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This week in Tampa: Ani DiFranco, Black Lips, Wild Splash




Who's playing in Tampa this weekend? Everyone. It's fitting that the week we launch our Soundcheck block would be such a busy concert week, with everyone from Ani DiFranco (above) to Soulja Boy hitting the stage.

After the jump, get Soundcheck columnist Carole Giambalvo's concert picks for the week, including DiFranco, Wild Splash '09, the Black Lips, the Tampa Bay Blues Fest, Ghostface and Raekwon, Kem, Blake Lewis, Darude and more...

The Black Lips
With Gentleman Jesse and His Men
THURSDAY 7 p.m. Orpheum, 1902 Republica de Cuba Ave., Ybor City. $12. (813) 248-9500.
When you consider the Black Lips’ onstage antics (releasing live chickens, guy-on-guy liplocks, playing instruments with the naughty bits, and so on), it’s saying a lot that the music remains the most interesting part. The Atlanta quartet hypnotizes with self-described “flower punk” — a.k.a. ratty, mumbly, heavy-on-the-reverb garage, laced with ’60s pop and surf-rock.

The Original Wailers
FRIDAY 7 p.m. Jannus Landing, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $18. (727) 786-2276.
To be clear, two versions of the Wailers are touring right now. This act, billed the “Original Wailers,” is a seven-piece group featuring guitarist Al Anderson and singer Junior Marvin, who sang lead after Marley died in 1981. The other, fronted by bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett and young singer Elan Atias, will play Jannus in June. Both acts provide a spiritual Marley revival and the chance to sing along to the roots-reggae classics. But if you have to choose, I might hold out until June.

Amanda Palmer
THURSDAY 8 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $16. (727) 895-3045.
Accused of making light of date rape and abortion on new track Oasis, Amanda Palmer retorted recently on her blog, ‚ÄúIf you cannot sense the irony in this song, you‚Äôre about two intelligence points above a kumquat.‚Äù She argues that if the up-tempo, piano-pop track was slowed and played in a minor key, it wouldn‚Äôt cause the same fuss. Interesting. Palmer (of cabaret-punk duo the Dresden Dolls) fascinates with one of most unusual voices in music and a stage show that‚Äôs part-theatrics, part-black comedy. Piano ballads, pop-punk, outrageous lyrics and rich harmonies provide the winning soundtrack. 

Wild Splash
Featuring Busta Rhymes, Soulja Boy, Sean Kingston, Movado, Slim Thug, Yung LA, Serani
SATURDAY 5 p.m. Ford Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $20-$46. (727) 568-0987.
Busta Rhymes, who performed recently in a Louis Vuitton suitcase with armholes cut in it, is this year‚Äôs eccentric headliner. Really, how many rappers can pull off lyrics about Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud, the Saudi billionaire (Arab Money)? Dancehall artist Mavado‚Äôs hit So Special is chirpy and upbeat, though much of his music mourns the many friends he‚Äôs buried in Jamaica. Slim Thug, one of Houston‚Äôs rap stars and candy-painted car enthusiasts (Paul Wall, Mike Jones), might be a surprise standout. And Sean Kingston (Beautiful Girls) and Soulja Boy (Crank That, Kiss Me Thru the Phone) should particularly excite younger fans.  

Tampa Bay Blues Fest
With Irma Thomas, Delbert McClinton, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Tinsley Ellis, the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Revue, Bernard Allison, Seth Walker, Ruthie Foster and more.
FRIDAY-SUNDAY Vinoy Waterfront Park, downtown St. Petersburg. General admission is $33.50-$153, three-day passes are $78.50-$353.50. (727) 502-5000, or see for a complete schedule.
Soul Queen of New Orleans Irma Thomas has been a pillar of the Crescent City‚Äôs rich musical tradition for five decades; she‚Äôll close the Blues Fest with a performance at 8:30 p.m. Sunday. But don‚Äôt sleep on the roadhouse-rockin‚Äô Texas blues outfit the Fabulous Thunderbirds (Tuff Enuff), or Texas roots music hero Delbert McClinton (Givin‚Äô It Up for Your Love), or Americana singer-songwriter Seth Walker.  After the show, keep the party going with an after party from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday at Nova 535 Art Lounge, 535 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Pete. Robin Rogers, Coco Montoya and more will perform. $20. (727) 821-6682 or

