This week in Tampa: Bruce Springsteen, R. Kelly, Santana, 98 Rockfest and more
We're just over one week away from Tampa's Big Guava Music Festival, but the next seven days are anything but quiet. We're about to see some of our most anticipated concerts of the year, including three of them next Thursday, the night before Big Guava hits town.
Here to walk you through one hell of a week -- Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, R. Kelly, 98 Rockfest, Santana, M. Ward, Zeds Dead, Mogwai, Chuck Ragan and The Camaraderie, Rob Thomas, Tamar Braxton, George Clinton, Brett Eldredge, Eddie Money, the Romantics, Boz Scaggs, the Mavericks, Dance Gavin Dance, Rodney Atkins, Cole Swindell and many more -- is Ray Roa...
With Avenged Sevenfold, Volbeat, Chevelle, Blackstone Cherry, Saigon Kick, The Pretty Reckless, Trivium, Lacuna Coil, Fozzy, We As Human, Werm, Nothing More
FRIDAY 1 p.m. Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $19-$59. (813) 301-2500.
It won’t be easy to top Alice In Chains (last year’s Rockfest headliner). The good folks at 98 Rock went all out this year, however, by trading Seattle grunge for ripping, born-for-pyrotechnics metalcore laid down by Huntington Beach, Calif.’s Avenged Sevenfold. The quintet arrive to support their bombastic, chest-thumping 2013 LP, Hail To The King, and they’ll have plenty of headbanging company. Midwest post-grunge trio Chevelle and Danish metalbilly outfit Volbeat are just two of the six bands scheduled to play inside the Forum, but fans without tickets (VIP, floor, and most club seats are already sold out) can still get in on the action thanks to a free outside stage headlined by Orlando’s own Trivium, who have been a staple of the internationally revered Roadrunner Records roster for more than half a decade now. Visit 98rock.com for up-to-date scheduling and ticket info.
With Tony Puccio, DJ Knex, Jason Gemini Ortis
SUNDAY Noon. Hogan’s Beach, 7700 W Courtney Campbell Highway, Tampa. $19.50-$30. (813) 281-8900.
Another month, another huge EDM concert on the sandy shoulders of the Courtney Campbell Causeway. Hogan’s Beach just hosted Dutch trance king Dash Berlin, and they’re at it again, tapping Toronto remix specialists Zeds Dead to bring neu-bass cuts like Hit Me, Bassmentality and Rude Boy to the sugar-sand shores of Tampa Bay. The duo (who derived their moniker from a line in Pulp Fiction) are signed to left-of-center tastemaking imprint Mad Decent and brought a raucous live set to both Coachella and Ultra Music Festival in 2012. The boys most recently rattled eardrums at the 2014 edition of the notorious two-day Hard Miami party and seem to be on a neverending world tour, so expect everything to be in full working order at this stop.
TUESDAY 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $89-$200. (727) 791-7400.
Carlos Santana epitomizes the phrase “living legend,” and believe it or not there are youngsters out there who have no clue what Woodstock even was. The 66-year-old first broke out thanks to his midday set at that one-off festival of all festivals (Woodstocks ’89, ’94, or ’99 never compared), and he’s spent every ounce of energy since bringing his weird guitar face (sorry John Mayer, Carlos did it first), signature licks, and Latin-flavored take on psychedelic rock 'n’ roll to happy ears worldwide. The last decade or so saw Carlos turn his trademark sound contemporary thanks to collaborations that range from genius (Smooth with Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas) to embarrassing (Into The Night with Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger), but expect deep-pocketed fans at this show to get almost half a century’s worth a his Hall Of Fame career.
WEDNESDAY 7:30 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave, Ybor City. $19 (813) 247-2555.
Coachella spent the last two weekends giving Mogwai the heartiest of middle fingers by scheduling them to play at virtually the same time as Queens of the Stone Age, Empire of the Sun and Pharrell. The Scottish post-rockers’ crowds were consequently small, but that shouldn’t be the case at this stop, as the Glasgow boys’ meandering brand of atmospheric (and sometimes boisterous) instrumental rock will have plenty of room to caress fans’ ear canals and sonic hearts. A new LP, this year’s Rave Tapes, is a gem in an already shimmering discography, but since soccer’s World Cup is drawing near, we’ve also got fingers crossed in hopes of hearing some material from 1996’s brilliantly bland (read: minimalist) soundtrack LP Zidane, a film documenting famed French midfielder Zinedine Zidane.
Chuck Ragan and The Camaraderie
With Jonny Two Bags
WEDNESDAY 8 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $17-$20. (813) 241-8600.
Most punk fans are probably still catching their breath after Fest 13 announced that Chuck Ragan’s most famous band, Hot Water Music, would celebrate 20 years of music by reuniting in Gainesville for their only Florida date this fall. Ragan’s most entrenched devotees, however, are getting primed and ready for a more immediate, mid-week encounter with the 39-year-old songwriter, who arrives in support a new LP, Till Midnight. The 10-track album led Rolling Stone to compare Ragan to Bruce Springsteen (who coincidentally plays Tampa less than 24 hours later), and Ragan comes backed up by a new band, The Camaraderie, whose lineup includes members of Lucero (Todd Beene on pedal steel), defunct pop-punkers Single File (bassist Joe Ginsberg) and Social Distorion (drummer David Hidalgo Jr.). Social D fans have even more reason to be happy, because the band’s guitarist, Jonny Two Bags, will play cuts from a new solo album to open the show.
With Mount Moriah
THURSDAY 7:30 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $20 and up. (727) 895-3045.
