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.
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.
Running off the infectious sonic fumes from his I Am Not a Human Being album and upcoming full-length Tha Carter IV, Lil Wayne lands his spaceship for a speaker-blowing stop on the extended leg of his summer tour. The Grammy winner touts an impressive curriculum vitae, punctuated by CEO status, unabashed genre crossing, and standout lyrics woven together with sagacious metaphors. Although Tunechi fans can anticipate a high-octane performance rife with hit singles as well as mixtape favorites, the tour's white-hot opening acts acclimate concertgoers with equal parts R & B silk, rap grit, and synth-powered spunk. Frequent Lil Wayne collaborator and Miami boss Rick Ross partners with breakout diva Keri Hilson, club-bangers Far East Movement, and velvet-voiced Lloyd for a hard-hitting evening that rivals at-home puppet shows outfitted with homemade pyrotechnics.
Champion over the ghoulish attractions gracing all 18 holes at Monster Mini Golf. The Winter Garden location contains enough geometric challenges to make the course interesting for all ages. Navigate your illuminated golf ball past horrible goblins, a disgruntled swamp monster, impolite specters, and a scarecrow jack-in-the-box, or just stand in awe at the 3-D spectacle. Be sure to listen for Monster Mini Golf’s own in-house radio station, "W.I.R.D. (Weird Radio)," whose live, on-site DJ hands out prizes for random reasons on the links.
As Tommy, one of Howl at the Moon’s piano players, explains on the club’s website, “Every night…we try and throw a party, regardless of whether it’s a Tuesday night or a Saturday night.” The bar’s trademark dueling pianos serve as the epicenter of these nightly celebrations; patrons submit their favorite songs on slips of paper for the pianists and backing musicians to recreate. If the website’s playlist is any indication, the bands can handle popular songs from all genres and eras, from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” The performances are spirited: colorful lights splash upon a stage where servers, guests, and chairs that have somehow developed mobility all dance along to the music.
Fueling the celebration is the bar’s indulgent selection of drinks. Servers stand over patrons to plunge jello injectors into their mouths, and revelers grab colorful straws to help drain 86-ounce booze buckets filled with sangria or other fruity libations. Pomegranate liqueur and honey-infused whiskey sweeten specialty cocktails, and local beers add depth to coolers stocked with Stella Artois and Dos Equis.