Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

SoundCheck: Alicia Keys among top live music picks

Alicia Keys.

With Miguel

Details: Sunday 7:30 p.m. Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $45.25-$100.25. (813) 301-2500.

Alicia Keys' Girl On Fire is a gigantic, bombastic single, a girl-power anthem that strives to rattle the rafters with uplift and inspiration. Funny thing, though: The album that spawned it, also titled Girl On Fire, has 10 times more depth, nuance and verve than the single. Keys and her husband, producer and rapper Swizz Beatz, surrounded that big, needy single with tracks that explore Keys' penchant for jazz, classical pop and alternative R&B. That's what powered indelible singles Fallin', Diary and If I Ain't Got You, and it's what makes Keys' latest album worth sticking with, even if you find its lead single — how shall we put this? — a bit overbearing. Also worth the effort: Getting to the Times Forum early to catch Miguel, a budding R&B superstar whose 2012 album Kaleidoscope Dream received four Grammy nominations, including a Song of the Year nod for simmering slow jam Adorn.

Big Boi.

With Metz

Details: Saturday 8 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15. (813) 247-2555.

The Skatepark of Tampa booked a serious hip-hop heavyweight to headline its annual Tampa Pro Party. Unlike Outkast's freakier half, Andre 3000, Big Boi has maintained an active musical presence, and when he performs live, he's usually more than happy to fill his setlists with Outkast classics like Rosa Parks, Ms. Jackson and B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad). But just because Andre 3000 isn't involved, don't think Big Boi has lost his creative edge. His latest album, the ambitious Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, features an eclectic array of collaborators, from rappers Killer Mike, Theophilus London and Kid Cudi to indie-rock favorites Little Dragon, Phantogram and Wavves.

,Machine Gun Kelly

Details: Saturday 7 p.m. Amphitheatre, 1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20. (813) 873-8368.

One thing about Machine Gun Kelly: The dude gets around. Since the beginning of 2012, he's performed at five different venues in Tampa Bay; along the way, he's gotten arrested in downtown St. Petersburg, nearly incited a riot at the now-defunct Hawaiian Village and caused hundreds of dollars in damage to a new car at Last Damn Show. This will be the Cleveland rapper's first stop in Ybor City. You better Lace Up, because you never know what MGK will have up his sleeve for this one.

,Queen Latifah

Details: Tuesday 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $55-$95. (727) 791-7400.

At some point in the past 25 years, Queen Latifah decided it was time to change careers — and we think that point occurred right around 2003, when the singer-rapper-actor earned an Academy Award nomination for her role as Mama Morton in Chicago. The very next year, she released The Dana Owens Album, a collection of jazz standards and pop hits that contained exactly zero blazing rhymes. The shift wasn't completely out of place; Latifah had always embraced jazzy, soulful samples in her Grammy-winning hip-hop career. And while she did return to rap for 2009's Persona, it's clear her focus these days is on acting (Hairspray, Joyful Noise) and more traditional music.

Chick Corea and Bela Fleck

Details: Sunday 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $45-$62. (727) 791-7400.

This year's top Grammy nominees included Fun., Frank Ocean, Mumford & Sons and Kanye West. But right behind them was iconic (and prolific) jazz fusionist Chick Corea, who scored five nominations thanks to two well-received albums, Hot House with Gary Burton and Further Explorations with Eddie Gomez and Paul Motian. The longtime Scientologist and Clearwater resident teams up with banjo legend Bela Fleck, with whom he collaborated on 2007's The Enchantment. It'll be a night of electric collaboration — and that tends to be when Corea is at his best.

Times staff writer Jay Cridlin can be reached at [email protected]

   
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