Get an earful of sushi-grade rock this Saturday at the State Theatre in St. Pete, when In the Raw returns in all its uncooked glory for one night only.
From 2003 to '06, In the Raw, Tampa Bay's version of MTV's Unplugged, showcased acoustic music and art in a series presented by Southeast Music Alliance.
Popular lead singers and members of local bands played to crowds seated at candle-lit tables, and out-of-town headliners included Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root and Joe Popp.
Hosted by SMA honcho Joran Slane Oppelt, the pleasantly intimate showcase won best-of awards from local magazines. But logistical problems, such as venues going out of business or changing management, kept the series from starting up again.
This week's revival picks things up right where they left off with an impressive lineup of local performers.
Shawn Kyle of Tampa rockers the Beauvilles will perform tunes from his band's new album, Whispering Sin. Also performing will be Mikey Bostinto of Tres Bien — a contestant of Fox's Next Great American Band and one of tbt*'s top 10 Ultimate Local Bands for 2008.
It's tough to pick a favorite in this impressive roster, but be sure to catch up-and-comer Katherine Kelly, a tough- and pretty-voiced brunette who's wowing crowds north and south of the Skyway Bridge. She used to play in Bradenton's Nous Rapport and has a new act called Sons of Hippies.
"I'll be playing four songs," Kelly said. "They're about these things, in this order: accidental death, roadkill and hookers, false belief and forced joy."
Swoony, atmospheric folk diva Geri X returns from her yearly hiatus in Wisconsin, and hard-rock prodigies Hat Trick Heroes tune down and turn on with youth-belying talent.
Along with all the "raw" musical talent, the event will showcase photography, too. Past In the Raw photos by concert photographers Carrie Waite and Stacy Mathis can be viewed in the lobby and on screen projections in the theater.
Acoustic shows are not only a fun and different way to see a favorite local act. The act of getting musicians together on an even playing field, without the electricity, engenders a warmth and camaraderie you don't get at typical rock shows.
Even the artists think so.
"I'm honored to share the stage," Kelly said, "with Tampa and St. Pete's song-writing elite."