This week in Tampa: Josh Groban, Steve Miller Band, the Beach Boys and more
It's a crazy week in Clearwater, as Ruth Eckerd Hall and the Capitol Theatre are stocked with major concerts over the next few days -- Josh Groban, Steve Miller Band, the Beach Boys with John Stamos, Richard Marx, the Zombies and Kristin Chenoweth, among others.
Other big shows in town this week: David Cook, Less Than Jake, New Found Glory, Thrushes, Ballyhoo!, Chubby Checker, Feed Me, Born of Osiris, Veil of Maya, Tim Reynolds, Tony Lucca, Carrollhood and more, plus the kickoff to the Florida Strawberry Festival with Josh Turner and Charley Pride. Here to walk you through it all are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa...
TUESDAY 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Sold out. (727) 791-7400.
Who is Josh Groban, really? Is he the handsome, charming goofball who pops up on talk shows and in TV comedies like The Office and The Muppets? Or is he the solemn voice of the heavens who’s one of the most bankable classical-pop crossover stars in history? Here’s what Groban’s wondering: Why can’t he be both? “Half my brain is about the seriousness of the music that I make, and the other half of my brain wants to be the absolute opposite of that,” he said in a recent phone interview. “It’s okay to have a little bit of schizophrenia out there, I think.” Groban’s new tour, which hits Ruth Eckerd Hall on Tuesday, is proof that he’s trying to embrace both sides of his personality. Playing theaters, instead of the arenas he’s used to, makes his show feel more intimate, more personal. It also suits the songs from his Grammy-nominated new album Stages, a collection of his favorite songs from Broadway. “These are songs that I think have a lot of storytelling involved,” he said. “Not only within the songs themselves, but between songs, there’s a lot of story to tell the audience, about where these songs come from in my life, and why they mean so much to me.”
The Beach Boys
MONDAY 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. $43.75 and up. (727) 791-7400.
No matter where you come down on the great divide of the Beach Boys — whether you’re loyal to Brian Wilson’s songwriting and soul or you just enjoy Mike Love’s endless-summer hit parade — we can all agree on one thing: STAMOS. As in John Stamos, the perennial pinup who occasionally performs with Love’s Beach Boys, whenever his busy TV schedule allows. Days after he steps back into Uncle Jesse’s shoes in the Netflix Fuller House revival, Stamos will join the Beach Boys in concert at 8 p.m. Monday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road in Clearwater. He’ll sing, he’ll swivel, he’ll make the ladies scream as he assists Love, Bruce Johnston and the rest of their modern-day Boys on classics like Surfin’ U.S.A., Surfer Girl, Surfin’ Safari and (please, oh pretty please) Forever, delivered in full-on Jesse and the Rippers mode.
Steve Miller Band
WEDNESDAY 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. $53.25 and up. (727) 791-7400.
Some people call him the Space Cowboy. Some people call him the Gangster of Love. Some people call him Maurice. And starting April 8, you can call Steve Miller a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. With enough hits to power a jukebox for days, it’s surprising it took Steve Miller Band so long to get inducted. They’ve been eligible since 1993, and this was somehow their first year as a finalist. But as all that time kept on slipping into the future, perhaps people began to appreciate the slick, smoky grooves and indelible riffs of Fly Like an Eagle, Jet Airliner, Jungle Love, Rock’n Me and The Joker. Those songs aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Now that he’s a Hall of Famer, neither is Miller.
With Brother Cephus
FRIDAY 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $10. (813) 248-4969, newworldbrewery.net.
Would you like to see big bands like Underoath, Anberlin and Say Anything play a tiny club like New World Brewery? So would we. Good luck with that. But here’s the next-best thing: The live debut of Carrollhood, a long-gestating project of Underoath guitarist Tim McTague, Anberlin drummer Nathan Young and Say Anything drummer Reed Murray, all longtime pals and Tampa residents. (McTague and Young run burgeoning craft coffee roasters King State Coffee.) There’s not much metalcore or emo in the trio’s synthed-out space-rock, but that’s part of the appeal — Carrollhood is for chilling out, not throwing down. The group hasn’t released much new material since a 2013 EP, Violence, but their musical wheels are still turning, as both Underoath and Say Anything are about to embark on spring tours. That means this first chance to see Carrollwood might also be your last for a while.
Florida Strawberry Festival
With Josh Turner, Charley Pride, Jimmy Sturr and his Orchestra
THURSDAY 10:30 a.m. Florida Strawberry Festival grounds, 2209 W Oak Ave., Plant City. Prices vary by concert. flstrawberryfestival.com.
