This week in Tampa (with audio!): Dropkick Murphys, Chrisette Michele, the Strawberry Festival and more
This week we previewed some of Florida's top music festivals, including the Florida Strawberry Festival, which kicks off tonight in Plant City. In terms of massive musical events in Tampa Bay, it doesn't get any bigger than the Strawberry Festival -- Tropical Heatwave is huge in Ybor City, but it's only one day. The Festival stretches on and on and on, and this weekend's headliners are big ones: Billy Currington tonight, and Julianne Hough, Darius Rucker, Switchfoot and Michael W. Smith this weekend.
After the jump, Carole Liparoto walks you through this week's concert picks, including the Dropkick Murphys (above), Southern Culture on the Skids, Connie Francis, Matisyahu, Soulfly and the creatively punctuated duo of Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt! and Portugal. The Man. We've also added a few mp3s of some of these artists' biggest hits, for your streaming pleasure ...
With Strung Out, Larry and His Flask
FRIDAY 6:30 p.m. The Ritz, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. Sold Out. (813) 247-2555.
For Quincy, Mass. band Dropkick Murphys, the month of March is like tax season for accountants — “our big time,” says guitarist Tim Brennan. Indeed, it seems the Dropkick hash of stumbling punk, Celtic folk and rock has become as crucial to good St. Patty’s partying as frothy pints and Shepherd’s Pie. When platinum-selling single I’m Shipping Up To Boston (the centerpiece song in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed) starts up, we predict there won’t be a crossed arm in the place. Like the Flogging Molly gig a few weeks back, this show is sold out.
Southern Culture on the Skids
With Webb Wilder Duo
FRIDAY 8 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $15-$20. (813) 971-0666.
Over a greasy blend of surf rock, swamp pop and rockabilly, Southern Culture on the Skids chatter about fried chicken, cheap motels and moonshine martinis. But when that cowbell comes in on trademark track Camel Walk, that’s when things really get good. “It’s toe-sucking geek rock — kind of weird, but it feels good when you’re doing it,” the band says. We’d describe it as an amalgamation of Dick Dale, the B-52s and Primus.
The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt!
With The Shakes
SATURDAY 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. $8. (813) 241-8600.
Inane? Yep. Exhilarating? Absolutely. Inebriated? Most likely. The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt!, which originated as a New York theater project, offers a quirkily interactive music and dance experience. “Basically we show up with a billion lights, bags and bags of costumes (enough for anyone who wants one), 60 or more light sabers and really good songs,” the group says. New York Magazine called it “nearly impossible to stand on the sidelines” at the show. (“Well it’s possible, but you’d be missing the very reason people come: to be part of the sweaty disco pileup.”) The Talking Heads’ David Byrne signed the group to his Luaka Bop label.
With Bobby Lewis
SUNDAY 7 p.m. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $47-$102. (727) 892-5767.
Connie Francis is “the prototype for the female pop singer of today,” gushes All Music Guide. And moms and grandmas everywhere seem to agree. After all, Francis (aka Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero) superbly captured their teenage growing pains with songs like Who’s Sorry Now and Where the Boys Are.
Portugal. The Man
With Port O’Brien, The Dig
WEDNEDSAY 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. $12-$15 (813) 241-8600.
On Wikipedia’s list of notable Wasilla, Alaska residents, the members of Portugal. The Man appear alongside Sarah Palin and family. (A driver on Ice Road Truckers also made the list). These fellas of the last frontier offer a careening prog rock sound, complete with high-pitched vocals, soul-selling pyschedelia and electronic flourishes. Yet latest Work All Day evokes more Modest Mouse than Mars Volta.
On the Come Up (local band showcase)
Featuring Set It Off, John Gold, Hippodrome, Old North East, The Sun Society, Kiki and the Whales, Wine To Water
SUNDAY 5 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. $10. (813) 241-8600.
This quarterly local band showcase features “acts on the rise” — at least in the eyes of Thx Mgmt promoter and local music guru Joe D’Acunto. From the caffeinated pop-punk of Set It Off to the honeyed, Okkervil River-influenced folk-pop of John Gold, it’s a diverse offering from kids, mostly in their teens. “I think that for the first time in a long time we have a young crop of kids that are in good bands and they have fans,” said D’Acunto. “It makes me excited again about the local scene.”
Florida Strawberry Festival
With Billy Currington and Roy Clark (Thur.), Julianne Hough and Bobby Bare (Fri.), Michael W. Smith, Switchfoot and Suite Caroline (Sat.), Darius Rucker and Heidi Newfield (Sun.) and more
THROUGH MARCH 14 Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds, 303 N Lemon St., Plant City. Ticket prices vary by show; about 3,000 free tickets to each show available on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here for details.
