SWINGIN’ AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE: Brian Setzer Orchestra
When you spend 13 straight Thanksgivings on the road, you build some traditions with your crew. "We get a big ballroom," said Brian Setzer. "I don’t know how many turkeys we go through, but everybody eats Thanksgiving." The Brian Setzer Orchestra is between gigs in New York and New Jersey for this year’s feast, but next week, their annual Christmas Rocks Tour hits Tampa Bay for the first time ever. It’s a long time coming for Setzer, the swing and rockabilly hero whose annual holiday tour sells out venues coast to coast. At 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, he’ll mix selections from his half dozen-plus holiday albums alongside hits like Stray Cat Strut, Rock This Town and Jump, Jive an’ Wail. The Texas Gentlemen open. $52.75 and up. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.
HOLY HITMAKERS: Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith
We all have Christmas songs we hate. Even the most pious among us, like Michael W. Smith, can admit it. "Jingle Bell Rock is probably not one of my favorites," the Christian music superstar said in a recent interview. "Some of the rock and roll kind of stuff that people do, I’m not very fond of. I’m kind of old school." No doubt, Smith is an O.G. of Christian pop — and so is his old friend and collaborator Amy Grant, who will join him in concert at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive in Tampa. Between them, they’ve released more than a dozen Christmas albums, which means it’s no problem filling an entire set with the snowy stuff. Smith even calls his 1989 holiday song All Is Well "probably my favorite song I’ve ever written." Jordan Smith also performs. $35.75 and up. (813) 301-2500. amaliearena.com.
THE NEXT WAVE: 21 Savage, 6lack, Lil Pump
Work off that Thanksgiving turkey with a glimpse at rap and R&B’s future all week at the Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave. Kick it all off with 21 Savage, left, the booming Atlanta rapper whose huge year includes his debut album Issa, recent Offset and Metro Boomin collaboration Without Warning, and two Top 5 hits in Bank Account and Post Malone’s Rockstar. Youngboy Never Broke Again opens at 8 p.m. Sunday; $37.50 and up. Next up is 6lack, center, a Weeknd-endorsed singer-rapper best known for his platinum single Prblms. Sabrina Claudio opens at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday; $25 and up. Finally, the Ritz hosts rapidly ascendant rapper Lil Pump, right, a star of Miami’s lo-fi SoundCloud rap scene, who hit the Top 10 this month with Gucci Gang. He performs at 8:30 p.m. Nov. 30; $27 and up. (813) 390-0397. theritzybor.com.
FROM ANOTHER ERA: John McLaughlin and Jimmy Herring
Could the Mahavishnu Orchestra exist today? A supremely talented, highly virtuosic, groundbreaking jazz-rock-classical fusion ensemble with an exacting British guitarist at the center? That guitarist, John McLaughlin, thinks so. Part of his current tour with Widespread Panic’s Jimmy Herring is dedicated to the music of Mahavishnu, "and the reaction is truly outstanding," McLaughlin, 75, said recently. "So if it were to be reformed, it would enjoy considerable success." Certainly, it would be acclaimed — McLaughlin played with Miles Davis, gave guitar lessons to Jimmy Page and earned cult-like admiration from guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Carlos Santana. McLaughlin has said this tour will be his farewell to America, but he’s not worried about what the future holds. He says he’s "consistently astonished at the technical and musical level" of young guitarists he meets, adding: "As far as the guitar is concerned, the future is very bright." 8 p.m. Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $43.25 and up. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.
STRUMS, PLEASE: Rodrigo y Gabriela
Rodrigo y Gabriela didn’t exactly start a flamenco revolution with their breakthrough self-titled album. What the Mexican duo’s 10-year anniversary tour celebrating that album presupposes is .?.?. maybe they should’ve? It’s impossible to watch the elaborate six-string wizardry of Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero and not fall in love with their unique style, a blend of flamenco, rock, jazz and buskerly street folk that has won over both enormous festival crowds and high-minded fans like Hans Zimmer and Barack Obama, who invited them to the White House in 2010. It’s never too late to get on board; Rodrigo y Gabriela may yet bring flamenco-core back to the masses. Viva la revolución! Marc Scibilia opens at 8 p.m. Friday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $38.25 and up. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.
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