Weekend concert picks: Dierks Bentley, Scorpions, Freestyle Explosion and more

Published September 12 2018
Updated September 12 2018


The Scorpions’ longevity, says co-founding guitarist Rudolf Schenker, is due partly to their ability to balance their classic sound with modern trends. Back in the ’80s, "we were surfing on the highest wave in the world, and that was great," the 70-year-old guitarist said by phone recently. "But you could see in the late ’80s how this music was going away by grunge and alternative. But now, the alternative and grunge bands are having a harder time. That’s what it is. Elvis Presley went through the same thing." Founded in Germany in 1965, the Scorps have delivered gigantic global hits (Wind of Change, Rock You Like a Hurricane, No One Like You) en route to becoming one of the longest-running hard rock acts of all time. All that mileage adds up, as Tampa fans found out when the band canceled a gig last fall due to laryngitis on the part of singer Klaus Meine. But they’re back now and ready to connect with fans old and new. Queensryche opens at 8 p.m. Friday at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $45.75 and up. (813) 301-2500. amaliearena.comRead more with the Scorpions’ Rudolf Schenker.


Susie Ulrey is an open book. "Maybe to my detriment, sometimes," she said. But it served her well on Secret Club, her first album with her Tampa indie-emo band Pohgoh in 21 years. The new LP is largely about her struggle with multiple sclerosis since being diagnosed in 2001. The lyrics lay bare everything from her struggles with her body to her guilt of burdening her husband, Tampa music scene curator Keith Ulrey, with her ailment. "Writing about the experience helps me process it," she said. "And then in retrospect, I can f------ bang out a rocker, because I can say, ‘That happened, but I moved beyond it.’?" Pohgoh will celebrate the release of Secret Club with a show at
7:30 p.m. Friday at Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. DieAlps! and Blacksmith open. $10. (813) 241-8600. Read more with Pohgoh’s Susie Ulrey.


Good on Dierks Bentley for always bringing a killer undercard to Tampa. In the spirit of his rustic-tinged new album The Mountain, the party boy’s openers at Saturday’s 7 p.m. concert at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, include shaggy barnburners Brothers Osborne, below left, the CMAs’ two-time vocal duo of the year; and Lanco, below right, whose Hallelujah Nights might be 2018’s best country debut. All we’re saying is if you’re tailgating, don’t show up late. $40.25 and up. (813) 740-2446. livenation.com.


Did the ’80s ever end? Not for fans of the Freestyle Explosion, which is back for a 15th (!) year. The ’80s pop showcase packs in thousands of fans for a night of wall-to-wall hits from the likes of Stevie B (Because I Love You (The Postman Song)) with Lisa Lisa (Head to Toe), Taylor Dayne(Tell It to My Heart), right, Expose (Seasons Change) and Nu Shooz (I Can’t Wait). Pretty Poison, TKA with K7, George Lamonde and Company B round it out. 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Amalie Arena. $47.25 and up. (813) 301-2500. amaliearena.com.


Sunny Sweeney should’ve been a star. Her debut major-label single From a Table Away is one of the decade’s great cheated-on country songs, which makes it one of the decade’s great country songs, period. Life on a label didn’t work out, though, and now Sweeney is doing the indie thing, which might not be so bad. Her last album Trophy is a triumph of Texas twang and major-chord melody, and we now get to see her in clubs like Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. Ward Davis and the Hummingbirds open. 5 p.m. Sunday. $12 and up. (813) 971-0666. skipperssmokehouse.com.


Here’s one surprising thing about Rainbow Kitten Surprise: Their sold-out show at the Orpheum just got moved to the larger Ritz Ybor, so you might now be able to snag a ticket. Here’s something else: Despite selling out venues coast to coast, the Boone, N.C., indie rockers are still so relatively unknown they don’t even have a Wikipedia page. How is a band often compared to early Kings of Leon still so under the radar? Doesn’t matter, but even if you don’t yet own their album How to: Friend, Love, Freefall, you can still get in on the ground floor before they move on to venues even bigger than the Ritz. Sun Seeker opens. 6:30 p.m. Monday. 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $25 and up. (813) 390-0397. ritzybor.com.