Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Music Planner: Keith Urban, Chris Cornell, Fantasia and Anthony Hamilton

 

URBAN RENEWAL: Keith Urban

 

I'll confess: Keith Urban had me worried. John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16, released last summer as the first single from his long-in-the-works album Ripcord, was way too glib and goofy for a man who does pedal-to-the-metal country as well as anyone. Color me pleasantly surprised, then, that Ripcord's actually decent. Sure, Urban goes out on a stylistic limb or two, heartily embracing synth-pop and dance rock on tracks like Wasted Time and Sun Don't Let Me Down, featuring Florida's own Pitbull. But these tracks hold Ripcord together with an inspired, focused energy that just wasn't there with John Cougar. Now I'm amped for his new tour, which hits Tampa on Friday. Some of that has to do with his openers — soulful stud Brett Eldredge and new-school ingenue Maren Morris, whose new album Hero I've had on repeat — but I also want to hear what Urban's up to these days. Modern Nashville is pushing boundaries left and right in 2016, and Urban's a big part of that. No need to worry about him anymore. 7:30 p.m. Friday, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $25 and up. (813) 740-2446. livenation.com.

 

ONE-MAN BAND: Chris Cornell

 

Not long ago, Jimmy Page came to see Chris Cornell in concert at London's Royal Albert Hall. "It was a little intimidating," Cornell confessed in a recent phone interview.

Really? I mean, sure, it's Jimmy Page, but this is Chris Cornell we're talking about, a man blessed with one of the all-time-great rock wails. As the frontman of Soundgarden and Audioslave and a renowned solo artist in his own right, he can sing anything for anyone he chooses.

For the last few years, he's been doing just that on his engaging solo acoustic tours, one of which hits Ruth Eckerd Hall Thursday. He'll mix in hits from all of those projects plus several covers, like his slow-burning takes on Michael Jackson's Billie Jean or Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U.

Cornell's stylistic diversity and willingness to attempt any cover has made him a premiere free agent for rock bands looking for an A-list singer. So you have to wonder: If Page called him up and said he felt like hitting the road with John Paul Jones, would Cornell entertain the offer?

"He never did that," he said, "but if he did, yeah, I would have to entertain it."

Start the petition Thursday!

Cornell performs at 8 p.m. Thursday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $54.75 and up. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.

 

SUMMER HEAT: Anthony Hamilton and Fantasia

 

Talk about a fiery way to jolt the USF Sun Dome out of its summer slumber. Grammy winners Anthony Hamilton and Fantasia (nee Barrino) are gearing up for a co-headlining tour that'll serve up enough soul to last you to Labor Day, and it'll hit the Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Hamilton's gospel-flavored new album What I'm Feelin' is brimming with exciting, impassioned musicality, a hallmark of his since his early 2000s Charlene days. Fantasia, meanwhile, will release her fifth album, The Definition Of ..., later this summer, and its first singles — the sleek, poppy No Time for It and noirish, retro-soul slow-burner Sleeping With the One I Love, are pretty fantastic. Tickets are $49.50 and up, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a better weeknight date night. (813) 974-3004. sundomearena.com.

 

PREPARE TO WEEP: The Weepies

 

Maybe you heard the Weepies' All That I Want in a touching holiday ad for J.C. Penney or Stars in one for Old Navy. Maybe you've heard their songs on shows like Grey's Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother or Sex and the City. Or maybe you've never heard the Weepies at all, in which case you really need to get to Ruth Eckerd Hall at 8 p.m. Saturday. Husband and wife Steve Tannen and Deb Talan write twee folk-pop songs so gentle and affecting they've spawned a cult of Weepies lovers worldwide. Open your heart to songs like World Spins Madly On, Gotta Have You and Can't Go Back Now and you won't regret it. The Weepies rarely tour — they have young kids, and a few years ago Talan battled and beat breast cancer — so enjoy this sold-out show at Ruth Eckerd's intimate Murray Studio Theatre, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. rutheckerdhall.com.

 

ELECTRIC SLIDE: A Tribute to Buster Cooper

 

St. Pete lost a good one in Buster Cooper, the globe-trotting trombonist who died May 13 at age 87. Cooper traveled the word performing with artists like Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker and Ella Fitzgerald, before returning to his hometown in the '90s, where he became a local favorite on Friday nights at downtown's Garden restaurant. The jazz community has celebrated Cooper since his death, and will reconvene from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday for "A Tribute to Buster Cooper" at the Palladium, 525 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Former WUSF host and Tampa Jazz Club president Bob Seymour will host the festivities, including jam sessions for any musician interested in participating. The show is free, but seating is first come, first served. (727) 822-3590.

