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This week in Tampa: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Rick Ross, Hillsong United, Harry Connick Jr. and more



It's a huge weekend for hip-hop, with local shows by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Rick Ross, Talib Kweli, Big K.R.I.T., Joey Bada$$, Ab-Soul and the Underachievers, among others. But the rest of the music world is also well represented in concerts around Tampa Bay -- Hillsong United, Harry Connick Jr., David Dondero, Mat Zo, Diane Schuur, Rusted Root, Eva Simons, Infected Mushroom, Roger McGuinn, Chacal y Yakarta, Straight No Chaser, Black Tide and more. Here to walk you through it all is Ray Roa...

Rick Ross
FRIDAY 8 p.m., Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $42-$72. (813) 301-2500.

There aren’t even 10 stops on Rick Ross’ tour supporting his new album Mastermind, but Ricky Rozay is clearly going for quality over quantity this time around. The 37-year-old with a penchant for crafting hip hop laced with references to drugs, cars, and weapons (strange considering his past stint as a corrections officer) is bringing a live band with him to some of the country’s prettiest performance halls, and if a recent show in front of a packed house at Detroit’s Masonic Temple is any indication, then fans are in for a treat. The set — devoid of any special appearances or encores — reportedly bred a house party atmosphere and repaired Ross’ recent slip-ups at shows marred by shoddy video screens and thin crowds.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
With Talib Kweli, Big K.R.I.T.
SATURDAY 7:30 p.m., USF Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $35-$45. (813) 974-3002.
With a mug marked by freckles, wavy red hair and a goofy smile, Macklemore isn’t exactly the dude you’d expect to be wielding the weapon of hip-hop to change the landscape of pop radio. That’s all fine by the 30-year-old born Ben Haggerty. His hit single Thrift Shop is the first song in two decades to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 without major label support, and he used that freedom to release a follow-up single (Same Love) powered by sparse piano and lyrics that completely bash the homophobia and small-mindedness he saw in a lot of today’s rap music and the world at large. His positive message is making his current tour a hot ticket, and new fans are in for a treat when a rap elder statesman (Talib Kweli) and up and comer (Big K.R.I.T.) open the show.

Hillsong United
FRIDAY 7:30 p.m., Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $25.25-$45.25. (813) 301-2500.

Praise and worship shows have long blurred the lines between going to church and a rock concert, but Hillsong United have the whole formula down pat and then some. As the musical arm of an Australian megachurch, United’s 17-part catalog of studio and live albums is marked by an uncanny ability to utilize sonic trends in contemporary music to create legitimate pop anthems like Relentless. The group hasn’t been able to completely escape controversies that seem to stain many global organizations (Michael Gugliemucci, who composed a Hillsong tune about overcoming cancer, admitted to never having the disease in 2008), but followers forgive the imperfections and continue to fill arenas and music halls with the sound of thousands of fans singing along loud and clear.

Harry Connick Jr.
FRIDAY 8 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $50-$175. (727) 791-7400.

Thanks to a cold (and doctor’s orders), Harry Connick Jr. postponed his Nov. 5 concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Thanks to a dolphin named Winter (and Junior’s role in Dolphin Tale 2), fans didn’t have to wait too long for a makeup show. The 46-year-old is feeling better and set to take to the stage and dish out his unique brand of soft rock, which playfully teeters on the edges of jazz, funk, and pop. And while his beguiling face is sure to be a distraction, be sure to close your eyes for a moment at this show and appreciate all off the Sinatra sonic nods, lovelorn lyrics, and deceptively intricate arrangements Connick is guaranteed to deliver. Tickets to the original show will be honored at this date, too.

MTV Smokers Club Tour
With Joey Bada$$, Ab-Soul, The Underachievers, Chevy Woods
SATURDAY 7 p.m., Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N., St. Petersburg. $23.50. (727) 565-0550.
Whether it’s Bob Marley, Willie Nelson or even Miley Cyrus, the relationship between many musicians and cannabis is well documented and — for better or worse — often celebrated. MTV’s Smokers Club Tour arrives with a quartet of hip-hop’s youngest stars to spark fire to another particularly enjoyable strain of THC-tinged entertainment: stoner rap. It might be Ab-Soul reflecting on Selassie and sovereignty (Terrorist Threats), or it could be Joey Bada$$ telling tales of his mom working hard to make the ends meet (Waves), but the sub-genre completely bucks any stereotypes you might have by taking rap back to a better day in age when seventh chords, 808s, and the notion of storytelling were a rapper’s sonic canvas of choice.

