January 6, 2010

The Top 10 Tampa Music Stories of 2009 — No. 3: The rise of The RITZ Ybor

You could say the The RITZ Ybor got lucky when it booked Lady Gaga right before Poker Face blew up. You could say they got lucky due to the implosion of its biggest rival for concerts, Jannus Landing.

But you can’t say The RITZ has squandered its opportunity to dominate the local concert scene. Starting with concerts last fall by Underoath and Of Montreal, and continuing as it hosted the Maxim Party during this year’s Super Bowl, The Ritz has made believers out of Tampa music fans.

Packed shows included Ben Folds, Brand New, Tiesto, the Psychedelic Furs,Third Eye Blind, Taking Back Sunday, Gwar, Pitbull, the Hold Steady and, um, Air Supply, plus many more. Larger than St. Petersburg’s State Theatre, it’s clearly become the most attractive mid-major concert venue in Tampa Bay, and it sits in the heart of Tampa’s entertainment district.

And with shows by Owl City, Gov’t Mule and (Dweezil) Zappa Plays Zappa planned for 2010, The RITZ is showing no signs of slowing down.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*. Photo by Luis Santana, tbt*.