This week in tampa: Jimmy Buffett, Blues Traveler, 98 Rockfest and more
I t's one of those weeks. One of those weeks where there are so many national headliners coming to town, you don't know where to turn. One of those weeks where you're forced to choose between Jimmy Buffett, Limp Bizkit and the Smooth Jazz Fest ALL ON THE SAME NIGHT. (In that scenario, our humble pick for the correct choice is: Stay at home and watch old DVR'ed episodes of Cake Boss. But that's just us.)
But we're here to guide you through a massive week of music, separating the wheat (Murder By Death) from the chaff (Uncle Kracker). Here with a preview of all those shows, plus tidbits on 98 Rockfest (including Alice In Chains, above), Blues Traveler, Motion City Soundtrack, Porcupine Tree, the Acquire the Fire festival, Alexisonfire, Down By Law, Cowboy Mouth, Blind Boys of Alabama, Travis Tritt, Rusted Root, music from To Write Love On Her Arms and much more, is Carole Liparoto...
Motion City Soundtrack
With Fun, A Rocket to the Moon, Sing It Loud
SATURDAY 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $18.50. (727) 895-3045.
The midwestern 30-somethings grow up, sell their Xboxes and search for answers on latest My Dinosaur Life. Produced by Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus, the album finds Motion City Soundtrack delving out highly-contagious pop-punk with a geeky sensitivity. It’s all pretty ambitious until they “fall asleep watching Veronica Mars again.” Opener Fun brings playful, sunny-side pop that could rouse even Conor Oberst fans from their dark spaces.
MONDAY 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $24. (727) 895-3045.
Physically speaking, John Popper is half the man he used to be. Blues Traveler’s big daddy has dropped nearly 200 pounds since undergoing gastric bypass surgery. But to fans’ delight, his soulful warble and harmonica chops remain as robust as ever. Party like it’s 1995 as the band takes you back through hits Run-Around and Hook. Also expect free-spirited excursions in jammy blues-rock.
SATURDAY 8 p.m. Ford Amphitheatre, Interstate 4 at U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $30-$90. (813) 740-2446.
It’s a salt-rimmed cliche, and it goes against my aversion to Parrothead culture, but it’s true: Jimmy Buffett sounds better in Florida. In Akron, Ohio, they cue up Boat Drinks and dream of rum runners by the surf; in Tampa Bay, we listen to Margaritaville while sipping frozen concoctions as if they’re a fifth food group. -- Sean Daly
Featuring Alice in Chains, Limp Bizkit, Puddle of Mudd, Sevendust, Hellyeah, Paper Tongues, Evan’s Blue, Soil, American Bang, Monroe Brown, Soulidium, Smile Empty Soul
SATURDAY 6:30 p.m. St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $44.30-$145.15. (813) 301-2500.
Mention the word “Livestock” to longtime 98 Rock listeners and you’re bound to hear stories about an inebriated yesteryear in the Zephyrhills campgrounds. Discuss the reformatted “98 Rockfest” and the tales might place more emphasis on the rock than the fest. This year (98 Rockfest’s fourth edition), a reformed Alice in Chains and a reunited Limp Bizkit bring loud, meaty, bachelor-ish rock songs to the headlining slot. The former is joined by singer William DuVall, who sources say is as close a vocal match to the late Layne Stayley as it gets. The latter, Jacksonville’s biggest musical export since Lynyrd Skynyrd, is both beloved and despised for bringing nu-metal to the forefront. But no matter your colors, the place is going off if Fred Durst and crew play Nookie. Versatile, Randy Jackson-approved Paper Tongues are buzzing with Ride to California and Hellyeah boasts members from Mudvayne and Pantera.
Fun N' Sun music
With Oleta Adams, Jessy J, Spencer Day (Saturday); Travis Tritt, Darryl Worley, Blackberry Smoke (Sunday)
SATURDAY 2:30 to 9:30 p.m. Coachman Park, downtown Clearwater. Free; $20 reserved.
SUNDAY 1 to p.m. Coachman Park, downtown Clearwater. Free; $20 reserved.
