by Chanel V Tillman/Photojournalist
The Times Union Moran Theater, Florida Theatre,and Everbank Field are some of Jacksonville’s most popular live music venues.. Jacksonville has several smaller venues too that play host to some awesome DJ’s and great bands without the big name hype.
If you have not attended a live band concert at Underbelly’s, the Burro Bar, Club TSI, 1904 Music Hall or the Zodiac Bar & Grill you have missed performances from Jacksonville acts like “The Groove Coalition”, “The Katz Downstairs” (KDS) or DJ Al Pete. Here’s an introduction to three of Jacksonville’s musical talents:
DJ Al Pete, who is also an emcee, has lived in Jacksonville since 1985. He has more than 10 years experience in the entertainment industry. He has four studio albums, two compilation albums, three mix-tapes and is an actor. He attributes his success and longevity in the industry to his quality work, consistency, and being good to folks and himself.
“To keep it short and sweet those three have kept me going and I’m very thankful for that,” he says.
Pete shared that Club TSI is one of the oldest entertainment spots and has been a mecca for Duval hip hop.
“I just found out yesterday [Sept. 14] that Club TSI is closing,” said Al Pete. “They asked me to be on their farewell show and I’m totally honored and I’ll definitely be rocking out for the namesake.”
Tommy Bridgewater, member of Groove Coalition, is a native of Jacksonville who was introduced to the guitar at the age of seven. He didn’t start taking the guitar seriously until his late 20’s, he’s 50 now. He is familiar with many string instruments, but the bass guitar is his sweetheart.
“Without sounding corny, I believe music is the bridge to emotions of the past. Have you ever heard a song on the radio,” Bridgewater asked, “and it took you right back to what you were doing or feeling when you heard it for the first time?” This magical feeling is why Bridgewater continues playing.
Christopher White, also known as Professor White, is also a Jacksonville native. White began playing music at the age of 10 and never looked back. He played all through his early school years and college. He is the saxophonist for the Jacksonville based band The Katz Downstairs which is comprised of nine members and can be seen bi-weekly at the Zodiac Bar & Grill for the Live Basement Party.
If you have patronized Latitude 360 you may have seen The Katz Downstairs play. By the time the band hits the stage only standing room is available. The dance floor is packed as the band plays cover tunes of all genres.
“We love the energy you all give us! We go hard because you all go hard with us,” White said. “And we do this music to lift the spirits of others and to represent for our city!”
Music speaks when words fail and Jacksonville’s local live music scene is being heard loud and clear. If you have not had the opportunity to see these artists in action or witness DJ Al Pete ride out there is no time like the present.