David Dondero
With Beartoe, Jeff Brawer
SATURDAY 9 p.m., New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $8. (813) 248-4969.
In South Of The South, David Dondero describes being a “tender chicken in the Florida rotisserie,” “biting lightning bolts,” and even uses just one sentence to tell the tale of Ybor’s Cuban immigrants. The rest of the song is a poetic ode to things like boiled peanuts, Wakulla Springs, citrus and our state’s oppressive humidity, but the amazing thing about it all is how Dondero, 44, gives that same thoughtful treatment to everything he experiences and turns into song. As a bona fide troubadour, the mostly nomadic singer-songwriter lives a hand-to-mouth existence and has spent the last 15 years patching together an impressive catalog of 17 LPs, splits, and compilations, which earned him a spot next to Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits on NPR’s recent list of the “World’s Best Living Songwriters.”

Mat Zo
With Norin & Rad, Docco, Basomatix
SATURDAY 10 p.m., Amphitheatre, 1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15. (813) 873-8368.
On the night after Amp welcomes a bigger name in EDM (Infected Mushroom), a lesser known, but arguably more important, player in the genre comes in with his shiny new LP, Damage Control, in tow. Matan Zohar (aka Mat Zo) has carved out a nice reputation thanks to his trance production, and Easy, the 23-year-old’s collaboration with fellow wunderkind/producer Porter Robinson, put him in heavy rotation at clubs around the world. The cut is a highlight of Damage Control, but the rest of the 15-track offering, with all of its sensuous undertones, tribal rhythms, hip-hop breaks and subtle homages to pop is a seamless plays from start to finish and easily one of 2013’s most enjoyable listens.

Diane Schuur
SUNDAY 7 p.m., Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. $34.50-$44.50. (727) 587-6793.

As she approaches 60, acclaimed jazz pianist/vocalist Diane Schurr can lay claim to being a professional musician for half of a century. She started singing at 2, was getting booked for gigs before she turned 10, and despite being born blind, Schurr — who is affectionately called “Deedles” — has earned two Grammy awards, shared stages with Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie and Stevie Wonder amongst others. With an infectious smile and catchy tunes like I Can’t Stop Loving You, Why Can’t He Be You and Louisiana Sunday Afternoon in her reptoire, catching Deedles on her current swing through the state isn’t the worst thing you can do on a Sunday night.

Also playing

Cole Swindell Fri. 7 p.m. Dallas Bull, 3322 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $10-$15. (813) 987-2855.

Rusted Root Fri. With Von Grey, Lushbudget. 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $21-$25. (727) 895-3045.

Eva Simons Fri. With Darnaa. 8 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N., St. Petersburg. $20-$40. (727) 565-0550.

Melanie Fri. 8 p.m. Carrollwood Cultural Center, 4537 Lowell Road, Tampa. $25-$31. (813) 269-1310.

Infected Mushroom Fri. With Nerd Rage, Mr. Saturn, Winta. 9 p.m. Amphitheatre, 1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20. (813) 873-8368.

Roger McGuinn Fri. 8 p.m. Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. $29.50-$44.50. (727) 587-6793.

Rock School Blowout Sat. 1 p.m. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. $5. (813) 229-7827.

Rude Squad Sat. With The Apes, Danfield, Reinstated. 7 p.m. Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $8.

Cope Sat. With Come Back Alice. 8 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $10-$14. (727) 895-3045.

Straight No Chaser Sat. 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $35-$100. (727) 791-7400.

Chacal y Yakarta Sat. 8 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20-$30. (813) 247-2555.

Wooden Indian Burial Ground Sun. With Florida Kilos, Luxury Mane. 8 p.m. Venture Compound, 2621 Fairfield Ave. S., St. Petersburg. (901) 619-1519.

Join Hands Sat. With Radarmen, Y Los Dos Pistoles, Lucury Mane. 9 p.m. Emerald Bar, 550 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $4. (727) 898-6054.

The Malah Sat. With Displace, K Slat. 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N. 17th St., Ybor City. $10-$13. (813) 241-8600.

Tunes For Tots: Make-A-Wish Foundation Benefit Sun. With Haley Faye, Zach Biss, 4 AM, Morgan Bernard, Johnny D Lewis and Zetha, J-Audio. 5 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $10 suggested minimum donation. (813) 971-0666.

Black Tide Tue. With Stonegrey, Not Tonight Josephine, Acacyn, Hang 'Em High, Artificial Heartbeat. 7 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $10-$12. (813) 248-9500 or

Electric Beach Festival Wed. With George Acosta, DJ Deville, Nerd Rage, DJ Dani, DJ Ray, Nova, A-Rock, more. 8 p.m. Shepard’s Beach Resort, 619 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater Beach. $10 and up. (727) 441-6875.

-- Ray Roa, tbt*

[Last modified: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 3:57pm]


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