Agnostic Front headlines Tampa Pro party at Orpheum

The godfathers of hardcore unite fans new and old in a Tampa SPoT tradition.

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Let’s go ahead and acknowledge the fact that the Skatepark of Tampa (SPoT) throws legendary parties for its annual Tampa Pro tournament, a four-day celebration of skateboarding that combines world-class athletes competing for a $75,000 prize purse with the best of Bay area nightlife. In fact, everything about SPoT is fabled, from the countless skaters who’ve launched careers there (Felipe Gustavo, Ishod Wair, Nyjah Houston) to the folklore surrounding the unassuming warehouse at 4215 E. Columbus Dr. in east Tampa.

Another important element of the narrative — and one that skaters and non-skaters alike can recount no matter how many they throw back at SPoT’s debauched Tampa Pro open bars — is the concerts.

When you take a look at bands SPoT has brought in for its professional and amateur competitions, names like De La Soul, Dinosaur Jr., Andrew W.K., Bouncing Souls, Band Of Horses, Action Bronson, Big Boi, and even the Souls Of Mischief have all adorned bills associated with SPoT tourneys. The list goes on and on, and even Lil’ Wayne — who, as a spectator in recent years, has become a fixture at Tampa Pro tournaments — gets in on the action. Brian Schaefer, who founded and built the skatepark with a bunch of his friends over two decades ago, recognizes Weezy’s star power (“it’s kind of like Michael Jackson”) but is quick to point out that his presence is just an accessory to everything going on at the competition.

“It’s more of a side thing,” Schaefer, 34, told CL, not taking away from the fact that one of pop culture’s most enigmatic figures counts SPoT as a favorite haunt, “but it’s cool that somebody can walk away with everything they saw at the contest and then be like, ‘Whoa! There’s Lil’ Wayne!’”
On Saturday night, Patman & Robin (a band featuring pro skaters Pat Duffy and Rob Welsh) will perform while skaters compete in a concrete course jam. The on-site show is a throwback to when Schaefer & co. had bands like Samiam, Avail and Radon play inside the park, but on Friday SPoT turns the clock back even further when Agnostic Front — a band whose origins predate even the earliest ideas of opening SPoT — headlines the official Tampa Pro party at the Orpheum in Ybor City.

“It was a complete no-brainer for us,” Schaefer said of the decision to have AF headline, explaining that the godfathers of hardcore reached out to SPoT as they booked dates for a U.S. and European tour. “It’s a nice fit for the pro contest, since there’s an older crowd within the industry — I’m honored.”

Frontman Roger Miret and guitarist Vinnie Stigma have grown up living the hardcore lifestyle since their debut in 1984, asking friends to play in their band and building a legitimate community around a genre while also dealing with the ups and downs of growing older and having your ideals challenged. A new album, The American Dream Died (due April 7), promises more of the we’re-gonna-piss-in-your-cereal-to-get-you-to-wake-up attitude they’ve cultivated on ten outspoken LPs, and it’ll be interesting to watch it all coalesce with a room full of skaters — who mostly live their own lives completely devoted to a sport that gave them friends and a community of their own. The show will likely sell out or come close to it, and it still humbles Schaefer after all these years.

Asked how he manages to keep up with a schedule that has him running the park, its associated restaurant The Bricks and a shop in Ybor City, and scheduling contests — all while traveling around the country and beyond securing deals and making connections (the park just signed a deal with the Street League Skateboarding series) — Schaefer offers a simple solution:

“I’m surrounded by great people,” he says, pointing out the staff members that run all of SPoT’s moving parts. “It’s the industry, it’s Ybor City, it’s skateboarding — the community supports it, so we’re stoked.”

Agnostic Front
at the Skatepark of Tampa Pro Party Ybor City w/Science TPA/Coldside
Fri., March 20, Orpheum, Ybor City. 8 p.m., $15.

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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