TAMPA — It began as a Craigslist ad.
Two brothers, Tampa guitarists with a rock & roll dad, seek band mates.
Ian and Evan Koteles interviewed about 30 people before they invited Plant City bass player Matt Brady, 29, and Seffner drummer David Daniels, 30, to join their indie pop band, 10th Concession.
One year and two weeks later, the four say they are more like a family.
"We hug before every show," said Ian Koteles, 27.
The band released its second album at a Sunday show at the Ritz Ybor. About 400 people attended, and the event helped raise $8,000 for Ellen DeGeneres' antibullying campaign.
The group hopes to give the money to DeGeneres on her daytime talk show. DeGeneres hadn't contacted 10th Concession as of Tuesday.
Backstage before the concert, the band members exude confidence, solidarity and exuberance. They banter as they tune their instruments, change shirts and pose for pictures. Jorge Alvarado, the makeup artist, applies dark gray eye shadow and aerosol hair spray.
"They all have beautiful skin," she mutters to herself.
The group saunters on stage. Lights go up and vibrations fill the room.
The lead song of the night, It Gets Better, explains that bullying will not last forever.
"There's someone out there just like you sitting quietly inside their room," Ian Koteles sings to a soft pop melody. "I promise you, it gets so much better."
The audience sings along as they sway and bob across the black and white checkered floor. When the music lulls, the audience shrieks. Some people hold cameras high over their heads.
Most of the audience members have seen 10th Concession before and are there to support people they see as friends. When the band isn't touring the Southeast, they perform about twice a week in Tampa or St. Petersburg, and they socialize with fans after their shows. Creative Loafing named 10th Concession Tampa's Best Local Indie Rock/Pop Act in its 2010 reader's poll.
Amy Schlein, who first saw 10th Concession at Timpano Chophouse & Martini Bar in Tampa, said she likes the band's down-to-earth attitude.
"Their music is very real and sincere. They aren't pretentious," she said. "They really bring people into their shows, and it makes you want to see them more because it makes you feel good when you leave."
Ami Manning, who has managed Paris Hilton and Sammi Giancola from MTV's Jersey Shore, said she "fell in love" with 10th Concession when she saw them perform a few months ago. She rarely manages music groups, she said.
But she became friends with the Koteles family when they reached out to her for marketing advice. She offered to manage the band, and 10th Concession is considering the offer, she said.
"They're the type of people you meet, and you get the feeling there's something brilliant about them," she said. "It became more of an older sister relationship. They're really good kids."
A driving force behind 10th Concession are the Koteles parents, Eileen and Albie. Eileen does musical theater, and Albie became a drummer at 16. The brothers gravitated toward music when they were toddlers and played with their father in a group called the E&I Band (for Evan and Ian) before branching out on their own.
"We're here for support. Super support," Eileen said backstage before the show. "They practice at my house and I always try to make sure they can smell something as they rehearse … yesterday it was lasagna and breaded chicken."
The group's name is a tribute to Albie Koteles, who grew up in southern Ontario on a route called the 10th Concession.
In addition to their father, Evan and Ian Koteles say John Mayer, the Goo Goo Dolls, Aerosmith and Tom Petty influence the music they write.
Although people have approached the band with record deals, Ian Koteles said the band will proceed carefully. They're in this for the long haul, and he wants to make sure they don't get taken advantage of or become one-hit wonders, he said.
"We want to maintain our integrity as a band," Koteles said. "We want to wait for the right time and the right deal. As exciting as it all may sound, you've got to keep your feet on the ground."
Brittany Alana Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1432.