This week in Tampa (now with audio!): Taylor Swift, Three Days Grace, They Might Be Giants and more
Greetings, earthlings. I'm Jay Cridlin, your humble Soundcheck editor, and I'll be filling in for Carole Liparoto on this week's concert picks.
Coincidentally, next week will bring what seems to be the CONCERT OF THE CENTURY in Tampa -- the tour-opening Taylor Swift show at the St. Pete Times Forum that's been sold out since November. (Personally, I'm not even sure that's the best country councert that night, not with Billy Currington at the Florida Strawberry Festival. But that's just me.)
Let's dispense with this week's best concerts, including Swift, Currington, They Might Be Giants (above), Henry Rollins, Pat Benatar, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Glen Phillips, Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin and more ...
With Gloriana, Kellie Pickler
THURSDAY 7 p.m. St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Sold out. (813) 301 2500.
Let’s just call this what it is: The biggest concert in the eastern United States this spring. When Taylor Swift launches her Fearless Tour in Tampa, it’ll be her first major stateside show since winning the Grammy for Album of the Year (Fearless) in January, and this tour will go along way toward determining whether she’ll be able to back up the massive accolades she’s racked up in the past year, from the Album of the Year Grammy to Billboard’s Artist of the Year to the CMAs’ Entertainer of the Year. Critics have already begun to chip at her perfect clean-teen veneer, criticizing her off-key Grammys performance, but that won’t stop her rabid fans from showing up — this show sold out in November.
With Neil Giraldo
SUNDAY 4 p.m. Busch Gardens, 10001 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. Free with park admission. buschgardens.com.
With her unminstakeable wail intact, and hubby/guitarist Neil Giraldo by her side, Pat Benatar keeps rocking her way around America’s concert halls, baseball stadiums (like Tropicana Field) and, now, theme parks. We recommend screaming We Belong on SheiKra, Hit Me with Your Best Shot on the bumper cars and Love Is a Battlefield on the Congo River Rapids.
They Might Be Giants
FRIDAY 7 p.m. The Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $23.50. (813) 247-2555.
What we couldn’t learn on Sesame Street, They Might Be Giants taught us through song. How else would we know that the sun is a mass of incandescent gas, or that Istanbul used to be called Constantinople (although that’s really nobody’s business but the Turks’)? From Birdhouse in Your Soul to Particle Man, the geektronic pop of John Flansburgh and John Linnell is appropriate for nerdish adults and kids alike — although this show is ages 14 and up, so expect things to get a little S-E-X-X-Y in the house.
Three Days Grace and Breaking Benjamin
SATURDAY 7 p.m. St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $37. (813) 301-2500.
Sorry, kids, but there can only be one Nickelback. In order to get your neo-grunge fix the rest of the year, you must turn to acts like Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace, whose songs populate modern rock radio airwaves across the country. Thanks to singles like Animal I Have Become and I Hate Everything About You, Canadians Three Days Grace appear to be the heirs to Nickelback’s meat-rock throne; they brought the house down at the Ford Amphitheatre during 97X Next Big Thing in 2006.
With Vienna Teng
SUNDAY 4 and 7 p.m. The Hideaway Cafe, 1756 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $30 per show. (727) 644-7895.
With an in-house recording studio and strong dedication to the singer-songwriters’ craft, the Hideaway Cafe became a favorite destination for local bards in the know. They scored a coup with these two acoustic showcases by Toad the Wet Sprocket frontman Glen Phillips and pop pianist Vienna Teng. With only 60 tickets available to each show, it’s a unique opportunity to hear ’90s alt-pop beauties like Something’s Always Wrong, Walk on the Ocean and All I Want in a very intimate setting.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
TUESDAY 7 p.m. Mahaffey Theatre, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $25. (727) 892-5767.
Odds are you’d have never heard of Ladysmith if it wasn’t for Paul Simon, who introduced them to the world through his Grammy-winning album Graceland, especially on Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes. But in their native South Africa, the group had been recording since the ’60s, even touring Europe behind their evocative vocal soundscapes. The lineup has changed many times over the years, but founder Joseph Shabalala still makes it to tours.
