This week in Tampa: Dave Matthews Band, Gwen Stefani, Counting Crows, Lil Dicky and more
This week, we bid a fond farewell and hearty congratulations to Ray Roa, who has been a crucial part of Soundcheck's music coverage over the last few years, and who is leaving to become the music editor at Creative Loafing. Anyone who follows Tampa Bay music knows how much Ray loves and appreciates the scene, and his writing will be sorely missed here. Wish him well, everyone.
This week's concert picks from Ray and Jay Cridlin include Dave Matthews Band, Gwen Stefani, Counting Crows, Rob Thomas, Lil Dicky, Ted Nugent, Awolnation, Eve, Butch Trucks, Cannibal Corpse, Biz Markie, Nile, Doctor P, Ken Stringfellow, Nile, Koo Koo Kanga Roo, Harry and the Potters and more. One last time, take it away, guys...
Counting Crows and Rob Thomas
With K Phillips
SATURDAY 6:45 p.m. MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $23.50 and up. (813) 740-2446. livenation.com.
When Counting Crows released their seminal 1993 album August and Everything After, songwriters around the country couldn’t help but take notice. “If you were a songwriter and you were in a band, there was no way that that record, at that time, wasn’t going to have some sort of influence on you,” said Matchbox Twenty singer Rob Thomas, who this summer is touring with buddy Adam Duritz’s band. “I remember him and I were in Italy one time together,” Thomas said. “He had a day off, and I was doing a day of press. He just decided to come along, just so every time I would go on the radio, he could jump over my shoulder and start telling everybody that I ripped off everything he’d ever done.” Yeah, there are similarities between Counting Crows’ Mr. Jones and Rain King and Matchbox Twenty’s Real World and 3 A.M. But Thomas has forged a blockbuster career as a songwriter in his own right, both with Matchbox Twenty (If You’re Gone, Unwell) and solo (This is How a Heart Breaks, Santana’s Smooth). Saturday’s concert offers a chance to hear both acts’ catalogs in one summer setting.
Dave Matthews Band
WEDNESDAY 8 p.m. MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4202 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $31.50 and up at livenation.com.
In 2017, for only the third time since 1998, the Dave Matthews Band won’t be coming to Tampa. Crazy, right? How can it possibly be summer without Dave shucking and shimmying across the stage in the sweltering Florida heat? But it seems even jam-band road warriors need a year off every now and then. All the more reason to hit up Dave’s 2016 tour, which stops at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre at 8 p.m. Wednesday. As you probably know, the band mixes up setlists from show to show, so there’s no guarantee you’ll hear huge hits like Ants Marching, What Would You Say or The Space Between (although he typically feels pretty generous in Tampa; last summer, the Amp got all three). But summer Dave shows are a rite of passage, no matter what he plays. If you’ve never caught one, there’s never been a better time. Because he won’t be back until 2018.
With New Beat Fund, Airsickness
SUNDAY 7 p.m. Jannus Live, 200 First St. N, St. Petersburg. Free with ticket; get drop locations at 97xonline.com.
You’d better be a stellar amazing live performer to hang with Rage Against the Machine and Public Enemy. Aaron Bruno qualifies. He’s the roaring, raging voice and composer behind electronic alt-rock collage act Awolnation, who this fall will go out on tour with Prophets of Rage, the new supergroup featuring Rage’s Tom Morello and others, Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Cypress Hill’s B-Real. Their tour stops at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Oct. 1, but if you can’t wait, Awolnation will play a free show Sunday in St. Petersburg, courtesy of rock station 97X. You do need a free ticket to enter, but having a ticket doesn’t necessarily guarantee admission. If you want to Sail on in, start lining up early.
SATURDAY 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $33.25 and up. (727) 791-7400, rutheckerdhall.com.
A Ted Nugent concert is always a rootin’, tootin’ affair, replete with furious shredfests like Stranglehold and Cat Scratch Fever. But bring the Motor City Madman to town in the middle of the wildest, wackiest presidential race in history, and there’s no telling what’ll happen. An staunch conservative and furious supporter of the second amendment, he’s one of the few big celebrity supporters of Donald Trump (though his tour schedule prevented him from appearing at the Republican National Convention). His concerts tend to be rife with self-righteous, jingoistic stage banter, and you can count on Uncle Ted to lob plenty of barbs Hillary Clinton’s way. But even if he doesn’t change your mind politically, you’ll probably appreciate his rabid chops on the ax.
TUESDAY 7 p.m. MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $22.95 and up. (813) 740-2446. livenation.com.
