Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

SoundCheck: Boston, LeAnn Rimes among top live music picks

Boston

Details: Friday 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $49.50-$125. (727) 791-7400.

We have More Than A Feeling that this show could be sold out by the time Friday night rolls around. The band has gone through more lineup changes than we care to count, but classics like Smokin' and Foreplay/Long Time will be a pleasant sonic jog through Boston's almost 40-year-career. Founding member Tom Scholz leads the band on this tour, which is in support of last year's Life, Love, & Hope LP. The album — which was meticulously recorded by Scholz over the past decade — actually features vocals from singer Brad Delp (who committed suicide in 2007), so it'll be interesting to see how Boston (who pride themselves on not using prerecorded tracks during live shows) will pay tribute to him at this performance.

LeAnn Rimes

Details: Friday 9 p.m. Hard Rock Café (at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino), 5223 Orient Road, Tampa. $55. (813) 627-7757.

Almost two decades after its release, LeAnn Rimes' Blue, with all it's twangy sass and soul, still rings loud in the ears of fans who have been following the 31-year-old country singer since she burst onto the scene as a 13-year-old with the voice of a grown woman. Her career arc has featured a novel's worth of ups (1997's Best New Artist Grammy, a 2009 CMA Humanitarian Award for her work fighting psoriasis) and downs (weird divorces, Coyote Ugly), but Rimes has soldiered on, and she arrives at the Hard Rock Café supporting last year's Spitfire. Her label botched the promotion of the album, which is a shame, because songs like the title cut and a Jeff Beck-featuring cover of Buddy and Julie Miller's Gasoline & Matches are some of the best things the Rimes camp has ever released.

Preson Phillips album release

With MRENC, Brother Cephus

Details: Saturday 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $7. (813) 248-4969.

God rock gets a bad rap sometimes. Preson Phillips, who is celebrating his fourth full-length, In Our Winter, can turn all that around in a heartbeat. As the pastor of Seminole Heights' Watermark Church, Phillips, 33, is armed with tunes that could be used in praise and worship sessions, but the palatial sound of his band's dynamic, sprawling Americana is worth a listen for music lovers who appreciate honest lyricism, tight musicianship and unabashed passion. Part of the face of Phillips' beat-up guitar has been worn down to reveal the guitar's innards, and that transparent look into his instrument is good metaphor for the way this songwriter approaches his craft: without pretense, and marked with a refreshing commitment to giving listeners every ounce of the person he is and hopes to be.

Black Star Riders

With Rockstar Bentley, Azzitizz

Details: Monday 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $17-$25. (727) 895-3045.

Thin Lizzy's iconic bassist and founding member Phil Lynott died almost 20 years ago, and the '70s rock legends have honored his legacy ever since by mostly refusing to put out new material (we're not going to count a 1999 live album). Now comes Black Star Riders, a new band centered around longtime Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham plus on-and-off keyboardist Darren Wharton. While this new outfit doesn't feature original drummer Brian Downey (he didn't want to commit to touring), Black Star Riders' sound is a total homage to the Irish classic rock that Thin Lizzy executed with albums like their 1971 self-titled LP and the 1976 highlight Jailbreak. The Riders' new album All Hell Breaks Loose features 13 songs hurriedly recorded over as many days, and songs like Bound For Glory and Someday Salvation are definitely good enough to get longtime fans out to the show, where they can close their eyes and pretend it's their old-school heroes onstage anyway.

LITTLE DRAGON

With Lawrence Rothman

Details: Wednesday 8 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20-$25. (813) 248-9500.

Yukimi Nagano's confident strut and vocal prowess during Little Dragon's 2011 Ybor City show was enough to land the set on SoundCheck's best-of-the-year list, but she hasn't slowed down after that. Nagano, 32, and her band went on to blow the doors off Coachella, and everything the band has done onstage and in studio since then has been affirmation of the talent it displayed on its 2011 breakthrough LP Ritual Union. Their latest offering, Nabuma Rubberband, continues the tradition by splattering Nagano's simultaneously airy and ferocious soul-licked vocals all over neu-pop arrangements that teeter on the fringes of electronic acid jazz (Klapp Klapp), bedpost-breaking R&B (Pink Cloud), and ridiculously dark and danceable industrial chamber music (Killing Me). The Orpheum usually has its air conditioner set to feel like it's 60 degrees inside, but don't be surprised to see steamy streams of sweat pouring down the windows at this one.

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

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