This week in Tampa: Sheryl Crow, Steve Miller Band, Merle Haggard, Reel Big Fish and more
This week we've got a guest writer filling you in on the best upcoming concerts in Tampa Bay: Ray Roa, the music blogger extraordinaire behind Suburban Apologist, one of the area's best and most comprehensive arts blogs. We're glad to have him.
After the jump, Ray has the scoop on the week's best concerts -- including Steve Miller Band, Sheryl Crow, Merle Haggard, Reel Big Fish, John Kay and Steppenwolf, Ennis, the WMNF Rockabilly Ruckus, Jonathan Richman, Old 97s, Murs, Leon Redbone, Cedric Gervais, Doctor P, Scott H. Biram and more...
Will Quinlan and The Holy Slow Train
With The Laurel Canyon, Macrame Owls
FRIDAY 9 p.m., New World Brewery, 1313 E 8th Ave, Ybor City. $7. (813) 248-4969.
Will Quinlan has spent the better part of the last decade fronting his alt-country outfit The Diviners, but the Tampa songwriter has been moonlighting with a new troupe — The Holy Slow Train — of late. Older Slow Train material isn’t a far stretch from the Diviners sound. Quinlan’s delivery of lyrics that are biblical (Emanuel), full of loss and longing (The Ides of June), or hopeful (Wire) is still bitingly poignant and melancholy, but this show promises never-recorded material and is an opportunity to tap into the current state of one of the region’s most gifted storytellers.
The Applebutter Express
FRIDAY 9:30 p.m. Ringside Café, 2742 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. $5. (727) 894-8465.
By the time Bonnaroo darlings The Applebutter Express hit the stage for this Friday night show, the Tampa-based, ukulele-driven jam outfit will have already played Ringside Café three times in 2013 alone. That kind of frequency is the norm for this St. Petersburg institution, where other area bands like soul-rebels The Black Honkeys or world-music gurus The Hip Abduction begin their sets between 9 and 10 p.m. and play until 3 a.m., stringing together off-the-wall covers, extended solos and material that has yet to be crowd-tested. You know how your uncle always tells you about all those times he saw Tom Petty cut his teeth with Mudcrutch at Dub’s Lounge in Gainesville? This is kind of like that, but with way better food.
Reel Big Fish
With Pilfers, Dan Potthast
FRIDAY 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $25. (727) 895-3045.
Ah, the ’90s SoCal ska-punk scene was a good time, wasn’t it? It was an era that gave the world Sublime and No Doubt, but one of its most enduring exports may be Huntington Beach ska legends Reel Big Fish, who parleyed ridiculous songs about cursing (Another F.U. Song), fermented hops (Beer), and giving into the man (Sell Out) into both momentary MTV fame and long-term success. Their fan base appreciates their energetic live show, faithfully endures several lineup changes and continues to support the band, who recently released their eighth original full-length, Candy Coated Fury, just last year.
WMNF Rockabilly Ruckus
With Blair Carman, Nikki Hill, Rocket 88, Sara Rose Band, Nine Volt Rodeo, Ted Stevens and Band, Downshifters, Slip and the Spinouts
SATURDAY 4 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $20-25. (813) 971-0666.
The marriage of “hillbilly” music and good ol’ rock 'n’ roll happened way back in the middle of the 20th century, but Tampa community radio station WMNF has been busy catching up by celebrating the hybrid genre for a decade now. Their 10th annual Rockabilly Ruckus finds one of the style’s bright, young stars — Missouri’s Nikki Hill — leading a bill that also includes longtime Orlando favorites Rocket 88, Fort Lauderdale’s party-starters Slip and the Spinouts, and a handful of acts cherry-picked from other Sunshine State locales. Throw in the ambience and character of one of Florida’s most storied outdoor venues and you’ve got a family-friendly shindig that every Floridian should experience at least once.
SUNDAY 4p.m. Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $20. (727) 822-3590.
Canadian exports Ennis — comprised of sisters Maureen and Karen Ennis — are a JUNO award-winning duo crafting their own brand of folk that has roots in traditional Celtic music. The group once boasted three sisters, but shed youngest sibling Teresa after their 2007 album Be Here For A While. So while Ennis may lack one voice these days, this show takes place at the Palladium Theater’s Side Room Cabaret, which provides pristine sonic conditions. Fiddle and upbeat acoustic guitar can dance on top of Maureen and Karen’s nearly immaculate harmonies, which shine on songs like Rise Up Winds from their 2012 LP The Fortunate Ones.
John Kay and Steppenwolf
SUNDAY 5 p.m. Busch Gardens, 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. Free with park admission. (888) 800-5447.
The legends surrounding Steppenwolf frontman John Kay are manifold. He somehow made it into Canada’s Walk Of Fame despite being German-born, and he reportedly maintains a healthy hobby of photography despite extreme colorblindness. It’s all apparently in a day’s work for the 68-year-old hitmaker who led the ’Wolf to record sales of 20-plus million and numerous hit singles including Born To Be Wild and Magic Carpet Ride. This show kicks off Busch Gardens’ Bands, Brew & BBQ series, which runs through March 3 with performances from Barenaked Ladies, The Doobie Brothers, and The Goo Goo Dolls.
