GIVE THE DRUMMER SOME LOVE: Mutemath
Listen closely to Kanye West's new album The Life of Pablo, and you'll hear Mutemath drummer Darren King.
"They used something I did for the song Real Friends," King said by phone from a tour rehearsal in Nashville. "They used some piano work that I did for the outro for that song. They told me the day it came out that they had used it. They called me up and said, 'Hey, guess what? You're on this song.' 'What for real? Yes! Thank you!' "
Is it surprising to learn West leaned on King, who co-founded the New Orleans alt-rock group in 2002? Not if you've ever seen him play.
Mutemath, who hit the State Theatre on Saturday in support of fourth album Vitals, are one of the best live rock acts going. And a lot of that is due to King, a dynamic and inventive drummer who's always on the lookout for new ways to interact with his audience — marching through the crowd, performing in moshpits or atop ladders. When he called last week, he was trying to perfect a "next-level new thing" he's calling "the world's first high-five drum solo."
"I've got these gloves, and the gloves have drum triggers in them," he said. "So for a few people in the front row, they put the gloves on, and then I've got these really nasty sounds, real mean, aggressive drum sounds that I do a little solo with."
It's that kind of creative thinking that drew West's camp to King in the first place.
"Being with Kanye in the studio is everything you could possibly hope it would be," King said. "He is full of energy, full of confidence, full of excitement."
Sounds like a certain drummer we know. Catch Mutemath with Nothing but Thieves at 8 p.m. Saturday at the State Theatre, 687 Central Ave. St. Petersburg. $23.50 and up. (727) 895-8305. statetheatreconcerts.com.
For more with Mutemath's Darren King, click here.
COUNTRY CLASSIC: Loretta Lynn
Nashville has lost a few icons in the past decade, from George Jones to Ray Price to Slim Whitman. And yet a few old-timers still walk among us. Willie Nelson, 82, hits Ruth Eckerd Hall on March 4; Merle Haggard, 78, will play the Strawberry Festival on March 12. But first, 83-year-old Loretta Lynn returns to the Mahaffey Theater for her third Tampa Bay concert in four years. And we're betting she's got a few more tours left in her. When she played the Strawberry Festival last March, she was as spunky and sparkling as ever, twanging through classics like Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man; The Pill; and One's on the Way. When a fan hollered a request for inevitable closer Coal Miner's Daughter, she hollered back: "I'll get to that. I ain't through yet. I just got here!" Hopefully she's not going anywhere anytime soon. The show is at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Mahaffey, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $35.50 and up. (727) 892-5767. themahaffey.com.
GUITAR HERO: Gary Clark Jr.
You don't toss names like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan around lightly. But when you're talking about Gary Clark Jr., you can't help yourself. The lanky Texan blows away live audiences with his powerful blues-rock chops and voice. Clark's latest album, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, transcends the blues-rock box by roping in elements of Dylanesque folk, old-school soul and even a little gospel. He's been a tourmate of A-list acts like the Rolling Stones and Foo Fighters. And at Monday's Grammy Awards, he joined Chris Stapleton and Bonnie Raitt for a tribute to B.B. King. Yeah, there's Clark again, always finding himself in the company of legends. He's long overdue for a local show, but that'll change at 8 p.m. Thursday at Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $30 and up. (727) 565-0550. jannuslive.com.
HIGH ON 'INTELLECT': Protomartyr
Talk about Detroit engineering at its finest. Michiganders Protomartyr pulled from an array of sounds and influences — punk, post-punk, grunge, garage, shoegaze — to craft 2015's The Agent Intellect, a nervy, noisy swirl of insistent guitars that brought them a new world of fans. Publications such as Spin to the A.V. Club website proclaimed The Agent Intellect one of 2015's best, which means their Sunday concert at New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City, might be your last chance to catch them in tight quarters for a while. Between the rise of Protomartyr and a new Iggy Pop album, is it time to start referring to Detroit as Rock City once again? Spray Paint and Permanent Makeup open the show at 8 p.m. $10. (813) 248-4969. aestheticized.com.