This week in Tampa: Tropical Heatwave, Country Throwdown Tour, Nelly and more
We've already introduced you to some of our favorite acts on this year's Tropical Heatwave bill -- Soulphonics and Ruby Velle, Kevin So, The Ettes, Jason Ricci and New Blood -- but there are plenty more where that came from. Click here to get the details on all of this year's Tropical Heatwave Headliners.
And don't forget OK Go at Crowbar on Friday night, either. We chatted with singer Damian Kulash of the viral video kings; click here to read it.
After the jump, Carole Liparoto walks you through a massive week of music, including Nelly at the Trop, the Country Throwdown Tour at the Ford Amphitheatre, with everyone from Kirk Franklin to Cannibal Corpse to the Nappy Roots to Cage the Elephant in between ...
With DJ Smallz
FRIDAY 10 p.m. Club Skye, 1509 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. (813) 247-6606.
With so many rap songs about Cristal and carat sizes, Nappy Roots’ down-home tunes Po’ Folks and Awnaw are a breath of fresh air. Over sweet, sweet organ and front porch guitar, these rural Southerners practice “ballin’ on a budget” and wax poetic about grits, collards and neckbones. They’ll celebrate the release of a new mixtape Friday.
With CLRH20, Jaybee
SUNDAY 10 p.m. Hyde Park Café, 1806 W Platt St., Tampa. (813) 254-2233.
Orlando’s AK1200 is a founding father of the drum and bass genre and its dub-style offshoot, Jungle. Most songs clock in around 180 beats per minute and contain some of the chunkiest basslines on the planet. And that usually means one of two things to listeners: time to dance like no one’s watching, or scramble for aspirin.
SATURDAY Following Tampa Bay Rays vs. Seattle Mariners; first pitch at 4:10 p.m. Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg. Free with game ticket. (888) 326-7297, rays.mlb.com.
From playful shoe raps (Air Force Ones) and “shimmy shimmy cocoa” recess jams (Country Grammar) to softer-side ballads (Over and Over featuring Tim McGraw), Nelly has hits for days. Consequently, Billboard ranked the St. Louis rapper and Apple Bottom CEO third in its “artists of the decade” list last year. We know we’re gong to hear 2001’s Batter Up, but more importantly, will the Trop get naked when Nelly gives those clear-cut instructions on Hot in Herre? Put on your eye Band-Aid and let’s find out together!
SATURDAY 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $17. (727) 895-3045.
Even when death metal acts were as common to Tampa Bay as sunburned tourists, Cannibal Corpse stood out from the pack. The group reigns supreme when it comes to lead-weight guitar riffing, double-bass pummeling and primal grunting and oinking (as good as any men should be, at least). Since suffering, mutilation and cyanide are recurring topics here, this isn’t so much for the Tardy for the Party crowd.
Michael Franti and Spearhead
WEDNESDAY 7 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $24-$27. (813) 247-2555.
“All the freaky people make the beauty of the world,” declares Michael Franti on Stay Human. Tall and shoeless with tie-dye ideals, Franti has always been desperate to change the world via a free-floating mix of rock, reggae, funk and jam. But on dancehall-ish rocker Say Hey (I Love You), Franti just wants to toast love in a world gone haywire. Following their opening set for John Mayer at the St. Pete Times Forum in February, a tbt* reviewer said, “If the Black Eyed Peas played instruments, they would be Michael Franti and Spearhead. That’s how lively, energetic and fun this group is.”
Steve Connelly and the Lesser Gods
With Ella Jet, The Ditchflowers
FRIDAY 8 p.m. The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $10. (727) 822-3590.
Steve Connelly steps out from behind the boards of his Pinellas Park recording studio to perform live with his band The Lesser Gods. Most local fans know Connelly, former sideman to ex-Byrd Roger McGuinn, as a free-spirited player with delightfully droopy tunes reminiscent of Tom Petty. Connelly will debut songs from soon-to-be-released Every Monster.
