Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

SoundCheck: Kool & the Gang among top live music picks

Kool & the Gang

With the Ohio Players

Details: Friday 8 p.m. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $39-$75. (727) 892-5767.

The majestic Mahaffey Theater gets in on a little Summer Madness with a Celebration featuring one of the 1970s' seminal dance bands, who use funk, jazz, R&B and pop sensibilities to craft unmistakable hits like Jungle Boogie and Ladies Night. Their background as a late-1960s jazz outfit is the secret to their extremely tight musicianship. The Gang is joined by an equally revered funk group, the Ohio Players, whose 1975 hit Love Rollercoaster was famously covered by the Red Hot Chili Peppers (and subsequently immortalized on film in Beavis and Butt-Head Do America). It's hard to imagine the energy level dipping below ecstatic, so make sure you're ready to Get Down On It if you set foot in the room.

Bob James and David Sanborn

Details: Saturday 7:30 p.m. Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $45-$65. (727) 822-3590.

Bob James and David Sanborn could have one heck of a joint birthday party. Collectively, they've shared stages or collaborated with the likes of Quincy Jones, the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Albert King and Little Milton. The pair have something like 100 albums between them, but the focus for this show will be on the way the guys joined forces on a pair of smooth jazz classics, 1986's Double Vision and this year's Quartette Humaine. It's not exactly Kenny G, and it definitely doesn't have the edge and grit of a cocaine-fueled Miles Davis composition, but even the most discerning aficionados will find something to like at this one.

Celebrating the Life and Times of Jim Pedigo

With Magadog, the Apes, Amandla Tunesmith, the Duppies, the Rugcutters, Skahumbug, Tribal Styles, the Shakes Society, 6 Volt Rodeo, Flat Stanley, Brand New Opiates, the Smoking Jackets, Crash Mitchell

Details: Saturday 3 p.m. Skipper's Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $7-$10. (813) 971-0666.

Jim Pedigo would have a spot in Tampa Bay's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As the man behind the keys for ska outfit Magadog, Pedigo co-wrote handfuls of songs with frontman Ed Lowery and helped bring the country (the band received much national acclaim in the 1990s) out of its grungy haze with a sunny and infinitely peppy brand of music. In April, Pedigo succumbed to lung cancer, and on Saturday many of his comrades will bring their bands together for an all-day festival for their fallen, but not forgotten, friend.

Rayzilla's Dreamboats and Abhik Mukherjee

Details: Sunday 6:30 p.m. The Independent, 5020 N Florida Ave., Tampa. Free. (813) 341-4883.

Stranger things have definitely happened on this strip of Florida Avenue, but this Sunday evening shindig at the Independent surely falls under the category of "odd things you see in Seminole Heights." The free show finds locally loved Rayzilla's Dreamboats joined by Calcutta-born sitar master Abhik Mukherjee, who began his training on the ancient Indian instrument when he was just 6 years old. You'd be silly to miss this one.

Earth, Wind and Fire

Details: Tonight at 8, Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $60-$126. (727) 791-7400.

Forty-four years. That's how long Earth, Wind and Fire have been at it. The Windy City pioneers of all things funky (Let's Groove), danceable (Boogie Wonderland) and sometimes epically soulful (Love's Holiday) have had more members than this country has had presidents, but the sanctity of those aforementioned R&B classics (plus at least two handfuls of other cuts) is unimaginable when it comes to the band's baby boomer fan base, who presumably have the disposable income to put their fannies into a seat at the intimate Ruth Eckerd show. Don't expect those bottoms to stay put, though. There'll be plenty of rump-shaking and sweating at this one.

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

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