 

     
Comments
Tampa Bay Margarita Festival schedule, set times: When to see the Wallflowers, Everclear and more

Tampa Bay Margarita Festival schedule, set times: When to see the Wallflowers, Everclear and more

It's anyone's guess as to whether this weekend's ugly rains will hold off long enough for the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival to crack open some 10,000 bottles of tequila in Curtis Hixon Park.But if it does, you want to know when you can see your favori...
Updated: 1 hour ago
97X Barbecue schedule, set times: When to see Awolnation, Dirty Heads, more in St. Petersburg

97X Barbecue schedule, set times: When to see Awolnation, Dirty Heads, more in St. Petersburg

The 97X Barbecue Music and Arts Festival — formerly the 97X BBQ, formerly the 97X Barbecue, formerly … well, who can keep track of it all? — returns on Saturday to Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, with a lineup that includes Awolnation...
Updated: 1 hour ago
John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

It’s been 50 years since John Fogerty wrote Fortunate Son, one of the most scathing protest songs from the Vietnam War era. Writing another one with that kind of impact has been a challenge ever since. "Back in the ’80s, I had a couple o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Suwannee Hulaween lineup: Odesza, Jamiroquai, Janelle Monae and more

Suwannee Hulaween lineup: Odesza, Jamiroquai, Janelle Monae and more

For the second straight year, one of the most eclectic music festivals in Florida will be taking place in Live Oak.Suwannee Hulaween just announced the lineup for its 2018 edition, coming Oct. 26-28 at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, and it featur...
Updated: 2 hours ago
A weekend of festivals: Sunset Music Fest, 97X Barbecue, WMNF’s US Festival tribute

A weekend of festivals: Sunset Music Fest, 97X Barbecue, WMNF’s US Festival tribute

THE BEATS GO ON: Sunset Music FestivalAt last year’s Sunset Music Festival, the focus was all on crowd safety. After two fans died from drug overdoses at Tampa’s largest annual rave in 2016, organizers heightened security across the board, yielding a...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Review: Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Championship Tour’ brings good sportsmanship, great rhymes to Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Review: Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Championship Tour’ brings good sportsmanship, great rhymes to Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Do they give Pulitzer Prizes for concerts featuring golf cart rides, cartoon sports-card backdrops and a slam-dunking doggie mascot?If so, Kendrick Lamar might want to start clearing shelf space for plaque No. 2.Weeks after the rapturous adulation th...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Want to drink free whiskey with country star John Rich in Tampa on Friday?

Want to drink free whiskey with country star John Rich in Tampa on Friday?

Here's an offbeat way to start your Memorial Day weekend right.Country star John Rich, half of the colorful, multiplatinum country duo Big and Rich, is coming to town for a couple of promotional appearances on Friday, including a tasting of his new w...
Updated: 12 hours ago
SZA will not appear at tonight’s Kendrick Lamar Championship Tour

SZA will not appear at tonight’s Kendrick Lamar Championship Tour

Singer SZA will not perform at Kendrick Lamar's Championship Tour at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa Tuesday, organizers announced shortly before the concert. Lamar's Top Dawg Entertainment label posted the news on Twitter. The Gra...
Published: 05/22/18
The Dirty Heads talk backyard barbecues, shedding the ‘reggae rock’ label and more

The Dirty Heads talk backyard barbecues, shedding the ‘reggae rock’ label and more

It's hard to say, exactly, how many 97X events the Dirty Heads have played at this point. There were three Next Big Things, at least, plus an acoustic Green Room performance or two.And if you want to talk about shows in St. Petersburg, forget about i...
Published: 05/22/18
SoundBytes: Todd Rundgren, Zomboy, Doyle, Bob Log III and more

SoundBytes: Todd Rundgren, Zomboy, Doyle, Bob Log III and more

— The wizard is returning. Just a few weeks after performing at the Mahaffey Theater with his band Utopia, Todd Rundgren is performing at the Capitol Theatre on Aug. 18. Tickets are $39 and up. Click here.— The headliners have been announ...
Published: 05/21/18