Pre-Heat Music Industry Panels
SATURDAY 1 p.m. CL Space, 1911 13th St. N #W200, Ybor City. Free with Heatwave wristband or $5. artistandwritersgroup.com
If you’re a musician heading to Tropical Heatwave, make a pre-show stop at the Pre-Heat Music Panel. Here you’ll learn how to copyright your work (mailing a CD to yourself doesn’t quite cut it), understand music publishing and licensing and talk with a panel of music critics and radio DJs who can analyze your demo.
Country Throwdown Tour
Featuring Montgomery Gentry, Eric Church, Ryan Bingham, Jamey Johnson, Little Big Town, Jack Ingram and more
FRIDAY 2.p.m. Ford Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N., Tampa. $15-$35. (813) 740-2446.
Alternative rock fans have the Warped Tour. Metal fans have Mayhem Fest, and independent ladies have Lilith Fair. Now country music devotees can get down at their very own multi-stage touring festival, the Country Throwdown. This daylong event goes heavy on can’t-be tamed troubadours like Jamey Johnson, Eric Church and the hard-livin’ Ryan Bingham. Bingham is about as croaky as a mountain lion, but as sexy as a Texas rodeo star (which was actually his day job before he joined the songwriting elite on the Lost Highway label). This year, Bingham won an Oscar for his contribution to the Crazy Heart soundtrack, The Weary Kind.
SATURDAY 4 p.m. Busch Gardens, 10165 N McKinley Dr., Tampa. Free with park admission. 1-888-800-5447.
Kirk Franklin’s loosened-tie Gospel tunes are some of the best-selling in history (Revolution). Like the P. Diddy of contemporary church music, Franklin has a talk-rap style and a genre-crossing smoothness that’s led to collaborations with Bono and Mary J. Blige. You might remember opener Mandisa as the beaming vocalist who quashed Simon Cowell’s fat jokes with forgiving words, not fighting ones (probably to the producers’ dismay).
Cage the Elephant
FRIDAY 9 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $15. (727) 895-3045.
Cage the Elephant’s dusty, rap-ish garage sound suggests a cross between Beck and Jack White, perfect for sweaty, down-South days. The funny thing is, Cage and company had to travel from their Bowling Green, Ky. home to the U.K. to get any attention. (Kings of Leon drummer Nathan Followill once told me that the Brits always seem quicker to embrace rock from the South). Back in the states, bills-to-pay hit Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked had critics hailing it as the best survival song of the year.
Mogul Street Reserve Fri. 10 p.m. The Local 662 (formerly the Garage Bar), 662 Central Ave., St Petersburg. (727) 896-2276.
Drive Like June Fri. With Trenchfoot Shindig, more. 8 p.m. Gasoline Alley, 14042 66th Street N, Largo. $5-$8. (727) 532-0265.
DJ Ekin Fri. 10 p.m. The Kennedy, 2408 W Kennedy Blvd. Tampa. (813) 259-9669.
Push Button Press CD release Fri. The Castle, 2004 N 16th St., Ybor City. $5-$6. castleybor.com.
Go Daddies Fri. and Sat. 10 p.m. Green Iguana Ybor, 1708 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. Free. (813) 248-9555.
Four Star Riot Fri. and Sat. 10 p.m. MacDinton’s, 405 S Howard Ave.,Tampa. Free. (813) 251-8999.
Pepe Alva Sat. 8 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $7. (813) 971-0666.
Concert for Hope Sat. featuring Tumbling Dice (Rolling Stones tribute), 1984 (Van Halen tribute) Destroyer (KISS tribute), 6 p.m. The Rotary Pavilion, 15325 Alric Pottberg Road, Shady Hills. $15-$20. divahopecharities.com
Sunset Bridge Sat. 6 p.m. Dunedin House of Beer, 927 Broadway, Dunedin. $15-$20. (727) 216-6318.
DJ Sharaz Sat. 9:30 p.m. The Venue, 2675 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater. (727) 571-2222.
The Baker Bruce Band Sat. 7 p.m. The Blue Parrot, 85 Corey Circle, St. Pete Beach. Free. (727) 368-9619.
Jonatha Brooke Mon. 7:30 p.m. The Straz Center, 1010 N W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. $25.50. (813) 229-7827.
-- Carole Liparoto, tbt*