This week in Tampa (with audio): Tampa Bay Blues Festival, David Gray, Story of the Year and more
If you're setting sail on the VH1 Best Cruise Ever next week, you might be saving your eardrums for the dulcet tones of 3 Doors Down and Lifehouse (that is, if you're not planning to check out Lifehouse's concert Tuesday at the Ritz Ybor).
If not, you might be interested in one of the other big Tampa Bay concerts this weekend, most notably the Tampa Bay Blues Festival, featuring three days of blues artists rocking out in downtown St. Pete.
After the jump, Carole Liparoto walks you through the Blues Festival's headliners, including Kenny Wayne Shepherd, above. Plus, she's got the goods on David Gray, Story of the Year, Local H, Easy Star All Stars, Gorilla Zoe, Anberlin and Alchemy Fest...
Featuring Rise of Saturn, Shunda K., Katherine Kelly, Have Gun, Will Travel
SUNDAY 2 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $8, kids under 10 free. (813) 971-0666.
It’s not every weekend you’ll find a local rock show with a diaper-changing station and an award-winning balloon guy on site. So if you have kids and like music, pack up the Sienna and mobilize! The annual Alchemy Fest is one of the best child-friendly local shows of the year. Adults will also enjoy the grown-up stylings of funk-reggae-prog. act Rise of Saturn, Americana aces Have Gun, Will Travel, Yo Majesty rapper Shunda K. and Sons of Hippies singer Katherine Kelly.
Tampa Bay Blues Festival
-- Friday: Jimmie Vaughan, Bettye Lavette, Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials, Sonny Landreth, Reba Russell.
-- Saturday: Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Magic Slim and the Teardrops, Ryan Shaw, Tad Robinson, Joanne Shaw Taylor.
-- Sunday: JJ Grey and Mofro, Shemekia Copeland, Joe Louis Walker, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm, John Nemeth.
FRIDAY 12:30 p.m., SATURDAY 12:30 p.m., SUNDAY 1 p.m. Vinoy Park, 501 Fifth Ave. N.E., St. Petersburg. Single-day tickets start at $30; three-day passes start at $75. tampabaybluesfest.com
In its 15th year, Blues Fest has become the biggest multi-day music festival in Tampa Bay. On Friday, sexy, slow-burning blues is on tap with headliners Bettye Lavette and Jimmie Vaughan. Lavette possesses an up-all-night rasp a la Tina Tuner and a volatile blues-soul sound reminiscent of Nina Simone. Texan Vaughan is a slippery Strat king, wielding roadhouse blues and beyond. On Saturday “do the 45” with peppy stepper and Wilson Pickett lover Ryan Shaw. And on Sunday, Cedric Burnside, grandson of R.L. Burnside, and the kings of swamp blues J.J. Grey and Mofro play muggy rump-shakers. Don’t forget about the after parties at NOVA 535 (535 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. S. N, St. Petersburg), where you can enjoy the artists in a more intimate, blues club-like atmosphere. Friday’s party features Reba Russell, Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials; Saturday’s features Tad Robinson, Joanne Shaw Taylor and Magic Slim and the Teardrops; Sunday’s features Joe Louis Walker, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm and John Nemeth. Tickets to those events are $20 and up. Call (727) 821-6682 for details.
Easy Star All-Stars
With Rocksteady@8, DJ Blenda
SATURDAY 10 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. $15. (813) 241-8600.
We’d bet the room was mighty foggy when this New York house band decided to test out an all-reggae interpretation of Dark Side of the Moon. Turns out, Easy Star All-Stars did more than tinker with the classic. They churned out a dub-style recreation that was artistic, rhythmically exciting and instrumentally versatile, while keeping the Pink Floyd spirit intact. Even synchronization of the album with The Wizard of Oz still worked. Quality reggae renditions of Radiohead’s OK Computer (cleverly titled Radiodread) and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band followed.
With Neglected Superhero, Rude Squad
TUESDAY 7 p.m. Orpheum, 1902 Republica de Cuba Ave., Ybor City. $12.50-$15.50. (813) 248-9500.
Best known for ’96 grunge hit Bound for the Floor (the Rust Belt anthem in serious need of Prozac), Local H outlived most of its alt-rock counterparts and endured as a solid live act. The Chicago duo utilizes torso-punching power chords to communicate boredom, failed relationships and other life bummers.
TUESDAY 7:30 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $27.50-$47.50. (727) 791-7400.
When pasty Brit David Gray signals to “let go your heart, let go your head” on emotive hit Babylon, you may feel the uncontrollable urge to shed your clothes and take a dip in the Gulf. It’s that liberating. Not unlike those of his hero Van Morrison, Gray’s vocals fall somewhere between a rasp and a croon as he lays them neatly overtop modest guitar and piano parts, and sometimes, percussive samples.
Story of the Year
With Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, After Midnight Project, Variance
FRIDAY 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $14. (727) 895-3045.
