This week in Tampa: Demi Lovato, Charlie Wilson, Jennifer Nettles, Austin Mahone, Juicy J and more
It's quite a pop-heavy lineup this weekend in Tampa Bay, with shows by Top 40 hitmakers Demi Lovato, Austin Mahone and Juicy J in town, not to mention pop-country singer Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. But then you've also got R&B favorites Charlie Wilson (above), the Temptations, the Four Tops and Snarky Puppy; indie rockers Iron and Wine and the Black Angels; and a whole host of others, including Bret Michaels, Julio Iglesias, Art Garfunkel, B.J. Thomas, Dave Mason, New Madrid, Roky Erickson, Justin Moore, Lang Lang, Dark Star Orchestra, Corey Smith, Celtic Woman, Tracy Grammer, Tommy Emmanuel, Shpongle, Toubab Krewe, Memphis May Fire, Animals As Leaders, Excision, Big Gigantic, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Southern Culture on the Skids and more.
Here to walk you through it all is Ray Roa...
With Little Mix, Fifth Harmony
WEDNESDAY 7 p.m. Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $26.75-$62.25. (813) 301-2500.
You can say whatever you want about manufactured pop stars. Just be ready to defend yourself against the loyal fans who latched onto Demi Lovato when she was just a 15-year-old budding Disney Channel starlet; stuck beside her during a late 2010 rehab stint; and propelled her to become the arena-headlining force she is today. The success of hits like Heart Attack and the auto-tuned Neon Lights have bled into another big single, Let It Go from the soundtrack of Disney flick Frozen. The bill also includes a pair of acts that should be familiar to X Factor viewers everywhere. Openers Fifth Harmony found fame on the second season of popular television talent competition, and Little Mix (on their first U.S. tour) were formed on the eighth season of the U.K. version of the show.
Dark Star Orchestra
SATURDAY 8 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $31. (727) 565-0550.
The jamosphere is littered with Grateful Dead tribute bands, but no one does it quite like Dark Star Orchestra. The Chicago cover act’s roster includes members who have played alongside the Dead’s Phil Lesh, and while DSO faithfully reproduce the most intricate live arrangements note for note, they take it even further by positioning themselves onstage the same way the Dead did for that specific performance. In their 16-year history, the Dark Star Orchestra have played almost as many gigs as Jerry Garcia and company did in three decades, and this tour — where they’ll continue the tradition of keeping the Dead’s spirit alive for past and future generations — will see the tribute act actually surpass their idols in total live shows played.
Bands, Brew & BBQ
With Justin Moore (Saturday), Bret Michaels (Sunday)
SATURDAY-SUNDAY 5 p.m. Busch Gardens, 3605 Bougainvillea Ave., Tampa. Free with park admission. (813) 987-5600. buschgardens.com
Poison frontman Bret Michaels never seems to miss an opportunity to find the spotlight. So it should come as no surprise that the former Apprentice and Rock of Love star is coming to Tampa this weekend as part of Busch Gardens’ much-discussed Bands, Brew & BBQ concert series. Get out your lighters and prepare to wave ’em during Every Rose Has Its Thorn on Sunday afternoon. But first, check out up-and-coming country star Justin Moore at Gwazi Park on Saturday. Moore, in fact, is pulling double-duty on the theme-park this weekend — he’s also playing SeaWorld’s Bands, Brew & BBQ series on Sunday (the Commodores play SeaWorld on Saturday). All concerts are free with park admission, so whether you like funk, country, hair metal or just beer and barbecue, you are — much like Michaels’ frequently do-ragged mane — totally covered. — Jay Cridlin
Iron and Wine
WEDNESDAY 8 p.m. Straz Center, 1010 N W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. $34.50-$44.50. (813) 229-7827.
The last time Iron and Wine played Tampa, Sam Beam was just a shaggy, bearded troubadour playing whisper--soft ballads at a club in Ybor City. This time, though ... he’ll be a shaggy, bearded troubadour playing whisper-soft ballads at the Straz Center in Tampa. Yes, for his long-awaited return to Tampa, Beam, the singer-songwriter behind Iron and Wine, will revert to his solo days — which is a little surprising, given Iron and Wine’s evolution over the past decade. Though he found fame and acclaim through dreamy, contemplative folk albums and singles (his cover of the Postal Service’s Such Great Heights appeared in the film Garden State), Beam has added rock and jazz to Iron and Wine’s sonic palette, and has expanded his band accordingly. Iron and Wine’s latest, 2013’s Ghost on Ghost, is something of an homage to jazzy AM rock of the ’70s — Steely Dan, Van Morrison, Elton John, Jim Croce. But the way Beam sees it, a song doesn’t need to be performed by a set number of musicians in order to have the desired impact. “I don’t really write a song with the finished product in mind,” he said in an interview. “I wrote some chords and the melody, and you can put any kind of arrangement behind it.” — Jay Cridlin
FRIDAY 7:30 p.m. USF Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $22.50-$69. (813) 974-2301.
