Make us your home page

This week in Tampa: Little Big Town, Chris Stapleton, Barry Manilow, Jess Glynne and more



It's Gasparilla weekend in Tampa, which means it's the Big Guava's biggest party weekend of the year. But if you don't feel like screaming for beads on Saturday, there are plenty of musical options out there.

Foremost among them is the U.S. 103.5 Throwdown By the Bay with Little Big Town (above), Chris Stapleton and Maddie and Tae at Amalie Arena. Because it's taking place in such close proximity to the Gasparilla parade, parking and road closures may be an issue. For details on how to get to the Throwdown By the Bay and where to park once you get there, click here.

For all the details on the Throwdown and other big concerts -- including Barry Manilow, Naughty By Nature, Jess Glynne, Graham Nash, John Prine, Dave Koz, Robby Krieger, the Swon Brothers, Howie Day, Europe, Conrad Sewell, Rebirth Brass Band, Jukebox the Ghost, Johnnyswim, the Expendables, Zach Deputy and the Florida Metal Festival with Obituary, Deicide and Corrosion of Conformity -- here are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa...

U.S. 103.5 Throwdown by the Bay
With Little Big Town, Chris Stapleton, Maddie & Tae, more
SATURDAY 4 p.m. Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $16.74 and up. (813) 301-2500.
An overdue arena show by chart-topping, Grammy-winning country quartet Little Big Town, above, (Girl Crush, Day Drinking) would ordinarily be Tampa’s Nashville news of the weekend. But it’s the middle act at Saturday’s U.S. 103.5 Throwdown by the Bay who has everyone talking. That’d be Chris Stapleton, right, the shaggy-dog songwriter who shot practically out of nowhere to sweep last year’s Country Music Association Awards, winning Male Vocalist and New Artist of the year along with Album of the Year for his confessional Traveller. He’s since played Saturday Night Live, joined the lineup for Bonnaroo and been nominated for Album of the Year at this year’s Grammys. Stapleton and Little Big Town — along with openers Maddie and Tae (Girl in a Country Song) — might constitute the best local country lineup of the year. The show kicks off at 4 p.m. with free outdoor performances by American Young and Ashley Campbell; the indoor action starts at 7:30. Because it’s Gasparilla day, expect traffic delays, parking issues and road closures; check for updates.

Florida Metal Fest
With Obituary, Deicide, Corrosion of Conformity, Malevolent Creation, Madball, Trouble, Atheist, Broken Hope, Generichrist, Untoten Krieg, Painkiller
SATURDAY 3 p.m. Cuban Club, 2010 Avenida Republica de Cuba, Ybor City. $40-$95.
A dozen years ago, John and Donald Tardy bought the website They weren’t staging a festival or anything. All they knew was that someday, somehow, they eventually would. “We knew we wanted it, we worked on it, we dreamed about it, we came close to trying to pull the trigger,” said Donald, drummer for the Tampa death metal group Obituary. “It took a lot of waiting for bands to be available and for us to have the money.” Today, finally, the Tardys are ready to pull the trigger. On Saturday at the Cuban Club in Ybor City, Obituary will headline the inaugural Florida Metal Fest, a long-discussed, long-overdue daylong salute to the city’s storied and influential role in the foundation of death metal. Fellow Tampa death metal pioneers Deicide are also on the bill, along with national acts like Corrosion of Conformity, Trouble, Madball and Malevolent Creation. “We just want Tampa to have a great festival, because we deserve it,” Tardy said. “We are Florida boys, and we’re music fans and metalheads. I’m pushing hard to just make this thing a reality.”

Jess Glynne
With Conrad Sewell
SATURDAY 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $16-$20. (727) 895-3045.
Jess Glynne owns a Grammy, several hit singles and a massive following in her native United Kingdom. So why isn’t she a bigger pop star here? The 26-year-old singer has been on the verge of an American breakout for a couple of years now, ever since her vocal starring role on Clean Bandit’s disco-tastic Rather Be propelled her onto playlists around the globe. Their second collaboration, Real Love, was almost as big a hit overseas — as were peppy, early ’90s dance throwbacks Hold My Hand and Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself, both from her 2015 album I Cry When I Laugh. While she’s touring smaller venues, her soulful voice should showcase why she’s become way more than a nameless, faceless discotheque diva. Joining her Saturday at the State Theatre is Conrad Sewell, the well-coiffed Aussie pop pinup who roused the crowd at December’s 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball with his hit single Start Again.

Robby Krieger
FRIDAY 7 p.m. Tamiami Club, 6800 Sunset Way, St. Pete Beach. $29.99 and up. (727) 688-2025,

Jim Morrison is long gone, and Ray Manzarek died in 2013. But Doors guitarist Robby Krieger is still lighting fires around the world at clubs and festivals that’ll have him. Krieger, who just turned 70, wrote or co-wrote many of the band’s biggest hits (Light My Fire, Touch Me, Love Her Madly, Love Me Two Times, People Are Strange), and that roaring riff from Roadhouse Blues can still knock your socks off. On Friday he’ll play the new Tamiami Club, a club that only holds a few hundred, so get there when doors open at 7 p.m. if you want to stake out a space close to rock history.

