Details: Tonight at 8 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. Sold out. (813) 247-2555.
Bands as hip as the xx don't come to Tampa Bay very often, and local music fans know it — this show sold out weeks ago. Those with tickets will be treated to a night of slinky, minimalist electro-pop — it's been called hipster makeout music — from this London trio, whose 2009 disc xx won Britain's coveted Mercury Music Prize. Their new album Coexist is even more sparse, sometimes offering little more than a soft beat and the cooed vocals of singers Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim. It's equal parts icy and fiery — a perfect recipe for indie-kid love.
Jay Cridlin, Times staff writer
Will Quinlan and the Holy Slow Train
With The Laurel Canyon, Macrame Owls
Details: Friday 9 p.m., New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave, Ybor City. $7. (813) 248-4969.
Will Quinlan has spent the better part of the last decade fronting his alt-country outfit The Diviners, but the Tampa songwriter has been moonlighting with a new troupe, The Holy Slow Train, of late. Quinlan's delivery of lyrics that are biblical (Emanuel), full of loss and longing (The Ides of June), or hopeful (Wire) is still bitingly poignant and melancholy, but this show promises never-recorded material and is an opportunity to tap into the current state of one of the region's most gifted storytellers.
Reel Big Fish
With Pilfers, Dan Potthast
Details: Friday 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $25. (727) 895-3045.
Ah, the '90s SoCal ska-punk scene was a good time, wasn't it? It was an era that gave the world Sublime and No Doubt, but one of its most enduring exports may be Huntington Beach ska legends Reel Big Fish, who parleyed ridiculous songs about cursing (Another F.U. Song), fermented hops (Beer), and giving into the man (Sell Out) into both momentary MTV fame and long-term success. Their fan base appreciates the energetic live show, faithfully endures several lineup changes and continues to support the band, who recently released their eighth original full-length, Candy Coated Fury, just last year.
John Kay and Steppenwolf
Details: Sunday 5 p.m. Busch Gardens, 10165 N McKinley Drive, Tampa. Free with park admission. 1-888-800-5447.
The legends surrounding Steppenwolf frontman John Kay are manifold. He somehow made it into Canada's Walk Of Fame despite being German-born, and he reportedly maintains a healthy hobby of photography despite extreme colorblindness. It's all apparently in a day's work for the 68-year-old hitmaker who led the 'Wolf to record sales of 20-plus million and numerous hit singles including Born To Be Wild and Magic Carpet Ride. This show kicks off Busch Gardens' Bands, Brew & BBQ series, which runs through March 3.
Steve Miller Band
Details: Wednesday 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $49.50-$89.50. (727) 791-7400.
Forget all the horrendous covers attempted at countless bars and karaoke joints across the country. The Joker himself makes a real-life humpday appearance at Ruth Eckerd Hall, where he'll presumably take a Jet Airliner and Fly Like An Eagle. Ticket prices may reflect the growing wallets of his baby-boomer fan base, but don't expect the 69-year-old California boy to simply Take The Money and Run. Miller is riding an incredible wave of productivity that seemingly has him rejuvenated, as evidenced by his recent christening of Austin City Limits' new $2.5 million digs and the release of back-to-back LPs of original material in 2010 and 2011.
WMNF Rockabilly Ruckus
With Blair Carman, Nikki Hill, Rocket 88, Sara Rose Band, Nine Volt Rodeo, Ted Stevens and Band, Downshifters, Slip and the Spinouts
Details: Saturday 4 p.m. Skipper's Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $20-$25. (813) 971-0666.
The marriage of "hillbilly" music and good ol' rock 'n' roll happened way back in the middle of the 20th century, but Tampa community radio station WMNF has been busy catching up by celebrating the hybrid genre for a decade now. Their 10th annual Rockabilly Ruckus finds one of the style's bright, young stars — Missouri's Nikki Hill — leading a bill that also includes longtime Orlando favorites Rocket 88, Fort Lauderdale's party-starters Slip and the Spinouts, and a handful of acts cherry-picked from other Sunshine State locales. Throw in the ambience and character of one of Florida's most storied outdoor venues and you've got a family-friendly shindig that every Floridian should experience at least once.
SoundCheck is written by Ray Roa this week. Check out his music blog at suburbanapologist.com.