It's the elephant in the room, so we're just gonna come out and say it: This is a banner week for white-boy hip-hop in Tampa Bay.
This weekend, you have old-school ninja Vanilla Ice holding it down at the Venue in Clearwater, plus buzzworthy Pittsburgher Mac Miller, above, at the State Theatre. And next week brings pop/hip-hop mashup king Girl Talk to Jannus Live. And hey, if you want to throw him in to the mix, Korn's Jonathan Davis, while not totally a rapper, is performing a DJ set next Thursday at the Kennedy in Tampa.
In short, yeah, this is a really weird week.
But hey, there's a lot more going on than just Caucasian wordsmithery. There's obviously Tropical Heatwave on Saturday, which is the biggest day of the year on the local music calendar. (Click here for all the details on Heatwave.) And there's also Plain White T's, Candlebox, Darius Rucker, Uh Huh Her and one of the all-time WTF Concert of the Year candidates: Stevie B. at a roller rink in Tarpon Springs. You heard us.
Here with the details on all of this and more is Carole Liparoto...
Plain White T's
With Parachute, Andy Grammer
SATURDAY 7 p.m. The Club at Treasure Island, 400 Treasure Island Causeway, Treasure Island. $35. (727) 367-4511.
Smitten male musicians have been writing songs about the ladies in their lives for centuries. Beethoven wrote Sonata 14 (or "Moonlight Sonata") for his pupil Guilietta Guicciardi. Neil Sedaka wrote Oh! Carol (a personal favorite) for a high school sweetheart. Peter Gabriel wrote In Your Eyes for then-girlfriend and actress Rosanna Arquette. And Plain White T's wrote Hey There Delilah for Columbia University steeplechase runner Delilah DiCrescenzo. The saccharine ballad propelled the T's to the top of the charts in 2007, and singer Tom Higgenson even walked the red carpet at the Grammys with the girl of the hour. While the relationship never really blossomed, the romantic declarations continue on the group's buoyant latest, Wonders of the Younger. Hear for yourself at this special poolside event.
SUNDAY 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Sold Out. (727) 895-3045.
Out of nowhere, Pittsburgh, that steel city nestled between the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, has become a hip-hop hotbed. Like friend and fellow terrible towel-waver Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller is a DIY rapper from Pittsburgh with a smooth flow and a proclivity for chasing skirts. His Black and Yellow is Kool Aid and Frozen Pizza and his signature hand gesture is the thumbs up. But if you're among Miller's loyal underground followers, you already know all of that and probably bought your tickets weeks ago. Smart, since this one's sold out.
FRIDAY 8 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $15. (727) 565-0551.
In stark contrast to the excessive, Aqua-Netted glam-rock acts that preceded them, '90s grunge bands were angsty, understated and clothed in gear more appropriate for logging or ordering flapjacks. The unkempt Candlebox broke out at the tail end of the movement, keeping burnout culture beautiful for a few more years. Friday, the Seattle band (which reunited in '06) will play all the alternative rock songs (You, Far Behind, Change) that soothe like Novocain.
SATURDAY Following Tampa Bay Rays vs. Baltimore Orioles. First pitch is 4:10 p.m. Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg. Free with game ticket. (888) 326-7297.
We only want to be with Hootie! A solo Darius Rucker, one of the finest bar-band baritones of our day, is now a certified country music star. With Don't Think I Don't Think About It, Rucker, 44, became the first black artist since Charley Pride to reach the Top 10 on the country charts. And songs off the warm, likeable follow-up Charleston, SC 1966 (including a choice cover of Family Tradition) have been equally successful. Let's just hope the Rays don't make him cry.
Uh Huh Her
With Diamonds Under Fire
SATURDAY 8 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $16. (727) 895-3045.
Hype was high when Leisha Hailey of Showtime's The L Word joined singer-producer-multi-instrumentalist Camila Grey to form Uh Huh Her in 2007. While most groups play their first show to a handful of people, Uh Huh Her, with its ambient synths, cosmic rock riffs and luscious vocals debuted to a packed house. At times, the duo's electronic fuzziness resembled Ladytron (Explode). Sometimes it was softer pop-rock (Say So). And at its finest, it was somewhere in between (Not a Love Song). Still, the duo's label dropped Uh Huh Her for one reason or another. Of the new album, Hailey says, "I think this was a process of proving to ourselves that not only could we do this record and do it well on our own, but that we could expand ourselves musically."
