Thursday, January 18, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Six former Next Big Thing bands who blew up (and a few who still might)

When local alt-rock station 97X launched its first year-end rock festival in 2001, it adopted the moniker Next Big Thing — the idea being that the festival would showcase not only the hottest rock acts of any given year, but also those that might be radio mainstays in the years to come. • The station doesn't always pick 'em right — hello, Stroke 9 and Flickerstick! — but more often than not, Next Big Thing's youngest bands do go on to, well, much bigger things. Scrolling through the lineups of Next Big Things past, it's striking just how many now-huge artists played early in the day — before noon, in some cases — before blowing up the following year. • With 97X Next Big Thing returning to St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park on Saturday, we decided to look back at some of the festival's best early-day bets over the years — and predict which young acts from this year's lineup might be all the rage in 2014. Our advice: If you're going, plan to get there early. — Jay Cridlin [email protected]

2002: OK Go

Three years before the launch of YouTube, 97X gave its 12:30 p.m. slot, to an up-and-coming power-pop band from Chicago called OK Go. Three years and four treadmills later, OK Go were an international phenomenon thanks to the viral hits Here It Goes Again and A Million Ways. When they returned to Next Big Thing in 2006, they danced, rather than performed, their way through A Million Ways.

2003: Switchfoot

Christian-leaning alt-rock act Switchfoot were a surprising choice to open Next Big Thing 3, taking the stage at 10:45 a.m. They had just released what would become their most popular album, the multi-platinum The Beautiful Letdown, featuring the hits Meant To Live, Dare You to Move and This Is Your Life. Today, the group remains one of the most popular crossover Christian acts in the country, winning a Grammy in 2011 for Best Rock Gospel Album.

2005: Thirty Seconds to Mars

Singer Jared Leto and Thirty Seconds to Mars have a long relationship with 97X, and you could argue it started with this 1:35 p.m. slot at Next Big Thing 5. The Jared Leto-fronted band returned to Next Big Thing in 2006 and 2009, performing in prime time both years. This year — with Leto a likely Oscar nominee for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club — they'll headline the entire festival.

2007: Mutemath

In 2007, New Orleans rock group Mutemath were best known for singer Paul Meany's keytar and an eye-popping video for their song Typical, so a 10:30 a.m. time slot seemed fair. But over three albums, they've evolved into a dynamic live band, with a massive sound and stage presence rivaling that of much more famous acts like Muse and Coldplay.

2011: Fun.

Next Big Thing 11 featured arguably its most stacked lineup ever, so it's no surprise 97X had to schedule a quality band way down at 11:30 a.m. What nobody could have predicted, however, was just how big Fun. would become the following year. We Are Young and Some Nights were Top 5 hits, and the band won Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best New Artist. Fun. returned to Next Big Thing in 2012, partly out of appreciation for 97X's longtime support of We Are Young.

2012: Twenty One Pilots

Ohio alt-pop duo Twenty One Pilots had a little bit of buzz before playing Next Big Thing at 11 a.m., but they blew up big-time afterward, especially in Tampa Bay. They sold out the State Theatre in March, co-headlined 97X's Memorial Day Backyard BBQ in May, opened for Fall Out Boy at the USF Sun Dome in September and packed the Ritz Ybor in November. (Bonus trivia: Before dropping out at the last minute due to illness, Imagine Dragons were set to take the stage at 12:30 p.m. Within a few months, they were headlining arenas.)

     
Comments
Gary Allan replaces DNCE as Florida Strawberry Festival’s opening night headliner

Gary Allan replaces DNCE as Florida Strawberry Festival’s opening night headliner

Got a concert crisis on your hands? Call Gary Allan.A couple of years ago, the country singer was a last-minute replacement for Kenny Rogers at Busch Gardens' Food and Wine Festival. Now he's doing the same favor for the Florida Strawberry Festival.N...
Published: 01/18/18
SoundBytes: Black Angels, Black Lips, Carbon Leaf, Ripe and more

SoundBytes: Black Angels, Black Lips, Carbon Leaf, Ripe and more

— Psych-rockers the Black Angels, above, and Black Lips are teaming up for a spring tour that'll hit the State Theatre on April 18. Click here for details.— Nathaniel Rateliff and the  Night Sweats are coming to Jannus Live on May 5 ...
Published: 01/17/18
Steve Martin, Martin Short talk about building their two-man show, surprising each other on stage and more

Steve Martin, Martin Short talk about building their two-man show, surprising each other on stage and more

It's barely been a year since Steve Martin and Martin Short last brought their roadshow to town. But there was never a doubt in their minds they'd be back."We thought — and I seriously mean this — we've got to play Florida more....
Published: 01/17/18
Dave Matthews Band coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

Dave Matthews Band coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

Just like that, the Dave Matthews Band is returning to Tampa, and all is right with the world.After a rare year off from touring, Dave and company are gearing up to get back on their regular summer road schedule, including a late-July stop at Tampa's...
Published: 01/17/18
Kid Rock to perform during NHL All-Star Game in Tampa

Kid Rock to perform during NHL All-Star Game in Tampa

The NHL has announced its first in-game performer for this month's NHL All-Star Game in Tampa, and it's a guy whose heart bleeds Red Wings red: Kid Rock.The Detroit rocker will perform during the second and third periods of the game on Jan. 28 at Ama...
Published: 01/17/18
Steve Martin and Martin Short talk touring together and ‘newfangled old-fashioned’ variety show

Steve Martin and Martin Short talk touring together and ‘newfangled old-fashioned’ variety show

It’s barely been a year since Steve Martin and Martin Short last brought their roadshow to town. But there was never a doubt in their minds they’d be back."We thought — and I seriously mean this — we’ve got to play Florida more." Martin said in a pho...
Published: 01/17/18
R.I.P. to the Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan, a voice that roared from the ’90s to now

R.I.P. to the Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan, a voice that roared from the ’90s to now

Dolores O'Riordan had one of those voices. It was a lilt with a vicious edge, a warble with a snarl – it was a switch, and when it flicked, the room lit from faint emerald mist to the bloodiest of reds and right back.There is no replicating a v...
Published: 01/15/18
Photos: Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Subatomic Sound System go deep on dub at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg

Photos: Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Subatomic Sound System go deep on dub at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg

When it comes to Lee "Scratch" Perry, the past and future have always been intertwined.So it goes without saying that the 81-year-old dub reggae icon's concert Sunday at the State Theatre included a little bit of both."We're gonna go back and forth, ...
Published: 01/15/18
Photos: The Moody Blues bring Hall of Fame history to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

Photos: The Moody Blues bring Hall of Fame history to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

How beloved are the Moody Blues? Beloved enough to get a standing ovation 10 minutes before walking on stage.Just before taking the stage at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, the group flashed images on the stage of founding flautist Ray Thomas, who di...
Published: 01/13/18
Updated: 01/14/18
SoundBytes: The Struts, Big Freedia, Riff Raff, Bad Bunny and more

SoundBytes: The Struts, Big Freedia, Riff Raff, Bad Bunny and more

— British glam-rockers the Struts will open for the Foo Fighters at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on April 25, according to the venue. The show's sold out, but just FYI if you're going.— The queen of New Orleans bounce, Big...
Published: 01/12/18