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This week in Tampa: Keith Urban, the Fray, X Ambassadors, Los Van Van and more



Saturday's a big day in downtown St. Petersburg, with two concerts in baseball stadiums: The Fray, above, following the Rays and Giants at Tropicana Field; and X Ambassadors at 97X Bud and Burgers at Al Lang Stadium. ***UPDATE*** The X Ambassadors event has been moved inside the Mahaffey Theater due to the threat of severe weather.

Here to walk you through the rest of this week's shows -- including Keith Urban, Brett Eldredge, Maren Morris, the Weepies, Los Van Van, GTA, Laney Jones and the Spirits, Cory Branan, Lil Uzi Vert, Pity Sex and Watermat -- are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa...

Keith Urban
With Brett Eldredge, Maren Morris
FRIDAY MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $25 and up. (813) 740-2446.
I’ll confess: Keith Urban had me worried. John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16, released last summer as the first single from his long-in-the-works album Ripcord, was way too goofy a move for a man who does pedal-to-the-metal country as well as anyone. Color me pleasantly surprised, then, that Ripcord’s actually pretty decent. Sure, Urban goes out on a stylistic limb or two, heartily embracing synth-pop and dance rock on tracks like Wasted Time and the Sun Don’t Let Me Down, featuring a cameo by Florida’s own Pitbull. But these tracks hold Ripcord together with an inspired, focused energy that just wasn’t there with John Cougar. And now his new tour, which hits Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, is one of my most anticipated summer shows of the year. A lot of that has to do with his openers — soulful stud Brett Eldredge and new-school ingenue Maren Morris, whose new album Hero I’ve had on repeat — but I’ll confess, I want to hear what Urban’s up to these days, too. Modern Nashville is pushing boundaries left and right in 2016, and Urban’s a big part of that. I’m not worried about him anymore.

The Weepies
SATURDAY 8 p.m. Murray Studio Theatre at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. Sold out. (727) 791-7400 or

Maybe you heard the Weepies’ All That I Want in a touching holiday ad for J.C. Penney, or Stars in one for Old Navy. Maybe you’ve heard their songs on shows like Grey’s Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother or Sex and the City. Or maybe you’ve never heard the Weepies at all, in which case you really need to get to Ruth Eckerd Hall at 8 p.m. Saturday. Husband and wife Steve Tannen and Deb Talan write folk-pop songs so simple and affecting that once you hear just a few, you might join the cult of Weepies fanatics nationwide. Make room in your heart for songs like World Spins Madly On, Gotta Have You and Can’t Go Back Now (which was licensed for use in a 2008 Obama campaign commercial) and you won’t regret it. The Weepies rarely tour — they have young children, and a few years ago Talan battled, and beat, breast cancer — so those with tickets will be lucky to catch this intimate, sold-out gig.

A Tribute to Buster Cooper
MONDAY 6 p.m. Palladium, 525 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 822-3590.

St. Pete lost a good one in Buster Cooper, the globe-trotting trombonist who died May 13 at age 87. Cooper traveled the word performing with artists like Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker and Ella Fitzgerald, before returning to his hometown in the '90s, where he became a local favorite on Friday nights at downtown’s Garden restaurant. The jazz community has celebrated Cooper since his death, and will reconvene Monday for “A Tribute to Buster Cooper” at the Palladium. Former WUSF host and Tampa Jazz Club president Bob Seymour will host the festivities, including a jam session for any musician interested in participating. The show is free, but seating is first come, first served.

97X Bud and Burgers
With X Ambassadors
SATURDAY 4 p.m. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. Free, $30 VIP. (813) 221-9797.
Beer, burgers and a day of free music. Not a bad way to spend a summer Saturday, is it? Alt-rock station 97X is planning big things for its inaugural Bud and Burgers party on June 18 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, including a free headlining concert by rising rockers X Ambassadors of Renegades and Unsteady fame. The event will also features plenty of Budweiser (hence the name) and burgers from Tampa Bay restaurants. None of that will be free — it’ll be buy-as-you-go, or you can pick up a $30 VIP ticket that includes parking, two drink tickets, free appetizers and more. But the free concert is a pretty big deal. X Ambassadors are just coming off a performance at Bonnaroo, and gearing up for performances at Summerfest and Lollapalooza.

The Fray
SATURDAY Following Rays vs. San Francisco Giants; first pitch at 4:10 p.m. Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg. Free with game admission ($25 and up); field passes extra.