Charlie Wilson’s reign on R&B goes all the way back to the 1970s and his days in the Gap Band, where he sang lead on hits like Addicted To Your Love and Outstanding. His influence is all over hip hop (N.W.A., Snoop Dogg, and Kanye West are just a few artists who have sampled Gap Band tunes), and he’s pretty much royalty to any singer influenced by soul and funk (search for a tribute performance from last year’s BET Awards for proof). Wilson is already 61, but Uncle Charlie doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. His five solo LPs are packed with songs like Charlie, Last Name Wilson and There Goes My Baby that will pack the Sun Dome, but don’t expect the seats to be warm, because everyone will be on their feet dancing instead of sitting down.
SATURDAY 10 p.m. The Hub, 519 N Franklin St., Tampa. Free. (813) 229-1553.
The trend of sometimes-overlooked venues hosting the country’s buzziest indie rock bands continues when Athens, Ga.’s New Madrid arrive to navigate the cigarette smoke and stiff drinks at downtown Tampa landmark The Hub. The band, who recently opened for Drive-By Truckers, has a lot to live up to considering some of the other bands their hometown has produced (R.E.M., anyone?), but frontman Phil McGill and the boys seem up to the task. Manners, the lead single from a new LP Sunswimmer, finds them adding a little muscle to the deceptively catchy pop of their debut album, and while Alex Wooly’s heavy kick provides the track’s drive, it’s easy to get lost in the fuzzy lead and swirling chords that McGill and guitarist Graham Powers distort into one of the best tracks of 2014.
With Travi$ Scott, Project Pat, DJ Blaze
SUNDAY 7 p.m. Amphitheatre, 1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $30. (813) 873-8368.
Jordan Michael Houston has been experiencing something of a reintroduction to pop culture thanks to recent collaborations with Katy Perry (Dark Horse) and Miley Cyrus (23), but this Ybor City stop will also pay homage to the good ol’ days when the 38-year-old better known as Juicy J was sippin’ on sizzurp with Memphis dirty south rap group Three 6 Mafia. The aptly titled Never Sober Tour also features fellow trunk-rattler Travi$ Scott (who has already played in Tampa Bay twice in the last year alone) as well as Juicy J’s real-life big brother Project Pat, whose most popular contributions to the southern rap story include Cheese and Dope, I Don’t Play With Guns and Chickenhead.
With Alison Wedding
MONDAY 8 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $18-$20. (813) 241-8600.
It’s going to tough squeezing every member of Snarky Puppy onto the stage at Crowbar. No worries, though, as the NYC jazz collective — who recently upended Miguel, Anthony Hamilton and Tamar Braxton to take the latest Grammy for Best R&B Performance — is less concerned with being comfortable and more focused on challenging your mind with complex, yet sonically accessible offerings like Thing Of Gold and Deep. The Pups’ brand of avant pop-jazz has already garnered them a devoted international fan base, but the recent Grammy accolades are sure to thrust the band into the consciousness of new American fans hungry for thoughtful, vibrant jazz (Young Stuff) that can also make you want to dance (Amour T’es La).
With Becky G, W3 The Future
TUESDAY 7 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $29.50 and up. (727) 565-0550.
An illness forced tween-pop heartthrob Austin Mahone to cancel his sold-out October appearance at Jannus Live. He eventually got better and played an abridged set for 93.3-FLZ’s Jingle Ball in December, but the 17-year-old is back to make good for ticket holders from that cancelled Jannus show. He’ll stick around much longer this time to ensure that the screeches and wails from fans of hits like Mmm Yeah, Banga! Banga! and What About Love have plenty of time to reverberate through The ’Burgs’ night air. There will be plenty of fan power to go around, since a pair of nearly-as-popular tweenys, Becky G and W3 The Future, open the show. Tickets from the cancelled show will be honored at the gate, and a few tickets were still available online last week.
The Black Angels
With Roky Erickson and the Hounds of Bakersville, Golden Animals
WEDNESDAY 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $20-$22. (727) 895-3045.
This show is almost like a double-headliner gig. Aggro, ominous, psych-rock offerings like Bad Vibrations, Telephone and Don’t Play With Guns from The Black Angels should excite the dark rocker inside you. But make sure you get there early for a set from psychedelic cult hero Roky Erickson, who somehow survived well-documented drug use and general rock 'n’ roll excess to make sure cuts like Two-Headed Dog, Bloody Hammer and Peggy Sue Got Married get played live to adoring fans ranging from bearded old-timers to newbies discovering his classic catalog for the very first time. As an added bonus, Daddy Kool Records, located across the street from State Theatre, will host a free in-store performance from the Black Angels at 6 p.m. Early arrival is encouraged for the intimate record store show.
