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Soundcheck: Imagine Dragons among top live music picks

Imagine Dragons

With the Neighbourhood

Details: Tuesday 7:30 p.m., USF Sun Dome, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $32-$51.15. (813) 974-3002.

What's a Vegas bar band supposed to do when the world takes notice and latches on to their unique brand of atmospheric active rock? Go on a really long tour, apparently. While Imagine Dragons' never-ending journey has taken them from Sin City poker rooms to huge festival stages in less than three years, the road hasn't always been pretty. They had to cancel a scheduled appearance at last year's 97X Next Big Thing when frontman Dan Reynolds came down with a throat infection, and Reynolds recently told Rolling Stone that he hasn't seen his newborn child in months. The Dragons soldier on, however, bringing an inescapable hit single, Radioactive, to an arena that may be too small to hold them the next time they come to town.

Miranda Lambert

With Dierks Bentley, the Cadillac Three, Randy Rogers Band

Details: Friday 7 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $29.25-$67. (813) 740-2446.

The amphitheater formerly known as "the Gary" is Tampa Bay's country music mecca, and while Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton have all blown through recently, Friday night belongs to reigning CMA female vocalist of the year Miranda Lambert. The 29-year-old Texas native brings malicious tales of jealous, vindictive romance (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), firearms (Gunpowder & Lead) and even arson (Kerosene) to the shed where she'll be supported by 37-year-old ladykiller Dierks Bentley (the Chicago Tribune reported flying undergarments at a recent tour stop), who has been using his good looks and better songs to win over audiences ever since he released a stellar debut LP, Don't Leave Me in Love, 13 years ago.

Il Volo

Details: Friday 7:30 p.m., Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $36.75-$86.75. (813) 301-2500.

Say what you want about the fresh faces that make up "popera" trio Il Volo. Just make sure to say it in Italian, Spanish, French or German. Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto and Gianluca Ginoble (all under the age of 21) have used all of those languages as well as their tremendous vocal gifts to turn a love of opera and pop music into unique takes on songs by artists ranging from Leonard Bernstein to One Direction. Elton John, U2 and Aerosmith all get the Il Volo treatment, too, but a collaboration between the boys and world-renowned tenor Plácido Domingo is the immensely moving crown jewel of a new album, this year's Más Que Amor (We Are Love).

Chief Keef

With Glo Gang

Details: Monday 7 p.m., Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20 and up. (813) 247-2555.

One of Chief Keef's most popular songs is Hate Bein' Sober, and if his record is any indication, then Keef (real name Keith Cozart) hates staying out of trouble, too. The promising young MC has been busted for firearm and drug possession, violating probation and even posting dirty videos to Instagram. But for all the distractions, the 18-year-old is in high demand. Kanye West is a pal and Interscope records is about to put millions into Keef's coffers. Hailing from Englewood, one of the roughest neighborhoods on Chicago's south side, Cozart has been criticized for his glorification of violence, but in a hip-hop ecosystem where the guy who played Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi is selling out arenas, Cozart's brutally honest, grimacingly real subject matter may be why he's so popular.

Ra Ra Riot

With Royal Bangs

Details: Tuesday 8 p.m., Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $8-$18. (813) 248-9500.

Tampa Bay hasn't seen Ra Ra Riot since the inaugural Gasparilla Music Festival and the Syracuse, N.Y. outfit has done some major growing up since the departure of cellist Alexandra Lawn. A new LP is devoid of the orchestral flourishes that made Ra Ra Riot so popular, but frontman Wes Miles' smooth falsetto seems to have found an even comfier home within his bandmates' more danceable, electro-centric indie-rock that shines on the album highlights When I Dream, Beta Love and Binary Mind.

Colin Hay

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

Men at Work has been null and void for almost three decades now, but lead singer Colin Hay may never be able to live down the legacy of his former band's 1981 smash hit Down Under (we prefer the more subdued and musical Overkill). That's all right, though, as the success of Men at Work has opened the door for the 60-year-old Scotsman (he emigrated to Australia in his teens) to spend the last 16 years releasing nearly a dozen solo albums peppered with introspective ballads like Waiting for My Real Life to Begin and Beautiful World. Don't expect Hay to ignore his past at this show, though (a 2003 LP featured solo takes on Men at Work songs), and don't be surprised if someone hands you a Vegemite sandwich, either.

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

Also playing

Billy Cobham Fri. 8 p.m. Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $30-$50. (727) 822-3590.

Kung Fu Fri. 9 p.m. With Cope, Mr. Marley, M.I. Funke. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $12-$14. (813) 241-8600.

Bionic For Vets Concert Series Sat. 7 p.m. With 4Ever Endeavour, Shotgun Junkies, Zigzag America. Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $10-$12. Facebook.com/thelocal662.

Grandpa's Cough Sat. 6 p.m. With Bobby Lee Rodgers. The Ale and the Witch, 111 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 821-2533.

Felix Cartal Sat. 9:30 p.m. With Doco, Basomatik. Amphitheatre, 1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15. (813) 873-8368.

The Haven Benefit Show Sat. 6 p.m. With Words Words Words, Me vs Everyone, Ten Acres, Madison Turner, Ugly Spud, Ian Edwards. Epic Problem, 4215 E Columbus Drive, Tampa. $7. (813) 382-3477.

The Polotix Sat. 9 p.m. With Synergy in a Cup, Rahim Samad, Louis Junior, Mic Deluxx. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $7. (813) 241-8600.

Roy Schneider Sun. 7:30 p.m. With Kim Mayfield. The Painted Fish Gallery, 350 Main St., Dunedin. $15. (727) 734-5060.

Soundcheck: Imagine Dragons among top live music picks 09/17/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 5:17pm]
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