This week in Tampa: Duran Duran, They Might Be Giants, Keith Sweat, Safety Harbor Songfest and more
Excited about Duran Duran this weekend in Tampa? You should be just as excited about their opening act: Funk and disco legend Nile Rodgers, performing with his band Chic.
They're the centerpiece of a busy music weekend in town, which also includes shows by They Might Be Giants, Melanie Martinez, Bobby Brown, Keith Sweat, Andy Grammer, Laidback Luke, the Commodores, Jagged Edge, Living Colour, Ratt, Firehouse, Trixter, Ry Cooder, Ricky Skaggs, Sharon White, Ace Frehley, Geoff Tate, Shamir, Sander van Doorn, Dirty Bourbon River Show, Citizen, Blackbird Blackbird, Black Uhuru, Chris Botti and Safety Harbor Songfest, featuring Shawn Mullins, Otis Taylor, Cheap Trick's Robin Zander and more. Here to walk you through it all are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa...
With Nile Rodgers and Chic, Shamir
SATURDAY 7:30 p.m. MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $29.95 and up. (813) 740-2446. livenaton.com.
Coming to Tampa Bay is like coming home for Duran Duran. Well, for singer Simon Le Bon, at least, whose mother has a home in the area. “Since ’84, since the first time we visited Tampa, there’s always been that connection,” bassist John Taylor said in a recent phone interview. “It’s special for Simon, and if it’s special for him, it’s special for all of us.” Duran Duran’s concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday is special for all kinds of reasons — not least because it also features pop up-and-comer Shamir as well as disco-pop legend Nile Rodgers and Chic. It comes in support of their 14th studio album, Paper Gods, produced by the likes of Mr. Hudson, Mark Ronson and, yes, Rodgers, whose credits with the band include smash singles The Reflex and The Wild Boys. Amazingly, though, this is the first time Duran Duran has actually hit the road with Rodgers. “He’s put together an extraordinary band,” Taylor said. “All it does is kick us up the a--, and it pushes us into doing what we do, hopefully better than we were doing it last time we came through town.”
Ry Cooder, Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White
SATURDAY 8 p.m. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 NW MacInnes Place, Tampa. $45 and up. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.
Ry Cooder has worked with everyone from the Rolling Stones to Eric Clapton to Captain Beefheart. But he’s every bit as excited about his current tour, which sees him joining forces with American icons Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White, performing traditional folk and country classics from the ’60s and earlier. “It’s not like something you’re going to see every year,” Cooder said in a phone interview. “You’ve got to see it while you can.” He’s not kidding — Cooder, who’s perhaps best known for leading the 1997 Cuban music album Buena Vista Social Club, hasn’t played in Tampa Bay in years. “Was it in the early ’70s with Arlo Guthrie?” he wonders. “That’s the only possible memory I have, and that’s been a hell of a long time.” Don’t miss him this time around.
With Geoff Tate
SATURDAY 8 p.m. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater.Sold out, but call (727) 791-7400 for last-minute ticket availability.
Guitar aficionados have a terrible choice to make on Saturday, as Chic’s Nile Rodgers isn’t the only guitar god in town.
Coming to Clearwater this weekend is Kiss axeman Ace Frehley, who’s touring in support of a solo covers album featuring takes on Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Steppenwolf and, um, Kiss themselves. The Spaceman even re-teams with Kiss’ Paul Stanley on Free’s Fire and Water. Stanley won’t be there on Saturday, but former Queensryche singer Geoff Tate will. The show’s sold out, but call (727) 791-7400 for last-minute ticket availability.
Safety Harbor Songfest
With Otis Taylor, Shawn Mullins, Robin Zander, Love and Theft, Ben Sollee, the Vespers, Dan Rodriguez, Daphne Willis, more
SATURDAY and SUNDAY 11 a.m. Safety Harbor Waterfront Park, 110 Veterans Memorial Lane. $25 per day, $40 for the weekend at safetyharborsongfest.com.
