Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Music Planner: Leon Bridges, Ja Rule, Ashanti go retro; Flume a hot ticket in St. Petersburg

FINE VINTAGE: LEON BRIDGES

Here's a fun trick: Next time you grab dinner with the folks, spin Leon Bridges' Coming Home and ask if they remember these songs from back in the day. Watch as they scan their memories, bobbing their heads, trying to remember if this guy ever toured with Otis Redding or Sam Cooke. The joke, of course, is that Bridges is only 27, and Coming Home just came out last year. But it sounds like it was plucked straight from the '60s, from the simple, swinging orchestration of Coming Home and Twistin' and Groovin' to period-perfect production that just feels like vintage vinyl. Of all the retro soul acts to break big in recent years — Amy Winehouse, Adele, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings — none feel as fully authentic and committed as this dapper young Texan, who this year scored a Grammy nod for Best R&B Album. Opening his show Wednesday in Clearwater is jazzy folk-pop singer Lianne La Havas, who's spent a chunk of this summer opening stadium shows for Coldplay. 8 p.m. at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen Booth Road. $38.75 and up. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.

MESMERIZING: JA RULE AND ASHANTI

Kids, put down your Fitbits and Snapchats and Squirtles, and gather 'round so we can tell you about Ja Rule and Ashanti. They were the Drake and Rihanna of the early 2000s, cranking out hit after hit after hit. The raw-throated Rule hit it big with Put It on Me and Livin' It Up, and had memorable features on Jay Z's Can I Get A … and Jennifer Lopez's I'm Real. Ashanti hit the Top 10 with Foolish and Rain on Me, and sang the hooks on Fat Joe's What's Luv? and Fabolous' Into You. But just like Drizzy and RiRi, it's when they teamed up that they really shined. Rule's fierce bark and Ashanti's silken singing meshed like magic on Mesmerize, Always on Time, Wonderful and Down 4 U, among others. It's almost like you can't fully enjoy one without the other. So with early-2000s nostalgia in full swing, Ja Rule and Ashanti are hitting the road. Their concert at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., will make an excellent pre-weekend warmup for Sunday's Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour at Amalie Arena. $35 and up. (813) 390-0397. t heritzybor.com.

HOT TICKET: FLUME

Wondering why Flume's concert Sunday at Jannus Live sold out weeks ago? Consult the posters. The Australian producer-DJ born Harley Streten made the top line of the lineup at Lollapalooza and Splendour in the Grass, second line at Coachella, third line at Osheaga and Hangout festivals, and so forth around the globe. He's a festival superstar, in other words, and he's becoming a household name, too — his sleeper summer single Never Be Like You just went platinum. Flume's biggest tour ever comes in support of Skin, his acclaimed new album featuring Tove Lo, Vince Staples, Little Dragon and Beck, who contributed stellar vocals to closing track Tiny Cities. Tampa Bay's EDM fans know what's up, hence the mad rush for tickets. A recent check of StubHub saw resales starting at more than $100, so maybe you're better off saving up to see him at his next festival stop. Just look for the enormous crowd by the biggest stage, and you'll find him. Hermitude opens at 7 p.m. Sunday at Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 565-0550. jannuslive.com.

DRINK TO THIS: JERROD NIEMANN

A free concert by Jerrod Niemann? We can drink to that all night. Thursday the singer of, um, Drink to That All Night will play Tampa's premiere country club, the Dallas Bull, and all it'll cost you to get in is the Bull's normal Thursday cover: $5 for 21 and up, $10-$15 for 18-20. Thursdays tend to get wild at the Bull — it's ladies night, meaning women drink free until 1 a.m. — and the Niemann show will only add to that atmosphere, thanks to hits like Donkey, One More Drinkin' Song and Lover, Lover. Niemann has a new single with Lee Brice called A Little More Love, and he's working on his followup to 2014's High Noon. So maybe you'll hear some new music, too. Doors open at 7 p.m. 3322 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. (813) 987-2855. dallasbull.com.

   
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