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This week in Tampa: 97X Next Big Thing, Legends of the Old School, Joe Bonamassa and more



One of the biggest and most anticipated music days of the year arrives Saturday: 97X Next Big Thing, featuring Twenty One Pilots (above), Of Monsters and Men, Walk the Moon and more in Tampa. But there are a ton of other big shows on tap this weekend, including Joe Bonamassa, MS MR, Lucero, JoJo, the Mavericks, Chris Tomlin, Kevin Griffin, Northlane, Dance Gavin Dance, Jim Brickman, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Peter White, the Delta Saints, the Charlie Daniels Band and the Legends of the Old School concert, featuring Salt-N-Pepa, Vanilla Ice, Naughty By Nature and more. Here to walk you through it all are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa... 97X Next Big Thing
With Twenty One Pilots, Of Monsters and Men, the Neighbourhood, Walk the Moon, X Ambassadors, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Robert DeLong, Coleman Hell, Borns, PVRIS, Saint Motel, Glass Animals
SATURDAY 10 a.m. MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa.
How’s this for a stunningly swift rise: In 2011, Ohio alt-pop duo Twenty One Pilots practically opened 97X Next Big Thing, taking the stage at 10:40 a.m. This year, on the strength of their No. 1 album Blurryface, they’re closing the whole show — and ticket sales have been through the roof since Day 1. Twenty One Pilots might very well be the poster band for Next Big Thing, which returns for a 15th year Saturday in Tampa. It’s an alt-rock festival that’s all about showing love to new acts, then watching them skyrocket into the stratosphere. This year delivers one of its youngest and most intriguing lineups yet, with Icelandic folksters Of Monsters and Men (Little Talks), swoony Cali rockers the Neighbourhood (Sweater Weather) and good-time fun bunch Walk the Moon (Shut Up and Dance) joining Twenty One Pilots at the top of the card. Further down are red-hot rookies like X Ambassadors (Renegades), Robert DeLong (Long Way Down), Coleman Hell (2 Heads), Borns (Electric Love) and PVRIS (My House), along with fellow youngsters Saint Motel and Glass Animals. How fresh is this bunch? Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness is this year’s token wily old veteran, and McMahon is all of 33. Time flies, doesn’t it? Just ask Twenty One Pilots. Next Big Thing is officially sold out, but you’ll be able to win tickets via 97X through Friday. Get details at

FRIDAY 6 p.m. Vinoy Renaissance Hotel & Golf Club, 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Free (RSVP requird).

If you notice a man and woman who look an awful lot like New York electro-pop duo MS MR wandering the streets of Tampa Bay this week, you’re not seeing things. It’s really them. The duo is hitting the Sunshine City to film an episode of The Navigator Live, a music and travel series produced by AXS TV in conjunction with Renaissance Hotels. Their experience will culminate with a free concert Friday at the Vinoy Renaissance Hotel & Golf Club. It should be a good show. MS MR’s sophomore album How Does It Feel, which came out this summer, features more of their icy, stylish indie pop. Singer Lizzy Plapinger co-founded influential label Neon Gold, which helped launch artists like Passion Pit, Tove Lo, Ellie Goulding, Haim, Icona Pop, Gotye and Charli XCX, among many others. The best part? You can get on the guest list. All you have to do is RSVP at MS MR’s episode of The Navigator Live will air next spring on AXS TV and in Renaissance Hotels.

