Make us your home page

This week in Tampa: Mary J. Blige, Lil Wayne, Nas, Damien Rice and more

Luis Santana



A massive weekend in live music, and hip hop rules it all, with shows by Chance the Rapper tonight, Mary J. Blige and Keyshia Cole on Sunday, and the huge H.I.T. Music Festival on Saturday, featuring Lil Wayne, Nas, Yo Gotti, August Alsina, DJ Khaled and many more.

Other acts on tap this week: Damien Rice, Warrant, Ratt, L.A. Guns, Love and Theft, Surfer Blood, Leftover Salmon, Tonic, Vertical Horizon, Motionless In White, The Devil Wears Prada, Public Image Ltd., Brazilian Girls, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Texas In July, Corey Harris, Little River Band, the Family Stone and more. Here to walk you through it all are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa...

Mary J. Blige
With Keyshia Cole
SUNDAY 7 p.m. USF Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $50.15 and up. (813) 974-3004.
How did Mary J. Blige transform from the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul into a muse for a new generation of British dance stars? “I had discovered Disclosure, and they were just amazing to me,” Blige said in a recent phone interview. “They reminded me of something that I grew up on, when I was growing up and when I was a kid, and my parents were going out to clubs. The club music that was playing sounded like the club music that Disclosure’s doing today. That’s what I was focused on. I was just blown away at the fact that, how do these kids even know that?” Disclosure’s work with Blige, including the single F for You and tracks from her latest album The London Sessions, feels very different from classic R&B tracks like Family Affair, No More Drama and Real Love. But they’re proof of Blige’s effortless ability to sound right at home singing with just about anyone. Over the past 23 years, Blige has lived up to her regal nickname, expanding her empire into a fragrance line (My Life, originally sold through St. Petersburg’s HSN) and acting (she’ll play Evillene, the Wicked Witch of the West, in NBC’s upcoming musical The Wiz). But when she performs in Tampa on Sunday, her iconic, Grammy-winning catalog will be the main focus, proving why she’s one of the greatest soul voices who ever lived.

H.I.T. Music Festival
With Lil Wayne, Nas, DJ Khaled, Fabolous, Waka Flocka Flame, August Alsina, Yo Gotti, Jim Jones, iLoveMakonnen, Tink, Cyhi the Prince
SATURDAY 5 p.m. USF Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. #27.75 and up. (813) 974-3004.
They’re calling it the H.I.T. (History in Tampa) Music Festival, and if it all comes together, it’ll indeed be historic. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t emphasize the word if. Not that we have any reason not to take organizers (including popular rap website WorldStarHipHop) at their word, but the lineup for this first-time event on Saturday at the USF Sun Dome seems almost too ambitious to believe. Atop the card are two bona fide legends, Lil Wayne and Nas, the latter of whom hasn’t headlined a proper Tampa Bay concert in ages. Below them are artists with huge hits (DJ Khaled and All I Do Is Win, Fabolous and Can’t Deny It, Waka Flocka Flame and Hard In Da Paint), harder-edged acts with plenty of cred (Yo Gotti, August Alsina, Jim Jones) and up-and-comers who deserve a headlining show of their own (iLoveMakonnen, Tink, Cyhi the Prince). Will all these artists show up? Can they all possibly fit into one bill? It could be a train wreck, or it could be the hip-hop show of the year. But a lineup this good is worth the gamble.

With Ratt, L.A. Guns
FRIDAY 6 p.m. Ferg’s Sports Bar, 1329 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $14.95. (727) 822-4562.
Friday brings the first grand experiment in live music at Ferg’s Sports Bar in St. Petersburg: a concert by ’80s hair-metal relics Warrant, Ratt and L.A. Guns. Will Aqua Net-banging hits like Cherry Pie, Heaven, Round & Round and The Ballad of Jayne play in the redesigned courtyard of Tampa Bay’s best baseball bar? We’ll find out. Consider this a test run for bigger shows to come, like Blue Oyster Cult (Nov. 13), John Michael Montgomery (Dec. 4), Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (Dec. 11), George Clinton (Dec. 31) and Europe (Feb. 3). Tickets to the Warrant show start at $14.95, with VIP balcony admission starting at $49.99.

Damien Rice
MONDAY 8 p.m. Tampa Theatre, 711 N Franklin St., Tampa. $39.50 and up. (813) 274-8286,

Ed Sheeran gives Damien Rice a shout-out on his song You Need Me, I Don’t Need You, and he has spoken often of just how influential he considers the Irish singer-songwriter to be. Sheeran isn’t the only one who’s fallen in love with Rice’s music – so have millions of fans around the world, thanks to gorgeous, heartfelt folk songs (Cannonball, The Blower’s Daughter, Volcano) and an achingly vulnerable voice. This ultra-rare opportunity to see Rice in Florida couldn’t come in a lovelier venue, the historic Tampa Theatre. Try not to swoon too hard.

