Sunday, May 27, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Music Planner: Tons of country (Zac Brown Band, WQYK Guitar Pull), Brian Wilson and Allison Weiss

A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY? Zac Brown Band

Thrown off by Zac Brown's plugged-in, chrome-domed performance of Beautiful Drug at last week's CMA Awards? Yeah, you weren't alone.

That song is Exhibit A in the case against Zac Brown Band 2.0, which swapped sweet-tea roots for alternative rock and even EDM on new album Jekyll + Hyde.

Is change a bad thing? Absolutely not. But it's a little like when Mumford and Sons ditched their banjo and sepia vests for leather jackets on their spring album Wilder Mind: Fine and everything, but all in all, kind of … blah.

Somehow Jekyll + Hyde's overt rock ambitions failed to capture the same spectacular zing as when Zac Brown Band covers Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine or even the Eagles in concert. It's about half of a good album, give or take — the rest feels bloated and self-indulgent (which, to be fair, are squarely within the rock tradition, so you can't fault Zac there).

But like the Mumfords, Zac Brown Band is one of the best live bands in the world, good enough to override any misgivings you might have about this new direction. How much will their concert in Tampa resemble their old road show? It'll be fascinating to find out.

The show is at 7 p.m. Friday at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $25.50 and up. livenation.com.

THE MASTER: Brian Wilson

For Al Jardine, it was a no-brainer deciding to join his old Beach Boys bandmate Brian Wilson on tour.

"All I had to do was revisit the music that we'd recorded," said Jardine, who handled lead vocals on Beach Boys hits like Help Me, Rhonda. "I enjoy singing high parts, and know them pretty well, so it was a natural thing."

A few years have passed since Wilson and Jardine joined forces with Mike Love, David Marks and Bruce Johnston to celebrate the Beach Boys' 50th anniversary, and Wilson and longtime pal Jardine seem to have splintered from the group for good.

And while Love and his boys put on a good show, Wilson is the one you really want to see. Though he was never a great live performer, his backing band — now including Jardine, who also contributed plenty of vocals to new album No Pier Pressure — has always been cracking. Besides, as the group's visionary songwriter and composer, he's the one who deserves credit for making the Beach Boys America's answer to the Beatles, and we're coming up on the 50th anniversary of their landmark album Pet Sounds, so there's no better time to pay homage.

"Brian's the most amazing artist in that he's a writer, composer, arranger, producer and singer without compare," Jardine said. "What more is there?"

Well said. The show is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. Tickets start at $49.50 at (727) 892-5767 or themahaffey.com.

For more of our interview with Al Jardine, pick up Sunday's Latitudes section or see tampabay.com/soundcheck.

NEW LOVE: Allison Weiss

A touch of Tegan and Sara, a pint of Paul Westerberg, a bit of Best Coast and a little Liz Phair. Mix it all up with a ton of DIY drive and you might get Allison Weiss, the Georgia-by-way-of-L.A. singer-songwriter behind one of the year's best indie pop albums, New Love.

If you've heard her name, it's likely because six years ago, she was one of the first artists to successfully crowdfund her own albums, receiving press from the likes of Wired and the New York Times. And if that were the end of it, it'd be a nice, sweet story.

But the 28-year-old Weiss has remained one of the most relentless self-starters in music. And if there's any justice, New Love will be the album that breaks her to a much wider audience. Just stream a song like Over You and you'll find yourself racing to fund her next project — or rushing to catch her at 8 p.m. Saturday at New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave. in Ybor City. (The show was moved from Epic Problem at the Skatepark of Tampa.) Joining her in this intimate space are Mal Blum, Winter and Kid in the Attic. $12-$14 via ticketfly.com.

CMT UNPLUGGED:WQYK Guitar Pull

You can't fling a pick these days without hitting a new radio-backed concert in Tampa Bay. But the inaugural WQYK-99.5 Guitar Pull on Wednesday sounds like a winner. The concept: Six big-name Nashville singer-songwriters unplug and swap stories and songs in an intimate theater (the Mahaffey). The bill includes Hunter Hayes (21), Lee Brice (I Don't Dance), Jerrod Niemann (Drink To That All Night), Maddie and Tae (Girl in a Country Song), Eric Paslay (Friday Night) and, most intriguingly, Lady Antebellum singer Charles Kelley, likely previewing songs from his upcoming solo LP. Great lineup, right? Yeah, it's so great it's already sold out. Because it's a radio show, though, you can still win tickets by listening to WQYK. For details, see 995qyk.com.

   
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