SoundCheck: Judas Priest, Sugar Ray, Tracy Byrd, Counting Crows, Incubus

Counting Crows

With Augustana, Michael Franti and Spearhead

Details: 7 p.m. Monday. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $72.50-$102.50. (727) 791-7400.

In 1994, when a dreadlocked Adam Duritz showed up on my screen in a size-too-small T-shirt, longing to be Bob Dylan, I was accidentally in love. Since August and Everything After went seven times platinum, apparently others felt the same. On this Traveling Circus and Medicine Show tour, the Crows do a more jam-oriented session, one Duritz compares to Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen or Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue tour. They'll share the stage and the songs with neighborly rock act Augustana and reggae-folk-hip-hop group Michael Franti and Spearhead.

Sugar Ray, With Fastball

Details: 7 p.m. Sunday. Jannus Landing, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $19.99 advance, $25 day of show. (727) 896-2276.

Looking back, Sugar Ray's fluffy, sunlit pop songs (Fly, Every Morning, Someday) seemed perfect for the pre-9/11, balanced-budget era. The good-time guys who urged us to "spread your love and fly" admit they were never really going for depth, but rather for beach or barbecue-ready songs. "I wasn't the guy sitting in the garage writing Built to Spill songs — I enjoyed the entertainment aspect," Mark McGrath recently told Rolling Stone. And to fans' delight, new release Music for Cougars doesn't stray from that formula. "We're certainly not the most talented guys, but how about two thumbs up for just having fun," McGrath said.

Tracy Byrd, With Steel Magnolia

Details: Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 10 p.m. Friday. The Dallas Bull, 3322 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $9.95 advance, $15 day of show. (813) 987-2855.

Line dancers salivate at the phrase, "Do the Watermelon Crawl." (Right toe, heel, shuffle right. Left toe, heel, shuffle left. Charleston twice.) Honky-tonkin' Texan Tracy Byrd performs the line dance staple and more at the Dallas Bull. Since the early '90s, 18 of Byrd's strapping, unprocessed country songs have charted in the Top 20. The Watermelon Crawl, however, has shown massive staying power, spinning nightly at country dance establishments far and wide. Young couple Steel Magnolia, recent winner of CMT's Can You Duet, opens.

Incubus, With the Duke Spirit

Details: 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Ford Amphitheatre, Interstate 4 at U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $26-$46. (813) 740-2446.

With harmonious rock songs and a hippie spirit, Calabasas, Calif.'s Incubus has succeeded where so many have failed. (Remember Kaddisfly? Me neither.) In fact, Billboard calls Incubus (not Green Day or Nickelback) the "most consistently successful modern rock band of this decade." Like on recently released greatest-hits album Monuments and Melodies, the band displays both its sentimental (Wish You Were Here, Drive) and manic (Megalomaniac, Pardon Me) side onstage, with Brandon Boyd's towering vocals at center. And the band's been finishing big with a cover of Prince's Let's Go Crazy.

The Spears CD release

With the Boozers, Libyan Hit Squad

Details: 9 p.m. Saturday. Emerald Bar, 550 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $6. (727) 898-6054.

Just like the Spears' songs, singer Chris Barrows' description of the band's sound is short and to the point: "The key word would be hard," he says. For fans of that crude '80s punk style (the Queers, Screeching Weasel, the Dead Kennedys), this show's a best buy. The St. Petersbugr act might even be considered a super-group of sorts, as its members come from nationally known acts Down by Law, Hated Youth, Pink Lincolns and D.R.I.

Paradiso Girls, With Space Cowboy

Details: 10 p.m. Friday. The Kennedy, 2408 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Free for ladies 21 and older. (813) 259-9669.

Like a more culturally diverse Pussycat Dolls, the hand-picked Paradiso Girls are sexy, club-going ladies from the U.S., U.K., France, Barbados and the Philippines, each with their own Spice Girl-like shtick (the yoga instructor, the DJ, the girl next door, etc.). Cheeky Lil' John collab Patron Tequila has the group promising "by the end of the night I am gonna have you drunk and throwing up." Glad they're setting the bar high.

Therapeutic Chokehold CD release

With Philip Pietri and the Manatees, Gentlemen Please, Cure for Caska

Details: 9 p.m. Friday. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. Cost TBD. (813) 248-4969.

No-frills power trio Therapeutic Chokehold releases its loud, heavy debut full-length Get Your Head Right at their "home away from home," New World Brewery. The group, which features members of another hard-rocking Tampa favorite Palantine, breathes life into the slacker-ish, alternative-rock sounds of the '90s.

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Judas Priest

With Whitesnake

Details: 7 p.m. Sunday. St. Pete Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $37-$77. (813) 301-2500.

Breaking the law! Breaking the law! Leather-clad metal gods Judas Priest celebrate the 30th anniversary of decisive album British Steel by performing it in its entirety Sunday. Destined for stadium shows or Biketoberfests, the group attacked the disco-fied late '70s with dueling lead guitars, shrieks, roars and heroic hooks. Ultimately, they'd usher in the new wave of British heavy metal (think Maiden, Def Leppard), inspire cult classic film Heavy Metal Parking Lot, and down the

road, stir Beavis and Butt-Head from the couch. Whitesnake, best known for hits Here I Go

Again and Is This Love, rocks on with David

Coverdale still on lead throat.

SoundCheck: Judas Priest, Sugar Ray, Tracy Byrd, Counting Crows, Incubus 08/12/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 5:30am]

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