KEEPING AMERICA WEIRD: 'Weird Al' Yankovic
Friday's a busy night for "Weird Al" Yankovic, right. At 8 p.m., he'll hit the stage at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, kicking off the second leg of his gargantuan Mandatory World Tour. Then around 11 p.m., he'll debut as the new bandleader of IFC's faux talk show Comedy Bang! Bang!, filling the shoes of Kid Cudi and Reggie Watts.
"It's not like I need to rush home and watch it because I've seen it," Yankovic said. "But I'll be looking forward to watching other people's comments when I get back to the bus that night."
They're bound to be all positive, right? Yankovic has been the world's most beloved song parodist for going on 40 years, perhaps now more than ever. His 2014 album Mandatory Fun, which tweaked Iggy Azalea, Lorde and Robin Thicke, was his first No. 1 album, and this tour might be the biggest of his career, with gigs at venues like the Hollywood Bowl and Radio City Music Hall.
$37.50 and up. (727) 893-7832. themahaffey.com.
QUEENS COUNTRY: Cyndi Lauper
You should hear Cyndi Lauper gush over the country singers who worked on her new album, Detour.
"Freakin' Willie Nelson came, and oh my god, it was pretty amazing," Lauper, 62, said in that unmistakable Queens accent. "It was like Yoda walking in. I almost cried."
Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Jewel — Lauper is starry-eyed over everyone who worked on the album, in part because classic country music has long meant so much to her.
"I cut my teeth as a singer listening to all the rockabilly rock 'n' rollers," she said. "Wanda Jackson and Patsy Cline were right up there. … A lot of these songs had real stories. And they're very soulful songs. That's the root of country music, is soul."
Lauper will play cuts from Detour (and probably her blues-influenced 2010 album Memphis Blues) when she hits Ruth Eckerd Hall at 8 p.m. Wednesday. She might toss in a song from her Tony-winning musical Kinky Boots, and perhaps dig into her bag of classics like Time After Time, She Bop and True Colors. But whatever she plays, she might give it a slight country twist.
"I would like maybe play it like it was, except make the pedal steel player play the solo," she said. "It might sound good."
$43.75 and up. (727) 791-71400. rutheckerdhall.com.
For more with Cyndi Lauper, see Sunday's Latitudes section and tampabay.com/soundcheck.
FAITH THRILL: Kirk Franklin
A gospel superstar titling an album Losing My Religion: spiritual statement or shrewd marketing? For Kirk Franklin, left, it's a bit of both. The singer-songwriter-choir director is in no danger of losing his own faith, but he has said the album is meant to stir more thoughtful, less judgmental feelings among some members of his flock. "I wanted to talk about several subjects that sometimes get lost in people when they're trying to be religious," he has said. Respect, humility, a sense of just trying to get by in a difficult world — Franklin tackles it all on his 2015 album. His message is hitting home, too. In recent months, the nine-time Grammy winner has performed with Chance the Rapper and appeared on Kanye West's latest album, proof that the gospel rap movement he helped popularize remains strong. The show is at 8 p.m. Thursday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $57 and up. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.
GIVE A HOOT: Darius Rucker
Golfers, keep an eye out at your local putting green for a guy who looks an awful lot like Darius Rucker. Because it's probably him. The former Blowfish singer (don't call him Hootie) is a fanatic about carving out time to hit the links when on tour, even when he's got an amphitheater of fans waiting. Over the past few months, Rucker has been riding high on the success of Homegrown Honey, co-written with Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley and Rucker's biggest country hit since the behemoth that was Wagon Wheel in 2013. While he'll probably toss in a few Hootie and the Blowfish favorites at his summer tour kickoff Friday in Tampa, it's those swingin' country hits that'll have fans tailgating all afternoon. Rucker would be right there with them, if he didn't have a tee time calling his name. Dan + Shay and Michael Ray open at 7 p.m. Friday at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $25 and up. (813) 740-2446. livenation.com.
ODD FELLOWS: The Claypool Lennon Delirium
The light, nasal vocal delivery is pure Sean Lennon. The raw, rubbery bass is unmistakably Les Claypool. Mix 'em together, and you've got the Claypool Lennon Delirium, a psychedelic rock mini-supergroup. John Lennon's son and Primus' singer-bassist seem like odd partners on paper, but this summer, they're hitting the road together. Their trippy collaborative album, Monolith of Phobos, drops Friday, followed by a tour that hits Tampa's Ritz Ybor at 8 p.m. Sunday. In some ways, these will be warmup gigs for a spot at Bonnaroo next week. If you're an adventurous musical spirit (or just a big Beatles or Primus fan) you could do a lot worse. $29.50 and up at the Ritz, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. (813) 390-0397. theritzybor.com.