Taste of Pinellas music
With Travis Tritt (left), Night Ranger, Lita Ford (center), KC and the Sunshine Band (right), Jessica Harp, Suite Caroline, Greg Billings Band, Dive Bar Stalkers, Josh Magwood, Ronnie Dee and more
FRIDAY 5 p.m.; SATURDAY 1 p.m.; SUNDAY 1 p.m. 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St Petersburg. Free admission; tasting tickets start at $5 for eight. (727) 823-8534.
Getting down to KC and the Sunshine Band is totally justified this weekend (and only this weekend) at the Taste of Pinellas, where all proceeds go to All Children's Hospital. Friday's musical festivities kick off with two lovable locals: saxman Ronnie Dee and rocker Greg Billings. Headliners Lita Ford (Kiss Me Deadly) and Night Ranger (Sister Christian) recall the era of your favorite rock excesses — multiple bass drums, double neck guitars, big hair. On Saturday, things get battered and fried with music from cowpunk/rockabilly act the Dive Bar Stalkers and platinum-selling country artist Travis Tritt. Sunday is a mixed bag beginning with the Sublime-influenced stylings of Josh Magwood and culminating with the aforementioned KC and the Sunshine Band.
The Legendary JC's
With 3rd Stone
SATURDAY 8 p.m. Skipper's Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $7-$10. (813) 971-0666.
They say it began with a few Otis Redding songs and some sharkskin suits. Seven years later, the Legendary JC's are a Florida favorite (if not in fact legendary), pumping sweaty soul and R&B with a little twang. This is the JC's first time back at the Skipperdome in some time, so I'd expect a solid turnout.
Matisyahu and Les Claypool
MONDAY 6:30 p.m. Jannus Landing, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $35. (727) 896-2276.
A Hasidic Jew with an impressive tenor, beatbox skills, and an infectious reggae-rock catalog teams up with the renowned bassist and mastermind behind intricate yet perverse tunes like Wynona's Big Brown Beaver. Yeah, essentially the weird got weirder when Matisyahu and Les Claypool decided to tour together. But that doesn't mean it won't work. Claypool (formerly of Primus and Oysterhead) will play tracks off Of Fungi and Foe with new band members, including a cellist. As for Matisyahu, I just hope he has forgiven me. I almost hit him with my car in that narrow alleyway behind the State Theatre once. And when I tried to apologize, I learned his religious beliefs prevent him from speaking with women in most cases. True story.
TUESDAY 6 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St Petersburg. $10. (727) 895-3045.
As a liaison between grunge and emo, Manchester Orchestra keeps communication flowing among unlikely parties. Once described as "music to swoon to" — think a combo of Bright Eyes' soft woes and Nirvana's famously frantic ways. The Georgia quintet is touring in support of new release Mean Everything to Nothing, a disc Alternative Press calls "a masterpiece of intricacy and honesty" and "one of the landmark releases of 2009." Fans of Brand New and Kevin Devine will like it.
Florida Christian Music Series
Featuring Jeremy Vanderloop, Southern VII, Christina Sanders, Signal Six, Against the Grain, Stereo Carousel, Less than a Second
FRIDAY 7 p.m. The Warehouse, 2702 Causeway Center Drive, Tampa. $7. (813) 454-5804.
If the term "Christian music" merely conjures images of campfire Kumbayas, then this lineup could certainly broaden the horizons. Southern VII sings about past addictions and rebirth, while pounding Southern rock in the vein of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet and Duane Allman. Largo's Jeremy Vanderloop has dynamic pop a la Train, and Stereo Carousel shows influences ranging from Sugar Ros to Thrice.
The Hold Steady
THURSDAY 7 p.m. Jannus Landing, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. Free. 21 and up only. (727) 896-2276.
From their grand orations and blue collar odes, right down to singer Craig Finn's clumsy dance steps (I've heard comparisons to Robin Williams), the Hold Steady's stuff is all-American. In fact, we're pretty certain that if Lincoln had an iPod, the Hold Steady would have been on it. The guys have given plenty of shout-outs to Ybor City (Killer Parties, Slapped Actress, Most People are DJs) over the years — maybe that's why we're getting a free show. That, or it's the fact that Jim Beam's footing the bill. Admission is limited, but you can apply for free tickets online at ruxton.com/beamrocksflorida.
Tampa Music Conference
Featuring panelists Sean Kingston, Polow da Don, DJ Christion, DJ Noodles, Sujit Kundu and more.
THURSDAY 4 p.m. The Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $30-$40. (813) 247-2555, myspace.com/tmconf.
Think you have what it takes to make it in the world of hip-hop? Get on your grind at this sixth annual networking event. WLLD-98.7's Orlando will moderate an all-star panel discussion about topics like getting your music into movies and on TV, and creating your own brand. Performances are scheduled for 6:30 and 9:30 p.m., with an after party at the Ritz from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.