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Antiwarpt Festival: The rock around the 600 block in St. Petersburg

By Jay Cridlin

Let's not mince words: Saturday's second annual Antiwarpt Festival is probably the biggest local music event ever held in Tampa Bay.

There will be more than 60 artists, including some of the most popular acts from Tampa, Orlando and south of the Skyway. It's on eight stages — nine if you count a kickoff party the night before — all clustered around St. Petersburg's artsy 600 block of Central Avenue.

And it'll all occur in one day.

"I can't really recall anything like this," said Manny Kool, manager of St. Petersburg's Daddy Kool Records, which is serving as Antiwarpt's home base.

The first Antiwarpt Festival kicked off a year ago on the same night as the Vans Warped Tour in St. Petersburg, with about 20 bands at four venues. As the name suggests, it was conceived as sort of an "anti-establishment" counterpart to Warped, said promoter Phil Benito, but it quickly spiraled into something else.

"Before the first note of music, the thing was taking on a life of its own," said Benito. "Other than the weekend, it doesn't have anything to do with Warped Tour. We're not trying to compete or anything like that. The name just kind of stuck."

Almost immediately, organizers started thinking about Antiwarpt 2011, inviting bands and talking to venues about expanding. Their main goal: Bring a national headliner into the State Theatre. They succeeded, booking New York mod-rockers the London Souls and Austin, Texas, indie group the Bright Light Social Hour, which also played WMNF's Tropical Heatwave this year.

Organizers have been working around the clock on promotion and permitting for food vendors like the Taco Bus and Vegan Beagle. Nearly 900 people have RSVP'd on Facebook, and based on last year's ticket sales, organizers expect even more people to show up on the day of the event.

"That area of St. Pete really embraced it last year," Benito said. "And we feel like the same sort of thing is going to happen this year."

Jay Cridlin can be reached at

All about Antiwarpt

The music starts about 2 p.m. Saturday. Wristbands are $15 in advance, $18 the day of the show at Daddy Kool Records, 666 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Some venues will sell tickets at the door. Here's a guide to the action. For details and more bands, go to

Kickoff party

Tampa indie rock group Sleepy Vikings has been winning kudos around the blogosphere for its shoegazey new album They Will Find You Here. The band headlines this free kickoff party, along with Greenland Is Melting, The Living Arches and John Gold, at 7 p.m. Friday at the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, 559 Mirror Lake Drive.

State Theatre | 687 Central Ave.

Antiwarpt's biggest venue gets the weekend's biggest bands. New York mod rockers the London Souls are a '60s-style garage band with a huge Beatles influence (think Taxman, Get Back and Don't Let Me Down). The Bright Light Social Hour was recently named the best band in Austin, Texas, and played this year's Tropical Heatwave. Rollicking Bradenton country-folk group Have Gun, Will Travel is one of the most consistently popular bands in the area. And after a lengthy hiatus, Tampa blues-rock powerhouse Nervous Turkey reunite for their first gig in months.

The Local 662 | 662 Central Ave.

Experimental Georgia band Reptar is the headliner, but two of Tampa Bay's catchiest indie rock groups, the Beauvilles and the Semis, will bring plenty of fans.

The Emerald | 550 Central Ave.

Some of the area's most interesting bands perform at this tiny bar, including psychedelic trio Sons of Hippies, riot grrrls Doll Parts and inventive jazz-jammers Poetry 'n' Lotion.

Fubar | 658 Central Ave.

This place is often a punk venue, and longtime scene heroes the Tim Version, Guiltmaker and Car Bomb Driver are among the headliners. But two Tropical Heatwave veterans, singer-songwriter Lauris Vidal and indie rockers the Pauses, are not to be missed.

Star Booty | 681 Central Ave.

An off-the-wall venue deserves an off-the-wall lineup. Brent Rademaker, formerly of Beachwood Sparks, fronts Cosmic Gospel Hour, which plays sparkly folk and power pop. Don't miss Orlando jazz singer Kaleigh Baker.

Sake Bomb | 548 Central Ave.

DJs and hip-hop get top billing here, as DJ SideDraft, funkmasters the Crate Brothers and rapper Infinite Skillz take the mike.

Cafe Bohemia | 937 Central Ave.

Eclectic, electronic and eccentric are the buzzwords fueling Cafe Bohemia's lineup. Sarasota's MeteorEYES and St. Petersburg's Transcendent Other play experimental pop music that's trippy, yet danceable.

The Globe Coffee Lounge | 532 First Ave. N

Fittingly, this cozy coffee shop will host an acoustic showcase featuring two of Tampa Bay's top singer-songwriters, Rebekah Pulley and Will Quinlan.

Antiwarpt Festival: The rock around the 600 block in St. Petersburg 07/26/11 [Last modified: Thursday, July 28, 2011 6:53am]
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