Palantine, Lush Progress and Greymarket headline another great State showcase



Palantine, from left, are Brian Johnson, Vinnie Cosentino and Jeff Fox.

Feb 20 @ The State Theatre – 8 p.m.
All Ages

by Julie Garisto

   Make plans in advance because next Friday, Feb. 20, Palantine, Lush Progress and Greymarket will play alongside some formidable acts in another top-notch locals-only showcase at the State Theatre.

   Two major reasons to go: to encourage a major venue outside a bar to promote local music and to help local bands land opening slots for national and international headliners by showing evidence of their popularity.

   Many might know that Palantine is among the Tampa Bay bands and artists who rock my personal hall of fame.

   The trio, formed from ashes of Lukali, brings the ampage and sing-along choruses — a sound that marries brains and brawn, melody and mayhem. It’s hard to find a band that rocks so strong and is so catchy and listenable. Palantine is that band.

   Palantine tunes are songs you can move to; they get stuck in your brain. Though there is a distinct evolution in sound across the band’s three LPs, certain stylistic consistencies remain intact. Fans of late 80s- early 90s indie-alternative stuff like Bleach-era Nirvana, early Foo Fighters, Dinosaur Jr. plus proto-metal, garage and British Invasion will especially dig the band named after the senator in Taxi Driver.

   Their recent LP, Melee, offers forth a crisp and even production that expertly balances hi and lo fi. Be sure to pick up a copy at the show.


   Lush Progress was chosen as a tbt* Ultimate Local Band in 2007.  The academic and accomplished musicians are nice guys who don’t take themselves too seriously. What I especially love about LP is their ability to expand outside precious-boy indie confines, splaying big sounds and dynamics, going from soft to loud, creatively and adventurously, not unlike greats like Pink Floyd, the Beatles and Flaming Lips, who elevated their status to supergroup without sacrificing artistic integrity and experimentation.

   I like how in their promo photo none of them are bearded. How original these days!

   I almost left out Greymarket. Haven’t seen this gifted young duo in a while. So much sound comes from this little band: They’re bold, melodic and dynamic with neato effects and textures that make for epic sweep.

   I will have to check in on Spellbinder, Magic Shoppe (love that spelling!) and Drew Street Mary to let you know about them


   I asked State co-owner, Mark Assiff, for some words on the venue’s commitment to promoting music and here’s what he had to say:

   “When we took over the State in ‘Dec 07, it was obvious that the local music scene had been snubbed out of their favorite venue.

   Some of this had to do with the local bands, and some was the fault of the State.

After researching the issue we determined that bands were not taking the initiative to market themselves properly, have strong allegiances with other bands, and realize the difference between playing a venue vs. playing a bar. They are two different animals.  

   That being said, revenues went south.  On the flip side, the venue was not being fair to local bookings by constantly changing local dates in order to accommodate national bookings. Also the local fan base was not coming out to support live music this could have been for any number of reasons some legit some not. But when playing a venue all reasons are pertinent nobody comes to a venue as a regular, it is destination driven the clicker always starts at zero.
      Because of these factors the local shows became more and more obsolete. After a while, the State just stopped booking locals and concentrated strictly on nationals.
     Fast forward. We started to reach out to the local musicians soon after ownership changed hands. We were interested in diverse, organized monthly local showcases. 

   Soon afterwords a 6 month series started with the Loaf that brought in several promoters, each providing a different monthly original showcase sponsored by Budweiser. Along the way we also started a continuous series with a syndicated radio host featuring original local bands called Local Lockdown.

   Currently we have three to five  local events per month. From these shows we place deserving bands on as openers for national acts. This has really worked out well for everyone involved.  We now feel we have a working model that ensures a strong local presence at the State for as long as all involved keep supporting our local bands.

   The key is support.”


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