This week in Tampa: Jason Aldean, Jason Mraz, Big K.R.I.T. and more
Sadly, we could not come up with another Jason (Castro, Derulo, Ritter) to fill out that headline. But two Jasons ain't bad, especially when one is the hottest male artist in country music and the other is one of the few solo dudes capable of headlining an outdoor amphitheatre.
Jason Mraz and Jason Aldean are joined on this week's concert calendar by Big K.R.I.T., Meat Loaf, Steve Vai, Christina Perri, Luke Bryan, David Sanborn, Brian Culbertson, BT, Rebelution and more. Here to walk you through all of it is Carole Liparoto...
With Christina Perri
TUESDAY 7:30 p.m. 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $23-$59.50. (813) 740-2446.
The 35-year-old Jason Mraz is a far-out throwback, a 21st century anomaly who can stuff an enormous concert venue with nothing but sweet, bonfire lullabies. Mraz, whose hits include I’m Yours, The Remedy (I Won’t Worry) and Lucky with Colbie Caillat, will play the 20,000-seat 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre on Tuesday. He is definitely not an arena act; new song I Won’t Give Up, from 2012 LP Love Is a Four Letter Word, makes James Taylor sound like Nickelback. And yet, this native of Mechanicsville, Va. — think a gentler, goofier cousin to Hawaii’s barefoot bard Jack Johnson — just might fill our Tampa shed. How does someone like Mraz happen? Well, he’s benefited greatly from the power of social media, (the video for I Won’t Give Up has 30 million views on YouTube), the intimate appeal of iTunes and, of course, a collection of killer fedoras. Women, who dictate the current pop marketplace, love him, and the boys who love those women come along for the ride. He’s like the Grateful Dead for beginners, a party, a movement, a happening.
With Luke Bryan
FRIDAY 7:30 p.m. 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre, 4802 US. 301 N, Tampa. $34.50 and up. (813) 740-2446.
Sporting a Resistol cowboy hat low over his eyes, Jason Aldean does outdoorsy country with undeniably Southern titles. See Hicktown, Big Green Tractor or Dirt Road Anthem. In late 2008, Aldean gave the contemporary country brand a firm slap to the rear with AC/DC-like electricity on stomper She’s Country. Aldean continued to muddy up the boundaries of the genre with a little hip-hop cross-pollination on Dirt Road Anthem, the blockbuster tune written by Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert. Opener Luke Bryan, a small-town Georgia boy who can — ahem, ladies — “grow his own groceries and salt cure a ham” (Country Man), will serve up guitar-based contemporary country with a side of small-town lyricism.
With Beverly McClellan
THURSDAY 8 p.m. The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $35-$45. (727) 822-3590.
Stunt guitarist Steve Vai brings big six-string action to the Palladium. It’s a huge get for the modest-sized St. Pete venue considering the vet Vai, who practically set the standard for rock guitar virtuosity with Joe Satriani in the ’80s, stills draws big around the globe. New solo album The Story of Light picks up where his last musical narrative left off. It’s “a cosmic journey of a man driven mad by grief, intertwining tragedy, revelation, enlightenment and redemption,” Vai says. Pretty deep stuff for a guy who dueled Karate Kid Ralph Macchio in a climatic guitar-off in ’86 flick Crossroads. The Voice finalist Beverly McClellan, who appears on Vai’s searing rendition of traditional gospel call-and-response anthem John the Revelator, opens the show.
Brian Culbertson and David Sanborn
THURSDAY 7:30 p.m. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $25.50 and up. (727) 892-5767.
For decades, Tampa native and saxophonist David Sanborn and arranger-composer-keyboardist-trombonist Brian Culbertson have lent warm, jazzy comforts to elevator passengers and lobby guests everywhere. Together on the “Dream Tour,” the pair will go so silky smooth, you’ll need something to keep you from slipping from your seat.
WEDNESDAY 7:30 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $49.50 and up. (727) 791-7400.
If Andrew Lloyd Webber is the beloved king of Broadway bombast, over-sized singer Marvin Lee “Meat Loaf” Aday rules the concept in the rock world. Beefy, overwrought and arena-ready, ’77 breakout album Bat Out of Hell helped define the operatic rock genre and remains one of the world’s five top-selling albums of all-time. This tour with longtime band The Neverland Express supports new disc Hell in a Handbasket (which features unlikely contributors Chuck D, Lil Jon, Trace Adkins and Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath). “People who come to Meat Loaf shows know what to expect,” he says. “They know they’re going to get full-on energy with the best rock 'n’ roll band in the world. That’s not an opinion. That’s the truth.” The Loaf don’t play. But $50 to sit in the boonies? We’d do anything for love. But we may not do that.
SUNDAY 7 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20 and up. (813) 247-2555.
Rarely would we have the opportunity to put Jason Aldean and Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T. in the same paragraph, so we’re going for gold here. Plain and simple, these guys, despite their musical differences, are making it cool to be country. The spitter with the Southern drawl got his start in true DIY fashion, making beats on his PlayStation’s MTV Music Generator. Today, K.R.I.T. is at the top his game, with flow and lyricism strong enough to please the purists, and the right stuff to get the dirty south party started.
With The Expendables, Passafire
THURSDAY 6 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $25-$28. (727) 565-0551.
Easygoing reggae-rock bros out of Santa Barbara look to turn Jannus Live into the Bay’s largest, hottest tiki bar. Rebelution’s ingenuous style, bolstered by conscientious lyricism and playful melody, is best represented on beachy breakout Courage to Grow, and is likely to win over fans of SOJA, Iration and Pepper. Expect a packed house and plenty of sunny vibes here — the kind of warmth a Snuggie could bring to an August day.
SATURDAY 9 p. m. Amphitheatre, 1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $10 and up. (813) 873-8368.
Just as a new wave of feverish dance enthusiasts are consulting DJs for their weekend stimuli, electronic music fans in the late ’90s and early ’00s relied on artists like BT to keep the late-night pulse. BT, or Brian Wayne Transeau, conducts a weekly program Laptop Symphony on Sirius XM. But for evidence that he goes beyond a play button and a swirling screensaver, check out BT for yourself Saturday in Ybor.
Dukes of Juke Fri. With Late Night Brass. 8 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $10-$13. (813) 971-0666.
TC and the Troublemakers Fri. 8 p.m. Incognito Lounge, 131 Harbor Village Lane, Apollo Beach. (813) 645-9700.
Ellen Bukstel and Mindy Simmons Fri. 8 p.m. Hideaway Cafe, 1756 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $10-$12. (727) 644-7895.
Kim Burrell Sat. 6 p.m. Center for Manifestation Church, 3102 E Lake Ave., Tampa. $15-$25. taceentertainment.com or (813) 404-1906.
The Eastern Sea Sat. With Roadkill Ghost Choir, Empire Cinema. 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $7. (813) 248-4969.
Pathology Sat. With Fallujah, Fit for an Autopsy, more. 9 p.m. Brass Mug, 14811 N Florida Ave., Tampa. (813) 972-8152.
The Joel Tatangelo Band Sat. 9 p.m. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Free. (727) 736-0606.
Russian Circles Sun. With Chelsea Wolfe, Marriages. 7:30 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $15. (727) 895-3045.
School Boy Humor Thurs. With The Drive, more. 6 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $10-$13. theorpheum.com.
Adema Thurs. With Sunshine and Bullets, Red Calling, Dark Summer, Mag Sauce. 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $15. (727) 895-3045.
-- Carole Liparoto, tbt*