SoundCheck Carole Giambalvo's top live music picks

MC Chris

With Whole Wheat Bread, I am the Dream

Details: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Orpheum, 1902 Republica de Cuba Ave., Ybor City. $11. (813) 248-9500.

"Nerdcore" hero MC Chris opts for Bunsen burners over bling and Star Wars over whips. The 33-year-old rapper (a.k.a. Chris Ward) continues to spearhead the predominantly white, suburban hip-hop genre that celebrates sci-fi, gaming and other geekery. MC Chris began as a producer/animator/voice for late-night Adult Swim cartoons like Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Sealab 2021 before turning to music full time. With merely a Mac Book and vocals similar to that of a pubescent boy, he'll throw down dogged jams like Fett's Vette (as inBoba Fett), Nrrrd Grrrl and Hoodie Ninja.

fAmos Lee

Details: 8 p.m. Saturday, Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $31-$46. (727) 441-8868.

Former elementary school teacher Amos Lee gives a lesson in '70s-style soul and folk fusion. Influenced by John Prine and James Taylor, the versatile Lee delivers soft ditties in falsetto. You know that tearjerker of an AT&T commercial — the one with the little girl and the traveling Dad who takes photos with her stuffed animal? That's Lee's Sweet Pea (Apple of My Eye) playing in the background. Mom might like him too.

Mr. Bella

Opening for Hinder

Details: 7 p.m. Sunday, the Ritz, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $19-$22. (813) 247-2555.

Led by feisty blond Erin Marie (who may just have the pipes to achieve Xena, Warrior Princess levels), Tampa's Mr. Bella inches closer to a modern rock breakthrough. The group cranks an accessible mix of old wave, glam metal and modern rock, and its new single Cross My Heart is getting some spins on 98 Rock. The group's upcoming album was produced by Brett Hestla (Dark New Day/Creed/Framing Hanley) and contains "our words, our issues, our hopes, our demons, our truth," says the band.

Yeoman's Road Pub Weekend

Details: 9 p.m. Friday, with Ghetto Love Sugar, Infinite Groove Orchestra, Rocksteady@8. $7. And Saturday, 10 p.m., with Dan Kincaid. $5. Yeoman's Road Pub, 236 E Davis Blvd., Tampa. (813) 251-2748.

Tampa jam band and vets of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday and WMNF Tropical Heatwave, Ghetto Love Sugar reunite for the first time since 2002. And on Saturday, singer-songwriter Dan Kincaid releases debut album The Walk Within.

Got a concert tip for Carole? E-mail her at carole. giambalvo@gmail.com.

Gavin DeGraw and Billy Norris

Details: 7 p.m. Friday, State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $20. (727) 895-3045.

Gavin DeGraw, left, is coming to town, which means so is our very own Billy Norris, right. Norris graduated from Seminole High in 2006 and took some time off from the Manhattan School of Music recently to play lead guitar and do background vocals in DeGraw's band. You might remember him from his movie reviews that ran in the St. Petersburg Times when he was in middle and high school. He even appeared on Late Show With David Letterman. As for DeGraw, his new album Free screams "I don't wanna be overproduced." And fans seem just fine with that (the album landed at No. 19 on Billboard). The stripped-down disc puts rootsy soul above radio-ready pop and includes an affectionate cover of Chris Whitley's Indian Summer. DeGraw gained mega-fans in 2003 with platinum debut Chariot. And hit I Don't Want To Be was chosen as the theme song for One Tree Hill.

. More local music, every day

Check out our SoundCheck blog at blogs.tampabay.com/tbt. This week you'll find features on Rec Center and DJ Chang among others. You can also listen to music and get concert news and reviews.

SoundCheck Carole Giambalvo's top live music picks 05/06/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 7, 2009 11:32am]

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