This week in Tampa: Miranda Lambert, Imagine Dragons, The Weeknd, Il Volo, Chief Keef and more
Last year's wild music weekend was just the beginning. From now through December, you're going to see must-see shows almost every week in Tampa Bay. This week alone, you've got Imagine Dragons, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, The Weeknd, Chief Keef, Blues Traveler, Il Volo, Ra Ra Riot, Colin Hay, The Neighbourhood, Geto Boys, Billy Cobham, Gramatik, IAmDynamite and much more. Here to walk you through it all is Ray Roa...
With Dierks Bentley, The Cadillac Threee, Randy Rogers Band
FRIDAY 7 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $29.25-$67. (813) 740-2446.
The Amphitheatre formerly known as “Gary” is Tampa Bay’s country music mecca, and while Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton have all blown through recently, Friday night belongs to reigning CMA female vocalist of the year Miranda Lambert. The 29-year-old Texas native brings malicious tales of jealous, vindictive romance (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), firearms (Gunpowder & Lead), and even arson (Kerosene) to the shed where she’ll be supported by 37-year-old ladykiller Dierks Bentley (the Chicago Tribune reported flying undergarments at a recent tour stop) who has been using his good looks and better songs to win over audiences ever since he released a stellar debut LP, Don’t Leave Me In Love,13 years ago.
With The Neighbourhood
TUESDAY 7:30 p.m., USF Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $32-$51.15. (813) 974-3002.
What’s a Vegas bar band supposed to do when the world takes notice and latches on to their unique brand of atmospheric active rock? Go on a really long tour, apparently. While Imagine Dragons’ never-ending journey has taken them from Sin City poker rooms to huge festival stages in less than three years, the road hasn’t always been pretty. They had to cancel a scheduled appearance at last year’s 97X Next Big Thing when frontman Dan Reynolds came down with a throat infection, and Reynolds recently told Rolling Stone that he hasn’t seen his newborn child in months. The Dragons soldier on, however, bringing an inescapable hit single, Radioactive, to an arena that may be too small to hold them the next time they come to town.
FRIDAY 7:30 p.m., Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $36.75-$86.75. (813) 301-2500.
Say what you want about the fresh faces that make up “popera” trio Il Volo. Just make sure to say it in Italian, Spanish, French or German. Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto, and Gianluca Ginoble (all under the age of 21) have used all of those languages as well as their tremendous vocal gifts to turn a love of opera and pop music into unique takes on songs by artists ranging from Leonard Bernstein to One Direction. Elton John, U2, and Aerosmith all get the Il Volo treatment too, but a collaboration between the boys and world-renowned tenor Plácido Domingo is the immensely moving crown jewel of a new album, this year’s Más Que Amor (“We Are Love”).
With Glo Gang
MONDAY 7 p.m., Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20 and up. (813) 247-2555.
One of Chief Keef’s most popular songs is Hate Bein’ Sober, and if his record is any indication, then Keef (real name Keith Cozart) hates staying out of trouble, too. The promising young MC has been busted for firearm and drug possession, violating probation and even posting dirty videos to Instagram. But for all the distractions, the 18-year-old is in high demand. Kanye West is a pal and Interscope records is about to put millions into Keef’s coffers. Hailing from Englewood, one of the roughest neighborhood in Chicago’s south side, Cozart been criticized for his glorification of violence, but in a hip-hop ecosystem where the guy who played Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi is selling out arenas, Cozart’s brutally honest, grimacingly real subject matter may be why he’s so popular.
Ra Ra Riot
With Royal Bangs
TUESDAY 8 p.m., Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $8-$18. (813) 248-9500.
Tampa Bay hasn’t seen Ra Ra Riot since the inaugural Gasparilla Music Festival, and the Syracuse, N.Y. outfit has done some major growing up since the departure of cellist Alexandra Lawn. A new LP is devoid of the orchestral flourishes that made Ra Ra Riot so popular, but frontman Wes Miles’ smooth falsetto seems to have found an even comfier home within his bandmates’ more danceable, electro-centric indie-rock that shines on the album highlights When I Dream, Beta Love and Binary Mind.
TUESDAY 7 p.m., Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. $34.50-$44.50. (727) 587-6793.
Men At Work have been null and void for almost three decades now, but lead singer Colin Hay may never be able to live down the legacy of his former band’s 1981 smash hit Down Under (we prefer the more subdued and musical Overkill). That’s all right, though, as the success of Men At Work has opened the door for the 60-year-old Scotsman (he emigrated to Australia in his teens) to spend the last 16 years releasing nearly a dozen solo albums peppered with introspective ballads like Waiting For My Real Life To Begin and Beautiful World. Don’t expect Hay to ignore his past at this show, though (a 2003 LP featured solo takes on Men At Work songs), and don’t be surprised if someone hands you a Vegemite sandwich, either.
THURSDAY 8 p.m., Hard Rock Café (at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino), 5223 Orient Road, Tampa. $33 and up. (813) 627-7757.
Musically, not a whole of a lot has changed for Blues Traveler in the two decades that have passed since their breakthrough album Four. Sure, singer/harpist John Popper has lost about half of his body weight, and he got arrested for speeding in a car whilst in possession of some pot along with a small militia’s worth of weapons back in ’07. But his band’s melodic, sunny, rock 'n’ roll hasn’t strayed too far from its tendency to blur the lines between blues, folk, and jam music. That’s not a knock either. Hook, But Anyway and Run Around are some of the most memorable songs of the ’90s, and Popper’s mastery of the harmonica is a sight and sound to behold.
With Anna Lunoe, Banks
THURSDAY 8:30 p.m., Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. $48.50 and up. (813) 229-7827.
Abel Tesfaye’s three mixtapes of brooding, drug-addled, sexed-up R&B were released for free over the last nine months of 2011. The Interwebs ate them right up, earning him a record deal plus adoration from countless blogs and music magazines, but the success is no accident. Tesfaye, a.k.a. The Weeknd, is the easily most unique new voice in modern r&b. His vocal is on par with Michael’s (yes, that Michael), but the sonics — a dizzying, strangely meditative, sample-heavy brand of ominous baby-making music — are trumped only by lyrical matter that explores the throes of carnal yearning, substance abuse, and fame as experienced through the senses of a sex-addicted 23-year-old with the world at his fingertips. His major label debut, Kiss Land, is executed just as well, suggesting that this is only the beginning of an extended, steamy holiday.
Billy Cobham Fri. 8 p.m. Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $30-$50. (727) 822-3590.
Kung Fu Fri. With Cope, Mr. Marley, M.I. Funke. 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $12-$14. (813) 241-8600.
Caskey Fri. With Dangeruss. 8 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $TBA. (813) 248-9500 or theorpheum.com.
Bionic For Vets Concert Series Sat. With 4Ever Endeavour, Shotgun Junkies, Zigzag America. 7 p.m. Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $10-$12. Facebook.com/thelocal662.
Grandpa’s Cough Sat. With Bobby Lee Rodgers. 6 p.m. The Ale and The Witch, 111 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 821-2533.
Geto Boys Sat. 8 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $20. (727) 895-3045.
Chase Rice Sat. 7 p.m. Dallas Bull, 3322 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $10. (813) 987-2855.
Felix Cartal Sat. With Doco, Basomatik. 9:30 p.m. Amphitheatre, 1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15. (813) 873-8368.
The Haven Benefit Show Sat. With Words Words Words, Me vs Everyone, Ten Acres, Madison Turner, Ugly Spud, Ian Edwards. 6 p.m. Epic Problem, 4215 E Columbus Drive, Tampa. $7. (813) 382-3477.
The Polotix Sat. With Synergy In A Cup, Rahim Samad, Louis Junior, Mic Deluxx. 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $7. (813) 241-8600.
Skipper’s 33rd Birthday Party Sat. With Cope, Sara Rose Band, Poetry ’N Lotion, The Applebutter Express, Impulse, Daniel B. Marshall, Gumbo Boogie Band, more. Noon. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. Free. (813) 971-0666.
Vader Sat. With Vital Remains, Sacrificial Slaughter, Execration, Extremely Rotten, Mindscar, Ulcer. 7 p.m. The Brass Mug, 1450 Skipper Road, Tampa. $20. (813) 972-8152.
Roy Schneider Sun. With Kim Mayfield. 7:30 p.m. The Painted Fish Gallery, 350 Main St., Dunedin. $15. (727) 734-5060.
Gramatik Wed. With Savoy, Herobust, Exmag. 9 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15 and up. (813) 247-2555.
The People’s Blues Of Richmond 8 p.m. With The Wooly Bushmen. 8 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. Free. (813) 248-4969.
IAmDynamite Thurs. With Zulu Wave, GreyMarket. 7 p.m. The Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $10 and up. Facebook.com/thelocal662.
O’Brother Thurs. With Daylight, Junior Astronomers, Recuer. 6:30 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N. 17th St., Ybor City. $10-$13. (813) 241-8600.
-- Ray Roa, tbt*