WhigFest Music and Arts Festival
Details: 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $20, $35 for weekend, $60-$75 weekend VIP; on day of show, $25, $45 for weekend, $80 for weekend VIP. whigfest.com.
In its second year, this two-day festival has upped its lineup with headliners Surfer Blood (Saturday) and Pinback (Sunday), alongside Greenhouse Lounge, Gringo Star and Stokeswood, with 50 bands popular in Tampa Bay and Central Florida including Cope, the Applebutter Express, Alexander and the Grapes and more on stages at surrounding bars. The fest includes a beer garden, St. Pete Indie Market and vaudevillian variety show 20 Penny Circus. Times staff
With the Drowning Men
Details: Sunday 6:30 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $29.50 and up. (813) 247-2555.
Eight years ago, Flogging Molly shut down what was the Masquerade in Ybor City with what is still one of the craziest sets to ever go down at 1503 E Seventh Ave. The band has returned to the building (now back to operating as the Ritz) several times since, and on Sunday the tradition continues when frontman Dave King takes the Flogging Molly faithful (this show will likely sell out) on a drunken, raucous sonic journey through the Celtic isles. Yes, there will be bagpipes, accordion and mandolin, but it's all powered by the punk rock engine that has been propelling King and company throughout their solid 14-year run.
St. Pete Tweed Ride After Party
With Buster Cooper Trio
Details: Saturday 5 p.m. St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, 559 Mirror Lake Drive N. $10-$15. (727) 822-2083 or stpetetweedride.com.
It has been difficult trying to catch Buster Cooper ever since the closing of St. Petersburg's church of jazz, the Garden, but the after-party for this year's St. Pete Tweed Ride — a group bike ride with participants dressed in their best throwback tweed — offers a chance to see the 85-year-old jazz trombone legend in the most nostalgic of settings. Despite having played for the Queen of England and alongside juggernauts like Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington (the Duke even named the tune Trombone Buster after the Gibbs High alum), Cooper has remained ever humble, committed to playing hard while emphasizing other musicians who are eager to learn from one of jazz's best.
Young the Giant
Details: Tuesday 7 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $25 and up. (727) 565-0550.
Young the Giant teased new material at their March 2012 stop in Ybor City, but with the success of their self-titled debut album already under their belt, frontman Sameer Gadhia and company arrive at the larger Jannus Live with higher ambitions and their sophomore LP, Mind Over Matter. Songs like Anagram and Crystallized from the new album are expansive, high-energy indie pop offerings made for the live setting. Cayucas, a quirky pop outfit from Southern California, opens the show.
Details: Monday 7 p.m. Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301, Tampa. Free with fair admission. (813) 621-7821 or floridastatefair.com.
The Florida State Fair has been at it since Feb. 6, and in addition to all the deep-fried heartstoppers, midway games and cute livestock, the fair's handlers also booked a solid lineup of free shows that included Sister Hazel and America. Michigan-born pop country crooner Uncle Kracker closes out the live music schedule with a show that will be anchored by his 2001 smash hit Follow Me.
With Rebecca Pidgeon
Details: Friday 7:30 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20-$23. (813) 248-9500.
Despite all the allusions to deceased luminaries like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sen. Paul Wellstone, literary masterpieces like Ulysses or geographic gems like Big Sur, the heart of Mason Jennings' 14-piece discography is based around love. Jennings, 38, flexes a unique gift for melody and an ability to turn the most intellectual of topics (song titles include United States Global Empire and Jesus Are You Real) into catchy, heart-piercing folk. A mostly unsung gift to American songwriting, Jennings prefers to operate in a more subdued setting, stalking smaller clubs, where all the poetic nuance and intricacy of his art (plus his slick humor) can be experienced up close and personal.
Times correspondent Ray Roa can be reached at SuburbanApologist.com.