By Brent Michael, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Venue: Shinebox, Tampa, Florida. Saturday, March 30th, 2019
Located inside Jim Chambers’ Music Box. Shinebox (<click for interview with the owner) is a small venue that’s just the right size for up-and-coming bands to strut their stuff in an intimate setting. The acoustics are great, the lighting is above-average, and set-up and tear-down are accelerated by the supplied drum kit. Though there is furniture in the back, for the most part it’s standing room only – and you may very well be standing next to a band member from a band yet to play or just finished playing. The feeling of intimacy is real, the bands tend to hang around and support each other, not hide out in some back room or in a tour bus.
The night started off with a power trio, The Mak Brothers Band. This alternative / punk trio hails from Tampa, Florida, and is made up of three brothers: Ian Makrianes sings and plays guitar, Aidan Makrianes is the bassist, and Evan Makrianes plays drums. They all began playing instruments in 2011 and formed a band, playing shows with their former music school in 2014. Since they’ve started booking their own shows, writing their own music and jamming in their garage, they have evolved and are continuously getting better. Throughout the past year, they’ve been in and out of the studio recording music and it has been a big learning advantage. Their songs are available on all music platforms and they will be back in the studio to record more music before the end of the year! All of their music can be heard and purchased on iTunes, Spotify Google Play etc.
A life changing and musically inspiring moment for them was meeting Cheap Trick and playing a few songs for them back in 2015. Their great advice has helped the band immensely, and they are grateful! They have played countless festivals, bars and concert venues in the Tampa Bay Area over the past couple of years, and they are looking forward to playing out of state to expand the reach of their music.
Seeking Seven (not to be confused with Seeking7Seven, a different band with a name that’s bound to lead to copyright issues – hint hint!) is a really new band, having debuted on 12/21/2018, or less than six months ago! Yet the training they’ve received has obviously paid off, they definitely had their stuff together! Unlike the other two bands, they’ve not yet developed a repertoire of their own songs yet, so everything was familiar: This Love, Crazy, Africa, Billie Jean, We Are Young, Have You Ever, and Spiderwebs. The songs were mostly well done, though some were clearly stretching their range vocally. But for a very young band that has only played out a few times, they are off to a great start! Band members are: Marlee–Bass/Vox, Victoria–Guitar/Vox, Trey–Lead Guitar, Coe–Drums. Look for more from them in the near future!
Last, but certainly not least, the RocknRoll Hi-Fives took the stage. Now imagine (for some readers this won’t be hard) that your parents decide your summer vacation – and a lot longer – will be a road trip across America with Dad, Mom, your opposite-sex sibling, and you. crammed into a 150 square foot RV. Nightmares are made of this, right? You’re thinking lame park visits and tourist traps and a lot of boredom, right?
But wait! Okay, the road trip and RV are still part of the deal, but you’ll be in a rock band with your whole family, doing music that you helped write, meeting lots of cool people like you that are into music and playing in the venues open to new music, hanging with other bands and maybe even getting to play the same places as your idols? Sound better? YEAH!
I first had the pleasure of seeing the band at the “Hot Lava” showcase last July. Despite this being the last stop in another 3,000 mile tour, the band maintained the same level of energy and enthusiasm that they had last year! Dad – Joe Centano – ran, bounced, kicked, hopped, and flew about the stage like a teenager, his glittery silver-and-purple cape floating behind him (even as some of the tinsel fringe was lost.) At one point, Joe suggested he might be getting “too old” for the cape – I reminded him after the show that the original cape-wearing celebrity, Count Dracula, was hundreds of years old, so he’s not even close to too old!
Mom – Gloree – is, like most bass players, the mellowest of the bunch, letting her daughter Eilee share the spotlight with Joe, though it was often a contest, with Eilee singing lead vocals and bouncing around like a Jack Russell terrier on speed, occasionally making weird gestures at a flying saucer looking thingy called a theremin. For those of you not familiar with this obscure musical instrument, used to be you had to build your own (we’re talking about the early 1970s here), and they were more like a box with two triangular plates mounted like mushrooms on top. They’ve streamlined and simplified the controls now, those plates replaced by a single antenna and the box made more streamlined. And appropriate, the sounds it produces are simply otherworldly!
And then we come to Evren, the son on drums, a tall and thin guy pounding those skins and kicking bass! No, seriously, Mom kept having to move the bass drum back because Evren was kicking that drum so hard it wouldn’t stay still! Maybe they oughta buy some weighted drum tie downs. But it’s not just power, it’s also complex beats and rhythms that keep things moving along and belies his young age. Though they’ve finished this tour, there will be another soon! Follow them on Facebook or their official website.
When not in custody, I've been involved with music, photography, and writing my entire life. Ever since I was a young boy and played those silver tunes, I've had the beat, but being a drummer didn't suit me so I became a lead singer, which lasted a few years. Settling down, sort of, I translated my knowledge of audio and glib tongue into mobile emcee work, and my training as a photographer and videographer into a living in the wedding, party, bar/bat mitzvah, and entertainment industry. During this time I also managed to bamboozle my way into a master's degree in writing, worked for a couple of magazines (yes, I took photos for a nudist magazine!), have photographed hotels, done commercial work (shot the cover of Tablet and Capsule magazine), published a few articles, hosted some public access shows (a couple times in drag, but that's another story), and generally made a nuisance of myself until I landed here.