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Tampa Bay's top electronic music clubs keep techno and dubstep fans dancing

Carl Cox rocked The Kennedy in Tampa this fall.

Luis Santana/tbt*

Carl Cox rocked The Kennedy in Tampa this fall.

Tampa electronic music fans don't know how good they have it. This week, the world's No. 1 DJ, David Guetta, performed at the St. Pete Times Forum. And on Friday, the hottest name in dubstep, Best New Artist Grammy nominee Skrillex (Page 35), has a sold-out show at the Ritz Ybor. • Then again, maybe Tampa fans do know how good they have it. Electronic music broke big in 2011, thanks to the Identity Festival (which hit Tampa in August) and the Electric Daisy Carnival (which hit Orlando in May). Almost every weekend, there's a world-class DJ packing some local club, not to mention an array of weekly dubstep, house and electro nights. • As 2011 wraps up, let's survey the Tampa Bay electronic-music scene. Let the rave commence. — Jay Cridlin and Kate Cillian

The Ritz Ybor

1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City, (813) 247-2555,

Known for: Big names

Big headliners: Tiesto, Deadmau5, Skrillex, Wolfgang Gartner, Borgore, Mimosa, Excision, Cookie Monsta

The Ritz isn't really a club — instead, it offers all sorts of concerts, from pop to hardcore to techno. Three of the world's biggest DJs (Tiesto, Deadmau5 and Skrillex) have played here, making this Tampa's top destination for electronic A-listers. Another one, Diplo, will come to town in February. The dance floor is massive, and there's a VIP section upstairs.


1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. (813) 873-8368,

Known for: Trance, house, dubstep

Big headliners: Afrojack, Rusko, Ferry Corsten, Markus Schulz, Dash Berlin, Fedde Le Grand, Morgan Page, ATB, Downlink, Doorly, Feed Me

John Santoro, long one of the area's biggest electronic music boosters, knew what he was doing when he reopened the Amphitheatre in April. The building itself is a great venue, with an upstairs VIP area with a balcony overlooking Seventh Avenue, a big dance floor and a booming sound system with an in-your-face lights show. And it has more events than any other club, whether it's just their in-house DJ (Nerd Rage) or a world-renowned artist (Ferry Corsten). Among acts who performed there in 2011, Afrojack, Markus Schultz and Dash Berlin are all on DJ Mag's list of the top 10 DJs in the world, and Fedde Le Grand and ATB are in the top 20. All things considered, this is probably the best electronic music club in the area.

The Kennedy

2408 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. (813) 259-9669,

Known for: Celebrities, hip-hop, house

Big headliners: Carl Cox, Diplo, John Digweed, Sander Kleinberg, Paul van Dyk, Pete Wentz, Korn's Jonathan Davis

The Kennedy is in many ways your typical see-and-be-seen meat market, the sort of vodka-and-Red Bull palace that brings in flavor-of-the-month celebrities like Antoine Dodson for a club appearance. But every now and then a world-class DJ will come to the Kennedy, bringing out the house music fanatics. In April, Lady Gaga stopped by the Kennedy for an impromptu performance of her single Judas.

The Venue

2675 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater. (727) 571-2222,

Known for: Brostep, drum 'n' bass, new rave

Big headliners: Avicii, Steve Aoki, Paul Oakenfold, Chuckie, Edward Maya, Nervo, DJ Pauly D, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Vanilla Ice, LMFAO's Sky Blu

Go here for your mainstream dance-music needs. The interior is plush and exotic, but be prepared for a vibe that combines Girls Gone Wild with MTV Spring Break. Though the Venue traffics in celebrity DJs and live concerts (Flo Rida, George Clinton), they also book house icons like Steve Aoki and Paul Oakenfold. Avicii performed here in September, just before his hit Levels became a worldwide smash. The Monday service-industry night is massively popular.


658 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

Known for: Dubstep Big headliners: None

Two words: Turbo. Tuesday. The hottest dubstep night of the week in Tampa Bay. It's a tiny little punk-rock bar that serves only beer (cash only, too), but it's very popular among the electronic crowd. There's always a low-key DJ with enough wobble to help you make it through the week, and the cover charge is usually under $5.

Also check out

The Honey Pot This gay-friendly club occasionally books dubstep DJs like the minimalist Mount Kimbie or the electro-house artist Feed Me, who'll be there on Dec. 28.

Hawaiian Village at the Stadium Green Iguana This venue has been booking rock acts, but its most successful shows might be DayGlow paint parties, which bring DJs from around the world.

Czar This hipster-dominated club recently saw the end of the five-year electro night known as Pulp the Party, but Friday's Filthy Richard party is still hugely popular.

Orpheum The indie-minded Retro Red Square Saturdays have stayed strong in the Orpheum's new location on Seventh Avenue. And once a month, the Monday-night SOUL! party spins old-school R&B and funk.

Tampa Bay's top electronic music clubs keep techno and dubstep fans dancing 12/15/11 [Last modified: Thursday, December 15, 2011 10:45am]
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