The lull between end-of-semester exams and the start of summer classes provided USF students an opportunity to catch a few great musical performances in the Tampa Bay area.
From pop to country and rock, there was something for everyone in these concerts, where the bands performed flawlessly and relieved some of the pressures felt after a tough semester. The Oracle reviews the various acts that lit up Tampa stages.
All American Rejects
The All-American Rejects performance in St. Petersburg was highlighted by contrast, but it held a special kind of intimacy, as the audience was captivated by the personal changes that have marked the lives of the band members.
The band began their show with Dirty Little Secret and continued to play older hits, as well as songs from their most recent album, Kids in the Street. The difference between the pop-infused older material and the scaled-back sounds of the new album was like night and day.
The band has matured musically and psychologically since first coming to the publics attention around 2005. But their childishness showed through in more juvenile moments, such as singer-songwriter Tyson Ritters profanity-laced monologue about the process of writing Somedays Gone, off the bands new album.
The highlights of the event were the songs that made the band famous hyperactive and frenzied performances of Move Along, Swing Swing and Paper Heart. Things got a little less manic with songs from Kids in the Street, with the standout being the albums first single, Beekeepers Daughter.
Overall, the performance showcased Ritters songwriting talent and hinted at a potential that all rejects, American or othewise, crave the possibility to grow up once and for all.
Lady Antebellum took the stage in her Tampa performance, accompanied by a caravan of country singers on the Own the Night Tour.
Husband-and-wife duo Thompson Square kicked off the festivities, followed by former Hootie and the Blowfish member Darius Rucker, who delivered an energetic set, which included a few songs from his Hootie days. The performance was met with rapturous applause from a nostalgic audience.
After what seemed like an eternity, Lady Antebellum took the stage, and a hushed audience watched in silent appreciation. She played a mix of old and new hits, including We Owned the Night, Just a Kiss and Dancin Away With My Heart.
During the song American Honey, three young girls were helped onto the stage and invited to sing along with the band.
When the lights dimmed on Lady Antebellums stage and people moved to leave, the band bestowed upon its fans one final gift: a breathtakingly austere performance of Need You Now. The standing ovation and applause went on for a full three minutes, and each of those minutes was more than deserved.
Straz Center for the Performing Arts
With almost 18 years worth of songs in the bands repertoire, Wilco is the ultimate crowd-pleaser. One look at the diverse audience showed the versatile power of Jeff Tweedys songwriting abilities.
A couple who looked to be somewhere in their 50s sat beside a group of teeagers, dressed in their ironically oversized Oliver Peoples glasses.
The stage, decorated flawlessly for the performance, featured a plethora of white, ghostlike streamers floating from every inch of the rafters. The streamers changed colors with the lighting, from glowing eerie green to flashes of bright red and orange. Coupled with occasional bursts of white light directed into the audience, the effect was spectacular.
While Tweedy has often been described as a tormented artist, he showed no hint of that on stage. During the two-hour set, he chatted pleasantly between songs and kept his set diverse in order to please everyone in attendance.
Highlights included performances from Wilcos 2012 album, The Whole Love, which displayed Tweedys talent for reinvention and adaptability to any genre. However, the biggest applause came when the band played songs from their 2001 breakout album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Wilco performed a riling rendition of Heavy Metal Drummer along with other fan favorites Jesus, Etc. and War on War.
Wilco also displayed a softer side with Impossible Germany, and encouraged audience participation for a spirited rendition of an older song, A Shot in the Arm.
Never did the band have an awkward transition between songs quite a feat when the music covers most genres, from folk to hard rock. Thats the beauty of Wilco: the ability to shape shift as if fueled by something supernatural, and try to make every song played the best song ever heard.
Upcoming Tampa Concerts:
May 19: Janes Addiction
Ruth Eckerd Hall
May 20: Athel
The Local 662
May 22: Parallels
May 25: Lucero
May 26: Maps & Atlases
June 1: Yacht
June 3: Neil Diamond
Tampa Bay Times Forum
June 7: Bon Iver
June 12: Man Man
June 19: Explosions in the Sky
The Ritz Ybor
June 28: Coldplay
Tampa Bay Times Forum
June 30: Def-Leppard
Tampa Bay Times Forum
July 7: Fresh Music Festival
USF Sun Dome
July 17: Barenaked Ladies
July 20: Slightly Stoopid/311
July 18: Dave Matthews Band
July 28: KISS
July 29: VANS Warped Tour