Jamey Johnson >>
Details: Saturday 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $35-$49. (727) 791-7400.
Was country music really ever meant to be pretty? After a few minutes with Jamey Johnson's The Guitar Song, we'd answer no way. "It's so hard to stay honest in a world that's headed to hell," he groans. Johnson's stuff is deep, hard, and at times, downright miserable. Hailed as "outlaw country's next big hope" (Rolling Stone), his kiss-my-butt attitude and clever wordplay conjure up Waylon Jennings in the Facebook age. With all that said, it's hard to believe this unkempt Southerner (his look lands him somewhere between a Zach Galifianakis and a ZZ Top) is the same frat guy and ex-Marine corporal who wrote Trace Adkins' Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.
n La Roux
Details: Tonight 7 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $17-$40. (813) 247-2555.
La Roux's Elly Jackson was a folk singer-songwriter . . . until she experienced the allure of the dance floor. After clubbing in her native London, Jackson decided she "wanted to do more than sit on a stage, play a guitar and moan," she told USA Today. Now La Roux (which means "the redhead" in French) is turning out fashion-forward synth-pop like Robyn channeling Annie Lennox. Following summertime smash Bulletproof, the cyber siren just debuted a remix of In for the Kill, featuring Kanye West.
Gardening, Not Architecture n
With Soft Rock Renegades
Details: Tonight 10 p.m. Fly Bar & Restaurant, 1202 N Franklin St., Tampa. Free. (813) 275-5000.
St. Petersburg-bred Sarah Saturday is the one-woman band behind Gardening, Not Architecture. A veteran of Warped Tour, Saturday promotes a concept she calls E.I.Y. (Earn It Yourself) and has devoted much of her time to helping indie artists forge their own career paths. Heeding her own advice, she's launching a national tour entirely on her own by collecting donations and pledges from fans and friends, a concept that has been catching on recently among artists on platforms like Kickstarter. In return, she gives them cool trinkets like flash drives and signed merch.
With Will Hoge
Details: Tonight 8:30 p.m. David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $29.50. (813) 229-7827.
Turn on rock radio on any given Tuesday and you're bound to hear a guy own up to troubles with the bottle, women and/or firearms in a throaty baritone. Bands like Seether, 10 Years, Three Days Grace and Shinedown have perfected this formula, one that has been an easy target for music critics. But truth is, these groups are gaining legions of fans and they're laughing all the way to the bank. Florida's Shinedown will play tracks from The Sound of Madness acoustically.
Details: Friday 9 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. Sold out. (813) 247-2555.
That little-known rapper Wiz Khalifa has been selling out 1,000-plus-capacity clubs across the country leads us to believe that this guy, and his Converse-loving fan base the Taylor Gang, are the real deal. If you heard Khalifa's Alice Deejay-sampling Say Yeah a few times on radio and pooh-poohed it, Pittsburgh-proud anthem Black and Yellow deserves yours ears again. With terrible towel in hand, Khalifa loves up on the Steel City and his push-button ignition. His low-key flow and (ahem) trailing smoke cloud has earned him lots of Snoop Dogg comparisons.
Details: Monday 8 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $28. (727) 565-0551.
Pour hard, driving rock through a sieve of distortion and psychedelic haziness, add a touch of Goth, and you've got the Cult's mysterious acid rock sound — one that many fans will tell you is infinitely underrated. Singer Ian Astbury's voice has been compared to Jim Morrison's so often that Doors co-founders Ray Manzarek and Robbie Krieger enlisted Astbury to play a few gigs with the "new Doors."
Times correspondent Carole Liparoto can be reached at [email protected]