Love and Theft
FRIDAY 9 p.m. The Round Up, 10051 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa. $10 and up. (813) 855-1464.

It’s not often Soundcheck sends you to the west side of West Tampa, but it might be worth the drive on Friday for some line dancing and a set by Love and Theft. The Nashville-groomed duo had a No. 1 country single in 2011 with Angel Eyes, but rough times ensued after the next two stabs at radio (Runnin’ Out of Air, Night That You’ll Never Forget) barely cracked the Top 40. Their label, RCA, dropped them and they’re essentially pop-country-indie dudes now. There’s a recorded album that probably won’t see the light of day due to label technicalities, but it could be interesting to see if the boys — Eric Gunderson and Stephen Liles — break any of it out. A live version of Whiskey On My Breath features the kind of harmonies that can make your hair stand on end, so expect to be wholly entertained when it all plays out at this country western hotspot.

St. Pete Noise Fest
With Victimes de Regime, Joules, Whitey alabastard, AODL, Con Rit, Ruff Bummer, Andy Borsz, more.
FRIDAY-SATURDAY 7 p.m. The Venture Compound, 2621 Fairfield Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Free. (901) 619-1519.
Is Folkfest St. Pete the total antithesis of “your thing” when it comes to live music? If so, then you might want to camp out in the Warehouse District when alternative art space the Venture Compound throws their eighth St. Pete Noise Fest. The two-day event attracts artists from around the country (think California, North Carolina, Utah) to a less glitzy corner of the Burg, where the sometimes ear-splitting, always mind-expanding mining of sounds ranging from cacophony to near-silence gets a celebration of its own. The action starts at 7 p.m. each night, features 15-minute sets without breaks, and finds almost two dozen acts playing well past midnight each evening. This event is not for everyone, but it’s guaranteed to be one of the most off-the-wall things going this weekend.

Leftover Salmon
FRIDAY 7:30 p.m. Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $19 & up. (727) 565-0550.

There’s not a whole lot left to the imagination when a band describes themselves as the “originators of the Polyethnic Cajun Slamgrass genre,” but Leftover Salmon have somehow managed to keep fans entertained with it for well more than two decades now. They took a break in the middle of last decade, but have since reignited their fan base’s passion after reuniting in 2007, and they arrive in St. Pete both supporting a new-ish album (last year’s High Country) as well as 25, a collection of unreleased live recordings unveiled to celebrate Leftover Salmon’s 25th anniversary as a band. We doubt the guys will have any of their signature beer (Silver Salmon, an India Pale Lager from Colorado’s Breckenridge Brewery), but do expect a lot of hootin’, hollerin’, and fast picking.

Surfer Blood
With Sound of Ceres, Alexander & the Grapes
FRIDAY 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $10-$13. (813) 241-8600.
For now, Surfer Blood guitarist Thomas Fekete has to be away from the band while he undergoes partially fan-funded treatment for his very rare form of cancer. His bandmates are carrying on without him (and collecting money for his ongoing battle) on a month-long East Coast tour that kicks off in Ybor City Friday night. The Bloods are supporting a new album (1000 Palms, released in May) and will be joined by a new bass player, Lindsey Mills, who’ll be tasked with helping bring the West Palm Beach boys’ now-signature, sun-kissed, surf-ready, jangly rock ’n’ roll to life. The real treat at this show, however, is the late addition of Sound of Ceres — a project that features members of Apples In Stereo, The Drums and Candy Claws — who’ll hopefully be teasing a whole lot of a debut LP (Nostalgia For Infinity) not due until March.

Folkfest St. Pete
With Chant The Trees, Acho Brother, Katie Talbert, Ari Chi, Jordan Esker & The Hundred Percent, Hussar, Have Gun Will Travel, The Hummingbirds, Rebekah Pulley, The Coteries, Oxford Noland, Someday River more.
SATURDAY-SUNDAY Green Bench Brewing Co., 1133 Baum Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $5. (727) 800-9836.
There’s a noise fest happening in St. Pete’s warehouse district this weekend, but Folkfest is here for anyone looking for a more traditional live music experience. The three-day party kicks off on Friday night with a three-act show at Green Bench Brewery, and starts back up at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday when 22 songwriters and their bands combine to give fans almost 24 hours of music. Activities will shut down a portion of Baum Avenue between Central and First Avenue N at 11th Street, and free parking will be available at Lot 6 of Tropicana Field. More information is available at and

River Rock Craft Beer & Music Festival
With Tonic, Vertical Horizon, Forrest Hoffar
SATURDAY 2 p.m. Water Works Park, 1710 N Highland Ave., Tampa. $25-$75. (813) 274-8615.
Here’s a scenario: You’ve booked a craft beer and ’90s-loving music festival in a gorgeous downtown park when you’re headliner — Spin Doctors — drops out due to “unforeseen circumstances.” What do you do? Book Vertical Horizon to take their place, duh! The band — and their hit single Everything You Want — will sound very familiar to anyone born before 1985, and while it doesn’t really hold a candle to the Doctors’ Two Princes, it’s still something, right? Take in the fact that Tonic (If You Could Only See) will be on hand along with some great handcrafted beer being poured out to benefit the Voices For Children, and you’ve got yourself a win.

Brazilian Girls
With The Hongs, DJ Minihorse
SATURDAY 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N. 17th St., Ybor City. $10-$13. (813) 241-8600.
A few things first. Brazilian Girls are not from South America at all, and there aren’t a whole lot of strictly Brazilian musical tenets sprinkled into the band’s all-too-short list of releases. No matter, though, because the trio are legends of New York’s famed Nublu nightclub and arrive in Ybor City to joyfully rehash the glory days with their feel-good, bossa nova, reggae, jazz, and rock influenced electronica. The Hongs, a Miami-based quartet, who (you guessed it) don’t have a single band member from China or Hong Kong, make the drive to open the show with their own worldly take on disco, darkwave-tinged, back-room pop. Tampa’s own Minihorse will select before, after, and in-between sets, making sure to get every wallflower off his or her post before the night ends.

Public Image Ltd.
FRIDAY 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $29.50-$32. (727) 895-3045.

No one calls him Johnny Rotten anymore, but the former Sex Pistols lead can still be pretty nasty. Rotten — a.k.a. John Lydon — recently kicked off Public Image Ltd.’s new tour with a Halloween night stop at New Orleans’ Voodoo Festival, where Gambit reports he blew snot rockets from all nostrils and spit cognac from the stage. All in a day’s work for the 59-year-old bloke who arrives to support PiL’s new LP, What the World Needs Now, which finds him recollecting the band for their first set of new music since 2012’s comeback album This Is PiL. No word on which version of Lydon we’ll get at this State Theatre show, but a seat on the balcony guarantees safety from any potential spray.

Also Playing

Corey Harris Band, Fri. With Wendy Barmore Band. 8 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $10-$13. (813) 971-0666.

Little River Band, Fri. With Firefall. 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $35-$125. (727) 791-7400.

The Lacs, Fri. 8 p.m. The Dallas Bull, 3322 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $15. (813) 987-2855.

Knuckle Puck, Sat. With Seaway, Sorority Noise, Head North. 7 p.m. Epic Problem, 4215 E Columbus Drive, Tampa. $16. (813) 382-3477.

Motionless In White, Sun. With The Devil Wears Prada, Upon a Burning Body, The Word Alive, The Color Morale. 6 p.m. The Ritz, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $22-$25. (813) 247-2555.

The Family Stone, Sun. With The Black Honkeys, Theo Valentin, Sound Parlor, Shawn Brown. 7:30 p.m. Tampa Theatre, 711 N Franklin St., Tampa. $38.50-$103.50. (813) 274-8981.

Junior Bruce, Fri. With Constellation, R’lyeh. 9 p.m. Fubar, 658 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $3. (727) 424-1809.

Mad Skillz, Sun. With DJ Casper, DJ Lesage. 10 p.m. Ol’ Dirty Sundays at Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. Free. (813) 241-8600.

Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, Mon. With Piss Ghost, Taxer. 9 p.m. Mojo Books & Records, 2540 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $5 Suggested Donation. (813) 971-9717.

Andrew Jackson Jihad, Wed. With Jeffrey Lewis & Los Bolts, Rozwell Kid. 6:30 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $11-$15. (813) 248-9500.

Atlantic Oceans, Wed. 7 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. Free. (813) 248-4969.

Aiden, Wed. With Kissing Candice, Ashes to Angels. 7 p.m. The Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $15.

Texas In July, Thur. 6 p.m. With Reflections to the Wind, Invent/Animate.Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $11-$25. (813) 248-9500.

English Beat, Thur. 8 p.m. The Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $25-$35. (727) 791-7400.

Maradeen, Thur. 8 p.m. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Free. (727) 736-0606.

-- Jay Cridlin

[Last modified: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 9:43pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours