Chandeliers, multi-instrumentalists, cameos ... the ceaseless stimulation inspired and entertained. Dr. Dog headlined as much as The Lumineers, both bands colorful, passionate and talented. An unforgettable doubleheader for the heart and soul.
Alabama Shakes (Dec. 6, Jannus Live): Two words: Brittany Howard. If you don’t know her name already, you will. She is the Alabama Shakes. Her vocals soared, sank and carried all those things you couldn’t quite place, but there they were, floating from her mouth towards the Gulf of Mexico. When she sang, she meant it, and I believed her. I forgot there was a backing band and slow-danced about a warm December night, singing along, “You ain’t alone, just let me be your ticket home.”
Americanarama Festival (Bob Dylan, Bob Weir, Wilco, My Morning Jacket; June 27, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre): There’s something ethereal about watching My Morning Jacket perform during a thunderstorm, covering Dear Prudence, and something equally uplifting to see Wilco follow with the rise of a rainbow while covering the Grateful Dead with Bob Weir. Sure, I did myself a solid by crossing a ’60s icon off the “To See Before I Die” list, but Dylan was a mumbling, disappointing mess. Fortunately, Wilco and MMJ wrapped their musical arms around the amphitheater and brought us all in for a warm, sweaty summer embrace before letting us go into the dark with Dylan.
-- Stephanie Bolling, tbt*