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This week in Tampa: B.B. King, Galactic, Akron/Family and more




Welcome back! After a holiday hiatus, "This Week In Tampa" returns to Soundcheck, with a new slate of shows for the new year. To make up for our absence, we present this photo of B.B. King on the set of Blossom. You're welcome, Internet.

King is this weekend's big-name concert higlight, but it may not be the biggest event of the weekend. That could be WMNF's three-night David Bowie birthday tribute, with three dozen bands performing Bowie's music at three venues in Tampa, St. Pete and Sarasota. Then there's also Galactic, Akron/Family, Marsha Ambrosius, the O'Jays, The Sauce Boss Bill Wharton and more.

Here to walk you through it all is Carole Liparoto...

B.B. King
SATURDAY 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $39.50-$79.50. (727) 791-7400.
The fact that B.B. King is an 86-year-old diabetic confined (for the most part) to an armchair seems pretty doomy. But spend a few hours with King and Lucille, his affectionately named Gibson, and you’ll know the thrill is far from gone. King, undoubtedly the greatest living electric bluesman, still bewilders with his staccato picking and note bending know-how. Since he started recording in the late ’40s, King has released more than 60 albums. 

We Can Be Heroes: David Bowie 65th Birthday/Tribute
6 p.m. With Barely Pink, Diamond Dogs, FunkN8, Geri X, Pretty Voices, Unpainted Souls, Ricky Wilcox and the Moonsnakes, Rebekah Pulley and the Reluctant Prophets, Scone Train, Talk to Mark, more. State Theatre, St. Petersburg. $12-$15. $12-$15. (727) 895-3045. 
SATURDAY 5 p.m. With Barely Pink, FunkN8, Glitter Guns, Jillian Stein Band, Jeremy Gloff, Magadog, Sons of Hippies, Voltaic Combo, Florida Kilos, Al Torchia and the Tattered Saints, more. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $12-$15. (813) 971-0666.
SUNDAY 3 p.m. With Barely Pink, Bill Vinhage, Bud Buckley, Completely from Mountains, Dune Train, FunkN8, the Heart Machine, Jamie Zimmerman, Lauren Mitchell Band, Physical Plant, Rock Star Bentley, Soul Purpose, Villanova Junction. Cock and Bull Pub, 975 Cattlemen Road, Sarasota. $9-$12.
Celebrate the many moods and guises of David Bowie during “We Can Be Heroes,” a WMNF 65th birthday tribute party being held at three Bay area venues this weekend. Local pop favorites Barely Pink reunite to perform The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in its entirety. Additionally, Tony Michaelides, Bowie’s publicist, will kick off each show by offering stories, pictures and video clips from his time working and touring with Bowie. Give one of these shows a shot, particularly if Lady Gaga is your most recent (or only) link to the glam god. 

With Corey Glover, Corey Henry, Orgone
SATURDAY 8 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $23-$25. (727) 895-3045. 
Hey Na Na, the first single off Galatic’s upcoming album, plays out like a NOLA parade anthem with the guys acting as pied pipers of Carnival. With jazz, hip-hop, funk, rock, metal and world music, the new disc is a Whitman’s Sampler of sound. It also features special guest rappers Mystikal and Mannie Fresh, among others. Galactic and its illustrious drummer Stanton Moore march to State Theatre Saturday with lots of dance-spurring tunes to debut.

The O’Jays
THURSDAY 8 p.m. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $35 and up. (727) 892-5767.
Can you imagine a time when you could start a love train without fear of ridicule (or without the influence of psychoactive drugs)? Well, we are proud to report that the day has come again. Chug away with loveable ’70s soul men The O’Jays. Original frontmen Eddie Levert and Walter Williams continue to lead the group, largely considered one of the most successful black soul acts of all time.

The Sauce Boss Bill Wharton
FRIDAY 8 p.m. Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. $23-$28. (727) 587-6793.
Now this is how music was meant to be enjoyed. Bill Wharton, or “The Sauce Boss,” plays a mean blues slide guitar while concocting a delish Cajun gumbo onstage. Yes, Wharton’s a regular here, but his show (“rock and roux,” maybe?) never seems bland. Free bowl of gumbo with the price of admission.

With Bad Weather California, Praything
TUESDAY 8 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. $11-$14. (813) 241-8600.
There’s a fine line between unique and confusing. Psych-folk band Akron/Family — not a family, and not from Akron — employs Yo La Tengo-like experimentalism, tribal drumming, guitar freak outs, war cries and even the tones of a creaky rocking chair, on occasion, to keep fans grinning … or guessing.

Marsha Ambrosius
With Trumaine Lamar
THURSDAY 7:30 p.m. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. $24.50 and up. (813) 229-7827.
Singles sick of relationship game-playing will relate to Marsha Ambrosius and her silky but assertive R&B anthems. To give you an idea, Ambrosius has titled one her newest tunes Hope She Cheats On You With a Basketball Player. The former Floetry singer also just rocked out a winning version of ’89 hit Back to Life by Soul II Soul alongside Estelle, Erykah Badu and The Roots’ ?uestlove during a Christmas week VH1 special, Divas Celebrate Soul.

B.J. Barham (of American Aquarium)
MONDAY 8 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. Free. (813) 248-4969.
Like North Carolina’s answer to Bruce Springsteen or Bob Seger, American Aquarium play spirited, blue-collar rock with a country twang. Monday, it’s just a guy and his guitar at this free solo show by the group’s lead man B.J. Barham.

Also playing

The Black Honkeys Fri. 8 p.m. The Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $5 and up. 

Chris McCarty Fri. 6 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 565-0550.

Jefferson Starship Sat. 8 p.m. The Club at Treasure Island, 400 Treasure Island Causeway, Treasure Island. $50 and up. (727) 367-4511.

Lauris Vidal Sat. With Matt Burke, Devon Stuart, Michael Claytor. 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. (813) 248-4969.

Cope Sat. With The Commoners, Noah Broe and the Groove Co, Shoeless Soul, Honey Henny Lime, The Human Condition, Green Sunshine, Skull and Bone Band, more. 1 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. $10 suggested donation. (813) 241-8600.

Rebecca Zapen and Jeremy Douglass Sat. 7 p.m. Gram’s Place, 3109 N Ola Ave., Tampa. Donation requested.

Jeriko Turnpike Sat. 9 p.m. Peggy O’Neill’s, 1026 Florida Ave., Palm Harbor. Free. (727) 787-7734.

Reggae Sunday Sun. featuring Lefty at the Washout, Burning Tree, Tyson Marshall. 6 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 565-0551.

Trigger City Trio Sun. 4 p.m. JolliMon’s, 947 Huntley Ave., Dunedin. Free. (727) 735-0498.

Sunday Sessions Sun. featuring Gates of Eden, A Play on Words, Kirsten and Jasmin, Donna Lu, A Chance of Fireballs. 7 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $6-$9.

-- Carole Liparoto, tbt*

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 3, 2012 3:00pm]


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