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Top concerts this week: Tony Bennett, John Stamos and the Beach Boys, Rufus Wainwright and more

By Jay Cridlin | Entertainment Critic
Published: February 7, 2018
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 28: Recording artist Tony Bennett attends the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden on January 28, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images) 775105859

TIMELESS: Tony Bennett

Maybe Tony Bennett can’t explain why he’s still so good on stage at 91. Or maybe he just doesn’t want to. When I got him on the phone recently to talk about his concert Friday in St. Petersburg, he didn’t seem interested in breaking it down. "I think from doing it so many years, you learn what to leave out and what to put in," he said. Between-song banter? Nope, he’s not fond of that either: "You don’t want to bore them with extra words and extra time on stage." Rather than asking Bennett to explain how he’s still doing what he does, maybe we should all just go catch him while we can in concert, where his ageless pipes and personality still shine. His daughter, Antonia, opens at 8 p.m. at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $69 and up. (727) 892-5767.

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FUN, FUN, FUN: The Beach Boys with John Stamos

At this point, John Stamos is basically a member of the Beach Boys, right? When Mike Love, Bruce Johnston and company return to Clearwater on Tuesday, the former Full House and ER hunk will be with them, just as he was in 2015 and 2016. Stamos and the Boys are long-standing pals — they once popped up on Full House, and he appeared in the video to Kokomo — and it’s always an extra-special treat when he can joint them for a few songs on tour. Over the next week, he’ll join the group for a few dates in Florida, including Tuesday’s sold-out show in at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road. If you don’t have a ticket but are desperate to see Stamos in the flesh — and trust us, we sympathize — they’ll also perform together Saturday at Universal Orlando as part of the park’s Mardi Gras concert series. That show is free with park admission. See for details.

THE ONE YOU LOVE: Rufus Wainwright

The only thing sweeter than a long-overdue local concert by Rufus Wainwright — he hasn’t played here since opening for Tori Amos in 2001, and I can’t find any evidence he has ever headlined — is that it’s taking place on Valentine’s Day. Has there been a more sonorous, swoon-worthy tenor to emerge in alt-pop over the last 20 years? The son of Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III is an eclectic force on the piano, playing rich, lovely originals (Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk), instantly iconic covers (Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah) and even classical fare (he’s working on his second opera). After the show, lovers of all persuasions should leave the Capitol Theatre hand in hand. 8 p.m. Feb. 14. 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $35 and up. (727) 791-7400.


Good on you if you can name a more accomplished teenage rock artist than Declan McKenna. The 19-year-old Brit has already played Glastonbury twice, and has one preternaturally polished album to his name, 2017’s What Do You Think About the Car? Even fans in pop- and hip-hop-obsessed America are starting to take him seriously. "It was the first place I got any kind of primetime radio," he said. "I almost kind of went into it like, ‘Wow, that was easy.’?" After gigs at Coachella and Outside Lands and a tour with the Head and the Heart, McKenna returns for a headlining trek that arrives at 8 p.m. Thursday to Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. "I’m not expecting to be a massive pop star in America anytime soon," he said, "but it’s a fun place to tour." Chappell Roan opens. $15. (813) 241-8600.

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With their unique two-man blend of alternative rock, blues and reggae, the Ries Brothers have always been a little all over the place. Never has that been more true than this spring. On the heels of releasing their full-length debut The View From the Outside, Belleair Bluffs brothers Charlie and Kevin Ries are touring with Philly funksters G. Love and Special Sauce and preparing to play the massive California Roots Music and Art Festival in May. "We’re being embraced by different genres and trying to put them together," Charlie said. "We’ve been told by people in our past that that would never work. But different communities are embracing us, so we’re not going to turn those opportunities down." They’ll open for G. Love at 7 p.m. Friday at Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $23.99 and up. (727) 565-0550. On Sunday they’ll be at the Mad Beach Block Party, a two-day reggae-rock fest featuring the Hip Abduction, Resinated, NoNeed, Ted Bowne and more. It runs Saturday and Sunday at Infinite Descent, 15029 Madeira Way, Madeira Beach. $25 and up per day, $45 and up for both days at

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One of the brainiest bands in Tampa’s underground enters the spotlight on Friday as Career drops its new LP Structures. The group features frontman Ryan Fouche bellowing over turbulent prog-punk sounds by local DIY hero Matt Ostraco and members of Propagandhi and Merchandise. "We tried to mash up the feelings and noises of a Tampa neighborhood with the locked-in, off-timing rhythms we had been toying with in prior releases," Fouche said. "The vocals wade in and out of spoken-word territory and try to convey the isolation, claustrophobia and anxiety caused by social, cultural and physical walls." Permanent Makeup and Sean Hamilton open. 8 p.m. Creative Loafing Space, 1911 N 13th St., Tampa. $10 and up.