Monday, May 28, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

SoundCheck: American Idol Live, the Fray, Aaron Lewis among top live music picks

American Idol Live

With C.J. Harris, Sam Woolf, Jena Irene, Caleb Johnson, Jessica Meuse, MK Nobilette, Alex Preston, Dexter Roberts, Majesty Rose, Malaya Watson

Details: Friday 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $60.50-$150. (727) 791-7400.

It has been less than a month since The Voice tour bellowed its way through the Tampa Bay area, and on Friday the original stateside reality-television singing competition takes its turn as "American Idol Live" brings Season 13 finalists to get up close and personal with fans. Sam Woolf, Jessica Meuse, C.J. Harris and others will be there, and so will winner Caleb Johnson. His official single, As Long As You Love Me, saw release in May, but we're willing to bet there will be some Journey and Aerosmith covers — along with group performances — sprinkled into the set. There are some immersive VIP packages for the show's super fans, too (think live Q&A sessions with select Idols), but don't expect Ryan Seacrest to be there greeting you at the door.

DJ Pierre

With Brian Busto

Details: Friday 10 p.m. Hyde Park Café, 1806 W Platt St., Tampa. $10. (813) 254-2233.

Subgenres can be fun, and things get really interesting when the originating godfather of one comes to town. That's exactly what's happening when Nathaniel Pierre Jones, a.k.a. DJ Pierre, makes his bay area debut at longtime SoHo house music stronghold Hyde Park Café. The Chicago-born producer was an essential cog in famed house music trio Phuture, and he loved using his Roland TB-303 synthesizer to add a unique bass element to the Italian and Chicago house music he already adored. The new sound came to be known as "acid house," and Pierre's influence can be heard on elements of every strain of dance music that is popular today.

Aaron Lewis

With Brandon Lay

Details: Friday 7 p.m. Dallas Bull, 3322 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $20-$25. (813) 987-2855.

Depending on when you started (or stopped) paying attention, Aaron Lewis is either the eyebrow-pierced frontman of nu-metal debbie downers Staind or the gritty, America-loving country crooner who sings about anything and everything that comes to his mind (sample lyric from Country Boy: "I rarely drink from the bottle, but I'll smoke a little weed"). While his two twangy LPs (2012's The Road and 2011's Town Line) will provide plenty of material fit for the radio (Endless Summer might as well be the genre's answer to Miley's Party in the U.S.A.), it'll be interesting to see if the 42-year-old songwriter delves into any rearrangements of the stuff that made him a legend to fans of mid-'90s metal. Brandon Lay just ditched the indie artist life by signing a major publishing deal last year, and his opening set is a good opportunity to see a guy who'll probably be writing hits for others for the rest of his life.

Machine Gun Kelly

Details: Saturday 6 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $30-$40. (813) 873-8368.

Machine Gun Kelly's wild activities in the Tampa Bay area have almost become legendary. The 24-year-old Ohio native borrowed his moniker from a Prohibition-era mobster, and after a 2012 arrest at downtown St. Pete's Bishop Tavern (disorderly conduct, simple battery, resisting arrest) and raucous sets at Wild Splash and the now-defunct Hawaiian Village the same year, it's safe to say that Kelly (real name Richard Baker) practices what he preached on hit 2011 single Wild Boy. There's no telling exactly what will happen at this Ybor City appearance (which was moved from the Amphitheatre), but the lad has a reputation for stripping down to his skivvies and climbing rafters, so don't bring Mom and Dad.

The Fray

With Barcelona, Oh Honey

Details: Monday 7 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $43.25-$73.25. (727) 791-7400.

Last December the Fray had to share a bill with Michael Franti, Goo Goo Dolls and ZZ Ward for Mix 100.7's Acoustic Christmas. On Monday, the Denver quartet gets to be the main attraction, and they've got a shiny new LP, Helios, to show off, too. New single Love Don't Die is on the dancier side of the band's discography, but there will be plenty of melancholy pop balladry (Over My Head, You Found Me) for fans to sway and sing along to. Barcelona, a Seattle-based synth-pop outfit, opens the show, and frontman Brian Fennell's cool coo on Fall in Love is a more than good enough reason to get to your seat early.

Alex G

With Elvis Depressedly, Out Go the Lights, Snacking

Details: Wednesday 8:30 p.m. Mojo Books & Music, 2540 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $10. (813) 971-9717.

Getting the chance to see some of the country's rising musicians within such close quarters is rare, but Mojo Books & Records gladly doles out the opportunity quite often. The USF-area shopping plaza staple is a great alternative to age-restricted clubs and bars, and on Wednesday they host Alex Giannascoli, who taste-making magazine Fader has dubbed "the Internet's secret best songwriter." It's a bold declaration, but it isn't very far off point. The songsmith's latest, DSU, is a slight graduation from the lo-fi '90s rock he offered on previous records, and he's touring with a four-piece band, ensuring that there's sonic space to sprawl out on highlights like People and Serpent Is Lord. Giannascoli's labelmate Elvis Depressedly, who pumps out a foggy folk haze on one of 2013's best albums (Holo Pleasures), opens the show alongside two of Florida's best bands.

Cultura Profética

Details: July 24 at 7 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20-$25. (813) 247-2555.

Reggae is largely the people's music, and that's what Cultura Profética focused on making for seven years as they hammered out their first four socially conscious albums. Things changed on their latest, 2010's La Dulzura, and while critics have lauded the 12-track effort (the title translates to "The Sweetness"), it has also raised questions about the Puerto Rican outfit's intentions. "We spent all those years (talking) government and corruption," guitarist Eliut Gonzalez recently told OC Weekly. "On La Dulzura we wrote about the good things in the world." The collective brings all of that to the Ritz, where they'll infuse smooth jazz (Rimas pa' seducir) and rowdier, hip-hop-injected tunes (Cancion Despojo) into their set. World music isn't exactly easy to get into for the casual music fan, but showing up at this show will be a good way to open that door.

Times correspondent Ray Roa can be reached at suburbanapologist.com.

   
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