Creative Loafing Tampa Bay's most read music stories of 2021

You still love Clapton.


From viral rappers to local insurrectionist metalheads to guitar legend COVID-19 deniers, fans of the Tampa Bay music scene came to the website to read about news regarding Iced Earth's Jon Schaffer, Eric Clapton, plus other concerts from big names like Alanis Morissette and TikTok hitmater Spottemgottem.

Also on your minds: upcoming concerts, Super Bowl shows and free breakfast at the local EDM rave. Here, arranged by virality, are the most read music stories of the year. Stay weird, Tampa Bay.

Eric Clapton was, um, wonderful during short Tampa set at Amalie Arena


In 2021, Clapton has been a poster boy for vaccine skepticism and anti-lockdown ideologies, having even released new protest music with Van Morrison. And per his request, his September show specifically did not require COVID-19 vaccine cards or proof of a negative test for entry—probably a last for Amalie Arena. But hey—the guy's still got the talent to back up almost any remark he makes—even with a somewhat recent diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy.

King Crimson kicked off its first post-COVID tour in Clearwater

The July set was most likely the last time Florida will see the U.K prog rock giant, and a majestic encore of "21st Century Schizoid Man" was not only obligatory, but inevitable from the start. These days, Crimson shows are basically a rock and roll version of a symphony: No talking in between songs, the setlist remains a mystery, and much of what the band plays is capable of going on for increments up to 25 minutes long. Honestly, I don't understand how the hell the crowd was only half-full, but a whole heck of a lot of you read our coverage, including interviews with Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto.

Alanis Morissette is more than an angry '90s singer, and she proved it during rare Tampa concert

In August, as Alanis and the band introduced more interludes, the idea got more innovative. 2004's "Everything" segued into the heartbreaking "Mary Jane," while a full version of "Losing The Plot" introduced an acoustic version of "Wake Up." As if Alanis' fans didn't lose their minds—and voices, enough when she picked up a sparkly black guitar on "Losing The Plot," the highlights of the evening mainly consisted of songs from Jagged Little Pill. That is, excluding the moments that included her dancing head-banging like nobody was watching.

A St. Petersburg EDM party went until 6 a.m. and came with free breakfast

The March event offered free glow sticks plus lasers and LED blacklight cannons creating a "...sensory overload to set the scene for this wild journey until the daylight hours." Organizers told CL they were following all CDC guidance, plus there was a free breakfast served at 3 a.m., so though you may not have been totally safe from COVID-19, you did get a free donut or something.

Junebug challenge rapper SpotemGottem brought his TikTok hit to Ybor City

Barely legal Jacksonville rapper SpotemGottem hit Club Skye in January. At the time, the 18-year-old rising star's latest release "Beat Box" was moving up in charts, and the song's original version could be seen all over TikTok in the latest viral sensation #junebugchallenge.

After he died, everyone wanted to remember when Rapper DMX spent the night kicking everyone's ass at pool after his Tampa show

DMX hadn't played Tampa since 2019, but after his death at the age of 50 this year, fans flocked to a post about the time when he played The Ritz and then kicked everyone's ass on the Reservoir Bar pool table.

Tampa's inaugural Innings Festival will feature Green Day, Lumineers, Incubus and more

The kid-friendly baseball-themed festival is set for March 19-20, 2022 outside Tampa's Raymond James Stadium. It promises a few MLB greats, including Ozzie Smith, Gary Sheffield, John Kruk, Lou Piniella, A.J. Pierzynski and others plus sets from Khruangbin, Liz Cooper, 311, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Jimmy Eat World, Goo Goo Dolls, O.A.R., Highly Suspect, and more.

Dead & Co. canceled its Tampa concert at MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

The Oct. 7 set was supposed to be the first big Tampa amphitheatre show that required a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination for ticket holders with pit tickets—and people already had their bootleg tour shirts printed. An email from the band's public relations team blamed the cancellations on routing and production logistics, said refunds are available, and added that "Dead & Company is looking forward to performing in West Palm Beach and Tampa in the future." Doubt it, I wouldn't bring elderly people to a packed concert in Florida.

Super Bowl concerts everywhere

Migos and Diplo at WTR. Trick Daddy at the former Hollywood Nights strip club. Rick Ross at Dallas Bull. Kodak Black—fresh off a Trump pardon—at Qvesoir. If there was a venue available, people wanted to throw a Super Bowl concert there, and holy shit did you all want to go to them.

A St. Petersburg concert was $18 if you were vaccinated, $999 if you weren't

This one was a rollercoaster. In May, Leadfoot Promotions announced a show from Wyoming pop-punk band Teenage Bottlerocket. It's location, St. Pete's VFW Post 30, was already notable, but the cover—$999.99, but discounted to $18-$20 with proof of full vaccination—really punched conservative snowflakes in the groin. Backlash ensued, and the show ended up at the Skatepark Of Tampa, all as what felt like thousands of news outlets across the globe picked up the story. Oddly enough, Teenage Bottlerocket got canceled four months after the gig when sexual assault allegations were lobbed at a member of the band.

Local legends Chick Corea, Shock G die

Corea, a true jazz giant and Clearwater resident, passed away on Feb. 9 at the age of 79 from a rare form of cancer. His last concerts were at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Digital Underground founder Shock G—born Gregory Jacobs—passed in April at the age of 57 and was found in a Tampa hotel room; initial reports from the coroner cited an overdose of fentanyl methamphetamine and alcohol. In the days after his passing, hip-hop legends flocked to Tampa and paid their respects to the Carrollwood native at a ceremony inside Ybor City's Allen Temple AME Church.

Jon Schaffer from Tampa metal band Iced Earth among those photographed storming U.S. Capitol

No one was surprised to find the metal legend at the insurrection. He'd called congresspeople feckless traitors and even put out a 2014 civil war concept album. He's since pleaded guilty to a pair of felony offenses—trespass of the Capitol while armed with a deadly or dangerous weapon and obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress—been sued by the Washington D.C. district attorney and started hawking band merch on Instagram.

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