NEVER GIVING UP: Rick Astley
The last time Rick Astley came to Florida was a year ago, for his 50th birthday. His family spent a few nights in Miami, then drove the Overseas Highway to the Keys for an even deeper beach getaway.
"I went from breakfast to lunch with my feet in the sand and a cocktail, so that was pretty amazing," said the singer.
Must have been, because he named his latest album 50. He's also coming back to Florida for birthday No. 51 on Monday, the same day he plays the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater.
It's all part of a surreal decade-long comeback for the baby-faced Brit behind '80s smashes Never Gonna Give You Up and Together Forever. After more than a decade in retirement in the '90s and early 2000s, he was a couple of years into a comeback when the Internet invented "rickrolling" — the bait-and-switch practice of saying you're linking to one thing, but actually linking to Astley's uber-cheesy video for Never Gonna Give You Up. For the past 10 years, his star has steadily grown for a new generation that really only knows him as a meme.
Now he's back properly touring America for the first time since 1989, which he says is a huge thrill, even though he enjoyed his time out of the spotlight.
"I always had a bit of a thing about America — it's where a lot of my favorite records came from," he said. "I'm a bit of a sucker for soul music, and that's the birthplace of it, at the end of the day."
7:30 p.m. 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $35 and up. (727) 791-7400. atthecap.com.
For more with Rick Astley, read the full interview in Sunday's Latitudes and at tampabay.com/soundcheck.
MOUNTAIN FOLK: The Avett Brothers
Pitbull's bikini-branded video to Sexy Beaches was a thin, thirsty attempt to draw eyeballs to Visit Florida's #LoveFL marketing campaign. For music tourism done right, turn to the Avett Brothers' video for Ain't No Man. Filmed at Asheville Regional Airport in North Carolina, it depicts singer Scott Avett traveling through the concourse like any other passenger, singing as he checks his bag and gets stopped going through security. Fly in or out of Asheville, and the song's indelible rubberband bass will pop into your head and get stuck there the rest of your trip. Not that that's a bad thing. The funky song, from the band's latest album True Sadness, inches them further from their sepia-suspendered past, which turned them into modern folk heroes a la Mumford and Sons or the Lumineers. They'll still pull from their Americana catalog when they play a full "evening with" set at 8 p.m. Friday at the USF Sun Dome. But it'll be a treat to hear Ain't No Man live. It might be enough to make you book a trip to Asheville. $39.50 and up. 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (813) 974-3004. sundomearena.com.
LIVE WIRES: The Coathangers
Of all the punk-rock things to adore about the Coathangers — and there are many — the most punk rock of them all could be this: Squeeki Tiki, from their 2016 album Nosebleed Weekend, employs the use of a squeaky-toy solo . . . and the band somehow pulls it off. For a decade, singer-guitarist Julia Kugel, bassist Meredith Franco and drummer Stephanie Luke have been slinging brash, electric punk and post-punk songs from their home base in Atlanta that have earned obvious but apt comparisons to Sleater-Kinney. "We are always categorized as a 'girl band' instead of just a 'band,' " Kugel told Nylon last year. The band plays around with that concept in their stylized video to Nosebleed Weekend's Down Down, which sees them swaying and dancing on platforms like a girl group from the shagadelic '60s. That sharp, cutting sense of humor is just another reason to adore them. Plastic Pinks and Piss Ghost open at 8 p.m. Friday at New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. (813) 248-4969. facebook.com/newworldbrewery.
KNOCK ON WOOD: Parquet Courts
One of Tampa's weirdest, most random rock shows of 2015 came when celebrated New York indie band Parquet Courts played an American Legion hall in Seminole Heights. This is a group Grantland once called "the last great New York band," and this is where they make their Tampa debut? Well, if you missed that one, they're about to play a more traditional venue, Crowbar, next week. The prolific group's latest album Human Performance, is full of knotty post-punk structures, brainy lyrics, lo-fi garage riffs and even a couple drop-ins from Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. It was even nominated for a Grammy for Best Recording Package, cementing the group's status as innovative all-around artists. Mary Lattimore opens at 8 p.m. Wednesday. 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. (813) 241-8600. ticketfly.com.
APOCALYPSE NOW: Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso
One of Tampa Bay's favorite band of ska-punk pirates is setting sail for good. Johnny Cakes and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypso, known for raucous concerts, copious horns, middle school humor and Michael "Ostrich" Middlebrooks' guttural roar, are throwing a farewell show at 8 p.m. Saturday at Crowbar. Alas, that means no more live performances of rib-ticklers like Pee in the Butt or Ode to the Men's Room Stall — or even Long Island Iced Tea Island, which in 2009 won a national song contest organized by Tijuana Flats. "Originally, this started as a joke and we never expected anyone to let us play a show, and definitely not more than one show," Middlebrooks said. "We certainly never expected to see a band name that long and ridiculous on a flyer or in print. For some reason, people liked it and we kept doing it." It's been a long, strange trip, and the St. Petersburg band promises an equally unforgettable finale, with appearances by members past and present and songs from throughout their career. Ahoy and godspeed, mateys. Help Police open at 8 p.m. $15 and up. (813) 241-8600. facebook.com/crowbarlive.