THURSDAY 7:30 p.m. Florida Strawberry Festival, 303 N Lemon St., Plant City. $15-$20 (about 3,000 free tickets available on a first come, first served basis). flstrawberryfestival.org.
When Billy Currington appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman in August, the host gushed over Currington’s song People Are Crazy for a full two and a half minutes. “This song is absolute perfection,” Letterman told viewers. “If I were the people running country music, I would shut it down right now, because you’re not going to get any better than this. This song will be played on jukeboxes in bars for the next 1,000 years.” High praise. So it seems the rising country star was a good choice to headline the first night of this year’s Florida Strawberry Festival. Earlier on Thursday, Hee Haw host Roy Clark kicks off the fest with a show at 4 p.m. Thursday (tickets are $10-$15). And for something with a little more oom-pah, polka legend and 18-time Grammy winner Jimmy Sturr performs a free show at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
TUESDAY 8 p.m. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $29.50-$33.50. (727) 791-7400.
When’s the last time a punk icon, actor, activist and spoken-word hero decided to perform in downtown Clearwater? That’s where Henry Rollins will perform his intense, funny, hard-edged poetry next week. Just don’t call it “poetry” to his face. “I think poetry is for poets,” he once supposedly said. “Cappuccino-drinking, beret-wearing, fake-ass-moustache-having, striped-shirt-wearing, Velvet Underground-adoring poets. Leaking, snivelling, moist-clammy-handed guys who can’t get any.” Spoken like a true poe- ... er, a true rock star!
Journey Fest 2010 Fri.-Sun. With Charlie Daniels Band, Blackberry Smoke, more. Sertoma Youth Ranch, 85 Myers Road, Brooksville. Day tickets are $10-$25; weekend tickets $40-$45; more for camping. See journeyfest.org for schedule and details.
Gringo Star: Fri. With the Beauvilles, Mumpsy. 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $7. (813) 248-4969.
Michael Burks: Fri. 8 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $12-$15. (813) 971-0666.
The Cro-Mags: Fri. 7 p.m. Orpheum, 1902 N Aveninda Republica de Cuba, Ybor City. $12-$15. (813) 248-9500.
Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women: Sat. With Amanda Shires and Her Men. 8 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa. $17-$20. (813) 971-0666.
Keller Williams: Sat. 8 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $21-$25. (727) 895-3045.
Kelli Debbs CD release: Sat. With Bryan Elijah Smith. 8 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. $7. (813) 241-8600.
Angry Banana: Sat. With the Duppies, the Real Deal. Orpheum, 1902 N Aveninda Republica de Cuba, Ybor City. $8-$10. (813) 248-9500.
The Sammus Theory: Sun. With From This Fire, Nine Mile Drive, The D.O.O.D., Meet Me Overboard. 9 p.m. Bourbon Street, 4331 U.S. 19, New Port Richey. $10. (727) 843-0686.
Bowling For Soup: Sun. Orpheum, 1902 N Aveninda Republica de Cuba, Ybor City. $18. (813) 248-9500.
Monica: Sun. With Pooch Hall. 9 p.m. The Kennedy, 2408 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. $40 and up. 4horsemenent.net.
Shotgun Party: Sun. With Blind Buddy Moody. 9 p.m. Dave’s Aqua Lounge, 10820 Gandy Blvd., St. Petersburg. $6. (727) 576-1091.
Exposure Music Festival: Sun. With lots of local punk bands. Doors open at 11 a.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Pete. $12. (727) 895-3045.
Hoots and Hellmouth: Sun. With Chris Klein and the Boulevards. 5 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa. $7-$10. (813) 971-0666.
Look Mexico CD release: Sun. With Alexander and the Grapes, Only Thieves. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $7. (813) 248-4969.
Twiztid: Wed. With Blaze, Kung Fu Vampire. 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $22.50-$25. (727) 895-3045.
The Moody Blues: Thur. 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. Sold out, but some tickets may be available late. (727) 791-7400.
Bobaflex: Thur. With Downstait. 9 p.m. Bourbon Street, 4331 U.S. 19, New Port Richey. $10. (727) 843-0686.
AZ: Thur. With Cormega, Dynasty, Aych, DJ Deacon, DJ Sandman. 10 p.m. $15. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. (813) 241-8600.
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*