This week in Tampa: Harry Connick Jr., Steep Canyon Rangers, Tampa Bay Blues Fest and more
For the second straight weekend, Vinoy Waterfront Park in St. Petersburg will be packed with music lovers. Last weekend it was Funk Fest, this weekend it's the Tampa Bay Blues Fest, with an absolutely killer lineup this year. Headliners include Jonny Lang, Irma Thomas, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Tab Benoit, Robert Cray, James Hunter and more, with plenty of pre- and post-parties. Click here for the full details on this year's Blues Fest.
As for the rest of this week's musical offerings -- including Harry Connick Jr. (above), Steep Canyon Rangers, Easy Star All-Stars, Mount Kimbie, Cedric Gervais, the Vinyl Music Festival and a world-class Michael Jackson tribute -- here are Carole Liparoto's picks...
Harry Connick, Jr.
FRIDAY 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $50-$115. (727) 791-7400.
Harry Connick Jr. does to jazz what a two-minute microwaving does to a Hot Pocket: makes it handy, warm, melty and inviting. With Sinatraesque cool, the clean-cut crooner has made New Orleans jazz and the classic American songbook both accessible and appealing to a wide audience (even the irritable Angela from The Office can get on board with a little Harry). Accordingly, the singer-pianist-actor is ranked among the best-selling male artists in the U.S. with more than 25 million albums sold (the soundtrack to 1989’s When Harry Met Sally did particularly well). As for his onstage charisma, Connick says, “I just go out and try to build a relationship. It’s like being on a date or something.” Friday, he’ll perform selections from his diverse catalog, going heavy on material from ’09’s Your Songs. And in September we’ll see him starring alongside Morgan Freeman in the Clearwater-made feature film Dolphin Tale.
Steep Canyon Rangers
With Will Erickson and Local Roots
SATURDAY 8 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $12-$15. (813) 971-0666.
When comedian, accomplished banjo player and all-around wild and crazy guy Steve Martin handpicked Steep Canyon Rangers to tour and record with him last year, he joked, “Serendipity has made a better match than any bluegrass computer dating service.” Together, Martin and SCR played for more people than any other bluegrass band in 2010 (okay, maybe that’s not saying a whole lot) with gigs at Bonnaroo and New Orleans Jazzfest, to name a few. Unfortunately, Martin won’t appear at this intimate show date at Skipper’s. But we can assure you there will be plenty of ferocious pickin’ to go around. Listen for King Tut, the track which allows SCR to put a bluegrass-spin on the old Martin favorite. “Got a condo made of stone-a!”
Featuring Cedric Gervais, Bernard Chauvet, Alvaro Muniz, Tony Puccio, Pedro M Muniz
FRIDAY 9 p.m. Hawaiian Village, 2520 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa. $40 and up. (813) 868-7600.
If it’s a calm, quiet evening you’re looking for Friday, stay far, far away from Dayglow, the messy black-light paint party with an earsplitting electronic soundtrack. Called “the world’s largest paint party,” Dayglow began on college campuses in Florida. Today, the touring show features aerial and contortion acts, lighting that could induce seizures and giant paint canons. And it’s selling out dates across the country. Headliner Cedric Gervias will provide the hard house pulse a la Deep Dish or Carl Cox. You’re encouraged to wear white clothing, but be warned — this ain’t Sea World — everywhere in the club is a splash zone.
With Young Egypt
SUNDAY 9 p.m. The Honey Pot, 1507 E. Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $11-$15. (813) 247-4663.
It would be easy to call the musicians of the “post-dubstep” movement (yes, it’s another one of those made-up musical genres) laptop futzers, bedroom tinkerers or background music-makers. But Mount Kimbie makes the ambient come alive on the dancefloor. Like James Blake or Jamie of The xx, the duo transitions from minimalist and melancholy to playful and rave-ready in a single bound. It’s adventure that comes in swaths of hums, whistles and squeaky noises, but it’s adventure nonetheless.
Who’s Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band
FRIDAY 7 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. Free for 21+. $10 for under 21. (727) 565-0551.
Since 2004, Who’s Bad (billed “The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute”) has emulated the King of Pop’s music, dance moves and dress with modest success. But since Jackson’s death in June of 2009, the group has been deluged by fans eager to celebrate the one-gloved wonder’s legendary career. Now with 700 shows under its belt, this talented cast performs more than three decades of MJ material with passion and panache — from the ’70s (ABC) all the way to 2001 (Rock My World).
Easy Star All-Stars
With The Green, Cas Haley
SUNDAY 8 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $16 and up. (727) 895-3045.
We’re guessing the room was a bit foggy when this New York house band decided to test out an all-reggae interpretation of Dark Side of the Moon. In the end, Easy Star All-Stars did more than tinker with the classic. They churned out a dub-style recreation that was rhythmically exciting and instrumentally artistic, while keeping the Pink Floyd spirit intact. Renditions of Radiohead’s OK Computer (cleverly titled Radiodread) and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band followed. This week, the group dropped its first full-length original album First Light.
Vinyl Music Festival Fri.-Sun. Featuring Darude, Honorebel, Randy Boyer, Drager, Sharaz, Break Fixx, Cosmo, Pedro M., more. Various venues around Sarasota. $20 and up. Visit vinylfestival.com for complete list of venues and artists.
Tahoe Fox Fri. 7 p.m. The Dunedin Smokehouse, 680 Main St., Dunedin. Free. (727) 736-2227.
Exit 28 Fri. 10 p.m. Daiquiri Deck, 14995 Gulf Blvd., Madeira Beach. Free. (727) 393-2706.
J. Roddy Walston and the Business Sat. With The Lambasters, Casey Lee. 9 p.m. Dave’s Aqua Lounge, 10820 Gandy Blvd., St. Petersburg. $10. (727) 576-1091.
The Spears Sat. With Kevin K., Gino and the Goons, more 9 p.m. Emerald Bar, 550 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $5. (727) 898-6054.
Jimmy Needs Meds Sat. 8 p.m. In The Zone, 4535 Gunn Highway, Tampa. Free. (813) 374-0144.
Rock the Ranch Sat. featuring Reina Collins Band, Big Broke Wolf, Zen Fishcamp. 2 p.m. The Crooked Chicken Ranch, 301 Duque Rd., Lutz. $5 donation.
Consinity Sat. With Ebullition, Ares, Road to Ruin, The Rival Within. 8 p.m. Gasoline Alley Cafe, 14042 66th St. N, Largo. $8-$10. (727) 532-0265.
Just Satellites Sat. With Gnarly Whales, Dockery Devils, Hipster Holocaust, Tommy Frain. 7 p.m. The Neptune Lounge, 13 S. Safford Ave., Tarpon Springs. $7. (727) 943-5713.
The Radiators Sun. With No Money Down, Roy Jay Band. 6 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 565-0551.
Acoustic Africa Sun. featuring Habib Koite, Oliver Mtukudzi and Black Spirits, Afel Bocoum. 7 p.m. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. $29.50. (813) 229-7827.
Melvin Seals and the Jerry Garcia Band Mon. 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Craftsman House, 2955 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $34. (727) 323-2787.
Saving Abel Wed. With Seven Years Past, Sunshine and Bullets, more. 6 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $17. (727) 895-3045.
Boz Scaggs Thurs. With Marc Cohn. 7:30 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Rd., Clearwater. $49-$85. (727) 791-7400.
-- Carole Liparoto, tbt*