This week in Tampa: LL Cool J, Indigo Girls, Jackie Evancho, Flux Pavilion and more
We're still winding down from a wild Memorial Day weekend of music in Tampa Bay, but we're about to head into a busy summer concert season. Among the acts in town this week: Indigo Girls (above), LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, De La Soul, Peter Frampton, Taj Mahal, Andrew W.K., Flux Pavilion, ZZ Ward, Cody Simpson, Face to Face, The Fixx, Robert Cray, Clinton Sparks and more. Here to walk you through it all is Suburban Apologist's Ray Roa...
Clewarwater’s Blast Friday
With The Fixx
FRIDAY 5:30 p.m., Cleveland Street, Downtown Clearwater. Free ($30 for VIP).
Downtown Clearwater’s Blast Friday street festival continues its tremendous growth with yet another concert set to take over Cleveland Street. The weather should be extra warm and one of the 1980s’ hottest bands, The Fixx, will keep the temperature climbing with a handful of their most famous new wave classics. It won’t cost you a dime to check out frontman Cy Curnin lead this band through cuts like One Thing Leads To Another, Saved By Zero and Stand Or Fall (as well as selections from their 2012 album, Beautiful Friction), but more ambitious concertgoers can opt for $30 VIP tickets that come with two beers, a slice of pizza and reserved front-stage seating.
SATURDAY 8 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Rd., Clearwater. $39-$59. (727) 791-7400.
It’s virtually impossible to stay friends with your elementary school chums, but Amy Ray and Emily Sailers have taken the notion of “forever friends” a few steps further. The Indigo Girls met four decades ago and have been performing together for the last 30 years. The girls have gone through several touring band lineups supporting any one of their 13 LPs of quiet, harmony-laden folk, but for this tour they called in composers Sean O’ Loughlin and Stephen Barber to create orchestral arrangements that will accompany and breathe new life into familiar fan favorites like Closer To Fine, Galileo and Power Of Two.
SUNDAY 7 p.m., Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S., St. Petersburg. $55.50-$99. (727) 892-5767.
In a world where manufactured “Idols” and amazing “Voices” are selected by a panel of celebrity judges, Jackie Evancho is a reality television darling who is hard to hate. The 13-year-old classical vocalist gained notoriety thanks to a second-place finish on the fifth season of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, and while the man who defeated her (33-year-old Michael Grimm) seems to most famous for proposing to his girlfriend during an appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show, Evancho has made good on her obvious talent by moving millions of records thanks to her jaw-dropping vocals on classical gems Nessun Dorma and O Mio Babbino Caro. For this special engagement, she teams up with members of the Florida Orchestra to present her take on familiar movie tunes like My Heart Will Go On, which appears on last year’s LP Songs From The Silver Screen.
With Jill Philips
SUNDAY 7 p.m., Christ Community Church, 6202 N Himes Ave., Tampa. $10. (813) 879-2077.
Andy Gullahorn can talk with the best of ’em, and while the gift of gab isn’t exactly a draw when it comes to singer-songwriters, his mouth and the usually humorous things that come out of it are all part of an impressive solo acoustic set, during which the Texas-born Gullahorn presents witty takes on prejudice (Green Hills Mall) and punching the clock (Workin’ Man) and butts them against introspective laments on modern Christianity (If I Were, I Will Be). On the surface, Gullahorn could be described as a “Christian” artist, but confining him to that label would be a disservice to his rare gift and knack for writing complete songs (the boy went to Belmont University solely to be close to the Nashville country music scene). His wife, Jill Philips, is an accomplished songwriter in her own right and joins her husband for what should be an uplifting evening.
With Robert Cray
SUNDAY 7:30 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Rd., Clearwater. $49.50-$225. (727) 791-7400.
Let’s face the facts and admit that nine out of 10 of you have a copy of Frampton Comes Alive! buried somewhere in your record collection. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Peter Frampton’s 1976 breakthrough live album sold millions upon millions of copies in the U.S. alone. For this tour stop, the 63-year-old former Humble Pie guitarist brings his talkbox, as well as hits like Baby, I Love Your Way and All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side), to Ruth Eckerd Hall, where he’ll be joined by fellow six-string firebreather Robert Cray for what’s being dubbed the “Guitar Circus.” The 59-year-old Cray utilizes a more blues-based approach to songwriting, but expect equally blistering fretwork from both of these hall of fame talents.
With The Silent Comedy
WEDNESDAY 7:30 p.m., Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $13-$15. (813) 247-2555.
To the unseasoned ear, ZZ Ward’s boisterous vocal on cuts like Put The Gun Down and Move Like U Stole It could easily be mistaken for that of Adele. It’s a forgivable gaffe, and while Ward and Adele were born halfway across the world from each other (Abington, Pa. and Tottenham, U.K., respectively), they do both share a penchant for belting out impassioned vocals that marry the worlds of British blue-eyed soul and American AM gold. Ward’s delivery leans more to the rock side (she can often be found with a guitar in hand) and she even drops in elements of hip-hop (Cryin’ Wolf features West Coast rap impresario Kendrick Lamar) into her sultry brand of modern-day pop. She may not yet have the star power of Adele, but ZZ is well on her way.
With Shaun Hopper
WEDNESDAY 7:30 p.m., Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $42-$55. (727) 822-3590.
