This week in Tampa: Andrea Bocelli, Diana Ross, Bryson Tiller and more
Barry Manilow! Andrea Bocelli! Yanni! This is the greatest musical week your mom has ever had. But if soft rock and popera aren't your bag, there's still a ton of other great music out there in Tampa Bay this week, including Bryson Tiller (above), Diana Ross, Yonder Mountain String Band, Moon Taxi, JJ Grey, Marc Broussard, Luther Dickinson, Anders Osborne, Madeon, Hawthorne Heights, the Ataris, Mest, Chris Barrows, Children of Bodom, Bubba Sparxxx, Skylar Spence, Brad Noblitt, Agent Orange, Drivin' 'N' Cryin', Cliff Eberhardt, Keller Williams and more. Here to walk you through it all are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa...
WEDNESDAY 7 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. Sold out. (813) 390-0397 or theritzybor.com.
The fact that Bryson Tiller’s concert at the Ritz Ybor sold out long ago should tell you how fast his star is rising. The Kentucky R&B singer has three simmering, sizzling singles from his debut album Trapsoul shooting up the Billboard Hot 100: Don’t, Exchange and Sorry Not Sorry. Each has an edge that flirts with the darkened corners of the soul occupied by the likes of the Weeknd, Jeremih and Travis Scott. That helps explain why he has been co-signed by Drake, Timbaland and R. Kelly, and why GQ has called him “the new surprise hero of R&B.” “The people, they diggin’ me now,” he sings on Ten Nine Fourteen. “The cool kids from high school can’t sit with me now.” Yeah, especially if he keeps selling out venues coast to coast.
WEDNESDAY 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $58.75 and up. (727) 791-7400 or rutheckerdhall.com.
Diana Ross is 71, but you’d never know it from her jam-packed datebook. Her concert Feb. 10 at Ruth Eckerd Hall will be her fifth local show since 2010 — and that’s not counting her trips to Universal Orlando, where she’ll return for the park’s Mardi Gras Concert Series on Feb. 13. The Motown diva still delivers the goods each night, from her singles with the Supremes (Baby Love, You Can’t Hurry Love, Stop! In the Name of Love) to her solo hits (I’m Coming Out, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough) to her stint as Dorothy in The Wiz (Ease on Down the Road). At an age when many singers are hanging it up (or worse), Ross is out there proving she’s as timeless as ever.
Sunshine City Songwriters Festival
TUESDAY-FEB. 14. Various times and venues around St. Petersburg. Prices vary by event. See sunshinecitysongfest.com.
The inaugural Sunshine City Songwriters Festival isn’t your everyday music fest. It’s six days and nights of a la carte concerts and workshops across St. Petersburg — bars, theaters, museums, galleries — which means fans better come rested, with plenty of gas in the tank and cash in their wallets. But the payoff should be worth it for anyone eager to get inside the hearts and minds of some of America’s best songsmiths. The fest opens with two free events. First is a folk night led by Pete Gallagher and Pat Barmore at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Old Key West Bar and Grill, 2451 Central Ave. Then at 7 p.m. Feb. 10, there’s an unplugged “campfire concert” at the Ale and the Witch, 111 Second Ave. NE. On Feb. 11, Folk-fusion troubadour Zoe Lewis performs at 6:30 p.m. at the Hideaway Cafe, 1756 Central Ave.; tickets are $15-$17. Then at 8:30 p.m., it’s New York folk singer Cliff Eberhardt with Louise Mosrie at the Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N ($28-$33). Then next weekend brings big shows by Patty Griffin, Sara Watkins and Anais Mitchell on Feb. 12 at the Mahaffey Theatre; Kinky Friedman at Craftsman House Gallery; and Nerissa Nields at the Museum of Fine Arts. Check the festival’s website for a complete lineup and schedule.
Yonder Mountain String Band
With Keller & the Keels
FRIDAY 6 p.m. Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $22-$25. (727) 565-0550.