The Florida Strawberry Festival returns next week for another round of shortcake, folksy fun and country music. Well, some country music. Although country has always been the Strawberry Fest’s bread and butter, this year’s lineup is full of pop, rock, Christian and even hip-hop acts — Cheap Trick, Casting Crowns, Charlie Wilson, Echosmith, Lecrae and, in a perfect marriage of artist and setting, Donny and Marie Osmond. There’s plenty of country, too, including acts like the Band Perry, Martina McBride and Big & Rich. It all kicks off March 3 with a free festival-opening performance by polka legend Jimmy Sturr and his Orchestra at 10:30 a.m., an afternoon set by country groundbreaker Charley Pride at 3:30 ($15-$20), and a headlining concert by Josh Turner at 7:30 ($20-$25). Concert admission is on top of gate prices for the festival itself; those start at $10 for adults, $5 for kids 6-12 and free for 5 and under. But as always, about 3,000 seats for each show are handed out on a first-come, first-served basis.
Less Than Jake
With UNRB, Victims of Circumstance (Fri.), Beebs and Her Money Makers, The Antidonts (Sat.)
FRIDAY-SATURDAY 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $20. (727) 895-3045.
On April 29, Gainesville punks Less Than Jake are going to release Live From Astoria, an album they recorded 15 years ago at the now-shuttered London theater. The legendary ska outfit will turn the clock back even further when they camp out on St. Petersburg’s 600 Block for a pair of shows where they’ll play two of their classic LPs — Losing Streak and Hello Rockview — in their entirety on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Losing Streak turned 20 this year (Hello Rockview is now legal at 18), but the stank on songs like Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts and Five State Drive can still set a room skanking in no time. Expect it to be chock full of fans young, old and even older at these special shows.
With Tony Lucca, The Ries Brothers
FRIDAY 5:30 p.m. Cleveland Street, Downtown Clearwater. Free ($25-$45 for VIP). (727) 791-7400.
American Idol is back this year for its 15th and what many believe is its final season. On Friday, Season 7 champ David Cook comes to downtown Clearwater’s Cleveland Street district to dish out material from a new album, Digital Vein (released in September), where he turns a Chris Isaak tune (Wicked Game) on its head while also spinning harmless, synthy pop cuts like Wait For Me into the mix. Cook, 33, is widely regarded as one of the nicest Idol winners to date, but keep your fingers crossed for just a little dirt on the Idol competition from one of the show’s still-singing contestants.
JT Brown (Video Release)
With Connor Zwetsch
FRIDAY 6 p.m. Paper Crane, 910 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $10. (727) 742-0582.
Justin Thomas Brown’s new video for Kool Aid Lips is one of the most ambitious to come out of the area in a long while. The five-minute clip tracks the different stages of a relationship — from the initial enchantment and pillow fights to the manic confusion and angry shouting — and is shot through Instagram-colored lenses by local filmmakers Dylan Melcher and Jordan Hicks. It uses drones and a classic car to dramatically capture the picturesque hills of Dade City and turns Ybor City studio Lot 1901 into a hot mess of vintage light bulbs, molasses and hands where they aren’t supposed to be. The song — a rollicking modern country tune without pretense — holds up to the cinematics and makes us feel okay about Brown taking a break from his band, The Groves, to do some solo stuff.
With Resinated, NoNeed
FRIDAY 7 p.m. Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 565-0550.
Ballyhoo! have paid their dues opening up shows on big stages, but the Maryland-born reggae rockers are finally getting a chance to headline a bill of their own on Friday. What’s more is that they want everyone to have a shot at going to the show whether or not they have money. There’s no cover for this shindig celebrating the band’s new single, Mixtape, which takes a tale of desperation and weaves it into the group’s carefree, sunny and radio-ready sound. A pair of fast-rising locals cut from the same sonic cloth — Madeira Beach’s Resinated and Tampa’s NoNeed — open the show.
Cage Brewing Grand Opening Concert and Art Show
With Rebekah Pulley, Redfeather, Empire Cinema.
SATURDAY 7 p.m. Cage Brewing, 2001 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 201-4278.
There are now seven homegrown breweries in St. Pete, and the latest to open its doors — Cage Brewing — is celebrating in the only way suitable. That’s by inviting some of the area’s best local artists to break it in. There will be a visual component, but bay area songwriting staple Rebekah Pulley will be on hand to deliver her seasoned folk to the crowd. Also on the bill is one of the ’Burg’s most promising new folkies, Mark Etherington, who’ll showcase a Redfeather project that brings his Mother Nature-inspired vision to life with just the right amount of psych-rock mixed in. Brendan Hock’s Empire Cinema — who seem to have found a new, exciting pace with the addition of drummer Andrew Pellegrino and bassist Mike Raimondi — round out the bill with a dark take on new wave that both Peter Hook and Isaac Brock would be proud of.
