Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mid-Run Concert Review: Matt & Kim, The Thermals and DJ Autobot at the Czar Bar

Here is a transcript from the review I recorded for Tuesday nights Matt & Kim, The Thermals and DJ Autobot concert at the Czar Bar in Ybor. It was around mile three of a six mile run.

Pre-Concert Meal: If you live in Tampa, you've probably seen billboards for the Acropolis. They dot I-4, 75 and 275. We've been going here for as long as I can remember. It isn't the "Opa!" or belly dancer or broken plates that keep us coming back. It certainly isn't the music that is turned up just a little too loud. What keeps us coming back is the pita, artichoke salad, hummus, falafel and the flaming cheese. Every visit brings some combination of these five items. On concert night I loaded up on flaming cheese, pita and a falafel wrap. Let me go on record and say that even though their are a number of locations across greater Tampa/St. Pete the one in Ybor is the only one that has been spot-on every time I've gone.

The Venue:
Hey Czar Bar, I've danced in your halls, jumped from your stages and hung from the stripper poles for the last two years but I haven't experienced the concert feel since Girl Talk in '08. It was completely different at that time. I like that you have two mini stages that people can stand from on either side of the main stage. I also enjoy that you left the catwalk (but it is Tampa/St. Pete, we love our catwalks right Rays?). What I found problematic was the pole in the middle of the dance floor, that's like a circle pitters nightmare and the not clearly marked bathrooms. How many people did I see fight through the crowd, get to the left side of the stage, only to find out that was the back stage area and not a bathroom? I'd say at least 18. Most choose to just piss their pants instead of fighting to get the whole way to the other side. I was pleasantly surprised by the acoustics. I had heard bad things. Keep bringing in the bands and I'll keep coming back.

The Opening Acts: DJ Autobot, it has been way too long. You seemed a little out of place at the show mixing house music for a legion of uninterested kids. Then you brought the Journey and all of a sudden things changed. People danced, hearts sang and eyes looked alive...for a few seconds anyway. Then the kids went right back to their not interested poses. Even when you mixed the classics with more recent samples like La Roux and the spoken words of Mr. Tiger Blood himself, the crowd looked on like it they had never heard these things before. Could two months ago be before their time? I guess so. Hopefully the reaction has been different elsewhere because you deserve it. By the way, what was up with that placement after the Thermals set. Way back in the corner? I don't think I could've thrown a baseball that far back. That's rough for a DJ who should be front and center at all times to work the crowd. The Thermals, as I already posted on your facebook page, you guys were very no nonsense and brought the tracks I love to hear. I danced my heart out, way over on the left side out of your view, but no one around me moved. I saw some arms swing in the middle but for the most part it was a very lukewarm reception. "Here's Your Future" was amazing, I get goose pimples every time I hear it. Keep coming to the Orlampa area. I get it and eventually others will too (maybe when they have a few more years under their belt).

The Headliners: I saw Matt & Kim in St. Pete a few months back and this show was basically the same thing. Matt stands on his keyboard, Kim on her drum set, Matt sits, Kim sits. Up, down, up, down. Kim runs around the stage, booty shakes it in the middle of the crowd, confetti is thrown and balloons are blown up and sent flying everywhere. Despite having seen it before I was thoroughly entertained. That is a testament to Matt and Kim's between song commentary, which I'm sure changes from show to show (or does Kim always talk about "Swamp Ass") and the fact that they look like they are having so much fun. It is easy for me to get into something when the band members are into it. Matt & Kim's passion for putting on a good show breeds the amazing Florida performances that the band is always talking about. There was one small difference with this show (and I'm not talking about Kim's discussion about the love of her small boobs and Matt's subsequent agreement). Kim taking a camera around to snap pictures of the crowd was an excellent way to get people involved while pimping the new album and its bad as hell single. Matt & Kim will be back in September to perform at the 1800AskGary Amphitheater with Blink 182 and My Chemical Romance. I don't know how their small club show will transfer to the big stage but if anyone can pull it off, they can.

The Crowd: I'm not going to rip on you more than I already have other than to say, Florida doesn't get the number of shows that other states get. One way to keep the bands coming is to at least pretend you are interested in their act. I'm not about to start driving to Atlanta for every concert I want to see. Guys, taking off your shirts and swinging them around when Kim ordered, that was a great start.

Shots from the show.