Monday, February 19, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Music Planner: Chvrches gets into Halloween spirit; Chris Cornell, Mark Knopfler prove hot tickets

SEE THE LIGHT CHVRCHES

Lauren Mayberry isn't sure if she'll be in costume when her band Chvrches hits the stage at Jannus Live. She first has to convince her bandmates to do the same.

"Negotiations are ongoing," Mayberry said cryptically during a recent phone interview.

Either way, it'll be a fun night. Around the same time Taylor Swift is welcoming Tampa to New York, Mayberry and Chvrches (pronounced "churches") will bring their own dazzling road show to St. Pete in support of their glossy new album Every Other Eye.

After building a strong indie-pop and festival following via the effervescent single The Mother We Share, the new LP ambitiously ratchets up the trio's synth-sparked sound, providing an empowering soundtrack for autumn. Pulsing singles like Clearest Blue and Never Ending Circles are as big and bold as anything you'll hear on other blockbuster pop albums (ahem1989ahem), which is why Chvrches' ardent followers would rather be at Jannus than any other show on Saturday.

"It's nice when people come and talk to us at signings or shows or whatever, and say that the music means something to them, or how we conduct ourselves has resonated with them," Mayberry said. "That, to me, is more positive feedback than a review or criticism or something like that. Actually meeting people that listen to our music and go to shows, and getting feedback that way, is a lot more genuine."

If you're too cool for Taylor this Halloween, don a costume (Jannus Live promises prizes for the best ones) and head to 200 First Ave. at 7 p.m. $23 and up. (727) 565-0550. jannuslive.com.

For more of our interview with Mayberry, head to tampabay.com/soundcheck.

HALL PASS: Chris Cornell

It's strange that Dave Grohl is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Nirvana, but Chris Cornell may forever be on the outside looking in.

Like Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Them Crooked Vultures), Cornell has played a key role in three significant rock outfits over the years — Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog and Audioslave — all while keeping busy with solo projects, collaborations and guest spots.

Soundgarden remains his signature project; that otherworldly wail was the linchpin of three classic grunge albums, Badmotorfinger, Superunknown and Down On the Upside. The group artfully bridged the gap between metal and hard rock, winning Grammys in both categories (for Spoonman and Black Hole Sun) in 1995. Yet while Nirvana coasted into the Rock Hall in 2014, and Pearl Jam may do the same next year, Soundgarden, eligible since 2011, hasn't even been nominated.

But when Cornell performs a solo show at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg at 8 p.m. Friday, you'll also hear Temple of the Dog (Hunger Strike), Audioslave (Like a Stone) and his own solo catalog (including cuts from his new LP Higher Truth). Maybe by 2024, when Cornell becomes eligible as a solo artist, the Rock Hall will realize he belongs.

While tickets sold out long ago — such is the power of Soundgarden — there may still be a few strays at the box office on Friday. To find out, call (727) 892-5798.

OUTLOOK NOT SO DIRE: Mark Knopfler

Mark Knopfler doesn't seem interested in reliving his Dire Straits days. While he still pops hits like Sultans of Swing and Romeo and Juliet into his live shows, don't be shocked if he skips Money for Nothing or Walk of Life when he plays Ruth Eckerd Hall at 8 p.m. Friday.

Thankfully, a singer, guitarist and producer as prolific and revered as Knopfler has plenty of material from which to pull — starting with his nine solo albums, all since 1996, including this year's loose and folksy Tracker. Over the decades, Knopfler, 66, has collaborated with everybody who's anybody — Bob Dylan, George Jones, Eric Clapton, even "Weird" Al Yankovic (that's actually Knopfler playing on Al's Dire Straits parody Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies). His legendary playing and songwriting has even inspired a new generation of acclaimed indie acts like the War on Drugs.

All of this explains why Knopfler's show in Clearwater, his first since 2008, sold out a long time ago. It's worth checking with the box office, (727) 791-7400, to see if any late tickets become available.

PUNK REVIVAL: Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor

Thursday's the last day of Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor, the precursor to this weekend's punk party Fest in Gainesville. Highlights include Lagwagon, Teenage Bottlerocket and Masked Intruder at the Orpheum; Beach Slang and the Riverboat Gamblers at Crowbar; and a lunchtime wrestling match (seriously) at the Orpheum. Doors open as early as noon at select venues, and the music continues into the night. Tickets are $10-$25 per venue (a singer-songwriter set at Tequilas is free). For a full schedule and details, see thefestfl.com/prefest.

     
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