Here’s how big Safety Harbor Songfest has become in just three years: After a 2015 event that drew about 4,000, incoming Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Robin Zander of Cheap Trick asked to be part of the lineup. “We’ve had a whole year of chatter, and the word of mouth goes a long way,” said the Safety Harbor artist known as Kiaralinda, who with her husband Todd Ramquist runs the Safety Harbor Songfest. “But we don’t rest on our laurels.” The indie fest returns at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at Safety Harbor Waterfront Park, 110 Veterans Memorial Lane. This year’s lineup includes Zander, Lullaby songsmith Shawn Mullins, bluesman Otis Taylor, country duo Love and Theft and more. Songfest’s grassroots success is rare among Florida fests, in that it’s still on the rise instead of stalling after a year or two. Artists who’ve performed once want to come back, and are spreading the word to their peers. “Even now, when the festival is all booked, we get two or three pings a day saying, 'Think of us next year,’” Ramquist said.
With Keith Sweat, Bobby Brown, Jagged Edge, Next, H-Town, more
SATURDAY 8 p.m. USF Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $45.50 and up. (813) 974-3004. sundomearena.com.
You can’t always blame Bobby Brown, shown right, for being unreliable. Dude’s had a hard life, especially in the past year, following the death of Bobbi Kristina Brown, his daughter with Whitney Houston. He didn’t show for Tampa’s Funk Fest in 2014, but he’s on the bill for the USF Sun Dome’s Spring Jam, alongside babymaking deity Keith Sweat, Jagged Edge, Next, H-Town and more. It’s a veritable slow-jamapalooza, though it’ll be Brown’s prerogative to inject a little New Jack Swing into the proceedings. That is, if he shows.
SATURDAY 7 p.m. The Ritz, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. Sold out. (813) 247-2555.
Mel is feeling better y’all. The 20-year-old star from NBC’s The Voice had to cancel her sold-out March appearance thanks to kidney stones, but she has since recovered. Tickets purchased for the original date will be honored, and it doesn’t look like anyone asked for a refund since the show remains sold out. The timing works out perfectly, since it allowed for the release of a haunting music video for the title track from Martinez’s critically-acclaimed 2015 LP, Cry Baby. The self-directed, six-minute clip is like a pop music version of Donnie Darko in which doctors in rabbit masks bash bundles of candy out of expectant moms while cigarette-smoking kids stand by in the background. It’s all apropos for someone who is perhaps the bravest and best pop star that a television singing contest has ever produced.
The Music Box: Tampa Bay
FRIDAY-SATURDAY 7:30 p.m. Community Stepping Stones at Mann-Wagnon Park, 1101 E River Cove St., Tampa. Free with ticket. (813) 974-4133.
The University of South Florida’s Music Box experiment — where the school’s Contemporary Art Museum brought in Crescent City art collective New Orleans Airlift to create an exploratory, interactive park that musicians and commonfolk alike can play — was received so well last weekend that it had to release extra tickets for shows. Expect the trend to continue when Career — one of the bay area’s most talented and underrated post-punk outfits — occupies the park’s new musical architecture for a performance of Structures, a noisy, original composition that wrestles with themes of otherness all within the context of one of Tampa’s next-to-gentrify neighborhoods. Tickets are free for the event and more info is available via ira.usf.edu.
Sander van Doorn
With Crespo, Ayesick, Kid U Not, Kidd Leow, DJ Ray
SUNDAY 1 p.m. Shephard’s Beach Resort, 619 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach. $10 and up. (727) 441-6875.