Saturday brings the Tampa Bay Rays’ popular Turn Back the Clock Night with players in “vintage” uniforms and a postgame concert by the Fray, the first in the Summer Concert Series. The Rays play the Giants at 4:10 p.m. Saturday, and you can expect lots of music from the ’70s and free ’70s-themed posters for the first 10,000 fans. Concession prices will roll back for a day, including $2 popcorn, peanuts and Pepsi drinks. After the game, the Grammy-winning foursome (How to Save a Life, Over My Head) takes the field. — Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Live From A Moon Shaped Pool: Radiohead album release party
FRIDAY 12 p.m. Mojo Books & Records, 2540 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Free. (813) 971-9717.

There’s no shortage of Radiohead nuts in any city, and bay area fans of the UK rock legends will be happy to know that Thom Yorke and company are bringing their new album, A Moon Shaped Pool, to a local book and record store. The catch? It’s virtual. The event coincides with the physical release of the surprise LP, which dropped digitally in May, and will feature a day-long audio stream of material curated by the band as well as special art giveaways and a live-streamed performance by Radiohead at 1 p.m. Mojo Books & Records is just one of six retailers in Florida chosen to participate (the only one in Tampa Bay) and will have figurines from Radiohead’s Burn the Witch video to give away, along with Stanley Donwood screen prints and celluloid prints from the Daydreaming video.

Classic Albums Live: The Beatles’ Revolver
FRIDAY 7:30 p.m. The Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $35-$50. (727) 791-7400.

The Classic Albums Live series has found a nice and cozy, regular touring stop at Clearwater’s Capitol Theatre, and after appearances taking on legends like Led Zeppelin and Prince, the Toronto-based production returns on Friday and pays tribute to perhaps the most iconic of rock 'n’ roll luminaries, the Beatles. The event will celebrate the band’s 1966 masterpiece Revolver in which John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr went completely mad, unleashing 14 tracks that married their already established pop music prowess with the boys’ deepening obsession with psychedelia (I’m Only Sleeping, She Said She Said), Indian sounds (Love You To), and dark, institutionalized loneliness (Doctor Robert, Taxman). The group went on their last tour after releasing the album, but never played any Revolver cuts during the course of 19 shows, so heading out to see this is a fan’s only hope of seeing it come alive on stage.

With Awful People, Clem McGillicutty and the Burnouts, The Antidonts, Abandon The Midwest
FRIDAY 8 p.m. Lucky You Tattoo, 9633 Bay Pines Blvd., Seminole. $7. (727) 623-9928.
With beloved DIY venue Transitions Art Gallery taking its final bow near the end of the summer, the importance of inclusive, all-ages performance spaces grows even more significant. Short of knowing somebody and heading to a house show, a bill like Friday’s at Lucky You Tattoo is as homegrown as it’ll get. Sarasota ska outfit Sketchie bring the beachy bliss of their 2015 Lost in Sedation EP across the Sunshine Skyway, and Orlando’s Abandon the Midwest will lug their self-loathing pop-punk along for the ride, too. A few others are making a nice trip to be in the 727 as Tampa’s own Awful People hold down the local arm of the evening. Bring money to put gas in the tanks of the touring bands, and don’t be a prick, if you show up to the show.

WMNF Americana Fest
With Laney Jones and the Spirits, Cory Branan, Troy Youngblood & the Soulfish, Big Shoals, more.
SATURDAY 3 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $13-$16. (813) 971-0666.
There’s a veritable rockabilly hootenanny happening in Ybor City on Saturday night (Rockabilly Battle Royale at Crowbar), but the lineup at WMNF’s annual Americana Fest isn’t anything to blink at either. Alison Krauss-approved Florida songwriter Laney Jones and her band the Spirits — who recorded a self-titled 2016 LP in Deland — top a bill of almost a dozen acts alongside Mr. No Hit Wonder himself, Cory Branan, who is also no stranger to the area. Branan, 41, is popularly infamous for being “too country for punk and too punk for country,” but his real bread and butter is a live set that finds him exploring the evolution of his songs by adding new sonic cracks and crevices to road-weary cuts whether he just wrote them (You Make Me) or has been playing them for a decade (The Prettiest Waitress In Memphis).

Lil Uzi Vert
With YFN Lucci
SATURDAY 7 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $55-$65. (813) 248-9500.
If you’re a Kodak Black fan and wondering why your boy isn’t on the bill anymore, you might want to check the news. Promoters are citing “unforeseen circumstances,” for the 19-year-old rapper’s removal from the bill, which may or may not be referring to his status in Broward county after being arrested on charges relating to weapons, drugs and eluding police. Refunds are available at point of purchase, but that might not be necessary since Philadelphia rapper Lil Uzi Vert has been moved into the headlining slot. The 21-year-old is a rising star in the new age of  druggy, heavily autotuned, hip hop and has already toured with Fall Out Boy and Wiz Khalifa. His new LP — buoyed by hit song Money Longer — is on speakers everywhere, so don’t be surprised to see Orpheum packed for this one.

