Recession-proof our local music entertainment, please

I’m glad to see more venues (restaurants, cafes, clubs and other places) getting in on original live music entertainment. Some are conducive to bands, some not so much.

Some places should stick to acoustic shows (like Tre Amici at the Bunker) and some don’t feel right for loud, aggressive bands (Kelly’s Pub).

The latest to give local music a whirl, Czar night club in Ybor has been putting on early Saturday night shows, before their big dancing shenanigans.

I went to a great early evening show there, featuring the esteemed Palentine and Urbane Cowboys. 

The cocktails were paltry and overpriced, the sound system is cranked too loudly, with annoying dance music between bands, and patrons must pay a $5 cover change and for parking on top of all that.  My boyfriend and I left $40 poorer after 1 1/2 hours of music, and we were still sobriety-test sober. 

Did the management at Czar get the memo that people are busted broke?

Do Ybor clubs have to find every way possible to make going to see live bands as challenging as possible? Lord knows, it’s too easy to get people out to shows!

Sarcasm aside, live music can work when it’s done right. New World has been successful at it for some time now. I think Crowbar’s got a nice setup — good sound setup, great sight lines. You can rock out and still hold a conversation and have the option of lounging inside or outside.

Maybe we should suggest some other venues. Here’s a wish list:

– Sunday brunch at Rick’s on the River with live ORIGINAL music. Really, the place needs younger, fresher and more original local bands at all times. 

– Tampa Theatre local live music night

– Saturday-Sunday afternoon shows at parks, like Lowry Park Bandshell in Tampa, Gaslight Park downtown and Williams Park in St. Petersburg and Largo Central Park.

I think overall people regard local live music as loud, unpolished and noisy. That’s why there’s this wholesale acceptance of cover bands at beach bars — people think they’re “professional,” and they do tend to be tight players.

I myself would love to hear Have Gun, Will Travel at a waterfront/beachfront place like the Undertow. 

Let’s call our favorite beach bars and request live original bands, why don’t we?

Perception is key here. Bands, owners, you can’t alienate non-rocker-scenesters the second they walk into a place. There should be a sense of wonder and curiosity, not people covering their ears and running for the exit.

Hundreds of our bands rise to the occasion with their playing and showmanship. Some newer bands need some time to polish up and should play to their learning curve, but people shouldn’t fault them for that.

I spent a week in Austin for ACL in September, and its 6th Street party district had live original bands playing for free in bars as the rule — not the exception. Some people got into it, some didn’t, but it was embraced, accepted and didn’t interfere with the good time of those there just to hang.

Let’s start a task force.

Objective No. 1: We take a field trip to Texas’ capital and take notes on why they’re getting it right. Any volunteers? 

Hey, Paul Wilborn, you got room in your budget for this?

One response to “Recession-proof our local music entertainment, please

  1. Rick’s is a fun spot when you have the right mindset.

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