I’d say the general reaction I got from people when I announced I was going to see Flobots was 50 percent “Who?” and 50 percent “The Handlebar dudes?” Yes, the dudes responsible for 2008 hit single “Handlebars” dropped into Orpheum in support of their third and most recent release, The Circle in the Square, and I was very interested in how they’d sound four years after releasing that infuriatingly catchy track.

Local prog-hip hop band Samurai Shotgun hit the stage first and impressed the hell out of me. I know lead singer Mateo Prince Henley from the Ybor clubs he’s worked at, and I had no idea he had this in him. When I commented to my friend that one of their songs reminded me of a raw, urban RHCP, he summed it up succinctly with his response: “Yeah, but ten times better, though.”

Next on stage was Minnesota’s insanely surprising Astronautalis. When a pretty blonde boy in a cornflower blue button-down and khakis strode onto the stage to help set up, I assumed he was an intern. Then the lights went down, and he started sing-rhyming over reverb-drenched guitar and cymbals-crashing beats, and I thought, Whoa. Dude’s got flow. The crowd was definitely digging the mix of hip hop and rock, and didn’t hesitate to move closer to the stage at his invitation. He kept brushing his blonde curls away from his face as he bounced from foot to foot and crouched down to make eye contact with the crowd. He referred to himself as a “substitute (teacher) looking motherfucker,” to those of us who weren’t familiar with him before his set started, addressing the whole judging-a-book-by-its-cover thing (which I was guilty of), and then asked for requests on subjects to freestyle on. The two spontaneous freestyle raps that followed touched on the Higgs boson particle, Mitt Romney, the movie Airplane!, Deerwood Country Club in Jacksonville, Stan Lee, and roller derby. Dude is good.

Closing out the night, Flobots entered to a pretty big crowd that clearly knew there was more to the sextet than bike tricks. The first thing I noticed wasn’t the guitarist or bassist, it wasn’t the pair of charismatic rappers who front the band, and it wasn’t the burly guy on drums. It was definitely band’s lone female, Mackenzie Gault, standing stage left with her electric viola. Instrumental touches like this are what make Flobots’ mix of hip hop and rock so special. The energy was high from the moment they opened the set with “Stand Up,” and it didn’t even waver when things got a little rocky.

Midway through the set, it became clear that vocalist Brer Rabbit was having issues with his mic, so without skipping a beat, partner Johnny 5 abandoned the setlist and launched into the rarely performed “By the Time You Get This Message” while the tech guy tried to sort things out. The energy held steady all throughout, and pretty much the only time the two vocalists weren’t bounding around the stage was when Johnny got down on one knee to play melodica. The crowd was on board 100 percent by the time they reached “Handlebars,” and were rewarded with a high-octane performance that didn’t feel like they’d already played it a zillion times. The evening ended with a slow and beautiful rendition of “Rise” along with a huge thanks to the crowd.

As we were on our way out of the venue, a few of my friends remarked that they liked the openers better than Flobots. I’ll admit, it was a pretty close race for me as well. But there are definitely worse things than having to decide which one of the three bands you just heard was the best. All I can say for certain is that I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for future Samurai Shogun shows, and if you’re in Tampa, you should, too. You can catch the rest of the shots from the show here.

Flobots – The Rose And The Thistle
Flobots – Circle In The Square


Every now and then a weekend comes along that just makes you shake your head at the awesome. If it weren’t for this being Sober February I’d be shaking my head wondering how I was gonna get through it both physically and financially. Anyhow, for the out of town readers, find an awesome show to go to this weekend and support live music. For my in town readers, I found your shows for you:


In what will be the highlight of the weekend; Tim Barry is coming to town Thursday night and he’s bringing Gainesville’s Greenland Is Melting with him. When I reviewed GiM’s album, Or Hearts Are Gold, Our Grass Is Blue, I said they “sound like what I wanted to hear the first time I heard The Avett Brothers” and I stand by that statement. Live, the fun they’re having is almost palpable and most certainly catching. In other words, this ain’t a show you wanna arrive late to. More to the point, it ain’t a show you wanna miss cause Mr. Barry is bringing his self-help sessions put to song version of acoustic folk rock to the stage. Like I said the other night on ninebullets radio, Tim proves that rock and roll ain’t gotta be fancy guitars, shiny clothes and a bag full of whizbang to captivate an audience. Every time I see him live, I walk away with my belief that a man with good songs and pure intentions can still do something in the music world. So come out, sing along and leave happy.

