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Band on the run: Tres Bien says bon voyage

Take a good last look at Tres Bien, kiddos. They’re leaving town soon.

Julie Garisto

Take a good last look at Tres Bien, kiddos. They’re leaving town soon.

Bid adieu to the sprightly chaps of Tres Bien.

The melodic '60s-inspired band that scored a huge local following and a Fox reality show stint is moving up north before the end of the month.

Before leaving, Tres Bien will headline a CD release/farewell show Saturday night at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg.

The guys — singer Michael "Mikey B" Bostinto, bassist Cody Wilson; drummer Ryan Metcalf and guitarist Michael Crowe — are relocating to Williamsport, Pa., where they recorded their latest CD, Meet Your Maker.

They even bought a house where all four will live.

"It's a very cozy town," Bostinto said, "and it helps that I have family up there. Every time we toured we made our way up to Williamsport, (and) took three days off to just relax in the town or in the woods and take a load off."

Tres Bien isn't the first local rock band to relocate in recent years. In 1996, Home, which worked with Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann, moved to Brooklyn. The Washdown had a brief whiff of major label success in New York but moved back and later formed Zillionaire. The most recent band to return, Hankshaw, tried things out in Atlanta before coming back to Tampa Bay.

"Williamsport is a centralized location," Bostinto said. "We wanted to move to New York and Philly, but it's too expensive. Everybody does it. It would be like jumping into a shark tank."

Tres Bien emerged on the scene late 2004, decked out in old Foreign Legion uniforms and other matching get-ups. The upstarts brought back the stylish spunk, showmanship and melodic appeal of '60s British Invasion bands. Their jumps, dives and shimmies won crowds over.

When they got their first press in tbt* in 2005, it seemed like they were onto something big, attracting hordes of high school students to all-ages shows at the Neptune Lounge in Tarpon Springs.

Though they've always expressed an affection for the '60s, they say they're striving for their own sound. "We're not a bandwagon band," Metcalf said. "That's why we decided to go to Williamsport, to find a place to be ourselves."

In 2007, they appeared on the Fox Reality show The Next Great American Band, making their way up to No. 6 in the Top 10.

Meet Your Maker, recorded this past summer in Bostinto's uncle's hunting cabin, shows considerable growth for the band. It's got the trademark hooks and beats but fuller arrangements and more experimentation — the type of album you'd expect to hear from a band that's "too poppy to be indie and too indie to be mainstream," as Bostinto puts it.

Frustrations aside, the guys all express warm sentiments about Tampa Bay and lament they will not be here to see the local music scene grow. The area's cultural offerings did not factor into the band's departure, they said.

"Now that I'm old enough to go out to Ybor, I've noticed that there are a lot of artists and creative people in Ybor," Bostinto says. "It's a really bittersweet thing."

Tres Bien

The band's farewell show with Win Win Winter and Mumpsy is at 8 p.m. Saturday at the State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Tickets are $6-$7; first 200 fans get a copy of the band's new LP. (727) 895-3045.

Band on the run: Tres Bien says bon voyage 10/16/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 16, 2008 4:40pm]
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