Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

SoundCheck: Taking Back Sunday among top live music picks

Taking Back Sunday

Details: Saturday 8:30 p.m. Busch Gardens, 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. Free with park admission. Toll-free 1-888-800-5447.

To say that the programming at Busch Gardens' Summer Nights concert series is eclectic is an understatement. The theme park has already hosted pop starlets (ZZ Ward, Cher Lloyd, Bridgit Mendler), reggaeton stars (Zion y Lennox) and at least one Grammy-winning salsa orchestra (El Gran Combo). On Saturday, the clock turns back to a time when skinny jeans looked best on a boy dramatically swinging his mic on stage like some kind of emo Indiana Jones cracking the whip. That's right, Taking Back Sunday will be on hand to work through songs from a new album, Happiness Is, and we're willing to bet that frontman Adam Lazzara and company will be more than happy to work though early 2000s staples like Cute Without The "E" (Cut From the Team) and There's No "I" In Team. That Taking Back Sunday is still around is proof enough that they're so much more than a past summer fling.

Memphis Music Fest

With Booker T. Jones, the Bar-Kays, William Bell

Details: Friday 8 p.m. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $39-$69. (727) 892-5767.

Good things are inevitable when a high school job finds you clocking in and out at Stax Records. That's what happened to a 16-year-old Memphis record store rat named Booker T. Jones, who parlayed his ability to play sax, oboe and trombone into a stint leading the famed record label's house band. Jones really shines on the Hammond B3 organ, though (he learned to play at age 10 after using paper route money to pay for lessons), and his band the MG's backed the likes of Otis Redding and Albert King. His 1962 hit Green Onions still garners cheers from crowds, and the 69-year-old Grammy winner's latest LP, last year's Sound the Alarm, finds him joining modern-day throwbacks like Gary Clark Jr. and Mayer Hawthorne to make his return to Stax a joyous one.

Crosby, Stills and Nash

Details: Saturday 7:30 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $63.75-$103.75. (727) 791-7400.

Crosby, Stills and Nash are experiencing a quirky, YouTube-generation renaissance right now. Something tells us that the vaunted folkies didn't need that Fallon appearance (in which Jimmy joined CSN as "Neil Young") or the Weird Al Carry On parody (Mission Statement) to stay relevant, anyway. The guys (plus a five-piece backing band) will play new solo material at this show alongside a nearly half-century's worth of guitar prowess, lyrical wisdom and bone-chilling harmonies.

Foxing

With The Hotelier, Dirty Talk, ADJY, Snacking

Details: Sunday 7 p.m. Epic Problem, 4215 E Columbus Drive, Tampa. $10. (813) 382-3477.

This will be the last time you get to see Foxing in such close quarters. The St. Louis-based quintet recently signed to NYC imprint Triple Crown Records, but it's not necessarily the label's roster (Bad Books; Into It. Over It.; O'Brother) that is most impressive. It's Triple Crown's remastering of Foxing's debut, The Albatross, that means the most. The 10-track offering was already emotionally elaborate, thanks to painful, brutally undisguised co-writing from Conor Murphy and Josh Coll, but the sonic reworking extracted the best parts of the album (distant piano and incandescent slide on Rory, mathy riffs and Postal Service-esque programming on The Medic) and put them front and center, making for a cohesive 36 minutes that just might end up being one of the best albums of the year.

Big Data

With Greymarket

Details: Tuesday 7 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. Free with ticket. (813) 248-9500.

Tampa Bay radio's alternative rock stronghold 97X has been spreading a whole lot of free show love all over St. Petersburg lately. On Tuesday, the station is teaming up with Bud Light to bring some of that treatment across the bridge by welcoming Brooklyn pop-ducer Alan Wikis to play his Tampa debut. Wikis, the maestro of electro duo Big Data, is responsible for what is currently one of rock radio's most popular songs, Dangerous, and although Big Data only has four tracks from a debut EP to its name, Wikis will probably pull out more than a few remixes to keep the crowd moving. Tampa's own Greymarket opens, and tickets are available at several ticket drops. See 97Xonline.com.

Miniature Tigers

With the Griswolds, Finish Ticket, Goodnight Neverland

Details: Tuesday 7 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $11-$14. (813) 241-8600.

Miniature Tigers' 2008 track Cannibal Queen is one of the most understated statements in pop music. The 2 1/2-minute song is an homage to the harmonies and melodies of Brian Wilson, riddled with fuzzy synth interludes and all the grandiose pomp of Phil Spector. We're not necessarily saying Tigers frontman Charlie Brand is an heir apparent to those legends, but his four-piece collection of albums is riddled with the kind of witty banter and orchestral detail that Wilson and Spector would be proud of. More recent efforts, such as 2012's Mia Pharaoh, lean heavily on the synth sounds radio favors today, and that's a good thing.

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

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