Greenland Is Melting – Blood On The Banjo
Tim Barry – Thing Of The Past


In yet another sign that Tampa/St. Pete might actually be becoming a “real” city, we’ve gotten out own Lebowski Fest! Now, let’s hope like hell that people actually come out to it.

Friday night will feature music by Have Gun Will Travel and Ernie Locke’s (Nervous Turkey) new band, Lambasters with a screening of the movie afterwards. Friday will also feature a guest appearance by the real-life inspiration for The Dude, Jeff “The Dude” Dowd who’s filming a new documentary titled “The Dude.”

Saturday will feature Bowling, Costume, Trivia and other contests at University Lanes from 6-10pm and Jeff Dowd will be there as well.

So go out, imbibe and abide.


The best way to directly support your local music scene this weekend is to come out to Dave’s Aqua Lounge for Bammo’s sixth annual “One For The Road” fundraiser. It’s expensive to take time off work, load up in the van and drive out to Austin and back. Sure, you can book shows out there and back if you can get enough time off work but here’s a dirty little secret a lot of people don’t know about SxSW; the bands don’t get paid for the shows they do there. That’s right, the bands will end up spending 4 days playing (sometimes) two shows a day and they’ll do it all for free. Some come out, see some of the best local bands in the area all in one location and do some good while you’re at it. The show starts at 7:00 and features; Sun Society, Ronny Elliott, Rebekah Pulley & TRP, Human Condition, Poetry N Lotion, Have Gun Will Travel & The Beauvilles. Admission is a suggested minumum donation of $10.00 (100% of donations go to the bands). There will also be raffles and all sorts of other funness.

The Beauvilles – Rain
Have Gun Will Travel – Kerosene and Candlelight

NINEBULLETS.NET PRESENTS: O'DEATH, FEB. 3 @ THE ORPHEUM is the official online presenter of the O’Death show here in Tampa on Tuesday night. While I’m not entirely sure what “the official online presenter” really means, I can also say I don’t really care. Anytime I have the chance to align the site with the Appalachian Apocalypse from New York that is O’death, you best believe I am gonna do it. What this does mean for the local reader is that I have a pair of tickets to give away to the show and what this means for both the local and non-local reader alike is that I have (3) (1) copies copy of their latest cd, Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin, to offer to you, the loyal reader. CDs have been won. What do you have to do for the loot, you ask? Well, go to O’death’s myspace profile and then email me what the fourth song on their music player is. First local person gets the tickets and I’ll give the cd’s to the first 3 local or out of towners to email me the same answer.

If you don’t win don’t let that deter you from this show, Tampa. It’s definitely gonna be a show of the year candidate. Here is what I wrote about them last time they came to Ybor City:

Drummer David Rogers-Berry lived up to his advance billing; screaming, howling, beating trash cans with chains, hyping the crowd, and just generally beating his floor toms so hard you could almost see them wince in agony. Adding to the drum-abusive energy was fiddle player Bob Pycior stomping and dancing about while trying his damnedest to saw his instrument in half. Much like Berry, he plays with such an intensity that you get the impression he is punishing his instrument more than playing it. Balancing out these two was Gabe Darling’s banjo and ukulele and Greg Jamie’s guitar and sometimes woeful, always captivating vocals, which help give the band it’s dark sound.

If you are out and about, come holler at me. I’d love for you to buy me a beer and listen to you tell me how awesome ninebullets is…or we can just talk music and sports. Either way, I’m good…just come out.

O’Death – Down to Rest
O’Death – O Lee O
O’Death – Only Daughter