With Prof, Fashawn
WEDNESDAY 8 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $12-15. (813) 241-8600.
Having cut his teeth in acclaimed groups like 3MG, Murs has enjoyed a steady rise from the early ’90s Los Angeles underground scene to the collective consciousness of rap fans around the world thanks to an affiliation with acclaimed independent hip-hop label Definitive Jux, which released Murs’ long-awaited solo debut, The End of the Beginning, in 2003. The 34-year-old MC’s lyrics play foil to modern hip-hop’s obsession with material possessions and find him composing rhymes about not buying chains (Murs Day). Production on his latest LP, Love And Rockets Vol. 1: The Transformation, features some of the genre’s most cutting-edge beats. Support comes from equally thoughtful MCs Prof and Fashawn to make for an evening of socially conscious hip-hop that isn’t condescending.
Steve Miller Band
WEDNESDAY 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $49.50-89.50. (727) 791-7400.
Forget all the horrendous covers attempted at countless bars and karaoke joints across the country. The Joker himself makes a real-life humpday appearance at Ruth Eckerd Hall, where he’ll presumably take a Jet Airliner and Fly Like An Eagle. Ticket prices may reflect the growing wallets of his baby-boomer fan base, but don’t expect the 69-year-old California boy to simply Take The Money and Run. Miller is riding an incredible wave of productivity that seemingly has him rejuvenated, as evidenced by his recent christening of Austin City Limits’ new $2.5 million digs and the release of back-to-back LPs of original material in 2010 and 2011.
THURSDAY 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $49-$95. (727) 791-7400.
The last time Sheryl Crow came to Tampa Bay, she made TMZ after forgetting the lyrics to Soak Up the Sun during the Taste of Pinellas festival. Shortly thereafter, Crow announced she had a benign brain tumor, which some speculated may have led to her memory loss. Either way, it’ll be a newsworthy event for sure when Crow returns with this concert on Valentine’s Day. — tbt* staff
Paul Revere and the Raiders Through Sat. 11 a.m., 1 and 3:30 p.m. Busch Gardens, 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. Free with park admission. (888) 800-5447.
Merle Haggard Fri. With 8 p.m. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $39.50-89.50. (727) 892-5767.
Emperor Penguins Fri. 7 p.m. Market on 7th, 1816 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $7-8. (813) 248-2356.
Jump Into The Fire Tour Fri. With Rebuilt From Ruins, Tribulations, Denouncer, Obsidian Sky, Labyrynthe. 7:30 p.m. Neptune Lounge, 13 S Safford Ave., Tarpon Springs. $8. (727) 943-5713.
Lounge Cat Fri. 10 p.m. Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe, 5119 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa. Free. (813) 234-1000.
Doctor P Fri. With Nerd Rage, Mr. Saturn, Winta. 9 p.m. Amphitheatre, 1609 E Seventh Ave, Ybor City. $15. (813) 873-8368.
Slickwood Fri. 8:30 p.m. Pegasus Lounge, 10008 N 30th St., Tampa. $5-7. (813) 971-1679.
Leon Redbone Fri. 7:30 p.m. Capitol Theatre, 403 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $29.50-45. (727) 791-7400.
Bill Vlasak Sat. 2 p.m. Tampa Theatre, 711 N Franklin St., Tampa. $10-14 (813) 274-8981.
Cedric Gervais Sat. 9 p.m. Amphitheatre, 1609 E Seventh Ave, Ybor City. $20. (813) 873-8368.
Chris James Sat. Push Ultra Lounge, 128 3rd St. S, St. Petersburg. $10 for men, free for women. pushlounge.com.
Vyie Sat. With Zulu Wave, Pan. 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E 8th Ave, Ybor City. $7. (813) 248-4969.
Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons Sat. 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $59.50-115. (727) 791-7400.
Rapdragons Sat. With Prince Golden, B Nyce, Five Drexler, Y.O.N., 83 Cutlass, Mike King. 9 p.m. Fubar, 658 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $3. (727) 424-1809.
Old 97s Sat. 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $20. (727) 895-3045.
Set It Off Sat. With Airsickness, The Music Box, Call To Start, Autograph Moon. 5:30 p.m. The Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $10-13. (813) 248-9500.
Randy McAsllister Sun. 5 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $10-13. (813) 971-0666.
Jonathan Richman Tue. With Mighty Mongo. 7 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $12-15. (813) 971-0666.
Vagabond Swing Tue. 8 p.m. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Free. (727) 736-0606.
Scott H. Biram Tue. With Black Eyed Vermillion, Whiskeydick. 8 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $7. (813) 241-8600.
Sheryl Crow Thur. With Holly Williams. 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $49-95. (727) 791-7400.
-- Ray Roa, tbt*