. Matt and Kim
Details: Wednesday 8 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $22 and up. (813) 247-2555.
Having a bummer of a week? We've got just the thing. Perpetually perky duo Matt and Kim returns this time with Lightning, the fun and effervescent (how else would it be?) piano-pop album released earlier this month. Up there with wrinkly babies and kittens that play piano, the dancing, cheering drum-and-keyboard couple from Brooklyn is impossibly adorable. Best of all, they've convinced an indie set that it's okay to try! Expect sugar, sweat, smiles and quite possibly balloons — lots of balloons.
m Ani DiFranco
With Ruthie Foster
Details: Tuesday 8 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $25 and up. (813) 247-2555.
Can motherhood quiet Ani DiFranco, the famous feminist folkie who convinced us to squint our eyes and look more closely at our world (32 Flavors)? Don't count on it. The pregnant DiFranco plays the Ritz Tuesday armed with punky-and-political latest Which Side Are you On — an update of the Pete Seeger track — with rousing horns, marching beats and a petition to join the fight for justice. The leading indie rock lady has earned the title innovator for her fiery punk-poet sounds, ones often infused with jazz, classical and Latin nodes. She's released more than 20 albums on her own label, Righteous Babe Records.
With Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Loverboy
Details: Friday 7:30 p.m. 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $24-$166. (813) 740-2446.
Be Good to Yourself, Don't Stop Believin', Keep on Runnin, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Invincible and Turn Me Loose. If we didn't know better, we'd think we were headed to a motivational seminar rather than to a gathering of iconic '80s rockers and power balladeers. The second-coming of Journey, a tour-horse of punch and positivity, is led by guitarist Neal Schon and Arnel Pineda, the Filipino singer plucked from YouTube in a fairy-tale manner in 2008. Pat Benatar, the little lady with the four-and-a-half-octave vocal range, her hubs Neil Giraldo, the guitarist who creeps along the fret board like a spider (hence his arachnid nickname), and Working for the Weekend guys Loverboy will conjure up the days of lighters-in-the-air (real ones) and excessive hair product.
Details: Saturday 8 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $25-$30. (727) 565-0551.
Shake that thing with Sean Paul, the Jamaican dancehall hitmaker who first sparked the world in 2002 with Gimme The Light. Descended from a long line of controversial ragga and dancehall stars like Buju Banton (currently incarcerated in Florida), Paul has brought pop and peace to the genre. And that seems to have gone over well. Paul is one of the most successful Jamaican artist of all time on the U.S. charts with five Top 10 hits.
Details: Friday 8 p.m. at the Club at Treasure Island, 400 Treasure Island Causeway. $45 and up. (727) 367-4511.
One-half of the duo largely considered the most successful in pop history, John Oates of Hall and Oates will play an unplugged set. The pair struck gold with an endearing combo of soul, pop, funk and new wave in the '70s and '80s. It's still the kind of stuff that brightens time in the dentist chair, rides on a road trip, and gets delightfully butchered in karaoke bars. The mustache-less Oates will pluck from the best of these hits as well as offer a few unique treats.
Details: Saturday 8 p.m. Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. $45.50 and up. (727) 587-6793.
Don't say that the good people at Largo Cultural Center haven't offered you variety. Following the Bret Michael's show last week, and preceding Legally Blonde: The Musical, the intimate venue serves up Keiko Matsui, the international piano-jazz star of the smooth sort. Matsui, who took her first piano lesson at age 5 in Tokyo, counts her influences as Stevie Wonder, Rachmaninoff, Maurice Jarre and Chick Corea. Matsui sold out here last year, so you'd be wise to get your tickets in advance.
Times correspondent Carole Liparoto can be reached at [email protected]