If cowboy hats are your favorite accessory, then giddyup to Plant City. The festival draws some of the biggest names in country year after year, without the sticker shock of most concert venues. Tickets to the festival’s outdoor stadium are $10 to $30. Some of this year's festival's biggest names are this weekend -- Darius Rucker, Julianne Hough and Christian icons Switchfoot and Michael W. Smith. Next week's guests include Lynyrd Skynyrd, REO Speedwagon, Sara Evans, Tracy Lawrence, Bill Engvall and Josh Turner. -- tbt* staff
With Laura Izibor, Lem Payne
SUNDAY 7:30 p.m. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $32.50 and up. (813) 229-7827; tbpac.org.
Burgeoning R&B diva Chrisette Michele can soothe the heartache with her latest album Epiphany — charming and sweet, yet fresh and contemporary. Michele, 27, has handled the hooks for some of hip-hop’s best, including the Roots and Jay-Z. Here, you can hear the versatile, jazz-influenced style that led her to open for Maxwell on his tour last summer. -- tbt* staff
Tom G. Fri. 10 p.m. Club Nouveau, 1701 N Franklin St., Tampa. $10. (813) 225-1233.
The Beauvilles Fri. With DJ Mathu Bishop. 9 p.m. Cafe Alma, 260 First Ave. S., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 502-5002.
Evolucid Fri. With Parallax. 9 p.m. Orbit 19 Lounge, 1542 U.S. 19 N., Holiday. Free. (727) 937-8330.
Standback Sat. 7 p.m. Ka’Tiki, 8803 W Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island. Free. (727) 360-2272.
Too Many Subplots CD release Sat. With Have Gun, Will Travel. 9 p.m. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. $5. (727) 736-0606.
Gary Valenciano and Martin Nievera Sat. 7:30 p.m. Ford Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N., Tampa. $58-$108. (813) 740-2446.
Steve Morse Band Sat. With Jerry Outlaw. 8 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $20-$25. (727) 895-3045.
Scilter Sat. With Kore, Global Decay. 8:30 p.m. Brass Mug, 1441 E Fletcher Ave., Tampa. $8. (813) 972-8152.
No Bragging Rights Sun. 7 p.m. Orpheum, 1902 Republica de Cuba Ave., Ybor City. $8-$10. (813) 248-9500.
The Joel Sanders Band Sun. 7:30 p.m. Two Buks Saloon, 1915 N Hercules Ave., Clearwater. Free. (727) 442-0812.
Luis Enrique Sun. 4 p.m. Busch Gardens, 10165 N McKinley Dr., Tampa. Free with park admission. 1-888-800-5447.
Javon Black Sun. With DJ Strizzo, Ryan Kendrick, Rob Diesel, Prime, Tevin Williams. 8 p.m. Whiskey Park North, 11921 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa. $15. (813) 968-1515.
Soulfly Mon. With Prong, more. 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $18-$23. (727) 895-3045.
Vega Under Fire Mon. With the Status, Kids of Survival, more. 7 p.m. Transitions, 4215 E Columbus Drive, Tampa. $8. (813) 382-3477.
Dwight Champagne benefit Mon. featuring Wendy Rich and the Soulshakers, Shawn Brown, Soupbone, Greg Billings, the Hodaddys, Sarasota Slim, Tommy McCoy, Vincent Sims, Raiford Starke. 6 p.m. Ringside Café, 2742 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. Donations. (727) 894-8465.
Sherwood Tues. With Black Gold, more. 7 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. $10-$12. (813) 241-8600.
Cynthony and Company Wed. 7 p.m. Olde World Cheese Shop, 11001 N 56th St., Temple Terrace. Free. (813) 431-1280.
Matisyahu Wed. Acoustic set. 10 p.m. Push Ultra Lounge, 128 Third St. S, St. Petersburg. 933flz.com.
Betty’s Not a Vitamin Thurs. With The Ideal Husbands. 9 p.m. Pegasus Lounge, 10008 N 30th St., Tampa. $5-$7. (813) 971-1679.
Needtobreathe Thurs. With Graham Colton, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers. 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $16. (727) 895-3045.
Zach Deputy Thurs. 7 p.m. Push Ultra Lounge, 128 Third Street S., St. Petersburg. (727) 871-7874.
Sean DeLong Thurs. 8 p.m. Dunedin House of Beer, 927 Broadway St., Dunedin. Free. (727) 216-6318.
Tribal Style Thurs. 9 p.m. Beach Bar, 454 Mandalay Ave., Clearwater Beach. Free. (727) 447-4100.
-- Carole Liparoto, tbt*. Photo: Kerry Brett.