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SoundCheck | Carole Liparoto's top live music picks

Monica

With Pleasure P, K Michelle

Details: Friday 8 p.m. David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $24.50 and up. (813) 229-7827.

Themes of unrequited love will always be commonplace in music, but how often do you get two divas duking it out for their dude on a duet track? When Monica and Brandy squared off in 1998 super-anthem The Boy is Mine, an on-screen beef was born. Maybe not a 2Pac/Biggie beef, but a tantalizing throwdown nonetheless. Monica earned three Grammy Award nominations that year and The Boy Is Mine was certified triple platinum. She's staying top of mind with fans (a Glee cover didn't hurt ) with a wedding special this week on E! and a new disc due in 2012, featuring a single with Rick Ross. That's a lot more than we can say for her fellow chart-toppers of the late '90s (see Next, Savage Garden and K-Ci and JoJo).

JJ GREY AND MOFRO

Details: Friday 8 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. Sold out. (813) 247-2555.

Beaches are Florida's crown jewels. But JJ Grey paints a mighty pretty picture of the underappreciated middle parts of our state (and no, we're not talking Disney World). On latest CD/DVD release Brighter Days, he gives growling tributes to his cherished rural swamping grounds, including Cross Creek and Lochloosa, destinations not likely to make the Travel Channel, but beautiful in their own right, Grey explains. "I wanted to tell the story about these people I grew up around who had this connection to the dirt," he says. Grey and Mofro will deliver their muggy, inland-inspired blend of blues, soul, country and funk — a sound that's equal parts Booker T. Jones, Joe Cocker and Muddy Waters — to a sold-out crowd Friday.

Legendary Shack Shakers

With 6 Volt Rodeo

Details: Saturday 7:30 p.m. Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe, 5119 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa. $45. (813) 234-1000.

Ella's in Seminole Heights goes cow-punk for New Year's Eve with a special performance by the Legendary Shack Shakers. Led by singer, spitter, harmonica player and cherished lunatic Col. J. D. Wilkes — think Jed Clampett doing Johnny Rotten — the group has earned high marks from fellow crazies Jello Biafra, Reverend Horton Heat and Robert Plant. Wait, one of those didn't seem to belong. But it's true — the Led Zeppelin legend handpicked Legendary Shack Shakers to open for him during a 2005 European tour. Like a rockabilly Sex Pistols, this outrageous Kentucky crew is at its best when meshing punk and agro-business. Admission includes a dinner buffet and a champagne toast.

Matisyahu

With Tea Leaf Green

Details: Saturday 8:30 p.m. David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $34.50 and up. (813) 229-7827.

Before Hasidic Jew Matisyahu released gold-selling debut disk Live at Stubb's, the Old Testament had never felt so upbeat. An abider of Talmudic law and a lover of Phish, Matis continued his quest for self-awareness and religious enlightenment over reggae-jam grooves on Youth and Light, pushing aside "novelty act" critiques along the way. But the singer and beatboxer made headlines a few weeks ago when he renounced his Orthodox tag (not his religion), Tweeting a photo of himself without his signature long beard and side locks. "No more Chassidic reggae superstar," he said in a related post. "Sorry folks, all you get is me . . . no alias." Although the post was a bit cryptic, we're thinking we'll get more Matthew and less "Matis" in 2012.

Isley Brothers

With Pentatonix, Stormbringer

Details: Saturday 8 p.m. Club at Treasure Island, 400 Treasure Island Causeway, Treasure Island. $125 plus fee. (727) 367-4511.

There have been a number of generations of the Isleys, and it's fair to say that each has made its own unique musical contribution over the years. From the band's initial '50s success in doo-wop to Motown gold on This Old Heart of Mine to '59's million-selling hit Shout to funk and feminism on It's Your Thing in the late '60s, the Isley Brothers have run the gamut. Between the Sheets was famously sampled on Notorious B.I.G.'s Big Poppa, and in 2003 the Isley Brothers' Body Kiss unseated 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' at the top of the charts. The Sing-Off champs Pentatonix and local party band favorite Stormbringer will also perform. For more on the event, see Page 12.

Times correspondent Carole Liparoto can be reached at carole.liparoto@gmail.com.

Also playing

The Spears Fri. 9 p.m. With Sumo, Therapeutic Chokehold. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $7. (813) 248-4969.

Love and Hip-Hop Fri. 10 p.m. Featuring Jim Jones, Chrissy Lampkin. IMAX, 615 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $25 and up. www.hbicevents.com.

All About the Locals Party Fri. 10 p.m. Featuring Brian Busto, Joe Morgan, Eli-J, DJ Santana, more. Hyde Park Café, 1806 W Platt St., Tampa. (813) 254-2233.

Poetry n Lotion Sat. 9 p.m. With Jackals, The Happiness Machine, Thee Liquid Jesus. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. Free. (813) 241-8600.

Baker Bruce Band Sat. 8 p.m. The Blue Parrot, 85 Corey Circle, St. Pete Beach. $10. (727) 368-9619.

Seven Nations Sat. 9 p.m. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. $10. (727) 736-0606.

DJ Baby Anne Sat. 9 p.m. With Trashy, DJ Doco. Amphitheatre, 1609 East Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15 and up. (813) 873-8368.

SoundCheck | Carole Liparoto's top live music picks 12/28/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 3:30am]

    

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