Florida’s spring season went ahead and never showed up, so Shephard’s on Clearwater Beach proceeded to kick their summer into high gear. This weekend, they’re inviting sun-drenched, tanning lotion-slathered dance music fans to get their untz-untz-untz fix on the sand alongside one of house and trance music’s biggest names, Sander van Doorn. The 37-year-old Dutchman was down to Mo. 90 on DJ Mag’s infamous Top 100 list last year, but we highly doubt the good times (think: Vegas, Miami, Ibiza) have taken a hit. The music kicks off just after noon, and if piña coladas just aren’t going to cure the hangover, remember that a handful of DJs open the show, meaning van Doorn likely won’t hit the stage until well after the sun starts setting.
Dirty Bourbon River Show
SUNDAY 4 p.m. Ella’s Americana Folk Art Café, 5119 N Nebraska, Ave., Tampa. Free. (813) 234-1000.
The soul food Sunday brunch at Ella’s Americana Folk Art Café is already a “pork rib in your Bloody Mary” kind of good time, and the addition of Dirty Bourbon River Show is likely to make it an all-out block party. The New Orleans brass collective — complete with saxophone, trombone, sousaphone, drums and accordion — probably can’t even squeeze onto the Seminole Heights eatery’s tiny stage, but their tunes fit perfectly into the brunch’s boozy, gluttonous vibe. Frontman Noah Adams is the ringleader for a dizzying blend of circus-ready horns which dance on top of blues, jazz and ragtime as if its players have been hitting the bottle since the sun came up.
Atlantic Oceans Farewell Show
With Will Quinlan
MONDAY 7 p.m. Microgroove, 4906 N Florida Ave., Tampa. Free. (813) 667-7089.
Atlantic Oceans’ music was already capable of activating tear ducts, but the knobs will likely get turned wide open at this Monday night show. Two members of beloved indie trio are saying goodbye to the Tampa Bay area (hello, Philadelphia!), but they’ll take to Microgroove for a proper send-off first. The Seminole Heights record store is the unofficial headquarters for Atlantic Oceans’ label, New Granada Records, and owner Keith Ulrey is inviting fans to enjoy one of his favorite band’s melancholy, jangly shoegazing pop in a listening room atmosphere. “One last chance to hear these beautiful tunes in a quiet, controlled environment,” Ulrey wrote on Facebook. Local songwriting legend Will Quinlan opens this special set.
They Might Be Giants
TUESDAY 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $23-$25. (727) 895-3045.
Beyonce isn’t the only one dropping surprise albums on fans these days. Just look at Brooklyn’s They Might Be Giants, who did it a month ago with a new LP, Phone Power, their 19th career release and third in the last year alone. The alternative rock outfit is easily the most alt of all their peers thanks to an intelligent, no-holds-barred approach to pop songcraft that’s garnered them a devout following that apparently loves needing a dictionary to navigate the brainy lyrics. Don’t bring any teeny-tiny geniuses to the show, however, since TMBG has promised to turn away anyone under 14. “The show isn’t appropriate for kids, bar situations are not safe or good for kids,” they wrote on their website. “If you have any questions about exceptions — there will be no exceptions.”
WEDNESDAY, 7 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $25-$45. (813) 248-9500.
In today’s hyper-eclectic, all-embracing musical landscape, a band like Living Colour wouldn’t really stand out. Frontman Corey Glover & co. should get a lot of credit for that. In the ’80s, the New York City four-piece rescued rock out homogeneity with a unique blend of jazz, rock, and punk made for guitar nerds. They got a huge boost when Mick Jagger produced a demo for them, and while a 1988 debut LP, Vivid, didn’t initially break records, it did end up going platinum. Living Colour’s hit song, Cult of Personality enjoyed a heavy television presence and even connected the group with a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1990. The boys took most of the ’90s off but have been enjoying things since reuniting at the turn of the century.
With Turnover, Sorority Noise, Milk Teeth
THURSDAY 6:30 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15-$18. (813) 248-9500.
