Popular globetrotting pop collective Architecture in Helsinki transforms Crowbar into a throbbing, futuristic discotheque as its latest tour storms American shores. Formed in Melbourne, the ambidextrous dance band stirs fans with a tornado of flamboyant sounds, infectious anthems, and commitment-free instrument swapping. With hits such as “Do the Whirlwind” and latest single “Contact High,” lead crooner Cameron Bird and his cakewalking team of tunesmiths tickle ear bones and rehabilitate ankles in support of its latest album, Moment Bends. During the kaleidoscopic performance, the band seduces dance floors with 10-foot hooks and sounds culled from hypnotic synths, romantic glockenspiels, and strummed chest hairs. Filling out the bill, Swedish dance wizards Lo-Fi-Fnk enchant with instant club hits and songs for strobe-light campfires, and pop enthusiasts Dom charm with stargazing Casios. Crowbar invites Groupon holders backstage after the show to meet the band, discuss musical influences, and take notes on how to hit the elusive high Z note.
Though entertainment fads come and go, movie theaters remain, tempting audiences with fantastical stories new and old. The film buffs behind the Tampa Pitcher Show understand this craving for narrative connection, filling their movie hall and bar space’s calendar with first-run films, alternative events, and live music that helped them take home the prize for Best Kept Secret in Creative Loafing's Best of the Bay 2011 Reader’s Poll. Within the theater, projectors hum to life with current hits and cult classics every night; weekends welcome special happenings that include Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow-casts, art bazaars, and comedy shows. The Take 2 Lounge dispenses a sprawling menu of bar fare, including burgers, pizzas, and beers such as Magic Hat #9, Southern Tier, and Florida Avenue Ale flowing from 13 tap lines.
The independent Evolution stimulates the Lakeland scene by selling an eclectic selection of both mainstream and underground music while providing an intimate venue for local and touring musicians to present their craft. Evolution's stock consists of T-shirts ($10+), CDs and vinyl records ($1+), and posters for music fans to coat their empty walls with artist admiration. Peruse Evolution's thousands of vinyls, from timeless classics, including The Beatles and AC/DC, to exciting new artists (though Bob Dole's ambient-metal album is currently sold out). Evolution hosts shows nearly every weekend, featuring artists advancing the cause of rock, hip-hop, folk, and more.
Chillounge Night moves the atmosphere of a nightclub outdoors, freeing warm pulses of bass to tremble under the stars and roll beneath the chatter of guests perched on plush sofas. Toasts are made, adding treble notes to the organic symphony as the sun sinks below the horizon and the atmosphere takes on the festive feeling. Samba dancers parade past tables laden with signature dishes from local restaurants, and fashion shows parade intriguing threads. As fireworks crackle against the darkening sky at some events, live music begins to fuel dancing or make metronomes feel more comfortable.
Side Splitters Comedy Club tickles funny bones and triggers laughing fits with standup performances by seasoned comedy veterans and rising stars alike. James Johann (September 22–September 25) floods the microphone with observational witticisms, having graced the stage at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival as well as the camera lens of Comedy Central's Premium Blend. Eddie Ifft (October 6–October 9) wields a well-honed comedic edge that he developed during extensive tête-à-têtes with whetstones and tours of more than 15 countries. Consult the club's calendar to keep track of upcoming performers, showtimes, and comedic equinoxes.
Under the spotlight, the uproarious T.K. Kirkland keeps cracked-up crowds in stitches during a show that combines laughter, music, and poetry, with proceeds benefiting breast-cancer research. Reprising crowd-pleasing material from Are There Any Questions?, T.K. Kirkland quizzes audiences on such universal subjects as relationships, self-esteem, and who does their dental work. The comic’s placid demeanor juxtaposed with his sharp and outrageous humor has won him spots on P. Diddy’s Bad Boyz of Comedy, the movie Comedy After Dark, and HBO’s Def Comedy Jams. Comedian-cum-host L.C. steers audiences through the evening, which also features live music and poetry to soothe inflamed funny bones. A special package for Groupon holders bundles goodies such as two souvenir glasses and a photo with the comic, who will also pose for brief still-life paintings.