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Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018
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Best of 2017: Roger Waters, Arcade Fire, Run the Jewels top Tampa Bay’s best concerts (Part 2)

(All week on Soundcheck, we're looking back at the best Tampa Bay concerts of 2017. Today: Soundcheck contributor Stephanie Bolling.)

Run the Jewels (Jan. 24, Jannus Live): Killer Mike and El-P brought their Run the World tour to town on the heels of releasing their chart-topping album Run the Jewels 3. It was their first non-festival show in the Bay area and the sold-out crowd devoured every rap and rhyme. The amped fans didn't relent and I never stopped dancing. It felt like a historic moment to hear and see these humble guys at the peak of their prime. They felt it and we felt it and it's a show we won't soon forget.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones (March 24, Jannus Live): This was my third time seeing St. Paul and the Broken Bones and by far the best. There's no such thing as a bad show or a dull moment when lead singer Paul Janeway has the stage. The charismatic frontman performed with the conviction of a preacher and the fiery heart of a man doing what he was born to do. It was church without the service, a testament to the sanctity of song. Janeway's powerhouse vocals have a way of outshining modern singers in that his presence stays with you long after he's gone.

Roger Waters (July 11, Amalie Arena): Despite Waters' solo output over the years, his work with Pink Floyd outshines it all. The Pink Floyd classics felt more pertinent than ever in the 2017 political landscape. Waters wasn't shy with his anti-Trump rhetoric blasted on a giant (I mean GIANT) LED screen and the iconic inflatable Pink Floyd pig. It's not everyday you get to hear and see 40-year-old rock masterpieces come to life. And for that, Waters makes the final cut.

Arcade Fire (Sept. 22, USF Sun Dome): I've waited years to see them live, and this show was better than I could have ever imagined. I didn't expect a centered stage, wrestling ring, swiveling drums, or wild light show, but it all happened. Just the mere execution, precision and timing of vocals and instruments from their gaggle of band members on top of lights and LED screens was impeccable. The whole production of everything at once was overwhelming but jaw-droppingly magnificent. This show went from my bucket list to top 10 best shows ever.

New World Brewery Blowout (Sept. 23): The bittersweet rendezvous hosted 17 loyal local acts and gathered ghosts of the 22-year-old brewery's past for one final farewell. Hundreds waited in line outside while bartenders emptied their taps to a full house inside. Decades of music and memories poured out between beers and tears. Emotions were communal and the music magical. Performers reminisced and gave last sentiments. 'Twas an evening that marked the end of an era and a turning point in the history of the Tampa Bay music scene. Nonetheless it went out with peace, love and death metal. RIP, old friend.

— Stephanie Bolling

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