With 4B
SUNDAY 12 p.m. Beach Bar, 7700 W Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa. $10-$15. (813) 281-8900.

So far, so good at Beach Bar. The Courtney Campbell venue is in the midst of a reboot as they rebrand the venue formerly known as Hogan’s Beach, and their Sunday concert series on the sand rolls on this week with GTA, a Miami production duo who combine house music with trap music, the EDM genre du jour, to create their sonic brand, which has landed them spots at a multitude of festivals, including Ultra. Intoxicated — their big single with Madonna collaborator Martin Solveig — is the stuff drunken Uber rides home are made of. And while it’s less interesting than some of GTA’s other collaborations (Boy Oh Boy with Diplo comes to mind), it should still go off without a hitch for the revelers headed out to have some warm-blooded summer fun.

Pity Sex
With PWR BTTM, Petal, Drug.
SUNDAY 8 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $13. (813) 248-4969.
The great state of Michigan is going to lend Pity Sex to Tampa on Sunday night. The Ann Arbor quartet’s latest LP, White Hot Moon, is the follow up that their excellent 2013 debut Feast Of Love deserved, and while frontwoman Brittany Drake’s nostalgic, fuzzed out odes to 90’s alt-rock are most definitely appreciated, many in attendance at this one will have their eyes on PWR BTTM, a Hudson, N.Y., duo who deploy big power pop and crunchy guitars to help them candidly discuss the trials behind waiting a boy who thinks it’s sexy when your lipstick bleeds. Liv Bruce and Ben Hopkins are outspoken proponents for the equal rights of their LGBTQ fans, and they’re already donating all the proceeds of their June 17 Orlando show to victims from last week’s shooting, so expect a strong showing of support at the Ybor City show.

Los Van Van
THURSDAY 9 p.m. The Ritz, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $34. (813) 247-2555.

Cuba has been in the headlines a lot lately, and while Tampa International Airport was left off the short list of airports that will have flights directly servicing the island, the bay area can take solace in a very special show on Thursday. Post-revolution Cuban pop legends Los Van Van are largely credited with mixing Latin folk with pop, funk, soul, and rock to create the now popular “songa” sound that ushered in a new era of Latin fusion. Their band leader Juan Formell passed away two years ago, but the troupe of classically-trained musicians carries on with his legacy in tow (and his son Samuel in his stead). Diehard fans (“Vanvaneros”) will surely pack this show, which is one of just over dozen dates in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Also Playing

Flat Stanley, Fri. With Cities in Flight, Crash Mitchell. 9 p.m. Pokey’s, 100 E Madison St., Tampa. Free. (813) 223-6905.

Oceanstone, Fri. 9 p.m. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Free. (727) 736-0606.

Guest Room Series, Fri. With Matiks, HeyeYella, DJ Beyobe, Acoupstix. 10 p.m. Fubar, 658 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $3. (727) 424-1809.

Hucci, Fri. With Ozzie, Christian Alexander, Winta, $mgglr. 10 p.m. The Ritz, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15. (813) 247-2555.

The Unfit, Sat. With Deezy Wee the Rapper, Phaze Jones, Tim Apex, Larz Darko, YZM, more. 8 p.m. The Venture Compound, 2621 Fairfield Ave. S, St. Petersburg $5. (901) 619-1519.

Pagan Faith, Sat. With Thrash Attack, Sibyls, The Ruins, Critical Downfall. 8 p.m. The Brass Mug, 1450 Skipper Road, Tampa. $5-$8. (813) 972-8152.

Rockabilly Battle Royale, Sat. With Cadillac Bombers, Wildtones, High Fly Dreamers, Hot Rod Hornets, Six Volt Rodeo, Little Sheba & the Shamans, Johnny Zoom Hi-Fi Show, more. 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $10. (813) 241-8600.

Kilo Tango, Sat. With Poster, Broom Closet. 9 p.m. Mojo Books & Music, 2540 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $3-$5 Donation. (813) 971-9717.

Watermät, Sun. 1 p.m. Shephard’s Beach Resort, 619 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach. $7. (727) 441-6875.

Have Gun Will Travel, Sun. With Kristopher James. 3 p.m. Crooked Thumb Brewery, 555 10th Ave. S, Safety Harbor. Free. (727) 724-5953.

Castle, Mon. With Servants, Beer Wolf. 8 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $7-$10. (813) 248-4969.

Curasbun, Thurs. With Revolución, Thrash Can, DJ AMFB. 8 p.m. The Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $5. (727) 258-4829.

Strange Faces, Wed. With Teacher Teacher, Dead Is the Cat. 10 p.m. The Bends, 919 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 202-8931.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 16, 2016 5:53pm]


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