Graham Nash
TUESDAY 7:30 p.m. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $52.50 and up. (727) 791-7400.

Even Graham Nash was shocked to learn of the death of his old friend Glenn Frey, singer and guitarist from the Eagles. “The last time I saw him was on the golf course, and he was healthy and fit and funny and calm,” the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young singer said by phone from Manhattan Beach, Calif. “It’s just all the more reason we have to take every second that we have and try to make the best of it.” Nash is trying to do just that on his new tour, which hits Clearwater’s Capitol Theatre on Tuesday — his 74th birthday. Accompanied only by guitarist and songwriter Shane Fontayne, the Woodstock veteran will play a stripped-down mix of songs from CSN and CSNY; his other band, the Hollies; and his solo catalog, including a few from This Path Tonight, his first album in 14 years, due April 15. “People that come and see me are going to see an individual who is a human being, just the same as they are,” Nash said. “Maybe for a couple of hours a night, we can escape from the chaotic life that is life right now.”

Barry Manilow
With Dave Koz
THURSDAY 7:30 p.m. Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $19.75-$149.75. (813) 301-2500,
Barry Manilow is not ready to say goodbye. He’s ready to get off the road, for sure — he’s been ready for that for years — but musically, he’s not going anywhere. “There’s that joke that the prostitute says: 'It’s not the work, it’s the stairs,’” the 72-year-old singer laughed during a recent phone interview. “That’s me. It’s not the work, it’s the stairs. It’s getting there. That’s what it is.” That means every stop on his long-running One Last Time! Tour — such as Thursday’s gig at Amalie Arena in Tampa — could be the last time he visits a given city. “America’s big, and I really want to say goodbye to a lot of the cities that have been so good to me,” Manilow said. To do so, he’s packing his setlist with more familiar hits than on any of his previous tours — Mandy, I Write the Songs, Looks Like We Made It, Copacabana (At the Copa). “And I’m happy to do it,” he said. “I’ve never done a full show of just familiar songs. I’m one of the lucky guys that has a catalog that I could actually fill up 90 minutes with songs that everybody knows.” And he’s not done yet. His 2014 album My Dream Duets — a collection of duets with long-gone stars like Louis Armstrong, John Denver and Whitney Houston — is up this month for a Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, and he’s hard at work on a new album of standards and originals. If it goes as well as he hopes, who knows? Maybe he’ll be back here again someday. “I love my band, and the people that are with me, and the audiences are so fantastic,” he said. “Who would ever say you don’t want to do that again?”

Gasparilla Pre-Invasion
With Howie Day, Hip Abduction, Swon Brothers
FRIDAY 5 p.m. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. $20. (813) 274-8677.
Saturday is the bay area’s big day for working on Sunday morning hangovers, but for the overly ambitious who’d like to get extra primed for Jose Gaspar and krewe’s invasion, there’s a big ol’ happy hour pre-party happening in Downtown Tampa’s Curtis Hixon park on Friday. Local world-fusion pop stars the Hip Abduction will provide reggae-flavored rock, and the Swon Brothers will be doling out twang for the suburban cowboy set, but do pipe down just a bit when Gasparilla also shows its sensitive side by welcoming singer-songwriter Howie Day to work through cuts from a new album, 2015’s Lanterns, and hopefully some stuff from his loop-heavy Madrigals EP, released ages ago.

John Prine
With Amanda Shires
FRIDAY 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Rd., Clearwater. $48.75-$150. (727) 791-7400.
Let’s be frank here: 2016 has been brutal to legends of the music industry. And while it’s a bit dark to frame it this way, it’s important to check in with legends like John Prine as often as possible. The Midwest’s gift to American song writing is only 69 years old, and he does frequent these parts often, but as time goes on, shows like this feel increasingly special. Prine’s influence on the country’s songbook is far-reaching (Fish and Whistle, Angel From Montgomery, In Spite of Ourselves) and his voice is one of the most distinct even today. What’s more is that this show gets an extra boost thanks to the addition of Amanda Shires, a Texas-born, fiddle-wielding powerhouse who famously plays in her husband Jason Isbell’s bands, yet really shines in her solo material.

Rebirth Brass Band
SATURDAY 7:30 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15-$20. (813) 248-9500
It gets boozy down on Bourbon Street, so it’s apropos that the Orpheum would welcome one of New Orleans’ most rambunctious, longest-running third-line horn collectives to La Septima on what is arguably Tampa’s biggest party day. The Rebirth Brass Band have been featured on HBO’s Tremé and enjoy wild popularity at home, but they really hit a career highlight in 2012 when their LP, Rebirth of New Orleans, was awarded a Grammy for Best Regional Roots Music Album. Widely regarded as a Crescent City institution, a set from the Rebirth Brass Band is the closest you’ll get to being able to dance your way through a living, breathing, horn-blowing history lesson.