Thrushes (Album Release)
With Pogoh, Dawns
SATURDAY 8 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $10. (813) 248-4969.
It’s been about four months since it actually hit the shelves, but Baltimore indie outfit Thrushes are finally letting bay area fans celebrate the release of their latest album, Exposing Seas. The four-piece put the eight-song effort out via Tampa label New Granada Records in September and were scheduled to mark the occasion with an Ybor City appearance, but an injury forced them to cancel. The grungy, shoegaze-rooted sound has only grown more lovable since then, and Exposing Seas’ spacious arrangements (Two Ships), catchy melodies (Salt & Stone), and lonely yearning (Joan of Arc) make it one of the best releases to come out at the end of 2015. Decades-running Tampa vets Pogoh make a rare appearance at this show alongside Dawns, a new project from Zulu Wave frontman Michael Barrow.
With Jensen Serf Company, Wet Nurse
MONDAY 8 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $8. (813) 248-4969.
Somewhere in Echo Park (a hard-working, hip Los Angeles neighborhood that pretty much borders Chinatown) Lolipop Records is making a scene selling noisy garage-rock to anyone who’ll listen. The label put out over 100 different cassettes in 2014, and have tapes by Thee Oh Sees and Cobalt Cranes on their resume, but their first proper release (read: not spray-painted for “album art”) was one by Adult Books. That band stops into New World Brewery for a Monday night show that will tickle eardrums with a newish single, Suburban Girlfriend, which makes good on the label’s promise of peddling jangly, fun power-pop for fans of quality, no-bullshit rock ’n’ roll. St. Pete surf rock favorites Jensen Serf Company trek over the bridge for this show, and Orlando punk trio Wet Nurse (who released a now sold-out 2014 cassette via Lolipop) kick things off.
New Found Glory
WEDNESDAY 7:30 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. Sold out. (813) 241-8600.
You’re not hallucinating. New Found Glory is playing a small club in Ybor City — and it’s sold out. The once Coral Springs-based pop-punk outfit first broke through 16 years ago with anthems like Hit or Miss and Understatement and are still around supporting a relatively new LP, 2014’s Resurrection. Expect to hear a bit from that one at this show, but count on a set heavy with hits from NFG’s glory days over a decade and a half ago. Frontman Chad Gilbert recently tied the knot with longtime flame Hayley Williams (Paramore), but there’s no telling if the 34-year-old (who celebrates a birthday two weeks after their Crowbar show) is bringing his new bride on the road with him.
Tim Reynolds and TR3, Fri. With Shaun Hopper. 8 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $15-$20. (813) 971-0666.
Cave of Swimmers, Fri. With Spar, Frostfang, Awful People. 9 p.m. The Bends, 919 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 202-8931.
Feed Me, Fri. With Christian Alexander, Winta. 10 p.m. Amphitheatre Event Facility, 1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15. (813) 873-8368.
WMNF Rockabilly Ruckus: A Tribute To Sun Records, Sat. With Nighthawks, Rocket 88, Sara Rose Band, Ted Stevens and Doo Shots, Rev. Billy C. Wirtz, Ronny Elliott, Hairdresser On Fire, AB+. 5 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $20-$25. (813) 971-0666.
MrENC, Sun. 6 p.m. The Independent, 5020 N Florida Ave., Tampa, Free. (813) 341-4883.
Richard Marx, Sun. 8 p.m. The Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $44.50-$59.50. (727) 791-7400.
Cosmo Baker, Sun. With DJ Casper, DJ Lesage. 10 p.m. Ol’ Dirty Sundays at Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. Free. (813) 241-8600.
Chubby Checker, Mon.-Sat. Busch Gardens, 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. Free with park admission. Toll-free 1-888- 800-5447.
The Zombies, Tue. With The Pauses. 8 p.m. The Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $39.50-$150. (727) 791-7400.
Born of Osiris, Wed. With Veil of Maya, After the Burial, Erra, Bad Omens. 6:30 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $18-$35. (813) 248-9500.
Rock The Park, Thur. With SWIMM, Flight 619, Dan Padilla. 6:30 p.m. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. Free. (813) 274-8677.
UFO Sex Scene (album release), Thur. With Betty Dawl, Soapbox Soliloquy. 10 p.m. The Bends, 919 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 202-8931.