tb-two* photo galleries
Well, for one thing, it's the coolest high school newspaper in all the land. Watch our video and find out more.
Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
Arguably Tampa Bay’s best music event of the year took place at its new home in St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Waterfront Park over the weekend, gathering an eclectic group of music lovers for a day filled with sunshine and hip jams. • 97X Next Big Thing showcased bands that are on their way to becoming some of the biggest names in music, as well as some that already have earned that title. After the 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre in Tampa, Vinoy Park offered a much more easygoing, free-spirited festival feel, with groups sprawled on blankets in the open grassy area. • The crowd went crazy for hard-core rock and folk-pop groups alike, with the variety providing fascinating fan watching. Another feature with the new venue: Boaters didn’t need tickets to enjoy the music. • It was a smooth transition. -- HANNAH ELLIOTT, Robinson High
Meet the breakout performance of Next Big Thing — or at least such was my impression, as I’d never heard the name before learning the lineup: a phenomenally absorbing duo, electric, appealing, grateful and most of all original. Tyler Joseph and Josh Dunn begin by dressing up as skeletons, which has been done before, but to the best of my knowledge, not in the context of synth rap music (what they describe as “schizoid pop”). Dunn pops and locks like a machine, while Joseph does two things during the whole show: He drums virtuously, and he does a backflip off the piano. The performance comes to a cap in a stunning drum battle between the two. -- MAX ASAYESH-BROWN, St. Petersburg High
Meet the disappointment. Fun. was easily the peak of the festival, but I figured Rise Against also would have something to offer.
I was right, but only to a point.
There is something to be said for the way in which Rise Against gets right to work. Facing the opposite direction, I do not notice they are up until I hear their music. But it’s that very music that matters most — that, next to the sound system that carries it and, not unlike during Young the Giant a year ago, completely quits on the band during Ready to Fall (one of the brightest jewels in the crown).
To add insult to injury, band members happen to be wearing the obligatory soundproof earphones, and therefore are oblivious to the problem, “jumping around like a bunch of turkeys”— as front man Tim McIlrath put it after noticing the breakdown. He commands the audience to take over the chorus, but the reply is more along the lines of “WE CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!!”
In about 10 minutes the problem is remedied. McIlrath has a strong stage presence, but the music itself seems nothing new. Rise Against has always had this problem, and not for the first time do I find myself singing one song only to discover they are playing a completely different one.
The cure? Next Next Big Thing, reverse the set times for Rise Against and Fun. That’s how you get people to stick around. -- MAX ASAYESH-BROWN, St. Petersburg High
These Next Big Thing natives bring the heat in one of the most high-energy and danceable sets of the day. Grouplove’s formation is Hollywood-movie worthy; Hannah Hooper (vocals, keyboard) met band member Christian Zucconi (vocals, guitar) after she saw him play in the Lower East Side in New York City, and barely a week later they left together for an artist residency in Crete, where they met the other three members of Grouplove, Andrew Wessen (vocals, guitar), Ryan Rabin (drums) and Sean Gadd (vocals, bass). After forming close friendships, they all promised each other they would make it out to California together to be a band as soon as they could and got matching ‘GROUP’ tattoos to solidify the promise. Promise kept, they earned a place as one of the best new bands. With the success of their youthful single Tongue Tied this rag-tag group of happy musicians emits an infectious energy. They are a pleasure to watch, as always. -- HANNAH ELLIOTT, Robinson High
Working the crowd
It’s really quite baffling how many interesting opportunities are handed to you simply by donning a skin-tight orange morph suit. The simple drawbacks of cloying heat and blindness are dwarfed by the delights of going onstage to pelt T-shirts at concertgoers, drawing the names in the Metro PCS Fun. meet-and-greet contest (one of whose winners graciously delivered to me an autographed newspaper upon her return), and being manhandled by security guards who don’t appreciate crowd surfing.
I arrive before 9 a.m., when the heat is still bearable. Before Wolf Face, a local band dressed in strangely revealing basketball uniforms and, predictably, wolf masks, gets Next Big Thing off the ground, I’ve already been offered energy drinks, coffee and even contraceptives. A journalist, even one in an orange suit, does not take freebies.
21 Pilots, the Joy Formidable, Paper Tongues and others follow. But though the gates open at 10, Vinoy Park isn’t gloriously populated until Grouplove takes the stage. Off duty for tb-two*, I went to watch with my friend Sam, who apparently was not content merely to watch from behind the pit. He leaped onto a stranger and started swimming during Itchin’ on a Photograph. I was offered a lift up and cleared the ocean of strangers below me in three hand-offs before a security guard scooped me up to prevent a stage landing.
There are two constants to crowd surfing: First, at one point or another, the audience below you will inevitably give up. Second, when that happens, there will be at least one person who will offer to help you finish the trip, even if it’s just a surly security guard. --MAX ASAYESH-BROWN, St. Petersburg High
Of Monsters and Men
Pretty sure it’s safe to say we are all familiar with the folky anthem Little Talks that topped charts around the world. I knew the hit song but wrote off the rest of their debut album, My Head Is an Animal, for a reason completely unknown to me now. As I listened to the album in the weeks before Next Big Thing, I was extremely surprised at how catchy and similar to Arcade Fire the album was. The performance Saturday surprises me equally. It’s not loud and annoyingly jam band-ish like I am partly expecting; it’s awe-inspiring and completely relaxed. When they speak to the crowd, their Icelandic accents sound charmingly awkward and their English is muddled, but when they sing it is obvious that music is their first and best language. -- HANNAH ELLIOTT, Robinson High
Meet the real headliners. This opinion is influenced not only by the dramatic decline in the audience after they finished, but also by the intensity of the crowd during the show. Jack Antonoff, Andrew Dost and Nate Ruess (as well as their touring guests) are greeted with enormous applause, and without any ado jump right into Carry On.
After some interactive vocal training between Ruess and the audience, Fun. proceeds, stately and conventional, until We Are Young, dedicated to 97X for being the very first station to play the song. But a sensational highlight (also something of a curveball) was a rendition of You Can’t Always Get What You Want almost too enjoyable for words.
The climax is Some Nights, during which everything in sight and earshot of the stage — the vendors, the sailors, that sandal a woman threw into Tampa Bay because her friends bet her she wouldn’t — comes to life. Kudos, Fun. Kudos. -- MAX ASAYESH-BROWN,St. Petersburg High
Top 5 great things about NBT
Editor’s note: Miranda Hindahl won tb-two*s “Be a Reporter for a Day” contest. Her prize: Hanging with tb-two* staff at 97X Next Big Thing last weekend. She's pictured at bottom, right.
5. Free stuff. I now have enough pairs of sunglasses to last me until next year’s NBT.
4. You learn much more about your friends when you go to 14-hour festivals with them.
3. Who knew? Hipsters are actually one of the nicest subcultures, contrary to popular belief.
2. Too much crowd surfing? The limit does not exist!
1. NOTHING (times 10) beats seeing your favorite band perform in concert!