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Playing Around

The Dave Matthews Band is playing the arena tonight, and the show’s been sold out for months (approximately 17.3 seconds after tickets went on sale, by our calculations). So either you’re going (we’re judging you), you wish you were going (judging), or you think there might be a better way to part with your hard-earned cash (we can be friends).

Looking for something else to do? Here are some non-DMB happenings around Northeast Florida tonight that are worth your while:

1. See Jenny Lewis at the Florida Theatre. She’s about the same age as the main dude from DMB, except cuter, and incredibly talented. And she’ll probably play some Rilo Kiley songs. (Ray LaMontagne plays, too.)

2. Check out the amateur comedy hour at the Comedy Zone in Mandarin. Watch other people purposely embarrass themselves, then feel better about yourself.

3. Karaoke at Club TSI: Keep the whiskey coming, head on stage and purposely butcher a DMB song. (It won’t be hard.)

4. Trivia Night at the Garage: Drink about five different IPAs and demonstrate how much smarter you are than everyone else.

5. Go to the Jax Jazz Collective CD Release concert and party at Underbelly: Jacksonville has a great jazz scene, but we don’t pay enough attention to it. Fix that.   More




Braided Sun is all about duality; it’s their motto. They appreciate life’s yin and yang, and try to convey that through their electronic music project. The duo from Ponte Vedra Beach, Luke and Nadine Walker, just began releasing music, and have already scored a few stops at this summer’s Warped Tour. Their reggae-tinged music has an electronic dance vibe that sounds like something from an Ultra Music Festival. Put on your sunscreen, pretend – or “pretend” – you’re on acid and chill out with Braided Sun’s we’re-in-this-together vibe at the local premiere of Taylor Knox’s new surf movie De Passage. With Hoyle, 6:30 p.m. July 20, Freebird Live, Jax Beach, free.






If you’ve never seen improv comedy, you might be prejudiced by that open mic night when some poor schmuck’s dick jokes fell flat, yet you felt obligated to laugh. Not so at Mad Cowford shows: The improv troupe draws consistent, high-energy crowds every weekend night to their Northstar Substation digs ($5 gets you in). A loyal audience returns week after week to participate in their sketches, scenes and games. The group celebrates eight years performing here with the comedy revue variety show Way Off Broadway. 8 p.m. July 19, Theatre Jacksonville, $20,,   More




Swamp Radio has given new meaning to the phrase “live radio.” Performed before a live audience and available by podcast, the show focuses on the history, culture and flavors of Northeast Florida. Local poets, playwrights, storytellers and songwriters hit the road to share the area’s rich culture in the quarterly variety series. For its summer show, Summer in the Ancient City, Swamp Radio highlights the history of St. Augustine, with historian Wayne Wood and a performance by husband-and-wife folk duo The WillowWacks. 7:30 p.m. July 18 and 19, Flagler College’s Lewis Auditorium, $25 for adults, $20 for students.   More

Playing Around



Dorothy takes a soulful journey in a local youth production of The Wiz, an African-American musical adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that fuses rock, gospel and soul. Students in the 100 Youth Voices musical theater program show off what they learned at Stage Aurora, an award-winning nonprofit theater company offering arts education programs to underserved students. This production is the centerpiece of Stage Aurora’s Black Arts Festival. 7 p.m. July 18 and 2 and 6 p.m. July 19 at Stage Aurora, Gateway Town Center, Northside, $15-$25, 765-7373,   More

Playing Around

The City of St. Augustine and the rich cultural diversity it represents has survived as the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the continental United States. In celebration of the 450th founding anniversary of St. Augustine, Ancient City Mosaic will display 450 works of art by local and regional artists.

Each of the 450 works, one for each year of the history of St. Augustine, will be of the artists’ depiction of a historical landmark, event, figure or tradition relevant to St. Augustine.

Entries will be accepted — one per artist — through April 15 at St. Augustine's City Hall, Lightner Building, 450th Offices, Lobby B on the third floor, 75 King St., St. Augustine.

Registration for the event is $10 for adults (18 and older), which includes the canvas. Canvases for adults must be picked up at the Michaels Stores location at 310 CBL Dr., St. Augustine. A $10 gift card to Michaels Stores will be given to the first 100 people to register and pick up their canvases at Michaels Stores, which is sponsoring the event.

Children (17 and under) may receive a free 8-inch-by-10-inch canvas through participating St. Johns County Schools. For schools that do not have Ancient City Mosaic canvases, students may pick them up at City Hall in Lobby C on the fourth floor, 75 King St. The registration cost is $5 for children to submit their artwork to the Ancient City Mosaic Project.

Project organizers seek local artists who wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to display their work. Artists of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to participate in this commemoration of the nation’s oldest city. Any medium that will fit on the supplied canvas will be accepted.

The selected art will be displayed at all six St. Johns County Public Library locations and the St. Augustine Art Association from May 3 to June 1. The 450-piece mosaic will be displayed June 15 through Aug. 10 with a reception honoring the artists and …   More


Music education was the buzz at the I love Music Festival June 8. All the artists reinforcedthe importance of music education and schools, including the director of the event, Michael Butler, a “band nerd” himself.

