Sun, fun and funk
ST. PETERSBURG - A crowd that gathered outside the Mahaffey Theater for a Super Bowl week kick-off party on Sunday afternoon was almost as diverse as the event's lineup. Women in bikini tops and men with long hair and sleeveless T-shirts drank beer as children turned somersaults during the free party, which was sponsored by Bud Light and Cox Media Group. Fresh off a performance on "The Tonight Show," and just before they start touring with The Who, Vintage Trouble was a big get for the show, said Valerie Claus, event manager for Cox Media Group. The band befriended several disc jockeys from 102.5 The Bone and had been looking to put on a show in the area, Claus said. Because members of the funk bank The Black Honkeys and the punk rock group Malaya were big fans of Vintage Trouble, they wanted to join the lineup and the rest fell into place, Claus said.Joe Santiago, general manager of The Mahaffey, said this was the second show held in the waterfront plaza between the main building and The Dalí Museum since the building was remodeled in 2011. "We hope to be more diverse both with our event venues and the types of events," Santiago said. "And with this lineup for a free show, it's a heck of a deal." Santiago said about 1,500 people filtered in and out of the plaza during the event. Phil Esposito, lead singer for The Black Honkeys, ran through the small crowd as his band, decked out in Afros, tie-dye and red velvet fedoras, played classics like "Dancing in the Streets." "It's warm, sunny, but I think the crowd was great." Esposito said as he chased his 4-year-old son around on the grass. "I watched Vintage Trouble early on before they really broke, and I like what they do. It's different from us, but it's the same kind of fun, get-down, hot-and-sweaty music, whether it's funky or old-time soul." Greg Boudro, 15, came in support of Black Honkey guitarist Billy Summer, who often has the teen over for impromptu sessions in his St. Pete garage. Finding a free event that his purple-haired girlfriend Toma Karaleviciute and his mom could enjoy was a plus, Boudro said. "They're funky, and they connect with a wide variety of people," Connie Boudro, Greg's mother, said of the Honkeys. "The lineup is something that I can listen to with my 15-year-old and actually enjoy."
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