With Brandy Clark
THURSDAY 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $39.50-$125. (727) 791-7400.
In 2013, Jennifer Nettles’ Tampa Bay fans had to win their way into a pair of private radio station performances by the Sugarland vocalist. But she’s on a proper tour now that her solo debut That Girl is on shelves. The Rick Rubin-produced effort was crafted in the months after Nettles, 39, gave birth to her newborn son Magnus and finds her utilizing her booming vocal to explore themes like promiscuity (That Girl) and change (This Angel), get her honky-tonk on (You Wanna Know), and even cover Bob Seger (Like A Rock). Songwriter extraordinaire Brandy Clark, who penned Mama’s Broken Heart for Miranda Lambert and Better Dig Two for The Band Perry, opens the show.
The Temptations Fri. With The Four Tops. 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $45-$150. (727) 791-7400.
Nashville Hall Of Fame Tour Fri. With Richard Kiser, Charlie McCoy. 7 p.m,, United Methodist Church of Sun City Center, 1210 Del Webb. Blvd. W, Sun City Center. $10-$15. (813) 634-2539.
Joe Mull Fri. With Brian Busto. 10 p.m. Hyde Park Café, 1806 W Platt St., Tampa. $10 (ladies free until midnight). (813) 254-2233.
Charlie Wilson Fri. 7:30 p.m. USF Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $22.50-$69. (813) 974-3002.
Corey Smith Fri. 7 p.m. Dallas Bull, 3322 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $10-$15. (813) 987-2855
Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam Fri. 8 p.m. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $49-$59. (727) 791-7400.
For Today Fri. With Like Moths to Flames, Stray From the Path, more. 5 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15-$40. (813) 248-9500.
Southern Culture on the Skids Fri. With the Woolly Bushmen. 8 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $15-$20. (813) 971-0666.
Tracy Grammer Sat. With 2PM. 7 p.m. Sacred Lands, 1620 Park St. N, St. Petersburg. $15. (727) 347-0354.
Celtic Woman Sat. 3 and 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $54.75-$126. (727) 791-7400.
Tommy Emmanuel Sat. 8 p.m. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $45. (727) 791-7400.
Ultraviolet Hippopotamus Sat. 7 p.m. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. (727) 736-0606.
Bees and Enourmous Tigers Sat. With Zulu Wave, Gentlemen Please. 8 p.m. Green Bench Brewing, 1133 Baum Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 800-9836.
Shpongle Sat. With Desert Dwellers. 8 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $22-$25. (727) 895-3045.
Toubab Krewe Sat. With The Hip Abduction. 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $15-$18. (813) 241-8600.
Jucifer Sun. With Secrets She Kept, Servants Of The Mist, Cosm. 7 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $7-$10. (813) 248-9500.
Cretin Girls Sun. With Blood Wave, Permanent Makeup, Soda. 8 p.m. Mojo Books & Music, 2540 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Donations accepted.. (813) 971-9717.
Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi and The Black Spirits Sun. With Amandla Tunesmith. 5 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $20-$25. (813) 971-0666.
Carrie Newcomer Mon. 7:30 p.m. Jaeb Theater at Straz, Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. $28.50. (813) 229-7827.
Animals As Leaders Mon. With After The Burial, Navene-K, Chon. 6 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15 and up.. (813) 248-9500.
Lang Lang Mon. 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $35-$125. (727) 791-7400.
Memphis May Fire Tues. With The Word Alive, A Skylit Drive, Hands Like Houses, Beartooth. 5:30 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $16-$18. (727) 895-3045.
Julio Iglesias Tues. 7:30 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $49.50-$99.50. (727) 791-7400.
Big Gigantic Wed. With Caked Up. 8:30 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20 and up. (813) 247-2555.
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes Wed. 7:30 p.m. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $39-$55. (727) 791-7400.
B.J. Thomas Weds. 1 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $18-$35. (727) 791-7400.
Art Garfunkel Thurs. 7:30 p.m. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $39.50-$75. (727) 791-7400.
Excision Thurs. With Dirty Phonics, Ill Gates, Nerd Rage, Mr. Saturn, Winta. 9:30 p.m. Amphitheatre, 1609 E. Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $30-$35. (813) 873-8368.
Off With Their Heads Thurs. With The Slow Death, Wolf-Face. 7 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $6-$13. (813) 248-9500.
Robbie Freeman & The New Leaves Band Thurs. With Mountain Holler, Kyle Chanson, Ten Acres, Porch Sessions. 8 p.m. Fubar, 658 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 424-1809.
-- Ray Roa, tbt*