Despite being almost 3 years old, M. Ward’s last solo LP has aged extremely well. A Wasteland Companion is a dusty, time-bending album of cuts inspired by the sounds and thoughts of road-worn, weary troubadours from days gone by. It stands as Ward’s most commercially viable solo material, but it’s just a small piece of a one-of-a-kind discography that has found the Oregon-based master songsmith weaving his love of jazz, country and gospel into a new breed of mellow, sonically lush Americana. Ward cut his teeth playing with ’90s psych-folk band Rodriguez and his most current collaborations (Monsters Of Folk with members of My Morning Jacket and Bright Eyes, She & Him with indie darling Zooey Deschanel) have cemented Ward’s status as one of the most important and talented minds in American music today. Don’t be surprised if this long-overdue tour date ends up being the best show of the year.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
THURSDAY 7:30 p.m. MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $41-$124. (813) 740-2446.
That whimpering you hear is your pocketbook pondering the prospect of getting through the next few weeks without spending every last dime on concerts. Yup, a month that features some big music festivals (Big Guava, Tropical Heatwave) and noteworthy shows kicks off with a visit from The Boss, who arrives supporting a brand-new LP (High Hopes) that everyone except Courtney Love is proclaiming as yet another instant American classic. Springsteen, 64, just wrapped up some international dates, where his dependably lively show (think crowdsurfing and setlists that run more than three hours long) got an extra shot of libido (he twerked to a Bee Gees cover in Australia, people) basically ensuring that this summertime date is about 50 times steamier than his March 2012 stop at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Springsteen’s recent stateside outings have featured songs never before heard in encores (like Point Blank in Nashville less than two weeks ago), so don’t even think about leaving before the very end.
With Tamar Braxton
THURSDAY 8 p.m. Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $45-$115. (813) 301-2500.
There are many versions of R. Kelly we imagine encountering at this arena gig. While timeless hits like I Believe I Can Fly are anthemic and grand enough to fill the bowels of a 20,000-capacity room, the germaphobe in us definitely fears the prospect of being front row and meeting the same R. Kelly parodied by Dave Chappelle’s “Tron Carter” character in the early 2000s (Google it; it’s not pretty). In all fairness, Kelly, 47, has cleaned up his life since then, all while managing to lather his latest LP, Black Panties, with the kind of absurdly raunchy (Marry The P----) and party-all-night (Spend That) attitude that made songs like Ignition (Remix), Feelin’ On Yo’ Booty, Bump n’ Grind, and Down Low (Nobody Has To Know) truly indispensable chapters of modern R&B. Tamar Braxton — Toni’s baby sister — does open the show, if you really need another reason to show for this one.
Vance Gilbert Fri. 7 p.m. Craftsman House Gallery, 2955 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $20 donation. (727) 323-2787.
Brett Eldredge Fri. With Michael Ray. 7 p.m. Dallas Bull, 3322 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $10-$15. (813) 987-2855.
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic Fri. 7 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N., St. Petersburg. $20-$25. (727) 565-0550.
Maurice John Vaughn Fri. With Daryl Hance. 8 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $7-$10. (813) 971-0666.
Rob Thomas Fri. With 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $65-$150. (727) 791-7400.
Austin Miller Fri. With Mountain Holler. 10 p.m. Ella’s Americana Folk Art Café, 5119 N Nebraska, Ave., Tampa, Free. (813) 234-1000.
Julietta Fri. With Doug Kenderdine, Brian Busto. 10 p.m. Hyde Park Café, 1806 W Platt St., Tampa. $10. (813) 254-2233.
Treasure Island Blues Bash Sat. With Beautiful Bobby Blackmon, Shawn Brown, Doug Demming and the Jeweltones, Sarasota Slim, T.C. Carr and Bolts of Blue, Tomkats Jazz Orchestra. 11 a.m. Treasure Island Community Center Park, 1 Park Place, Treasure Island. Free. (727) 547-4575, ect 237.
Fun ’n Sun Celebration With Eddie Money, The Romantics, Orleans, Atlanta Rhythm Section, more (Saturday); Rodney Atkins, Cole Swindell, Swon Brothers LoCash Cowboys, Natalie Stovall and the Drive, more (Sunday). Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater. $10-$125. (727) 562-4800. funnsunclearwater.com
Alchemy Fest 9 Sat. With Good Graeff, Hymn For Her, Red Feather, Rebekah Pulley, Luxury Mane, more. Noon. First Unity Spiritual Campus, 460 46th Ave. S, St. Petersburg. $8-$12. (727) 527-2222.
Dance Gavin Dance Sun. With Capture The Crown, Palisades, Bleach Blonde, Makari. 6:30 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $15 and up. (727) 895-3045.
Wine & Rhyme Sun. With Dynasty, Jariah Higgns, Annex, Queen of Ex. 7 p.m. Crumb & Cork, 501 N Franklin St., Tampa. $15. (813) 221-7680.
Gardens & Villa Sat. With Good Graeff. 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N. 17th St., Ybor City. $7-$10. (813) 241-8600.
Boz Scaggs Tues. 7:30 p.m. The Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $85-$95. (727) 791-7400.
Black Label Society Tues. With Devil You Know. 8 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $29.50 and up. (813) 247-2555.
The London Souls Wed. 7 p.m. The Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $10. facebook.com/thelocal662.
Scott Harrell Wed. 7 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. Free. (813) 248-4969.
The Mavericks Wed. and May 2. 8 p.m. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $45-$55. (727) 791-7400.
Suicide Commando Thurs. With Cyanide Regime, 00tz 00tz. 6:30 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20-$35. (813) 248-9500.
Rock The Park Thurs. With Big Shoals, Nostalgia Amarilla, Kristopher James. 6:30 p.m. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Dr., Tampa. Free. (813)274-8677.
-- Ray Roa, tbt*