After playing “Cool Jam” on Tuesday night, Houndmouth drummer Shane Cody looked over the chattering crowd and said, “It’s good to be back in Florida, it’s been a few years.”
In most towns, that would be par for the course for onstage banter, but for Houndmouth, the sentiment rang true. The Indiana-born band hadn’t been to town since 2016 when they played the Gasparilla Music Festival, amicably parted ways with founding member Katie Toupin, and returned (with horns in tow) to rock Clearwater Jazz Holiday eight months later. Since then, Houndmouth released 2018 Golden agewas stripped from his record label and held in a 19th century shotgun house in New Albany to record Good for youhis best record to date.
And despite new coronavirus strains, the national touring circuit is back, with schedules getting stronger every month, which means a seemingly never-ending number of gigs in Tampa Bay.
Cody’s sentiment also rang true for much of the capacity crowd crammed into 687 Central Ave. In the same year, Houndmouth published Golden agethe State Theater in downtown St. Petersburg closed after a series of violations reduced its capacity and eventually forced the owners to put the historical monument and concert hall up for sale.
After more than two decades of concerts, the space – built in the 1920s as a bank before becoming a theater in the 1950s – could very well have become a food hall. But live music on Central Avenue’s 600 Block avoided a death knell when realtor Kevin Chadwick snagged the property for $2.1 million in the summer of 2018, nine months before COVID-19 put live music on. in a chokehold. Almost a year later, the State Theater received its new name; 10 months later, the doors of the Floridian Social Club have finally opened.
Chadwick has spared no expense to renovate the facility – it will be a travesty if his team doesn’t scoop a Preserve The ‘Burg Restoration and Renovation award this week – and locals have resumed the concert schedule until this week when Houndmouth became the first national touring act to perform at the venue in nearly half a decade.
Inside the Floridian Social Club, there are very few reminders of the old State Theater.
There’s a special shot of Tecate and tequila (touched up, although most people might have washed the booze down with a PBR), but there’s a lot more gold leaf, all tastefully placed, in the building now. You can actually poop in the toilet without having to bleach your ass afterwards, and the green rooms (famously rotten at State) feel like you’ve been teleported from another planet.
There’s a full bar upstairs, and the sound system (though not bad at State) is almost perfectly tuned for the sort of Strat and Rhodes-driven Dustbowl rock and roll bands like Houndmouth make their bread. and their butter (the slow blues on “Palmyra”, “Roadhouse rock from “My Cousin Greg” and downtuned comedown from “For No One”, all sounded perfect).
And by all accounts, everyone in the room was equally prepared and ready for the band. Frontman and guitarist Matt Myers was all smiles throughout the 15-song set which included guest appearances by in-house acrobats on Good for you bop “McKenzie” and even closer “Sedona”. (Floridian’s newest entertainment director and talent buyer, Shawn Kyle, told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that the group heard about the local aerials and hired them on their night off.)
Audiences indulged in solos on “Make It To Midnight,” clapped for in-band booty bumps on “Black Gold,” bathed in organ swells on “Goodbye,” and sang along. -head for “Honey Slider” and Good for youthe title track from when Myers turned the microphone away from him and aimed it at the crowd.
By the time “Darlin’” arrived to close out the set, there was even a bit of musk and sweat in the air, a callback to the room Floridian was.
Heat was a feature of nearly every State Theater show; it was not uncommon to leave this room after a punk show by Piebald or Against Me! just covered in someone else’s sweat. Early in the Floridian Social Club’s familiarization period with St. Petersburg, people who were not ready for change lamented that the city might never see a metal act there again. They weren’t wrong; those shows are now at Jannus Live and the soon-to-be-moving Ybor City Orpheum. Anyone hoping to catch Death Grips or Insane Clown Posse at 687 Central Ave. might as well take a hike.
But look around at the 600 block, people. The people who opened Star Booty, ran Daddy Kool, and broke their backs keeping places like Fubar and Local 662 open have all moved to other, for now, affordable areas of the city. Others left town altogether.
Floridian isn’t your older brother’s state theater, but it could still host a set of the resurgence of Dinosaur Jr.s, up-and-coming Bon Ivers of the world, or host a festival that brings together artists like Son Volt, William Tyler, Ought, Budos Band and Waxahatchee on stage in one weekend. Shit, I could also see a vice-presidential candidate playing harmonica with Bon Jovi.
Just before the first chorus of “Darlin'”, Myers sings “You won’t make it if you don’t let somebody in”, and that’s important to remember when it comes to live music at Saint PETERSBOURG. There’s no reliable 800-900 capacity venue like Floridian in Pinellas County (the Capitol Theater in Clearwater is great for seated shows like Iron & Wine, Boz Scaggs, Punch Brothers, etc. ), and Central is fortunate to now have a venue that looks set to bring domestic talent back to the block.
And if you miss old St. Pete a lot (so do we), Emerald Bar is always a three-minute walk from the Floridian Social Club. Hell, even Houndmouth found its way to St. Pete’s Dive Bar after the show for some cheap beer (and maybe a shot of tequila, too).
Anyone still on the fence about Floridian needed to listen a little louder to Myers between his raucous guitar solos on Golden age rage “Comin’ Around Again.”
“You don’t know where I’m going, and you don’t know where I’ve been,” the lyric goes.
It’s interesting to think that the band hails from Indiana – one of the most affordable places in America right now – and plays in St. Pete where, well, we’re begging for rent control .
“But when you hear the angels sing,” sings Myers. ” I’ll be back. »
It’s damn good to hear 687 Central Ave. get rowdy on a Tuesday night, and you can bet that even with all the alarming changes happening locally, the Floridian Social Club will have even more national acts coming to St. Pete’s Miracle Mile. very soon.
Listen to a playlist of songs from the show on Tidal. See all of Jon Wiliam’s photos below.
Do it till midnight
sun in the valley
Good for you
My cousin Greg
For anyone (solo)
Comin’ Around Again