Details: Friday 8 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $22-$25. (727) 895-3045.
The last time Sleigh Bells came to town, the buzzy thrash-pop duo played the Ritz Ybor and brought along Spin magazine, which shut out pretty much all local photographers. That's a bummer because frontwoman Alexis Krauss, with her pumps and basketball jerseys, possesses an arresting stage presence trumped only by the bravado of guitarist (and Florida native) Derek Miller, whose piercing riffs are guaranteed to make you rethink that decision to leave the earplugs at home. The band has a new album, Bitter Rivals, and they've moved back into smaller digs, so expect a bit more intimacy and intensity at this one.
. Tim Kasher
With Laura Stevenson, Deluxe
Details: Friday 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $10-$12. (813) 241-8600.
Kasher, 39, bottled a lot of angst into two of his most famous bands — Cursive and the Good Life — and while those outfits were on opposite ends of the sonic spectrum, he has found a happy medium in his solo work. Songs like A Grown Man and Life and Limbo find him songwriting with a bookworm's brain, tackling the perils of marriage, parenthood and growing old with the tact and skill of an accomplished playwright. Arrangements range from alt-pop (Cold Love) to jagged ballads (Where's Your Heart Lie), but the meat of it all exists in the same contemplative, candid heart that has always marked any Kasher-fronted project.
Chelsea Light Moving
With Merchandise, Blood Wave, Permanent Makeup
Details: Saturday 6 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $12-$15. (813) 248-9500; theorpheum.com.
Sonic Youth fans mourned the inevitable hiatus that would come when founders-bandmates Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore announced a divorce three years ago, but Moore was quick to start a new project. Chelsea Light Moving, a loud and abrasive sonic art project that pays tribute to mid-20th century avant-garde artists while simultaneously addressing social issues of the modern age, has gained quite the following, but do come early for the local openers. St. Pete neu-punk trio Permanent Makeup are set to make a national splash, and Seminole Heights-based Merchandise, who masterfully marry the worlds of new wave and modern pop, will showcase a live show that has taken them on multiple extended European tours.
Details: Sunday 7:30 p.m. Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $30. (727) 822-3590.
Thanks to a Disney/Pixar computer-animated princess named Merida, folk-singer Julie Fowlis' most famous song might be Touch the Sky, which is a highlight of the soundtrack for Brave (ask your kids). Fowlis' career shouldn't be dismissed as child's play, though, as the 35-year-old is also a BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year. She claims to be raised on "peatfire smoke & good music," and it shows. Her use of somewhat archaic Scottish Gaelic is no joke, so while you might not be able to understand the words coming out of her mouth, Fowlis' heavenly delivery, often backed by crying bagpipes, sparse percussion and lively fiddle, is spellbinding.
With Whitechapel, Iron Reagan, A Band of Orcs
Details: Tuesday 6:30 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20 and up. (813) 247-2555.
Concert venues aren't supposed to be draped in plastic sheets before a show starts, but there's no other option when Gwar comes to town. The heavy metal icons hit the stage dressed as aliens created in the lowest fifth of the universe who apparently arrived with just one objective: to sexually enslave and slaughter the human race. If the mission statement isn't offensive enough, then wrap your senses around the band's notorious live show where nothing is taboo. Fake blood, saliva and other NSFW fluids get sprayed into the crowd, crude jokes get made at anyone's expense (Michael Jackson and Monica Lewinsky have been distastefully mocked), and fans eat it up like candy. There is no unseeing a Gwar performance, but the sadistic side of you may never want to look away.
. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Details: Wednesday 7:30 p.m. Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $35-$45. (727) 822-3590.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy once brought swing music to the Super Bowl halftime show (Gloria Estefan, Stevie Wonder and John Elway as MVP were other SB XXXIII highlights), and while the band's time in the spotlight has pretty much come and gone, it hasn't stopped frontman Scotty Morris and his big band from recording music. This tour finds the band celebrating 20 years of jump blues, rockabilly and swing. You can bet on classics like Go Daddy-O and You & Me & The Bottle Makes 3, so polish up those wingtips and get ready to move.
Times correspondent Ray Roa can be reached at SuburbanApologist.com.