With DJ Gemini
SATURDAY 9 p.m. The Venue, 2675 Ulmerton Rd., Clearwater. $10-$20. (727) 571-2222.
Vanilla Ice is about as relevant as Netscape Navigator. Yet he's back for his third show in the bay area in two years. Not that we're hating. We stopped, collaborated and listened back in our day. Plus we were ridiculously obsessed with Ninja Rap. Vanilla, a.k.a. recent home remodeler Robert Van Winkle, will perform for 45 minutes and then spin a 90-minute DJ set. But don't be surprised if you hear a nu-metal spin on Ice Ice Baby and the others.
Pre-Heat: Music Industry Workshops
SATURDAY 12 p.m. CL Space, 1911 N 13th St. #W-200, Ybor City. $5. cltampa.com/preheat.
Your band tinkers for hours in an un-airconditioned storage unit, sustaining on barbecue Fritos and beer alone, only to dream of becoming the next Zeppelin. So how do you take it to the next level? Learn how to grow your local following, book shows and make a legitimate demo at Pre-Heat, a series of industry panels and workshops that includes guest speakers David Lowery of Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven and Tony Michaelides (whose client roster has included U2, Bob Marley and Dave Matthews) of Factory Records. In other words, learn something before you blow it all at Tropical Heatwave.
With Jaime Ferreira, A-Nak, DJ Coro, Rob Analyze
THURSDAY 9 p.m. The Kennedy, 2408 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. Free for ladies. (813) 259-9669.
If former Korn drummer David Silveria is now a restaurateur and guitarist Brian "Head" Welch is a Christian missionary, we might as well get comfortable with the idea of singer and frontman Jonathan Davis as a club DJ.
With DJ Scantman, Monaq, more
SATURDAY 9 p.m. Astro Skate, 875 Cypress St., Tarpon Springs. $25-$30. (727) 938-5778.
South Florida native Stevie B. pumped out the perfect tunes for cutesy, 4-wheeled fun in the late '80s and early '90s. So it's only fitting that he play one of the bay area's longest lived roller rinks, Astro Skate. Hits include Because I Love You (The Postman Song), Spring Love (which he later remixed with Pitbull) and I Wanna Be the One. You might also recognize opener Monaq for her track Stay in Love.
WEDNESDAY 8 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $25-$30. (727) 565-0550; jannuslive.com.
Gregg Gillis, better known as mashup maestro Girl Talk, is one of the most in-demand live DJs around, headlining wild sets at Coachella and Bonnaroo. He has perfected the art of blending riffs, synths, beats and lyrics from sources as divergent as Ozzy Osbourne, John Lennon, Depeche Mode and Rihanna to create five albums' worth of sweaty party action. On Wednesday, you can be part of the action.
Cope Fri. With Bobby Lee Rodgers. 9 p.m. The Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $7. facebook.com/thelocal662.
Terror Fri. 6 p.m. Orpheum, 1902 Republica de Cuba Ave., Ybor City. $14.50. (813) 248-9500.
Ninebullets.com birthday show Fri. featuring Two Cow Garage, The Only Sons, Have Gun, Will Travel, Matt Woods. 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $8. (813) 248-4969.
Memphis May Fire Fri. With Decoder, Ten After Two. 7 p.m. Brass Mug, 1441 E Fletcher Avenue, Tampa. (813) 972-8152.
The Groves Fri. 9:30 p.m. Market on 7th, 1816 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $7. (813) 248-2356.
The Stick Martin Show Fri.-Sun. 8:30 p.m. Frenchy's Rockaway, 41 Baymont St., Clearwater. Free. (727) 446-3607.
Jazz Juvenocracy (performing The Miles Project) Fri. 7:30 p.m. David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. $20. (813) 229-7827.
Bird Street Players Sat. 9 p.m. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Free. (727) 736-0606.
Super Bob Sat. 7 p.m. Gasoline Alley, 14042 66th St. N, Largo. (727) 532-0265.
Parallels Sun. With Young Egypt, more. 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. $10. (813) 241-8600.
Dan McMillion's High Octane Tribute to Maynard Big Band Sun. With Zephyrhills High School Jazz Ensemble. 5 p.m. Skipper's Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $10-$13. (813) 971-0666.
Flat Earth Society Sun. With Stolen Idols. 7 p.m. The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $15-$20. (727) 822-3590.
The Love Language Tue. With Andy Matchett and the Minks, Halibut. 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $8. (813) 248-4969.
-- Carole Liparoto, tbt*