There were times when it seemed to Gwen Stefani like her first solo album in a decade, This Is What The Truth Feels Like, would never come out. She was in the throes of an awful divorce from Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, and was suffering below the surface of what people could see. But as her life unraveled, she found that she was starting to write in a way she hadn’t since before No Doubt’s breakthrough album Tragic Kingdom, inspired by heartache and nothing else. The songs were a gift from God, she says, a “Band-Aid to kind of help me through this crazy time in my life.” Understated songs like Rare and Truth capture this emotion wonderfully. And the album’s first single, the roller-disco confection Make Me Like You, was inspired by her falling for Blake Shelton, her fellow coach on The Voice, who was going through a divorce of his own. “Music has to be from real life, and it has to be honest and with the right intentions for people to connect to it,” she says. “I just feel so grateful to have to go through the pain to get to this place because sometimes that’s what you have to do.” This tour reunites Stefani with Eve, the rapper with whom she collaborated on early-2000s smashes Let Me Blow Ya Mind and Rich Girl.
Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band
with The Ries Brothers
FRIDAY 8 p.m. The Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland Street, Clearwater. $20-$45. (727) 791-7400.
There aren’t many better musical family trees to branch off of when it comes to roots rock, and while one would think Butch Trucks holds all that sacred, the Jacksonville-born founding drummer for the the Allman Brothers Band sure did show off some loose lips in a recent interview with Forbes, where he said the Grateful Dead “bored me stiff” and admitted to being “full of coke” at Mountain Jam over four decades ago. The 69-year-old can lay claim to surviving all that madness, though, and he brings his Freight Train Band — including his son Vaylor, bassist Berry Oakely Jr. (son of the late Allmans bassist), keyboardist Bruce Katz and guitarist Heather Gillis — to the Capitol Theatre for a Friday-night treat. The icing on the cake comes in the form of hometown bluesman Damon Fowler, who has joined Trucks’ band to showcase some of the six-string prowess that has garnered him national praise.
FRIDAY 9 p.m. Drynk, 302 S Howard Avenue, Tampa. SOLD OUT (813) 347-9141.
The legend of Lil Dicky starts with a big vocabulary. The 28-year-old Pennsylvania-born rapper regularly shows it off when he hits radio shows to freestyle about running for the Senate, dudes with tall Frappuccinos, and even Pat Summitt all while giving subtle nods to the fact that he’s riding on the inevitable spoils of being a white upper-middle-cruster who’ll never be able to relate to the struggles some rappers choose to spit about in their rhymes. He hustles though, and the efforts have earned Mr. Dicky, aka Davey Wavey but born David Burd, lots of respect in an evolving hip-hop landscape that seems to be rife with emcees who choose auto-tuned, sizzurp-slurred melody over actual enunciation. His debut LP — Professional Rapper, released almost exactly one year ago — is the stuff viral legends are made of, but be prepared to cry if you’re a fan trying to follow in the footsteps of Lil Dicky’s hit single Save Dat Money. Cheap, early-bird tickets for this South Tampa gig sold out long ago, and you’ll have to pay a pretty penny if you want to get in the door on Friday.
With Tierney Tough, Brian Merrill
SATURDAY 7:30 p.m. Microgroove, 4906 N Florida Avenue, Tampa. $12. (813) 667-7089.
If you’re into the origins of indie rock, then you’ll be happy to know there’s a Big Star coming to that little Seminole Heights record shop on Florida Avenue. Ken Stringfellow would never consider himself famous, but the 47-year-old songwriter cannot outrun the work he and Jon Auer accomplished as a co-founders of 90’s power-pop outfit the Posies. The duo would even go on to join Alex Chilton’s mythical Big Star project, adding their names to the history of one of American rock’s most adored cult acts. Recording and being on tour with R.E.M. didn’t exactly help Stringfellow fade into the shadows, but he probably couldn’t resist, considering his seemingly insatiable need to create music and take it on the road. Microgroove owner Keith Ulrey says fewer than 50 people will fit into his shop for this ticketed show, so any late-comers will have to watch through the garage-door windows.
NoNeed EP Release
with UNRB, Summer Survivors, Seranation
SATURDAY 7:30 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg. $10. (727) 895-3045.
There is no denying that the Tampa Bay area’s reggae-rock game is strong, and NoNeed are definitely one of the pillars of that scene. The Tampa five piece have already opened for O.A.R, Zach Deputy, Michael Franti and Stephen Marley in their short career, and they’re following up a 2013 full-length with a brand new EP, The Beginning. The effort leans hard on the feel-good vibes the genre is infamous for, but NoNeed are capable of throwing down some serious funk as evidenced by a cover of Stevie Wonder’s Superstitious, which is a set favorite. On Saturday the boys — Sebastian Tenorio-Vallejo, James Harnage, Kevin Blume, Ryan Weiss and Cody Moore — enlist a handful of like-minded locals for the party, which gets started early — meaning there will be plenty of time to keep celebrating on Central well after the show is over.
with Nile, After the Burial, Suffocation, Carnifex, Revocation, Krisiun, Slaughter to Prevail, Gested, more.
SUNDAY 2 p.m. The Ritz, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $29.50-$75. (813) 247-2555.