It’s been only a half-decade for Citizen, but things have been looking way up since a 2011 EP, Young States, forced them towards the forefront of a crowded, emo/punk landscape. The five-piece Ohio outfit now enjoy Warped Tour darling status and a legion of fans who pack clubs night in and night out, clamoring for Citizen’s chunky, post-rock, which also includes elements of grunge, hardcore and shoegaze. Virginia Beach’s Turnover — who play direct support — lean more ethereal on cuts from a 2015 LP, Peripheral Vision, and a brand new single Humblest Pleasure, where the B-side (Change Irreversible) stands alone as an early frontrunner for one of the 2016’s best guitar-pop songs.
With Chad Valley, Tideup, DJ Wally Clark, Rude 100
THURSDAY 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $8-$10. (813) 241-8600.
Unlike many of his peers, Mikey Maramag doesn’t employ an elaborate stage and light show to command attention at his live sets. Whether that’s intentional or not, the approach is a direct reflection of the way the San Francisco producer has quietly spent the last six years crafting what is, hands down, one of the most solid and cohesive catalogs of dreamy synth-pop available today. In a heartbeat, the 23-year-old’s stuff can go from contemplative (Tangerine Sky) to euphoric (It’s a War), and you’ve got to think that he’s one great festival set away from going toe-to-toe with the Guettas and Skrillys of the world. UK producer Hugo Manuel brings his solo Chad Valley project to open the show alongside some of Florida’s best beat manipulators.
Hairapalooza! 2016, Fri. With Ratt, Firehouse, Trixter, Crush Tone, Edge of Red. 5 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $39.99. (727) 895-3045.
Mosquito Teeth, Fri. With Fleshreaper, Kill the Addict, Sibyls, 210. 9 p.m. Fubar, 658 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 424-1809.
Alexander and the Grapes Fri. With Emperor X, Jackson Davis and the Jackettes. 8 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $10. crowbarlive.com.
Polyenso Fri. 8 p.m. Paper Crane, 910 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $12. facebook.com/papercranestpete.
Robin Trower, Sat. With Damon Fowler. 8 p.m. The Palladium, 253 5th Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $39.50-$59.50. (727) 822-3590.
Four Star Riot (CD Release), Sat. 9 p.m. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Free. (727) 736-0606.
Laidback Luke, Sat. With Basomatik, Blunts & Blondes, Nate Verde. 10 p.m. Amphitheatre Event Facility, 1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15. (813) 873-8368.
Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival, With The Commodores (Sat.), Andy Grammer (Sun.) 6 p.m. Busch Gardens, 10165 N McKinley Dr., Tampa. Free with park admission. 1-888-800-5447.
TECO & Gasparilla Music Festival Present Streetcar Live, Sat. With Resinated’s Kenny Mullins. 5 p.m. Centennial Park, 1800 Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $2.50-$5. (813) 254-4278.
Fayroy, Sat. With Luxury Mane, John Williams the Charismatic Conjurer. 7 p.m. Cage Brewing, 2001 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 201-4278.
The Hummingbirds, Sat. 8 p.m. Four Stacks Brewing. 5469 N U.S. 41, Apollo Beach. Free. (813) 641-2036.
Zach Deputy, Sat. With The Galbraith Group. 8 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $15-$20. (813) 971-0666.
Jr. Marvin’s Wailers, Sun. With Tribal Style. 7 p.m. Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free ($5 For Under 21). (727) 565-0550.
Jon Shain, Wed. With John Nowicki. 7 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. Free. (813) 248-4969.
Rock the Park, Thurs. With UnMotivated, The Tattered Saints, Kat Baumback Music. 6:30 p.m. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. Free. (813)274-8677.
Black Uhuru, Thurs. With Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds, Oceanstone, Badda Skat. 7 p.m. The Ritz, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15. (813) 247-2555.
Frank Secich, Thurs. With David Vassalotti, Room Full of Strangers, Gino and the Goons. 7 p.m. Mojo Books & Records, 2540 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Donations welcome. (813) 971-9717.
Chris Botti, Thurs. 8 p.m. The Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $73-$93. (727) 791-7400.
-- Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa