Best Of 2019

Jonny Fritz at Orpheum

It took Murder By Death and J. Roddy Walston dragging him here, but enigmatic, and ridiculously hilarious, L.A. songwriter Jonny Fritz finally made it to Tampa Bay for a short, sweet set filled with his deeply empathetic country songs. Americana fans may never see the bearded, bald bard around here again, but at least we got to see him (and his head) shine for a few minutes.

jonnyfritz.com 

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Best Bi-Coastal Reps For Tampa Bay Hip-Hop

Gat$ And Rolling Loud

If there’s a Rolling Loud lineup, then Tampa rapper Gat$ is probably on it. He did it in December by appearing alongside the likes of he likes of Post Malone, Lil Wayne, Cardi B and Lil Uzi Vert at Rolling Loud Los Angeles. Pretty cool to see the Bay Area-born fest, and one of Tampa’s loudest supporters, repping for us on both sides of the country. Now send the guy to Hong Kong, Rolling Loud.

gats813.com

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Best Big Ambition In Tiny Tampa

Symphonic distribution

You’ve got to go up four floors to get to Symphonic Distribution’s downtown Tampa office, but the sky really is the limit for the music company that’s grabbing the spotlight and making the industry look at Tampa as an important cog in the grand scheme of things. Repeat appearances on Billboard’s Power Players list — along with offices in cities around the world — are just the beginning. Thanks for singing the 813 song to the world, Symphonic.

symphonicdistribution.com 

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Best Big, Black Tampa Debut

Lizzo At Yuengling Center

Whoever stood to rake in revenue from Lizzo’s Jannus Live show was probably irked when someone above them made the call to move the gig across the Bay to the Yuengling Center, but folks at the old Sun Dome did good to roll out the red carpet in celebration of the Tampa debut for an artist that could represent America’s warming up to an artist that looked much different from the mostly white crowd in front of her that night. Will the Lizzo love last and help create a culture that truly embraces both black music and black people? Let’s hope so, and let’s hope that it’s that Tampa crowd that leads the way.

yuenglingcenter.com 

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Best Bowing Out

Fubar Closure

The arrival of 2019 brought with it an eerie silence as Fubar celebrated its final night on the 600 Block of downtown St. Petersburg. For nine years, owner Jay Aresty and venue caretaker Todd Frain gave bands — especially locals — a place to cut their teeth and find an identity in the context of a rapidly changing metro. “Fubar was the spot that exposed us to the city. We then built a following in St. Pete, and Fubar was the place we did it,” said Shane Handal, guitarist for Bay area rock band Set and Setting, which now regularly plays festivals in Europe. With State Theatre still under renovation and Fubar sold, it’s been an awfuly quiet on that strip of Central Avenue. 

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Winner: Austen Van Der Bleek avbleek.com

Second Place: Jayson Chancey soundcloud.com/jayson-chancey

Runner Up: Jason Kitchen facebook.com/djjasonkitchen/

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Winner: Pride Closer stpetepride.com

Second Place: P!nk At Amalie Arena photos.cltampa.com

Runner Up: Gasparilla Music Festival gasparillamusic.com

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Best Cool Party


Sales at Emo Night Tampa Anniversary

It’s true, it was admittedly a little warm inside of NoHo art studio Pep Rally Inc. We’re blaming it on the beautiful bodies lucky enough to get a ticket to night three of Emo Night Tampa’s four-year anniversary weekend highlighted by a one-of-a-kind set from Orlando pop outfit Sales, which continues to rep hard for the Sunshine State. We’re excited to see the Emo Night crew top themselves in year five. emonighttampa.com

Winner: Soul Circus Cowboys soulcircuscowboys.com

Second Place: Have Gun, Will Travel hgwtmusic.com

Runner Up: The Cadillac Cowboys thecadillaccowboys.com

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Best Cover Band (Still)

Same Day Delivery Orchestra

With so much local music being made in Tampa Bay, it’s hard to keep tabs on who’s doing it the best. If you had no time to keep up, Same Day Delivery Orchestra could keep you up to speed. Led by Melissa Grady, the ensemble charts and then performs string arrangements of cuts from some of the Bay area’s best bands including DieAlps!, Fever Beam and Shae Krisprinsky. It’s a treat to have someone give a damn about the thing you do. Grady & co. continue taking local love to a whole new level. sddorchestra.com 

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