For as long as there are humans ready for a good head-banging session, Tampa never be able to outrun its reputation as the death-metal capital — and that’s a good thing. That heritage gets lots of love on Sunday when Tampa’s own Cannibal Corpse arrives to headline the daylong, 10th-anniversary edition of the Summer Slaughter Tour alongside genre heavyweights like After the Burial, Suffocation and Carnifex, which collectively represent some of the more extreme iterations of the rock subgenre. The 24-stop tour was supposed to kick off in Orlando on Saturday, but that date was cancelled out of respect for victims of the recent nightclub shooting, so expect some spillover from fans expecting to attend that show.
with Evil Virgins, Hello Joyce
SUNDAY 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $7. (813) 248-4969.
Just to be clear, this is not a small-venue appearance from the Australian production duo responsible for the hypnotic, super-chill banger Open Fire. Nope, this little bill probably will be much better. Orlando outfit Slumberjack home-recorded its April 2016 release Black Lodge, and while it clocks in at just 25 minutes, it’s packed with all the emotional ups and downs of that deep, whiskey-fueled conversation you had with your deepest-feeling best friend at your favorite dive. Melbourne’s Evil Virgins make the trip on Sunday and Tampa Bay’s own Hello Joyce are bringing the young-man dream pop to the bill as well.
Koo Koo Kanga Roo
with Harry & the Potters
WEDNESDAY 6 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $10. (813) 241-8600.
This bill is the B-E-S-T best and fans know it. In fact, the only way promoters could make this evening better would be by adding Draco & the Malfoys to the bottom of the lineup. Yes, wizard-pop extraordinaires Harry & the Potters are opening with their epic tales of magic all based on J.K. Rowling’s rousing narrative about some young phenom, but all of the madness is being capped off with a set by Minneapolis duo Koo Koo Kanga Roo that plays the most hyperactive, hyperpositive dance pop in America. Their new album, The Triangle of Success, is playfully dubbed as a “motivational, inspirational audio guide to achieving your dreams,” but their live set — which is kind of like a pre-K playground session on Synthroid — is the stuff your inner child fantasizes about. If you need a lift, get out for this early hump-day show.
SATURDAY after Portland Steel vs. Tampa Bay Storm (kickoff at 5 p.m). Amalie Motor Oil Field, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Included with game ticket. (813) 301-2500.
For those of you on the offending side of unrequited love, bring a friend -- who’s actually just a friend -- to this one. The Tampa Bay Storm have brought iconic rappers like Coolio in the past, but on Saturday the arena football league club is going totally feel good by welcoming Biz Markie to play the post-game concert for the final regular season home match. We’re counting on the big-boned, 52-year-old “Clown Prince of Hip Hop” to work through his famed 1989 single, but we’re also hoping to see a lot of his playful side (he toured with the “Yo Gabba Gabba” live show three years ago) as well as the beatboxing skill that’s landed him voice character work on “Adventure Time” and a cameo in “Men In Black II”. Admission to the concert is included with the game ticket, and more information is available at amaliearena.com.
Pompeya, Fri. With Panamory, Ari Chi. 8 p.m. Green Bench Brewing Co., 1133 Baum Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 800-9836.
Toxic Shock, Fri. With The Machinist, Mad Splatter, more. 8 p.m. The Brass Mug, 1450 Skipper Road, Tampa. $8-$10. (813) 972-8152.
Jensen Serf Company, Fri. With Drug, The Mermers, Gino and the Goons. 9 p.m. Fubar, 658 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $5. (727) 424-1809.
Doctor P, Fri. With Blunts & Blondes, Smgglr, Winta. 10 p.m. The Ritz, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15. (813) 247-2555.
The Wooly Bushmen, Fri. 10 p.m. Ella’s Americana Folk Art Café, 5119 N Nebraska, Ave., Tampa, Free. (813) 234-1000.
Ella Jet, Sat. 5 p.m. The Ale and The Witch, 111 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 821-2533.
GB & Friends, Sat. With Rowtch, Adverse, Stoney Hoop, Mac Jenkins, Mansa, Marvin Harley, Ledwan, Rizzy. 7 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $7-$12. (813) 241-8600.
Joyboy, Sat. With Lipschitz, Insignificant Other, Big Brother, Weak Knees. 8 p.m. Lucky You Tattoo, 9633 Bay Pines Boulevard, Seminole. $7. (727) 623-9928.
The Florida Björkestra, Sun. With Whitney James. 6 p.m. Side Door Cabaret at The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $15-$30. (727) 822-3590.
Poetry n’ Lotion, Sun. 6:30 p.m. The Independent, 5020 N Florida Ave.,Tampa, Free. (813) 341-4883.
DJ Shotgun, Sun. With DJ Casper, DJ Fader. 10 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. Free. (813) 241-8600.
Lucidea, Thurs. With Rims & Keys. 8 p.m. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Free. (727) 736-0606.
Band of Sorrows, Thurs. With Navin Ave, Jeff Brawer. 10 p.m. The Hub, 519 N Franklin St., Tampa. Free. (813) 229-1553.
Mannequin Pussy, Thurs. With Stove, Poster, Fictional Friends. 10 p.m. The Bends, 919 First Ave N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 202-8931.
-- Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa