Tampa Bay Blues Festival
Details: Starting at 12:30 p.m. Friday: Reba Russell, Sonny Landreth, Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials, Bettye Lavette, Jimmie Vaughan. Starting at 12:30 p.m. Saturday: Joanne Shaw Taylor, Tad Robinson, Ryan Shaw, Magic Slim and the Teardrops, Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Starting at 1 p.m. Sunday: John Nemeth, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm, Joe Louis Walker, Shemekia Copeland, JJ Grey and Mofro. Vinoy Park, 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Single-day tickets, $30. Three-day passes, $75. www.tampabaybluesfest.com.
In its 15th year, this has become the biggest multiday music festival in Tampa Bay. On Friday, sexy, slow-burning blues is on tap with headliners Bettye Lavette and Jimmie Vaughan. Lavette possesses an up-all-night rasp a la Tina Turner and a volatile blues-soul sound reminiscent of Nina Simone. Texan Vaughan wields roadhouse blues and beyond. On Saturday "do the 45" with peppy stepper and Wilson Pickett lover Ryan Shaw. And on Sunday, Cedric Burnside, grandson of R.L. Burnside, and the kings of swamp blues J.J. Grey and Mofro play muggy rump-shakers. Don't forget about the after parties at Nova 535, where you can enjoy the artists in a more intimate, blues club-like atmosphere.
Nova 535 after-parties: Here are the lineups: Fri.: Reba Russell, Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials. Sat: Joanne Shaw Taylor, Tad Robinson, Magic Slim and the Teardrops. Sun: John Nemeth, Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm, Joe Louis Walker. Starting about 10 p.m. at Nova 535, 535 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg. $20. (727) 821-6682.
With James Husband
Details: 8 p.m. Thursday. Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $18-$20. (813) 247-2555.
If you've only experienced Of Montreal's music from the comforts of home or car, you're missing the point. In concert, the group's psychedelic, over-the-top pop songs demand physical reaction, especially since they're accompanied by dancers who may have been plucked from the King Herod scene in Jesus Christ Superstar. Kevin Barnes has a heck of a time as the freaky, uninhibited singer and ringleader of it all. Just don't call Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games "the Outback Steakhouse jingle."
Easy Star All-Stars
With [email protected], DJ Blenda
Details: 10 p.m. Saturday. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. $15. (813) 241-8600.
We'd bet the room was mighty foggy when this New York house band decided to test out an all-reggae interpretation of Dark Side of the Moon. Turns out, Easy Star All-Stars did more than tinker with the classic. They churned out a dub-style re-creation that was artistic, rhythmically exciting and instrumentally versatile, while keeping the Pink Floyd spirit in tact. Even synchronization of the album with The Wizard of Oz still worked. Quality reggae renditions of Radiohead's OK Computer (cleverly titled Radiodread) and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band followed.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $27.50-$47.50. (727) 791-7400.
When pasty Brit David Gray signals to "let go your heart, let go your head" on emotive hit Babylon, you may feel the uncontrollable urge to shed your clothes and take a dip in the gulf. It's that liberating. Not unlike those of his hero Van Morrison, Gray's vocals fall somewhere between a rasp and a croon as he lays them neatly overtop modest guitar and piano parts, and sometimes, percussive samples.
Memories of Gold
Featuring Jay and the Americans, the Coasters, the Crystals
Details: 8 p.m. Friday. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $29-$79. (727) 892-5767.
Thanks to the opening scene in the 1987 film Adventures in Babysitting, I'll forever be a fan of the Crystals' Then He Kissed Me, the hit produced by Phil Spector in 1963. The defining girl group will perform along with pop vocal act Jay and the Americans (Come a Little Bit Closer) and "take out the papers and the trash" band the Coasters (Yakety Yak, the ultimate do-your-chores anthem).
Times correspondent Carole Liparoto can be reached at [email protected]