Henry Saint Clair Fredericks has shared stages with everyone from Mick and Keith (The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus) to Jack Johnson (2010 Kokua Festival), which is a testament to the universal appeal of the 71-year-old singer-songwriter better known as Taj Mahal. He’s a self-taught blues legend who has changed and influenced the genre just as much as he’s learned from it. Whether he’s delivering his take on the American murder ballad Stagger Lee or splashing whirring harmonica on an original like Lovin’ In My Baby’s Eyes, Taj Mahal’s pure love for life and singing shines through on the whole of his recorded output and has grown even more sweet and seasoned in his old age. Tampa fingerstyle whiz kid Shaun Hopper (consult the Google oracle to see his cover of Lennon’s Come Together) opens this show.
Kings of the Mic Tour
With LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Ice Cube, De La Soul
THURSDAY 7:30 p.m. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $55.50-$99. (727) 892-5767.
A retro rap show featuring not just Public Enemy but N.W.A.’s Ice Cube as well? That’s a contradictory notion for sure. After all, those incendiary mouthpieces weren’t built to last all these decades; they were ticking time bombs geared for societal disruption in those flammable ’80s. But when the Kings of the Mic Tour comes to the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on June 6, headliner LL Cool J and art-hop kings De La Soul will be joined by Cube and P.E. (complete with Chuck D, Flavor Flav and myriad novelty-sized timepieces). That’s a lot of music history onstage — a don’t-miss show for even the most casual of rap fans. -- Sean Daly
With Neglected Superhero, Hollow Fox, Sanctions
FRIDAY 8 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20. theorpheum.com.
Andrew W.K.’s songs extol the virtues of partying in varying levels of intensity (It’s Time to Party, Party Hard, Party 'Til You Puke.) His Twitter feed is filled with party tips that range from the playful to the philosophical. Perhaps it’s this positivity that has helped him have something of a banner year in 2013. He’s been tapped as the frontman for Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg, performing 34 Ramones songs. And by the winter, he hopes to have a new album finished. His date on Friday at the Orpheum will be the only full-band show on W.K.’s otherwise tour. The singer said that’s because his backing band, which formed 13 years ago, mostly lives in the bay area, including Obituary drummer Donald Tardy. — Jimmy Geurts
With Nerd Rage, Mr. Saturn, Winta
THURSDAY 9 p.m., Amphitheatre, 1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $30. (813) 873-8368.
It took a sonic nod from the most polarizing rapper on Earth to make a pale, diminutive producer from the United Kingdom a household name, but Flux Pavilion shouldn’t feel bad about that. His unmistakable hit single, I Can’t Stop, is now played everywhere from wedding receptions to professional sports arenas, and the Kanye West and Jay-Z track that sampled it, Who Gon Stop Me, is arguably the strongest track on 2011’s Watch the Throne. What’s more is that Flux Pavillion (real name Joshua Steele) is one of maybe a handful of dubstep producers taking the sometimes tired EDM subgenre to greater heights by infusing break beats, moombahton, hip hop and dancehall into tracks from his latest EP, Blow The Roof.
Cody Simpson Fri. With Ryan Beatty, Before You Exit. 7 p.m. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. $48.50. (813) 229-7827.
Face To Face Fri. With Teenage Bottle Rocket, Blacklist Royals, Joshua Black Wilkins. 6:30 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $22-$25. (727) 895-3045.
Pretty & Nice Fri. With Alexander & The Grapes, The Happiness Machine, Jensen Serf Co. 8 p.m. Venture Compound, 2621 Fairfield Ave. S., St. Petersburg $6 (901) 619-1519.
Clinton Sparks Fri. Club Detroit, 16 Second St. N., St. Petersburg. Cost TBD. (727) 673-2949.
Florida Night Heat EP release Fri. With AJ Vincent, Alias Punch. 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $7. (813) 248-4969.
Matt Stillwell Fri. 9 p.m. The Round Up, 13918 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa. $10. (813) 855-1464.
Gride Sat. With Turbokrieg, Mindboil, Maruta, Morphic Lapse, Sacridose, Bad Human. 7 p.m. Epic Problem, 4215 E Columbus Drive, Tampa. $6. (813) 382-3477.
Lava Church Tour Kickoff Sat. With Lovebrrd, Tender Cruncher, Young Egypt, Whitey Alabastard, King Of Highlife, Su Soud Toulouse En Rouge. 8 p.m. Venture Compound, 2621 Fairfield Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (901) 619-1519.
Summerglen Sat. 9 p.m. Sacred Grounds, 4819 E Busch Blvd, Tampa. Free. (813) 983-0837.
Gareth Emery Sat. 10 p.m. Amphitheatre, 1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15. (813) 873-8368.
The Bloody Jug Band Sat. With Applebutter Express, Troy Youngblood. 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $7. (813) 248-4969.
Mantis Sun. With Subpirate, Leviathan, Bonesaw. 8 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $10. (727) 895-3045.
Jimmy Thackery Sun. With Hadden Sayers. 5 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $12-$15. (813) 971-0666.
Life Is Good Pool Party Mon. With Dj Casper, DJ Lesage. 2 p.m. Tahitian Inn, 601 S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. $3. (813) 877-6721.
King Django Wed. With Brian Hill, John DeCarlo, Anthony Vito, Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen Of The Apocolypto, Black & Tenn. 8 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $7-$10. (813) 248-4969.
Dirty Names Thu. 10 p.m. Mandarin Hide, 231 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 231-4007.
Rock The Park Thu. With Day Joy, Loud Valley, Oxford Noland. 6:30 p.m. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Dr., Tampa. Free. (813)274-8677.
-- Ray Roa, tbt*