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SoundCheck: Speedy Ortiz, Steel Magnolia, the Wailers among top live music picks

Speedy Ortiz

With Grass Is Green, Y Los Dos Pistoles, Sweet Divorce

Details: Friday 8:30 p.m. Mojo Books & Music, 2540 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. $8. (813) 971-9717.

Speedy Ortiz's moniker is a nod to a desperately lovelorn character from cult 1980s alt-comic Love and Rockets. The subject matter of the band's jangly, lush noise-pop is just as anguished, and listening to the melancholy melodies spilling out of frontwoman Sadie Dupuis' mouth is uncontrollably cathartic. Maybe it's the little hints of Archers of Loaf or the attitudinal homage to Pavement, but everything on Speedy Ortiz's stellar 2013 debut LP Major Arcana oozes with a quiet confidence, assurance and ornate accessibility, making them one of the most exciting bands from last year's already bountiful harvest.

Steel Magnolia

With Randy McNeeley

Details: Friday 9 p.m. The Round Up, 13918 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa. $10-$15. (813) 855-1464.

Fans of CMT's Can You Duet watched engaged couple John Scott Jones and Meghan Linsey molt straight out of their roles as the competition's timid twosome and into the winner's circle. The pair were subsequently awarded a spot on Big Machine Records' roster (Taylor Swift is the label's crown jewel), and while their romance eventually fell apart thanks in part to Jones' recent rehab stint, they've been able to overcome and continue performing ooey-gooey love songs like Just By Being You and Edge Of Goodbye, earning several Country Music Awards nominations along the way. Jones and Linsey are currently pursuing solo careers, so it'll be a rare sight to them on stage together on this club tour.

The Wailers

Details: Saturday 7:30 p.m. Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $35-$50. (727) 822-3590.

Once upon a time, a legend named Bob Marley fronted an equally revered backing band called the Wailers. But when Marley left to chase solo ambitions in 1974, things got very confusing, with at least two lineups claiming to be the Wailers. This particular lineup is led by bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett, who played with Marley and company between 1970 and 1981, and while Barrett famously feuded with the Marley estate in the years after the reggae icon passed away, this show will still be a fitting 30th anniversary celebration of Legend, arguably the most important reggae album of all time. We'll never really know who the "real" Wailers are, but the impact of the LP is undeniable.

Winter Jam

With NewSong, Newsboys, Lecrae, Tenth Avenue North, Thousand Foot Krutch, Plumb, Colton Dixon, Love & the Outcome, Derek Minor, Everfound

Details: Saturday 6 p.m. Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $10. (813) 301-2500.

We've written about an ark full of Christian concerts coming through town in the past few months, and this annual jaunt hosted by NewSong is the mother of them all. The Valdosta, Ga., worship band aren't selling actual tickets (they're taking cash or checks at the door) and they lead a bill that also includes multiple Grammy-nominated Australian outfit Newsboys, former American Idol hopeful Colton Dixon, MCs Derek Minor and Lecrae, God-pop siren Plumb and more. General admission is $10, but anyone who pays extra to join the "Jam Nation" in advance of the show will be allowed in a little early to cherry-pick their seat. Get more information at

Ska Goes Solo

With Chris DeMakes, Ryan Eldred

Details: Tuesday 7:30 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $12-$15. (813) 241-8600.

There's always some brass at a ska show, but you won't see any horns on this two-week tour. Featuring Chris DeMakes (frontman for ska hall of fame-worthy Gainesville outfit Less Than Jake), Catch 22 saxophonist/singer Ryan Eldred and Jay Tea of the Arrogant Sons of Bitches, the shows find these punks going at it alone, but also jumping in to help the solo performances feel even more special. A tour-only 7-inch split EP will also be available.

Times correspondent Ray Roa can be reached at

Also playing

Gasparilla Music Fridays Fri. 5:30 p.m. With the Wholetones, the Applebutter Express. Grand Central at Kennedy Courtyard, 1120 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Free. (813) 226-8735.

Mike Dillon Band Fri. 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $8-$10. (813) 241-8600.

The Snails Fri. 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $8. (813) 248-4969.

The Sinderella Ball Fri. 7 p.m. With Psykotribe, Dementia, Worlds Collide, more. The Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $8.

Oliver Deutschmann Fri. 10 p.m. Hyde Park Café, 1806 W Platt St., Tampa. $10 (free for ladies). (813) 254-2233.

Bare Hands Family Band Sat. 9 p.m. The Hub, 519 N Franklin St., Tampa. Free. (813) 229-1553.

The David Mayfield Parade Sat. 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $8-$10. (813) 248-4969.

Old Gray Sat. 7 p.m. Epic Problem, 4215 E Columbus Drive, Tampa. $8. (813) 382-3477.

Too Slim & the Tail Draggers Sat. 9 p.m. Ringside Café, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $10. (727) 894-8465.

Birthday Candles Sat. 9:30 p.m. Pegasus Lounge, 10008 N 30th St., Tampa. $5-$7. (813) 971-1679.

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

Permanent Makeup Tues. 7 p.m. Planet Retro, 2414 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $5. (727) 218-7434.

SoundCheck: Speedy Ortiz, Steel Magnolia, the Wailers among top live music picks 01/06/14 [Last modified: Monday, January 6, 2014 5:19pm]
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