Thursday, November 23, 2017
Tampa Bay Music & Shows

SoundCheck: Harry Connick Jr. among top live music picks

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Harry Connick Jr.

Details: Friday 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $50-$175. (727) 791-7400.

Thanks to a cold (and doctor's orders), Harry Connick Jr. postponed his Nov. 5 concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Thanks to a dolphin named Winter (and Connick's role in Dolphin Tale 2), fans didn't have to wait too long for a makeup show. The 46-year-old is feeling better and set to take to the stage and dish out his unique brand of soft rock, which playfully teeters on the edges of jazz, funk and pop. Be sure to close your eyes for a moment at this show and appreciate all of the Sinatra sonic nods, lovelorn lyrics, and deceptively intricate arrangements Connick is guaranteed to deliver. Tickets to the original show will be honored at this date, too.

Rick Ross

Details: Friday 8 p.m. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $42-$72. (727) 892-5767.

There aren't even 10 stops on Rick Ross' tour supporting his new album Mastermind, but he's clearly going for quality over quantity. The 37-year-old with a penchant for crafting hip-hop laced with references to drugs, cars, and weapons (strange considering his past stint as a corrections officer) is bringing a live band to some of the country's prettiest performance halls, and if a recent show in front of a packed house at Detroit's Masonic Temple is any indication, then fans are in for a treat. The set reportedly bred a house party atmosphere and repaired Ross' recent slip-ups at shows marred by shoddy video screens and thin crowds.

Hillsong United

Details: Friday 7:30 p.m. Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $25.25-$45.25. (813) 301-2500.

Praise and worship shows have long blurred the lines between going to church and a rock concert, but Hillsong United have the whole formula down pat and then some. As the musical arm of an Australian megachurch, United's 17-part catalog of studio and live albums is marked by an uncanny ability to use sonic trends in contemporary music to create legitimate pop anthems like Relentless. The group hasn't been able to completely escape controversies that stain many global organizations (Michael Guglielmucci, who composed a Hillsong tune about overcoming cancer, admitted to never having the disease in 2008), but followers forgive the imperfections and continue to fill arenas and music halls with the sound of thousands of fans singing along loud and clear.

David Dondero

With Beartoe, Jeff Brawer

Details: Saturday 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $8. (813) 248-4969.

In South Of The South, David Dondero describes being a "tender chicken in the Florida rotisserie," "biting lightning bolts," and even uses just one sentence to tell the tale of Ybor's Cuban immigrants. The rest of the song is a poetic ode to things like boiled peanuts, Wakulla Springs, citrus and our state's oppressive humidity, but the amazing thing is how Dondero, 44, gives that same thoughtful treatment to everything he turns into song. As a bona fide troubadour, the mostly nomadic singer-songwriter lives a hand-to-mouth existence and has spent the past 15 years patching together an impressive catalog of 17 LPs, splits and compilations, which earned him a spot next to Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits on NPR's recent list of the "World's Best Living Songwriters."

Mat Zo

With Norin & Rad, Docco, Basomatix

Details: Saturday 10 p.m. Amphitheatre, 1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15. (813) 873-8368.

On the night after Amp welcomes a bigger name in electronic dance music (Infected Mushroom), a lesser known but arguably more important player in the genre comes in with his shiny new LP, Damage Control. Matan Zohar (a.k.a. Mat Zo) has carved out a nice reputation thanks to his trance production, and Easy, the 23-year-old's collaboration with fellow wunderkind/producer Porter Robinson, put him in heavy rotation at clubs around the world. The cut is a highlight of Damage Control, but the rest of the 15-track offering, with all of its sensuous undertones, tribal rhythms, hip-hop breaks and subtle homages to pop, is a seamless play from start to finish and easily one of 2013's most enjoyable listens.

Diane Schuur

Details: Sunday 7 p.m. Largo Cultural Center, 105 Central Park Drive, Largo. $34.50-$44.50. (727) 587-6793.

As she approaches 60, acclaimed jazz pianist/vocalist Diane Schurr can lay claim to being a professional musician for half a century. She started singing at 2, was getting booked for gigs before she turned 10, and despite being born blind, Schurr — who is affectionately called "Deedles" — has earned two Grammy awards, shared stages with Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie and Stevie Wonder, among others. With an infectious smile and catchy tunes like I Can't Stop Loving You, Why Can't He Be You and Louisiana Sunday Afternoon in her repertoire, catching Deedles on her current swing through the state isn't the worst thing you can do on a Sunday night.

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

 
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