Thousands of people gather every year for the free music at Fun N' Sun, and with headliners like Oleta Adams (during Saturday's Smooth Jazz Fest) and Travis Tritt and Darryl Worley (on Sunday's country concert), it's not hard to see why. In recent years, younger country artists on the Fun N' Sun bill have gone on to great things (Gloriana, Billy Currington). This year, watch out for the Harters at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
SUNDAY 8 p.m. Tampa Theatre, 711 N. Franklin St., Tampa. $24-$30. (813) 274-8981.
Infatuated with the spaced-out fantasies of Pink Floyd and the technical grandiosity of Yes, Porcupine Tree plays artsy, progressive rock, pop and ambient. Because the British quartet counts above the 4/4 time-signature in much of its material, radio play has never really been the goal. But a musically inclined following and a Grammy nomination for Best Surround Sound Album, works just as well, we’d assume. Bonus: Porcupine Tree touring guitarist John Wesley is a Brandon resident.
Murder By Death
With Linfinity, HAHA Tonka, Proud Iron Lion
FRIDAY 7 p.m. Orpheum, 1902 Republica de Cuba Ave., Ybor City. $13.50. (813) 248-9500.
Like a spaghetti western with an indie-punk spin, Murder By Death’s outlandish tales show a fondness for dirt, sweat and debauchery. On alt-country stomper Sometimes the Line Walks You singer Adam Turla growls, “I’ve had a cracked rib or two. I guess I’ve busted more. I’ve laid a couple out on the coolin’ board.” Johnny Cash is an obvious influence here, but Murder By Death’s union of marching rhythms and cello tickling form something altogether unique.
Blind Boys of Alabama
With Bird Street Players
FRIDAY 8 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $25. (813) 971-0666.
Once limited to playing small churches in the segregated South, the Blind Boys of Alabama now make joyful noise cross-country (they even played the White House in February). The group pairs traditional gospel music with the unexpected — singing the lyrics to Amazing Grace over the melody from House of the Rising Sun, for instance.
To Write Love on Her Arms UChapter Tour
Featuring Damion Suomi, Andy Zipf, and Lauris Vidal
WEDNESDAY 7 p.m. USF, The Province Clubhouse, 10921 N McKinley Dr., Tampa. twloha.com.
If a snug T-shirt containing the block letters, “To Write Love on Her Arms” has ever made you wonder, here’s the scoop. The non-profit org provides outreach to people struggling with depression, addiction and self-injury. This music and conversation event features Orlando singer-songwriter Damion Suomi and marshy Florida folk man Lauris Vidal.
The Independents Fri. With Vagora, Elysium, Scurvy. 8 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. $10. (813) 241-8600.
The Mighty Diamonds Fri. The Jerk Hut, 926 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (813) 977-5777.
Vieux Farka Toure Fri. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $16-$18. (727) 895-3045.
Acquire the Fire Fri. and Sat. Featuring David Crowder Band, Lecrae, Unhindered, Abandon, Stephanie Smith. 7:30 p.m. USF Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $67. acquirethefire.com.
Guitar Shorty Sat. 9 p.m. Dave’s Aqua Lounge, 10820 Gandy Blvd., St. Petersburg. $8. (727) 576-1091.
Down by Law Sat. With Guiltmaker, The Sophmore Effort. 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $8. (813) 248-4969.
Springfield Cubs Sat. With The Pursuit, Doll Parts, Hello Alaska, Only Monsters. 7 p.m. Fubar, 658 Central Ave. $3-$5. myspace.com/fubardowntown.
Fun N’ Sun Concert Sun. Featuring Travis Tritt, Darryl Worley, Blackberry Smoke. 1 p.m. Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater. Free; $20 reserved seating. (727) 898-2100.
Middle Rhythm Session Sat. 9 p.m. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. (727) 736-0606.
Rusted Root Sun. 6 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 565-0551.
Cowboy Mouth Wed. With Impulse. 8 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $15-$20. (813) 971-0666.
Uncle Kracker Wed. With Rehab. 7:30 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $22. (727) 895-3045.
Alexisonfire Thurs. 6:30 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $14-$16. (727) 895-3045.
Straight No Chaser Thurs. 7:30 p.m. Straz, Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. $29.50. (813) 229-7827.
Janis Ian Thurs. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Craftsman House, 2955 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $32. (727) 323-2787.
-- Carole Liparoto, tbt*. Photo: Getty Images.