Sunday, February 25, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

This week's best concerts: Tom Petty, Eric Church, the Naked and Famous, the Whiskey Gentry

AMERICAN BOYS: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

If you missed it, in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times I made the case for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as the greatest American rock band of all time. (Catch up at tampabay.com/music.) As expected, I heard from readers howling about Aerosmith, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Allman Brothers Band and others. But you know what? I also heard from a few who agreed. Let's face it: It's really tough to argue with singles like Refugee, American Girl or Mary Jane's Last Dance, and you should hear them all on their 40th anniversary tour, which hits Tampa at 8 p.m. Saturday. If you're still not on Team Petty — say you prefer the Eagles to the Heartbreakers — then you'll be happy to know that Joe Walsh will open the show with hits like Rocky Mountain Way and Life's Been Good. 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $31.25 and up. (813) 301-2500. amaliearena.com.

ONE-MAN BAND: Eric Church

No one throws his weight around Nashville like Eric Church. Chief threw the new-release rulebook out the window with 2015's Mr. Misunderstood, surprise-dropping copies in the mail to members of his fan club. He's coloring further outside the lines on his new Holdin' My Own Tour, which hits Tampa's Amalie Arena at 8 p.m. Thursday. Not only is Church touring without an opening act — unheard of in country music — he's playing two full sets with an intermission. They're epic affairs, with Church playing more than three dozen songs over nearly three hours. Seems he's really taking this Springsteen thing to heart. Even if Church isn't the only country act who could pull something like this off, he's the only one who would. If you're a fan, this show should be heaven. If you're not, well, Church likely doesn't care. He'll do what he wants anyway. 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $21.25 and up. (813) 301-2500. amaliearena.com.

HIGHER LOVE: The Naked and Famous

On the shortlist of candidates for a Millennial National Anthem, I'd like to propose Young Blood, the euphoric 2010 single from New Zealand indie pop outfit the Naked and Famous. The electro-synthy track about passion and uncertainty will, in fact, make your blood feel young again, if only for four minutes. And it presaged a handful of similar earworms from the group, including Punching in a Dream, Hearts Like Ours and Higher, all showcasing Thom Powers' pulsing synthetic songcraft and Alisa Xayalith's emotive vocals. Joining them is Wavves, a pop-tinged garage-punk band whose new single Daisy is a frenetic freak-out that fits in with the rest of their vintage-inspired catalog. 8 p.m. Friday. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $27.50 and up. (727) 895-3045. statetheatreconcerts.com.

DRINK UP: The Whiskey Gentry

You won't see one of this year's best country albums pop up at this year's ACMs or CMAs. That's because Dead Ringer, the latest joint by Atlanta outlaws the Whiskey Gentry, just swings and swerves and smacks too far outside the Nashville establishment. And it's weird, because the album's runaway rock and blazing bluegrass bristle with the same fire and brimstone as albums by some of country's hottest acts, from stars like Chris Stapleton and Miranda Lambert to newbies like Jon Pardi and Margo Price. It's a drinkin', cryin' shame this album won't get a sniff on country radio because the Whiskey Gentry deserves it. See them with the Tattered Saints and Beartoe at 9 p.m. Saturday at Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Tampa. $12 and up. (813) 241-8600. facebook.com/crowbarlive.

USE YOUR NOODLE: Shonen Knife

Keep an eye out at your local ramen joint this weekend. You might spot Shonen Knife. The Japanese pop-punk veterans, favorites of alternative tastemakers like Kurt Cobain and Thurston Moore, are sampling ramen across America on their new tour, which hits the Orpheum at 7 p.m. Saturday. The group are well-known foodies who sing odes to green tea, wasabi, ramen and Rock 'n' Roll Cake, among other delights. Catching them in Florida is incredibly rare, so seize the opportunity to see them live, either in concert or at your closest noodle house. Empire Cinema opens at 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $18 and up. (813) 248-9500. theorpheum.com.

     
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