. Delta Rae
With Savannah, Emily Kopp
Details: Tonight at 7:30. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $20-$25. (727) 791-7400.
When it comes to plucking young prospects who make it big, Seymour Stein (now a VP of Warner Bros. Records) has a pretty good track record. Stein signed the Ramones, Madonna, the Smiths, Talking Heads and the Pretenders, to name a few. Now add Delta Rae to that list. The alt-Americana-bluegrass-pop-rock act includes siblings Brittany, Ian and Eric Hölljes, along with their friends, and creates a sound rich in Carolina soul with hypnotizing four-part boy/girl harmonies. Check out Bottom of the River, a track that feels like a spiritual awakening with every spin. It's one of the most unique efforts of 2012, thanks to its mesmerizing use of a garbage can and chains.
Featuring TobyMac, Red, Matthew West, Jamie Grace, NewSong, Sidewalk Prophets, Royal Tailor, Jason Castro, more
Details: Saturday 6 p.m. Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $10. (813) 301-2500.
In its 18th year, the artists playing Christian music's largest tour want to pump you up. Led by Grammy-nominated balladeers NewSong and Christian pop superstar DC Talk, Winter Jam gives faithful youth a way cooler entertainment option than Billy Graham ever has. Where others have shied away from the "Christian rock" label — New Orleans quartet Mute Math actually sued its label after being marketed as a Christian act, fearing that it would limit the fan base — the bands at Winter Jam unabashedly put faith front and center. Former American Idol contestant Jason Castro will also perform.
Hot Water Music
With La Dispute, the Mezingers
Details: Wednesday 7 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20. theorpheum.com.
When we think growling punk greats from Gainesville, we think Tom Gabel (of Against Me!) and Chuck Ragan. End of discussion. Ragan is back with his former bandmates, some of whom performed as the Draft, to tour as Hot Water Music for the first time in eight years. Recently released comeback album Exister has just the right kind of restless, steamrolling rock tunes to keep January balmy. "After an eight-year hiatus, the post-hardcore heroes didn't outgrow anxiety, they gave it hooks," says Spin. Sounds like the perfect excuse to retrieve the Vans from the closet.
, Black Veil Brides
With William Control
Details: Monday 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $18. (727) 895-3045.
It's almost too easy to rag on Black Veil Brides. The androgynous Cincinnati players slather on makeup, squeeze into black leather clothing and carefully shape and polish their jet-black hair for every showing like glam-rock Geishas or an emo incarnation of Kiss. But while their dolled-up aesthetic is bound to turn some people off, the Brides got game. The band's fret board gymnasts churn out sweltering riffs a la Avenged Sevenfold (see Knives and Pens) while singer-screamer Andy Biersack provides fangirls plenty of lyrical material to scribble on their textbooks. Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones, the group's Orwellian concept album, was released this week.
. Todd Snider
With Shannon McNally
Details: Friday 8 p.m. Skipper's Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $18-$23. (813) 971-0666.
Anguish without laughter is boring, like intensive care without morphine, so says Todd Snider. And Snider, the singer-songwriter Rolling Stone once called "America's sharpest musical storyteller," has never been boring. In 2009, Snider wrote a twangy folk song (America's Favorite Pastime) about Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis throwing a no-hitter in 1970, apparently while under the influence of LSD. These sorts of witty tales have been the staple of the Nashville musician and WMNF favorite's shows for more than a decade. The raw and recent Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables, with its country-rock class warfare content and its realist zingers, calls to mind a cross between John Prine and Randy Newman. And it may just be Snider's best effort yet.
Times correspondent Carole Liparoto can be reached at [email protected]