The Amazing Crowns
with the Gotohells
The Orpheum, Tampa, FL • January 19, 2000
After an unconscionably long absence from the state of Florida, the Amazing Crowns made a triumphant return to the Tampa Bay area. This set of dates was a warm-up for the recording of their live album at their annual Providence Payback series of shows, so the Crowns came into the Orpheum in the mood to rev things up. Fans packed the club to near-capacity, and everyone there seemed to be rarin’ for that special brand of good times that only the Crowns can provide.
After a short set by local punk rock favorites the Gotohells, the Crowns took the stage to an immediately enthusiastic audience. As the band launched full-speed into their first song of the night, “Shiverin’ in the Corner,” the crowd exploded ! Suddenly, the stage area was consumed by bodies — screamin’, singin’, dancin’, slammin’, jockeying for position, and just plain intent on having a great time! The Crowns commenced to give as good as they got, feeding off the crowd’s energy to play harder and with more intensity than I can ever recall seeing from them. In fact, they were playing so hard that three songs in, Jack “the Swinger” Hanlon broke a string on his stand-up bass about three songs in — but it took about five songs before the rest of the band noticed! Now, these things take a loooong time to change, so after a brief repair attempt, the Swinger says “screw it” and proceeds to wail on the remaining three strings — hey, ho, let’s go!
By this time, the intensity level is so high, nothing’s gonna stop the Crowns! They had a slew of new material to play, all of which went over big. For me, the killers were the jumpy “Baby’s Out on Bail” and the surfy “Trouble at Bali High,” but it all sounded great, as the band was definitely on . Awesome rockabilly-flavored covers of the Specials’ “Do the Dog” and AC/DC’s “Sin City” sweetened the set, while older stuff like “Harem Caravan” got everyone singing along. Throughout the set, frontman Jason “King” Kendall was a madman, jumping all over the place like he was on fire (and making all the girls swoon), guitarist J.D. absolutely shredded on his solos, and drummer Judd Williams pounded the skins so hard, it’s a wonder his sticks didn’t snap. As the end of the set neared and the band launched into the shout-along “1965 GTO,” neither band nor audience showed any sign of letting up — I swear, by this point, the walls of the club were shaking like an earthquake was going on!
There was no way this crowd was gonna let the Crowns go without more. I’ve been to shows where three times as many people didn’t make as much noise as this crowd did when clamoring for the band to come back to the stage! The Crowns gladly complied, as King Kendall gave his “subjects” his heartfelt thanks, saying that this had been one of their best shows ever, and that Tampa was the band’s new favorite place to play. By the end of the extended encore, they started taking requests, and the crowd shouted almost in unison for the Crowns’ signature tune, “Do the Devil!” Charging through it like they were being pursued by the devil, the Crowns finally ended a perfect night and a perfect set. Don’t stay away too long this time, boys…