Ani DiFranco
FRIDAY 8 p.m. Tampa Theatre, 711 N Franklin St., Tampa. $34. (813) 274-8981

More evidence that things are in disarray: Ani DiFranco‚Äôs gone ‚Äúhappy!‚Äù Her latest, Red Letter Year, is being dubbed her ‚Äúpositive album,‚Äù a new twist for the feminist folkie.  While new topics ‚Äî love, home and family ‚Äî show a calmer DiFranco, her jazzy, punky folk  is as vibrant as ever. And no worries, old-school fans: She‚Äôll play the heated, highly personal/political stuff, too (i.e. Not a Pretty Girl, 32 Flavors).

Shephard’s Spring Break
With Blake Lewis, Darude, DJ Skribble, Brittaney Star (of Rock Love Bus), Santana, more.
SUNDAY noon to 10 p.m. Shephard’s, 601 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater. $20. (727) 442-5107.
The Shephard’s take on “March madness” means teeny bikinis, fruity drinks, big boats and bigger beats. American Idol runner-up Blake Lewis will sing live alongside trance man Darude, whose jarring banger Sandstorm still blares at sporting events. (No word on whether Lewis will perform his funky solo stuff, though, like Got to Get Her (Puttin’ on the Ritz), a pop version of the Fred Astaire/Taco number). And partygoers will recognize DJ Skribble from the days of MTV’s The Grind and TRL.

Ghostface Killah and Raekwon
Skatepark of Tampa’s Tampa Pro Party, with the Basiqs, DJ Mega, DJ Sandman, Deacon.
SATURDAY 9 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15. (813) 247-2555. 
The Wu-Tang Clan’s gritty, always assertive Ghostface Killah brings a substantial catalog of experimental hip-hop, complete with colorful, streetwise rhymes, ’70s-style soul samples and a little silliness (“I need a dutch and a cranberry Snapple!”) to Ybor Saturday. He’s joined by Raekwon, whose trademark tales of the N.Y. cocaine trade are as disconcerting as they are compelling.

FRIDAY 8 p.m. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $35-$65. (727) 892-5767
Kem’s hushed tones and smooth-jazz instrumentation became the baby-making soundtrack for many a couple when his first album, Kemistry, debuted in 2003 with the swoon-worthy single Love Calls. Its 2005 follow-up, logically titled Album II, featured the come-hither I Can’t Stop Loving You, which became Billboard’s No. 1 adult R&B record of the year. Now Kem’s at it again, with Album III: Seduction due out sometime this year. “I think we’re expanding the definition of what immediately comes to mind when we think of intimacy,” Kem tells tbt*. Fans will get a preview of the projected first single, Share My Life, at Friday’s concert. — Dalia Colon

Also playing

Greenhouse Music Series: Fri. with John “Pappos” Frascisca, Keith Hope, Girls with Guitars. 7 p.m. Sacred Lands, 1700 Park Street N., St. Petersburg. $5. (727) 347-7353.

Michale Graves: Fri. 8 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. (813) 241-8600.

DJ Rob Swift: Fri. With Anonymous. 7 p.m. Orpheum, 1902 Republica de Cuba Ave., Ybor City. $10. (813) 248-9500.

Variety Workshop: Fri. With Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso. 9 p.m. Neptune’s Lounge, 13 S Safford Ave., Tarpon Springs. $2. (727) 943-5713.

Jacob Jeffries Band: Sat. With Beardsley, Stones of Mora. 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $6.  (813) 248-4969.

Ballyhoo: Sun. With Groovestain, Elevated, Unmotivated. 8 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. (813) 241-8600.

The Devil Wears Prada: Mon. 6:30 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $15. (727) 895-3045.

As Tall As Lions: Tues. 7 p.m. State Theatre, St. Petersburg. $10. (727) 895-3045.

Jesse Cook: Wed. Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, 1010 N W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. $29.50. (813) 229-7827.

-- Story by Carole Giambalvo; photo via here.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 19, 2009 7:19pm]


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