The tour featured Teflon Don, EverSay, K-Lotto, and the headliner, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. 

“If they are getting ready to cut the football team, that is front page news. If they are getting ready to cut a music teacher, no one knows about it. It is very silent. The I Love Music Tour is here to try to bring that voice out and raise it up,” Butler said in a testimonial during the tour.

Two local artists made names for themselves: SweetLu, who sounded like a mix of Bruno Mars and Wiz Kahlifa, and GudGud, three women who sounded like a modern Destiny’s Child. Both artists are working with the Mighty Music Group, a management and production company.

GudGud sang “U” and had the crowds wanting more. Fans can catch the R&B’s group new single at the end of the summer. GudGud, Britney, Princess and Nina, sang and danced beyond expectations for an amateur band.

Jacksonville Beach native SweetLu's down-to-earth disposition continued even off-stage when he mingled with fans. 

"We have been lucky to have been a part of the I Love Music Tour, both in helping spread awareness for the show and in working with participating artists GudGud and Sweet Lu,” said Christopher Myers, co-founder of Mighty Music Group.

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus took the stage with a roaring crowd ready to hear good music — and they didn't let them down, playing “As I the Enemy,” their No. 1 hit on the U.S Christian rock charts, and “Face Down,” their seemingly most popular song, along with “Reap,” a hit in the WWE wrestling realm.

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus' Ronnie Winter and Duke Kitchens met in an AP music theory class in 2001 and decided to put a band together. Since …   More


The sold-out Capital Cities concert left the crowd at Jack Rabbits sore-footed, sweaty and smiling on the way out the door June 19 at Jack Rabbits.

The indie pop-rock quintet from Los Angeles had the crowd dancing while playing all but three of the songs from their debut album, “In a Tidal Wave of Mystery,” including the hugely popular “Safe and Sound.”

To close out the night, they played a remixed version of “Safe and Sound,” their Cash Cash remix.

Jack Rabbits allowed for an intimacy between fans and the bands, and Capital Cities stayed after the concert to talk with their fans.

The Dog Apollo, a local band from Jacksonville, played a seven-song set — including “Ghost” and “Spirit of the Plain" — to get the crowd on their feet and in the mood to sing and dance the night away.

Capital Cities started from pretty modest beginnings when jingle writers Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian met on Craigslist and came together to create the five-man band.

Vocalists Merchant and Simonian were accompanied by the jazzy melodies of Spencer Ludwig on the trumpet and the masterful strumming of guitarist Nick Merwin and bassist Manny Quintero. “Safe and Sound,” their first song, was released as an EP in 2011 and shot to No. 1 on Modern Rock radio.   More


Michael W. Smith, Mathew West, Sanctus Real, Luminate and Jason Castro performed at Freedom Fest 2013 — a two-day Christian music festival held June 29-30 at Christ’s Church.

The big day came June 30 with thousands attending and more than 700 volunteers, Cullum said.

Francesca Battistelli, Peter Furler with Phil Joel, Jason Castro and Luminate led a singing-and-worship event on Saturday night.

Later in the afternoon, one of the anticipated acts, Luminate, had a meet and greet after their set.

“It’s awesome,” Sam Hancock of Luminate said. “Just what Freedom Fest represents is not only American freedom, but the freedom we find through Christ.”

Sam added that making the event free to the public was something special and gave even more meaning to the name.

Plum took the stage next and sang their praises, getting the crowd involved as the evening approached.

Sanctus Real came out after Plum and brought the upbeat sounds to get the crowd moving as anticipation for the headliners drew closer.

With the sun setting behind the overcast sky, comedian MC Bone Hampton came on between Sanctus Real and Matthew West to keep the crowd entertained with jokes. Hampton has played a prison guard in "My Name Is Earl" and a prisoner in "Medium."

Hampton brought out Matthew West to an eruption from the crowd as they began playing their upbeat set.

“Playing in Jacksonville, where they love their Gators and like to eat their ‘mashpotaters,” West sung, drawing laughs from around the crowd.

West played two videos from fans who sent in stories, inspiring him to write songs in their honor. He followed each video with the song that was inspired by the stories.

All the build-up led to Michael W. Smith, a legend in the Christian music industry who has been playing for more than 30 years.

With time an issue due to the delay, the fireworks extravaganza was rescheduled to be during Smith’s …   More


Jacksonville International Airport has become an extension of an ever-growing and developing art scene with its 14 permanent installations and two galleries.

This month's exhibit features the work of Amy Cheng, who last week created and installed the mosaic mural, "Celestial Playground." 

The mural is made of glass, ceramic, and stone mosaic, with gold flowers made of brass. The "Celestial Playground" adorns the walls between the Sky and Haskell galleries. The brightness and colorfulness of the mural and its cosmic, sky and space influences were desiged by Cheng to make the viewer feel less stressed about the challenges of air travel such as security and flight delays.

"'Celestial Playground' was inspired by space and the sky — it is an airport — and the floor was blue so I mimiced that.  The piece is designed to give the viewer a sense of lightness, of joy,” Cheng said. “I wanted to give the travellers and facility something visually lovely and cheerful.”

Cheng, an artist in New York, was commissioned to complete her mural after competing with more than 90 other applicants.


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