Not even one Rand McNally could tell you where Yonder Mountain actually is , but anyone with ears could tell you that the String Band from that neck of the woods can do twang just as good — if not better —- than most everyone else touring today. They’ll be without longtime mandolin player and singer Jeff Austin, since he amicably parted ways with the group in 2014 after taking some paternity time with his newborn daughter. Allie Krall has since stepped in on fiddle and handles a lot of the vocals on a new album — last year’s harmony-driven Black Sheep — along with new mandolin guy Jake Jolliff. Jam circuit staple Keller Williams will bring his bluegrass project to open the show.
With Maria Aleida, Eugene Kohn and the Bella Music Orchestra
THURSDAY Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $75 and up. (813) 301-2500, amaliearena.com.
Few artists speak the language of love like Andrea Bocelli, the renowned Italian tenor who returns to Amalie Arena on Thursday for his third Tampa concert in five years. Unlike the last two, however, this one is tied not to Christmas, but Valentine’s Day. Perfect, we say, because who out there has melted more hearts over the years than Bocelli? What’s the over-under on the number of proposals that’ll take place before, during or after this show? How many tissues will we all need by the end of Time To Say Goodbye? For this show, Bocelli, a part-time South Florida resident, will sprinkle in songs from his latest album, Cinema, a collection of interpretations of stage and screen songs like West Side Story (Maria), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Moon River) and The Phantom of the Opera (The Music of the Night). Yes, Cinema also features duets with Ariana Grande and the Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger; that, we can’t really explain. But once Bocelli starts singing, we won’t need to. We’ll just open our hearts and start swooning.
FRIDAY 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $48.75-$175. (727) 791-7400.
Yanni has been around for a good long time now. The 61-year-old Greek multi-instrumentalist and composer still knows how to have a good time though, as evidenced by his hilariously titled new album, Sensuous Chill (released last week). And yes, it is definitely smooth and mellow enough to soundtrack the stuff people do after “Netflix and Chill.” Some of you call his tunes elevator music, but Yanni — who thankfully doesn’t go by his birth name, Giánnis Chrysomállis — shields himself from your jabs with millions upon millions of records sold and the countless sold-out rooms he’s played. He brings Chill to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Friday, where a 15-piece orchestra will help him re-create sounds from the album. Should something more important come up, you’ll still have a chance to see it on TV when Yanni premieres a PBS special — Live From the Great Pyramids — in March.
With Fay Roy, The Other Ryan Willis
FRIDAY 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $10-$13. (813) 241-8600.
In 2011, Wild Child added a poignant page to pop music’s big ol’ book of sticky, sweet duets with the release of Pillow Talk, a ukulele-driven, finger-snapping love letter that would make Jason Mraz proud. The Austin, Texas-based septet have a knack for that sort of thing and flexed their indie-pop muscles all over 2013’s Ben Kweller-produced The Runaround and again on 2015’s Fools, in which horns, strings, and other instruments are peppered in with powerful piano rock (Break Bones), smoky confessions (Meadows), and a party-starting title track. Local pop-folk heros The Other Ryan Willis open a show worth getting out early for.
With Mosquito Teeth, Dealbreakers
FRIDAY 9 p.m. Fubar, 658 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 424-1809.
Walk into the old punk or local section of any Tampa Bay area record shop, and you’re bound to find something that Chris Barrows has been a part of. The Kansas-born legend is most famous for founding the Pink Lincolns back in the 1980s, and though he still plays with the beloved outfit, he did also helm a short-lived project, The Spears, and put out a pair of solo releases over the last half-decade. His stage show is infamous, and not for everyone, but if you’re in the mood to see a crowd get shoved around and sweat upon, then a Friday night trip to this Central Avenue dive is a must-do.
With The Lonely Biscuits
SATURDAY 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $17-$22. (727) 895-3045.
Nashville so often gets pigeonholed as just a country music mecca where songwriters go to either get their dreams broken or find out they really are gifted enough to put their noses to the grindstone and eke out a living making music. Bands like Moon Taxi are a reminder that there are other sounds floating around Nash Vegas. The outfit was born in ’Bama — Birmingham, to be exact — but cut their teeth in the Volunteer State releasing a trio of albums of proggy, jam-flavored pop rock ’n’ roll before finally breaking through with 2013’s Mountains Beaches Cities. A new album, last year’s Daybreaker, earned the boys — Trevor Terndrup, Tommy Putnam, Spencer Thompson, Tyler Ritter and Wes Bailey — a couple of late-night appearances, and Moon Taxi will be taking a trip to Indio, Calif., in April for a show at famed SoCal music festival Coachella. (We made it, mom!)
Southern Soul Assembly
With JJ Grey, Marc Broussard, Luther Dickinson, Anders Osborne
SATURDAY 8 p.m. The Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $39.75-$58.75. (727) 791-7400.
Many a music fan would suggest that Floridians aren’t Southern, but reside, in fact, south of the South. It’s hard to argue with that, but the sentiment also makes it mighty hard to explain why one of the Sunshine State’s own — JJ Grey — found himself on the Southern Soul Assembly tour alongside some of Southern music’s biggest names. Grey, frontman for Jacksonville-based Mofro, is kind of like Florida’s own swampy poet laureate, and he’ll hold his own just fine next to North Mississippi Allstars and former Black Crowes guitarist Luther Dickinson, plus a pair of Louisiana cats — Carenco’s Marc Broussard and famed New Orleans songwriter Anders Osborne. The show finds the collective playing songs and shooting the breeze using the artist-in-the-round setup, so expect a lot of jokes, friendly jabs and down-home storytelling at this one.
With The Ataris, Mest
SUNDAY 5 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $17-$20. (813) 248-9500.
Four years ago, Hawthorne Heights loudly proclaimed that Ohio Is For Lovers. The emo mainstays have faded in and out of popularity over the last few years, but it turns out that true fans don’t have to abandon their favorite bands when they outgrow their favorite retail stores. (Hot Topic, we’re looking at you.) The band is back in our neck of the woods to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their 2006 LP, If Only You Were Lonely, and will turn the nostalgia up to 11 at this early Sunday show where they’ll play the 12-track genre classic in full. They’ll be joined by a pair of vintage pop-punk acts, The Ataris and Mest, for this victory lap.
With Skylar Spence
THURSDAY 8 p.m. The Ritz, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20-$35. (813) 247-2555.
Hugo Pierre Leclercq should have probably split his 2015 LP into two parts, and though Adventure does grow a bit weary over the course of its 65 minutes, the album’s peaks (You’re On, Finale, The City) are nothing short of euphoric. The 21-year-old Frenchman better known as Madeon comes to Ybor City riding high on his wildly popular hybrid of disco, house and pop music. Older folks may remember his remix of The Killers’ Smile Like You Mean It from five years ago, but the rest of us probably caught wind of the youngster when he released a music video, Pop Culture, that mixed four decades of pop music into a 3 1/2-minute sonic time capsule. Leclercq, despite his age, has already co-written with bigs like Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos and even opened for Swedish House Mafia, so expect the show to be nothing short of a spectacle on Thursday.
Bubba Sparxxx, Fri. 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $10. (727) 895-3045.
To All My Dear Friends (Album Release), Fri. With roboBOREALIS, Kineticus. 7 p.m. Studio@620, First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. $5-$10 donation. (727) 895-6620.
Empire Cinema, Fri. With MrEnc, Fast Talkers. 10 p.m. The Bends, 919 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 202-8931.
TECO & Gasparilla Music Festival Present Streetcar Live, Sat. With Connor Zwetsch. 5 p.m. Centennial Park, 1800 Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $2.50-$5. (813) 254-4278.
Kevin K Band, Sat. With Party Flag, The Surfin’ Dead, The Male Order Brides. 7 p.m. The Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. facebook.com/thelocal662.
Brad Noblitt, Sat. 7:30 p.m. Murray Studio Theatre at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $25. (727) 791-7400.
WAHH World Fusion Band, Sun. 5 p.m. The Hideaway Café, 1756 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $12-$15. (727) 644-7895.
Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ Sun. 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $15. (727) 895-3045.
Agent Orange, Mon. With In the Whale. 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $12. (727) 895-3045.
Robert Ellis, Mon. With Will Quinlan, Kristopher James. 8 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $10-$12. (813) 241-8600.
Children of Bodom, Tue. With Havok. 8 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $25-$40. (813) 248-9500.
Decapitated, Wed. With The Cunningham Wake, Funeral For a Clown, Grasping at the Shadow, Aera Cura. 6:30 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $15-$18. (727) 895-3045.
-- Jay Cridlin