Legends of the Old School
With Salt-N-Pepa, Vanilla Ice, Naughty By Nature, Color Me Badd, K7 and TKA, 2 Live Crew
FRIDAY 7:30 p.m. USF Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $35 and up. (727) 974-3004.
You can debate whether Vanilla Ice is “old school,” and you can most definitely debate whether he’s a legend. But you can’t deny that Friday’s Legends of the Old School concert at the USF Sun Dome, featuring Mr. Rob Van Winkle rocking the mic like a vandal, will be one nonstop neon party. Ice joins a slew of late-’80s/early-’90s hip-pop acts at the Dome, including headliners Salt-N-Pepa (Push It, Shoop, Whatta Man), Naughty By Nature (O.P.P., Hip Hop Hooray), Color Me Badd (I Wanna Sex You Up, All 4 Love), K7 and TKA (Come Baby Come, Louder Than Love) and a sadly Uncle Luke-free 2 Live Crew (Me So Horny). Spandex, Zubaz and high-top fades are not required for admission, but they’ll definitely be appreciated.

Joe Bonamassa
FRIDAY and SATURDAY 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. (727) 791-7400.
Could the best blues rocker in America be a 38-year-old white guy from the suburbs of Utica, N.Y.? Well, “best” is a relative term, but Joe Bonamassa might very well be the most successful. A disciple of British greats like Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Jeff Beck, he is — in addition to being a massive live concert draw — a prodigious self-marketer, hawking everything from DVDs to pedals to bobbleheads to guitar-shaped cheese boards through his website. He’s no Gene Simmons just yet; most casual music fans have probably never heard of him (his store also sells T-shirts that say “Bona-who?”). But anyone who can sell tickets for $92.75 and up for back-to-back concerts at Ruth Eckerd Hall is doing something right.

The Mavericks
SATURDAY. 8 p.m. The Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $49.50-$69.50 (727) 791-7400.

Call the Capitol Theatre if you want to head out this show and don’t have a ticket. The Mavericks are notorious for packing the buildings they play and it just might be thanks to their notoriously rambunctious live set. The quartet -- founded in Miami almost three decades ago -- always reserve a pit area where fans can partake in “spontaneous, joyous dancing” and revelers will have plenty to move to on Saturday. The Grammy winners have a brand new album to show off (Mono, released in February), and while founding member Robert Reynolds will not be in the lineup (he was fired in December at the hands of his addiction to opiates), he is in the credits for Mono. Reynolds spirit lives on in the songs and the Mavericks’ catalog, however, which is rooted in country, but dips into rock & roll, latin music, and pop more often than not.

Roy Book Binder
FRIDAY 8 p.m. Carrollwood Cultural Center, 4537 Lowell Road, Tampa. $21-$29. (813) 269-1310.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a serious guitar player who hasn’t stumbled across a dusty, totally ’80s instructional VHS tape with Roy Book Binder’s goofy, moustached mug on the front cover, but whether he was preaching the gospel of slide guitar, open tunings, finger-picking or the 12-bar blues, it was always useful. At 72 years old, the songwriter is still probably just as believable, and he makes a stop in the burbs on Friday to share a bunch of stories from his almost half-century of music-making and also work through material from his dozen full lengths. It’s rare to find players this well-versed in so many American guitar traditions, and it’s even less common to see them in Carrollwood.

Michael J. Wolf’s Nutcracker Punk Bash
With Wolf-Face, Pool Party, You Vandal, Awkward Age, Big Brother
FRIDAY 8 p.m. Fubar, 658 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $5. (727) 424-1809.
It’s not exactly an uncommon occasion to find lupine punks Wolf-Face (a 2013 tbt* Ultimate Local Artist) stalking venues on either side of the bay, and while longtime fans might be getting used to the band’s onstage antics (think NSFW videos featuring male genitalia), it’ll be interesting to see what frontman Michael J. Wolf pulls at his own holiday show. He’ll be joined by two excellent, punk- and hardcore-leaning Tampa acts (Awkward Age, Big Brother), but the furballs also welcome Gainesville’s You Vandal (supporting Abandon All Hope, their sunny 2015 LP) and party-starting, Ambien-eating Miami power-pop weirdos Pool Party to help it get really sweaty at this St. Pete dive with surprisingly great beer selections.

Crowbar 9-Year Anniversary
With Dirty Bourbon River Show, Poetry ’n Lotion, The Underhill Family Orchestra, The Hummingbirds, Acho Brother, DJ Deacon, DJ Joeydaglasses
SATURDAY 7 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. Free. (813) 241-8600.
The last year has been good for the crew at Ybor City venue Crowbar. They opened their 2015 campaign with a scorching, sold-out show featuring the Screaming Eagle of Soul (Charles Bradley) and haven’t looked back, hosting benefit concerts, increasingly popular weeklies like Ol’ Dirty Sundays, local sleeper shows and dozens of national acts. A recent duo of back-to-back soldout soirees found an all-star cast of bay-area folkies recreating Scorsese classic The Last Waltz and then Ivan Neville’s booty-shaking Dumpstaphunk project filling the room to capacity less than 24 hours later. On Saturday, owner/general manager Tom DeGeorge waives a cover charge and invites the community to help his bar celebrate nine years of business with a rowdy New Orleans circus brass band (Dirty Bourbon River Show), some Alabama hootenanny makers (Underhill Family Orchestra) as well as seasoned locals Acho Brother, The Hummingbirds and Poetry ’n Lotion.

Chris Tomlin
With Crowder, Lauren Daigle
TUESDAY 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $35-$95. (727) 791-7400.
Soundcheck quite often sends music fans to a lot of dark bars with heavy pours and good beer. If you wish we’d help you get in touch with a more spiritual side of the scene, then this is the concert for you. Chris Tomlin was just in town for a big show at the USF Sundome in February, but the 42-year-old Texas-born, Grammy-winning worship leader downsizes and turns up the yuletide flavor for a Christmas concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall. The vehicle he arrives on is a 2015 live album (Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship), so expect a whole lot of hallelujah, Holy Night and at least one bone-chilling duet between Tomlin and tourmate Lauren Daigle, who delivers a stirring performance on Adore highlight Noel. Bearded, banjo-wielding, singer-songwriter David Crowder is also on the bill.

The Hackensaw Boys
TUESDAY 8 p.m. The Ale and The Witch, 111 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. $7-$15 (727) 821-2533.

Most shows at hidden St. Petersburg craft-beer haven the Ale and the Witch won’t cost you a penny to attend. This one is well worth the price of a ticket. The Hackensaw Boys are a true blast from the past, and they seem to have been hit with every hootin’ and hollerin’ branch and bush as they tumbled down the fiddle-strokin’, banjo-picking, big-bass plucking hills of the Appalachian Mountains. They boast an offensive and defensive line’s worth of ex-band members, but their shtick is less dependent of personnel and leans more on tradition and their trademark live show that features amazing fretwork, great harmonies and at least one set of soup-can drums, so be ready to do some foot-tapping and pint-glass tipping.

With Volumes, Cane Hill, Coldrain
WEDNESDAY 6:30 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15-$35. (813) 248-9500.
Has there ever been a petition to recognize Ybor City’s Orpheum as Tampa’s unofficial United Nations of metal? The 720-capacity club is no stranger to bands that shred, but it seems to be the de facto landing pad for headbangers who need work visas to play a show. Northlane, which hails from Sydney, Australia, are the next in line and come supporting a new LP (Node, released in July) that finds relatively new singer Marcus Bridge moving away from the deep grunting and growling found on Northlane’s earlier stuff in lieu of cleaner, more melodic vocal arrangements. All the aggression, big riffs and half-time breakdowns from the whole of the band’s young discography are still intact, and it’ll be interesting to see if the boys can bring the soldout audiences they enjoy back home to American venues.

With Aaron Camper
THURSDAY 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $21-$23. (727) 895-3045.

If you were born after 2000, then you most likely don’t remember Joanna Blagden. If you have graduated high school, then you can probably recall a little lady named JoJo who had a song (Leave) go No. 1 on pop charts and crack the top 20 of the Billboard 200. She was a bona fide child star (12 years old when she signed her record deal) who claims to have been burned by her former imprint, but now — free from constraint — the 24-year-old has returned with a trio of new singles (Say Love, Save My Soul, and When Love Hurts). An official album is due next year via her new caretakers at Atlantic Records, so expect her to preview it and throw it back to her old days at this one.

SATURDAY 7 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $22.

Lucero recently took a short break for Thanksgiving, and they’ve just completed a two-week swing through Oklahoma, Utah and the west coast. Before that it was a month-long jog up the Eastern seaboard, Canada and the Midwest. They picked it back up on  Thursday in Ponte Vedra , and will romp around the South for the rest of 2016 before restarting the machine in February for a swing through the United Kingdom. Not bad for a group of dudes who, more than a decade ago, started out playing country songs to punk kids in clubs that sometimes only had a dozen people in the crowd. The guys — guitarist Brian Venable, keys guru Rick Steff, and drummer Roy Berry — arrive at The Ritz in Ybor City on Saturday with Lucero frontman Ben Nichols leading the charge. Nichols, 41, let his heart bleed on the band’s new LP, All a Man Should Do. The title is borrowed from a lyric in I’m in Love With a Girl, the closer on Big Star’s 1974 masterpiece Radio City. Lucero covers that heart-breaking ballad toward the end of I’m in Love. The album is a roller coaster, but fans will be ready to ride it on Saturday when Lucero works through a two-hour, career-spanning set split into acoustic and electric sets.

Also Playing

Dance Gavin Dance, Sat. With Slaves, A Lot Like Birds, Dayshell, Strawberry Girls. 5:30 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $13-$40. (813) 248-9500.

Jenn Bostic, Fri. 6 p.m. The Hideaway Café, 1756 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $10. (727) 644-7895.

The Soul Rebels, Fri. With Parker Urban Band. 8 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $17-$20. (813) 971-0666.

TECO & Gasparilla Music Festival Present Streetcar Live, Sat. With Boxcar Hollow. 4:40 p.m. Centennial Park, 1800 Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $2.50-$5. (813) 254-4278.

Charlie Daniels Band, Sat. With Confederate Railroad, Little Texas, Pitbull Toddler, The Embry Brothers. 5 p.m. The Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $10-$15. (727) 791-7400.

HCC Music Club Fundraiser, Sat. With Living Decent, DRUG, Razorcombs, Morris Bridge. 7:30 p.m. Tre Amici at the Bunker, 1907 N 19th St., Ybor City. $5 Minimum Donation. (813) 247-6964.

Madchild, Sat. 8 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $13-$15. (727) 895-3045.

Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Sat. 8 p.m. Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 565-0550.

John McCutcheon, Sun. 5 p.m. Craftsman House Gallery, 2955 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $33. (727) 323-2787.

Revolver Magazine’s South for the Win-Tour, Wed. 8 p.m. With Seasons After, Everybody Panic!, Dead Horse Trauma, Saint Diablo. The Brass Mug, 1450 Skipper Road, Tampa. $10. (813) 972-8152.

Jim Brickman Wed. 7:30 p.m. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $35 and up. (727) 791-7400.

Peter White Thurs. With Mindi Abair, Rick Braun, 7:30 p.m. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $42.75 and up. (727) 791-7400.

Kevin Griffin, Thurs. 6 p.m. Cuban Club, 2010 Avenida Republica De Cuba, Ybor City. $25-$45. (813) 248-2954.

The Delta Saints, Thurs. 8 p.m. The Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $10.

Quintron & Miss Pussycat, Thurs. With Gino & The Goons, UFO Sex Scene. 8 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $7-$10. (813) 248-4969.

Psychomagic, Thurs. With Sonic Graffiti, Ask For Tiger. 10 p.m. The Bends, 919 First Ave. St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 202-8931.

-- Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa

[Last modified: Thursday, December 3, 2015 4:17pm]


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