In the time it takes to empty a dishwasher, a nimble Story of the Year will have burned through nuggets of emo, pop, punk, hardcore and alternative rock. Dexterous frontman Dan Marsala is the sensitive singer and screamer unafraid to climb the State Theatre scaffolding when the moment calls. And that moment might be on 2003’s Until the Day I Die.
Lowrider Magazine concert
Featuring Gorilla Zoe, Baby Bash, Mike Jones
SUNDAY 2 p.m. Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 N. US Highway 301, Tampa. $30. (714) 512-9365.
In the words of War, “All your friends know the low rider.” So take a little trip and see for yourself. In addition to candy paint and cutting-edge hydraulics, this year’s event features music from Gorilla Zoe, the Young Jeezy-like rapper with a voice so slow and low, he may be signaling whales inadvertently. Also performing are Baby Bash (Suga Suga, Cyclone) and Mike Jones (Back Then).
Memories of Gold
Featuring Jay and the Americans, The Coasters, The Crystals
FRIDAY 8 p.m. The Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S., St. Petersburg. $29-$79. (727) 892-5767.
Thanks to the opening scene in 1987 film Adventures in Babysitting, I’ll forever be a fan of The Crystals’ Then He Kissed Me, the hit produced by Phil Spector in 1963. The defining girl group will perform along with pop vocal act Jay and the Americans (Come a Little Bit Closer) and “take out the papers and the trash” band the Coasters (Yakety Yak, the ultimate do-your-chores anthem).
Danny Gokey Fri. 9 p.m. The Dallas Bull, 3322 U.S. 301 N., Tampa. $9.95-$15. (813) 987-2855.
Pat Metheny Fri. 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $41-$71. (727) 791-7400.
Swingin’ Mooks Fri. 6 p.m. The Venue, 2675 Ulmerton Rd., Clearwater. (727) 571-2222.
Stormbringer Fri. 10 p.m. Murphy’s, 5915 Memorial Hwy., Tampa. Free. (813) 584-0853.
Omar Sosa Fri. 8 p.m. Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. $25-$30. (727) 587-6793.
Buffett meets Sinatra (Abilities Foundation benefit) Fri. 6 p.m. Carlouel Yacht Club, 1091 Eldorado Ave., Clearwater Beach. $65 donation. (727) 446-9162.
Trio Vibe Fri. and Sat. 7 p.m. Della’s After Dark, 608 Oakfield Drive, Brandon. (813) 684-3354.
Echo Movement Fri. With Muphin Chuckrs, Burning Tree. 8 p.m. Gasoline Alley, 14042 66th St. N., Largo. (727) 532-0265.
Josh Magwood Fri. 9 p.m. World of Beer, 5226 4th St. N., St. Petersburg. (727) 525-4589.
Claiborne Shepherd Sat. 9 p.m. Beach Bar, 454 Mandalay Ave., Clearwater Beach (727) 447-4100.
Scar City Sat. With Screaming at the Silence, Lo Envy, Ken Kong, Nothing Promised, more. 6 p.m. Bourbon Street Nightclub, 4331 US Hwy. 19, New Port Richey. $8-$10. (727) 843-0686.
Daniel B. Marshall Sat. 10 p.m. The Dubliner Irish Pub South, 2307 W. Azeele St., Tampa. (813) 228-2257.
Fisher and Boy Birthday Bash Sun. featuring Anberlin, Chris McCarty, Rude Squad, Not Tonight Josephine. 3 p.m. Courtyard at the Ford Amphitheatre, 4802 US Hwy. 301 N., Tampa. $10. (813) 740-2446.
Belinda Womack and the Helios Jazz Orchestra Sun. 3 p.m. Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg. $15-$20. (727) 822-3590.
VJ Kidd Leow Tues. 11 p.m. Vintage Ultra Lounge, 16 Second St., St. Petersburg. (727) 898-2222.
Da Cypher hip-hop open mic Wed. 10 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. (813) 241-8600.
Beak’s Acoustic Open Mic Night Wed. 7 p.m. Beak’s Old Florida, 2451 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 321-9100.
Parachute Wed. 7 p.m. Orpheum, 1902 Republica de Cuba Ave., Ybor City. $8.50. (813) 248-9500.
Ace Hood Thurs. With Javon Black, Lil Kee, Heavy Grindaz, Bizzle, Frank Lini, DJ Christion, Strizzo, more. 9 p.m. Bourbon Street Nightclub, 4331 US Hwy. 19, New Port Richey. $20. (727) 843-0686.
Chicago Thurs. 8 p.m. The Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S., St. Petersburg. $48-$88. (727) 892-5767.
Acafool Thurs. With Big Cheese, Geno Alexis, more. 9 p.m. Caribbean Hut, 4139 E. Busch Blvd., Tampa. $8-$10. (813) 381-7807.
-- Carole Liparoto, tbt*