Dave Koz and Friends
Featuring Dave Koz, David Benoit, Sheila E., Javier Colon, Margo Rey
Details: Saturday 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $48-$85. (727) 791-7400.
Iron the dress slacks! It's time to catch smooth jazz master Dave Koz deck Ruth Eckerd Hall with sax-powered holiday tunes. During this 15th anniversary edition of his Christmas tour, Koz will jam on fresh, lively arrangements of seasonal favorites with pianist-composer David Benoit, winner of The Voice Javier Colon, and drummer-percussionist-vocalist Sheila E. Maybe smooth jazz isn't just for Saab sedan stereos and hotel lobbies after all.
With Swearin', Thee Liquid Jesus DJs
Details: Wednesday 8 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. $13-$15. (813) 241-8600.
Canadian garage-punk duo Japandroids do loud, minimalist tunes sustained by Brian King's sweaty guitar histrionics, David Prowse's maniacal drumming and the kind of call-and-response refrains that rarely go beyond "whoa's" and "oh's." It's kind of like if noise-punk fans were left to run a steel mill, or better still, if a fuzzed-out Springsteen played the seedy CBGB.
Details: Saturday 9 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $25 and up. (813) 247-2555.
The only thing that could possibly take 2 Chainz to a higher level this year is a third chain. (Thanks, Kevin Hart!) Ride around and get it with the busy College Park, Ga., rapper, who's back in the bay for a third time this year to perform Spend It, Birthday Song and more.
Fuel and Filter
Details: Sunday 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $20. (727) 895-3045.
Nineties nostalgists can look back fondly on ball chains and snug black tees when Fuel and Filter co-headline this Sunday show at State Theatre. Singer Brett Scallions is behind the wheel of Fuel, reclaiming the vocal duties once offered to American Idol finalist Chris Daughtry. We're not ashamed to admit our fondness for Fuel's 1998 hit Shimmer, possibly the only hard rock song in history to contemplate "champagne dreams" and "pink linens." Filter, the metal men (Hey Man Nice Shot) with a soft side (Take a Picture) rock under the bold rasp of Richard Patrick.
Details: Friday 8 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $30 and up. (813) 247-2555.
Moroccan-born, NYC-raised rapper French Montana is having a breakout 2012. Kanye West proclaimed Montana one of his favorite rappers; Drake tapped him to open up his Club Paradise Tour; Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd and Lana Del Rey snatched up his in-studio services; Diddy, whose sampling skills already seem to be rubbing off, signed him to Bad Boy Records. Montana's Pop That successfully borrows from I Wanna Rock by 2 Live Crew's Uncle Luke and Shot Caller takes a loop from Lords of the Underground's Funky Child. But what Montana does over those samples is noteworthy, too. "French Montana is a Waka Flocka Flame for New York: dark, blunt, rowdy, a little clumsy and, over time, oddly effective," says the New York Times.
The Story Tour: A Christmas Celebration
Featuring Mark Hall, Jeremy Camp, Natalie Grant, Matthew West, Nichole Nordeman, Selah, Rawsrvnt
Details: Monday 7 p.m. USF Sun Dome, 4202 East Fowler Ave., Tampa. $25-$77.50. (813) 974-3002.
"You will go through several packs of tissues," says decorated Christian singer-songwriter Nichole Nordeman about the emotional "Story Tour." The event is billed as a "Musical Journey from Genesis to Revelation" and features biblical songs, as well as traditional Christmas carols. Mark Hall, of the Grammy-winning, arena-filling musical phenomenon Casting Crowns, will play a lead role alongside a full choir and orchestra.
Times correspondent Carole Liparoto can be reached at [email protected]