Naughty By Nature
SATURDAY 8 p.m. Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 565-0550.

Hip hop hooray! This show is free on Saturday! It hasn’t been long since Naughty By Nature’s last Tampa Bay appearance (they played the USF Sundome alongside Salt N Pepa and Color Me Badd last month), but a no-cover headlining set from the Grammy-winning rappers is hard to ignore. The trio is celebrating 25 years on the scene with this tour, and while they haven’t put out anything since 2011’s Anthem Inc., the breadth of their catalog (plus hits like O.P.P. and Holiday) should keep the crowd bouncing. Treach & co. are purportedly working on new material, so expect to hear some fresh stuff at this one.

Awkward Age
With the Tim Version, Edmonton, Blacksmith
SATURDAY 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $7. (813) 248-4969.
Old man punk is everywhere in this town, and there probably won’t ever be a shortage of power-chord driven, crunchy rock, but it’s still sad to have to say goodbye to bands when they’re looking at a long hiatus. In this case it’s Tampa’s Awkward Age who have a member that just became a dad and another moving out west to Los Angeles in the coming months. The boys will celebrate the occasion in style on Saturday by welcoming a who’s who of local outfits (The Tim Version, Blacksmith) plus Gainesville’s Edmonton to send them off in grand fashion. Awkward Age’s latest LP, We Could Be Anywhere, was one of the best area releases in 2014, and Edmonton are fittingly ripe for an international explosion thanks to the self-described “emo-jihad pizza punk” they play on their most recent effort, Walk It Off.

Jukebox the Ghost
With Goodnight Neverland, Row Jomah
MONDAY 7 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $15. (813) 241-8600.
Jukebox the Ghost’s self-titled 2015 album likely is still getting spins in the players of fans who love the Washington D.C. outfit’s catchy piano pop, but this Monday night show got really interesting a few weeks ago, when local boy Kerry Courtney received a golden ticket on the latest (and final) season of American Idol. Courtney, 25, serenaded Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. with a unique take on Death Cab For Cutie’s Black Sun, and he’ll bring that same hauntingly good voice and one-of-a-kind delivery to the undercard of this bill when his band Goodnight Neverland opens alongside Row Jomah. Dark topics get lots of tread on Neverland’s Old Tree, but Courtney — with a big voice that can bitingly convey the confusion and sadness in the lyrics — is the guy best fit to deliver the message.

Also Playing

The Expendables, Fri. With Zach Deputy. 7:30 p.m. Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $15-$18. (727) 565-0550.

Johnnyswim, Fri. With Jonny P. 7:30 p.m. Ferguson Hall at David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $25. (813) 229-7827.

David Bromberg, Fri. 8 p.m. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $35-$47. (727) 791-7400.

American Babies, Fri. With the Groove Orient, Wyllys. 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $12-$14. (813) 241-8600.

Kristopher James and Shae Krispinsky, Fri. 9 p.m. Ella’s Americana Folk Art Café, 5119 N Nebraska, Ave., Tampa. Free. (813) 234-1000.

Pleasures, Fri. With the Mother Machine, Godsnack. 9 p.m. Orbit 19 Lounge, 1542 U.S. 19 N., Holiday. Free. (727) 937-8330.

The Gun Hoes, Sat. With Jensen Serf Co., Selectric. 9 p.m. The Bends, 919 First Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 202-8931.

Mercy McCoy, Sun. 8 p.m. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Free. (727) 736-0606.

Seamstress, Mon. With Sloth, Last, Rauh, Onset, Public Domination. 8 p.m. American Legion Hall Seminole Post 111, 6928 Florida Ave., Tampa. Donations Accepted. (813) 236-2281.

Europe, Wed. With Gabbie Rae. 6 p.m. England Brothers Park, 510 81st Ave. N, Pinellas Park. $20-$100. (727) 541-0895.

Cradle of Filth, Wed. With Butcher Babies, NE Obliviscaris, Psykotribe. 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $25-$28. (727) 895-3045.

Graveyard, Thurs. With Spiders, the Nether. 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 15-$18. (727) 895-3045.

Black Tusk, Thurs. With Royal Thunder, Bask, Beer Wolf. 8 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $10-$12. (813) 248-4969.

Oso Oso, Thurs. With Prince Daddy & the Hyena, Living Decent, Badparker. 8 p.m. Lucky You Tattoo, 9633 Bay Pines Blvd., Seminole. $7 donation. (727) 623-9928.

Michal Menert, Thurs. With the Pretty Fantastics. 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $15-$20. (813) 241-8600.

-- Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa

[Last modified: Thursday, January 28, 2016 12:18pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours