This week in Tampa: Taylor Swift, Chvrches, Chris Cornell, Chance the Rapper and more
It's Halloween weekend, and that means only one thing: TAYLOR SWIFT TAYLOR SWIFT TAYLOR SWIFT TAYLOR SWIFT TAYLOR SWIFT TAYLOR SWIFT.
Okay, we admit, we've gone Taylor-crazy on this blog in the past week, leading up to her 1989 World Tour stop at Raymond James Stadium on Halloween night. But let's not forget there are actually a ton of amazing concerts happening in Tampa Bay over the next week: Chance the Rapper (above), Mark Knopfler, Chris Cornell, Chvrches, Vance Joy, Shawn Mendes, Boz Scaggs, Tito Nieves, Soul Asylum, Meat Puppets, Buckwheat Zydeco, Modern Baseball, the Underachievers, Kill the Noise, the Psychedelic Furs, Tracy Lawrence, Murs, the Growlers, Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas, Rob Garza and America's Got Talent Live.
Here to walk you through it all are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa...
With Vance Joy, Shawn Mendes
SATURDAY 7 p.m. Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. $65 and up. (813) 350-6500, raymondjamesstadium.com.
A singer of some renown, the Pennsylvania native started out in country music and now sings pop. Beyond that, little is known about her.
Chance the Rapper
With D.R.A.M., Metro Boomin, Towkio
THURSDAY 7 p.m. Jannus Live, 200 First St. N, St. Petersburg. $35 and up. (727) 565-0550.
Come December, you’re going to see Chance the Rapper’s name on a lot of Top 10 lists. Probably some Top Five lists. You might even see him all the way at No. 1 – yes, ahead of King Kendrick Lamar. That’s how good Surf, Chance’s May album with his band Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment, actually is. It’s brimming with positivity and musicality and so much joie de vivre you can’t help but love it. The 22-year-old Chicago wunderkind is doing its best to make the music industry bend to his vision – he releases his albums for free, works with eclectic characters (he followed Surf with a mixtape with social media sensation Lil B and is working on a song with Stephen Colbert), and is an utterly incendiary live performer, much more James Brown than Rick Ross. Download Surf for free right now on iTunes (and pick up his just-released single Angels while you’re at it) so you can decide where you want to slot it on your personal year-end Top 10.
SATURDAY 7 p.m. Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $23 and up. (727) 565-0550.
Lauren Mayberry isn’t sure if she’ll be in costume when her band Chvrches hits the stage at Jannus Live. She first has to convince her bandmates to do the same. “Negotiations are ongoing,” Mayberry said cryptically during a recent phone interview. Either way, it’ll be a fun night. Around the same time Taylor Swift is welcoming Tampa to New York, Mayberry and Chvrches (pronounced “churches”) will bring their own dazzling road show to St. Pete in support of their glossy new album Every Other Eye. After building a strong indie-pop and festival following via the effervescent single The Mother We Share, the new LP ambitiously ratchets up the trio’s synth-sparked sound, providing an empowering soundtrack for autumn. Pulsing singles like Clearest Blue and Never Ending Circles are as big and bold as anything you’ll hear on other blockbuster pop albums (ahem1989ahem), which is why Chvrches’ ardent followers would rather be at Jannus than any other show on Saturday.
FRIDAY 8 p.m. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. Sold out. (727) 892-5798.
It’s strange that Dave Grohl is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Nirvana, but Chris Cornell may forever be on the outside looking in. Like Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Them Crooked Vultures), Cornell has played a key role in three significant rock outfits over the years — Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog and Audioslave — all while keeping busy with solo projects, collaborations and guest spots. Soundgarden remains his signature project; that otherworldly wail was the linchpin of three classic grunge albums, Badmotorfinger, Superunknown and Down On the Upside. The group artfully bridged the gap between metal and hard rock, winning Grammys in both categories (for Spoonman and Black Hole Sun) in 1995. Yet while Nirvana coasted into the Rock Hall in 2014, and Pearl Jam may do the same next year, Soundgarden, eligible since 2011, hasn’t even been nominated. But when Cornell performs a solo show at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg at 8 p.m. Friday, you’ll also hear Temple of the Dog (Hunger Strike), Audioslave (Like a Stone) and his own solo catalog (including cuts from his new LP Higher Truth). Maybe by 2024, when Cornell becomes eligible as a solo artist, the Rock Hall will realize he belongs.
FRIDAY 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Sold out. (727) 791-7400.
Mark Knopfler doesn’t seem interested in reliving his Dire Straits days. While he still pops hits like Sultans of Swing and Romeo and Juliet into his live shows, don’t be shocked if he skips Money for Nothing or Walk of Life when he plays Ruth Eckerd Hall. Thankfully, a singer, guitarist and producer as prolific and revered as Knopfler has plenty of material from which to pull — starting with his nine solo albums, all since 1996, including this year’s loose and folksy Tracker. Over the decades, Knopfler, 66, has collaborated with everybody who’s anybody — Bob Dylan, George Jones, Eric Clapton, even “Weird” Al Yankovic (that’s actually Knopfler playing on Al’s Dire Straits parody Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies). His legendary playing and songwriting has even inspired a new generation of acclaimed indie acts like the War on Drugs. All of this explains why Knopfler’s show in Clearwater, his first since 2008, sold out a long time ago. It’s worth checking with the box office, to see if any late tickets become available.
With Meat Puppets
FRIDAY 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $20-$25. (727) 895-3045.
Their heyday may have been way back in the ’90s, but Minneapolis grunge dudes Soul Asylum look poised to keep riding that Runaway Train until she vanishes Without a Trace. The alt-rock nostalgia doesn’t stop there for this Friday night show, though, since it finds Soul Asylum joined by a psychedelia-loving, genre-bending Arizona outfit (Meat Puppets), who came up out of nowhere along with bands like Nirvana and Hüster Dü while also managing to stay much-revered after all these years.
With Gumbo Boogie Band
SATURDAY 8 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $15-$20. (813) 971-0666.
There’s no room for mediocrity when you go by the name of Buckwheat. Stanley Dural Jr. (who wields Cajun-flavored accordion jams under the Buckwheat Zydeco moniker) understands this well, and has been dropping off manic little droplets of Crescent City, creole-talkin’ American roots music since he first landed with One For the Road way back in 1979. The 67-year-old Lafayette-born New Orleans musical icon arrives at Skipper’s a night after the venue’s famous Freaker’s Ball party, so don’t be surprised if you find some stragglers still in costume ready to get their second round of Halloween libations in at this show.
With Tito Nieves
SUNDAY 12 p.m. Al Lopez Park, 4810 N. Himes Ave., Tampa. Free. (813) 274-8184.
Some people call him “El Pavarotti de la Salsa,” and while that’s a heavy designation to carry on your shoulders, Tito Nieves does it extremely well. The 57-year-old Puerto Rico native rose to stardom in the late 80’s as a part of New York outfit Orquesta Cimarron, and hasn’t looked back. He’s responsible for the 1996 hit I Like It Like That, and where he set himself apart from the rest by singing salsa in English, he’s most effective in solo español mode as evidenced by songs like Fabrico Fantasias in which he slathers smooth melodies all over boiling hot percussion and horn blasts. If the weather holds up, expect Al Lopez park to be one of the biggest dance parties you’ll see this year.
With Hikes, Poster
SUNDAY 7 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $8. (813) 248-4969.
In today’s blog-driven mode of new music discovery, great bands are kind of a dime a dozen. Still, it gets even harder to stand out in the realm of well-constructed, smart indie guitar pop. Very rarely though, do you get a bill that piles on three of the very specific genre’s very best. Lakeland’s own Poster are the perfect opener for Hikes who’ve managed to use their cascading, big and bellowing brand of math rock to stand way above a saturated Austin, Texas, scene. The festivities all end with Triathlon, who come to Ybor from Savannah, Ga., where they’ve carefully cultivated their own catchy, fuzzed-up garage pop.
With Red Pill, King Fantastic, Noa James, Gat and Cris
SUNDAY 7 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $12-$15. (813) 241-8600.
MURS, who’s been hustling his solo output since a 1997 LP F’Real (and with groups like Living Legend and Scarub before that), is the big, bold name on this bill. And where the 37-year-old South Central Los Angeles-based emcee arrives in support of his brand new Have A Nice LP, this entire lineup is collectively worth about twice what the club will be getting at the door. Noa James, another SoCal rapper, is an old soul who was forced to grow up due to tough breaks that left him orphaned, and he spins his coping story over dusty soul samples, bass-stripped keyboards and smart rhymes on songs like Do the Nicest and It’s The Common Ground. Locals Gat and Cris open the show.
Left & Right
SUNDAY 10 p.m. The Hub, 519 N Franklin St., Tampa. Free. (813) 229-1553.
You can do some pretty irresponsible things with a Halloween hangover, and one of the most regrettable yet most unforgettable acts around is taking that pounding headache and dry mouth to downtown Tampa dive The Hub for a good old rock 'n’ roll show. The Philadelphia quartet come to the storied watering hole fresh off an appearance at Gainesville’s famed punk rock bacchanal Fest and play on Sunday in support of rowdy 2014 LP Five Year Plan as well as a single (Work For Free, also released in 2014), which will easily be left standing as one of the top 100 songs of this still young decade when it’s all said and done.
America’s Got Talent Live
With Emily West, Recycled Percussion, Taylor Williamson, The KriStef Brothers, more.
WEDNESDAY 7 p.m. The Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $35-$60. (727) 791-7400.
NBC’s America’s Got Talent is in a weird spot right now. On one hand, (now) ex-judge Howard Stern recently told Jimmy Kimmel that he “hated every minute” of being on the television talent search, and on the other hand, AGT’s new judge — American Idol alum Simon Cowell — is returning to his role as chief criticizer, his first judge position since 2013 (RIP X-Factor). All that kind of goes by the wayside for this hump day shindig, though, when downtown Clearwater welcomes a host of the show’s past contestants including funny guy Taylor Williamson and 34-year-old Emily West. The Iowa singer-songwriter is touring behind a new LP — All For You, released in August — where he shows off her muscular alto on songs like Chandelier.
Rob Garza (DJ Set)
With Mr. Marley
THURSDAY 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $12-$14. (813) 241-8600.
Rob Garza has a lot on his plate. He’s steadily working on new material for D.C./San Francisco electronica royalty Thievery Corporation, but still lets his solo work take up a lot of headspace, too. His DJ sets earn him double duty at festivals (like Arkansas’ Wakarusa where Thievery Corporation also played), and he takes the show to the club on this swing where he’ll show off a new solo EP, Palace of Mirrors, and also throw down a bunch of his influences, proving that he and his band are some of the most important tastemakers this generation has ever seen.
Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires, Fri. With The Woolly Bushmen. 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $9-$12. (813) 241-8600.
Moon Flag, Fri. 9 p.m. Orbit 19 Lounge, 1542 U.S. 19 N, Holiday. Free. (727) 937-8330.
The Underachievers, Sat. With Pouya, Kirk Knight, Bodega Bamz. 7:30 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $14-$75. (813) 248-9500.
Matt Woods , Sat. 8 p.m. The Independent, 5020 N Florida Ave., Tampa, Free. (813) 341-4883.
Bogus Pomp 20th Anniversary, Sat. 9 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $20. (727) 895-3045.
Kill The Noise, Sat. With Awe, Basomatik, Nasty Nat3. 10 p.m. Amphitheatre Event Facility, 1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20-$25. (813) 873-8368.
Boz Scaggs, Sun. 7:30 p.m. The Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $85-$125. (727) 791-7400.
The Growlers, Mon. With Broncho, Veiny Hands. 8 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $12-$15. (813) 241-8600.
Modern Baseball, Tue. With PUP, Jeff Rosenstock, Tiny Moving Parts. 6 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $13-$40. (813) 248-9500.
The Psychedelic Furs, Wed. With Maz and the Moon. 8 p.m. The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $49-$65. (727) 822-3590.
Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas, Wed. 8 p.m. Ringside Café, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $10. (727) 894-8465.
Rock The Park Tampa, Thurs. With Poetry 'n Lotion, Trapfone, Cade Larson. 6:30 p.m. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa. Free. (813)274-8677.
Mayfever, Thurs. With Dawns, Ninehorn. 9 p.m. The Amsterdam, 1049 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 623-4950.
Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles, Thurs. With Serotonic. 8 p.m. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Free. (727) 736-0606.
Tracy Lawrence, Thurs. 10 p.m. The Round Up, 10051 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa. $15-$25. (813) 855-1464.
-- Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa