It's a good weekend to be a college student. Actually, come to think of it, EVERY weekend is a good weekend to be a college student. But this one is particularly great, thanks to a pair of free student concert festivals. Karmin, Panic! At The Disco and The Neighbourhood will headline USF's Bullstock 2014, while Matt and Kim, above, will play for University of Tampa students in Plant Park.
After the jump, Ray Roa walks you through the details on another busy concert week in Tampa Bay, including shows by Stephen Marley, the Dead Milkmen, Todd Rundgren, Tech N9ne, Freddie Gibbs, Manchester Orchestra, Cherub, Local Natives, Judie Collins, Arturo Sandoval, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Bob Schneider, the Sounds, BT, the Zombies, Noah Gunderson, the Bellamy Brothers and two big festivals: Tampa Bay Blues Fest, with Buddy Guy, Michael McDonald, Blind Boys of Alabama, Irma Thomas and James Hunter; and Bradenton's Rhythm and Rib Fest, with T-Pain, Musiq Soulchild, Tracy Lawrence, Lyfe Jennigns and Doug E. Fresh...
Tampa Bay Blues Festival
With Buddy Guy, Michael McDonald, Irma Thomas, Blind Boys of Alabama, James Hunter, Shemekia Copeland, Coco Montoya, Big Sam's Funky Nation, more
FRIDAY-SUNDAY Vinoy Park, 501 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $40-$50 per day ($175-$200 VIP), $110 for the weekend ($375 VIP). tampabaybluesfest.com.
Once again, the Tampa Bay Blues Festival is playing a little loosey-goosey with the word "blues," packing plenty of funk and soul into this year's lineup - and that's not a bad thing. Sure, blues greats Buddy Guy, Shemekia Copeland and Coco Montoya lead Friday's lineup, but Saturday brings the smooth and soulful Michael McDonald and the Blind Boys of Alabama, while Sunday features N'awlins royalty Irma Thomas and British soulman James Hunter. It's a spicy sonic gumbo that should go well with all the grub in Vinoy Park. For a tighter, more clublike experience, check out one of the annual after shows at the Palladium, with Montoya, Selwyn Birchwood and Matt Schofield taking the stage on Frday, and Nikki Hill, Tommy Castro and the Painkillers and Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials on Saturday. Tickets to both after shows are $20. - Jay Cridlin
With Karmin, Panic! At The Disco, The Neighbourhood, New Cathedral
FRIDAY 6 p.m. USF Sun Dome parking lot, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. Free. (813) 974-1011.
The lineup for Bullstock might look a little familiar, since almost every band on the bill has played a Bay area venue in the last 365 days. The only exception would be Boston born pop-rap duo Karmin, whose hit single Brokenhearted is buoyed by an anthemic Top 40 chorus and peppered with the quirky femme-rap that Ke$ha and Nicki Minaj brought to living rooms and car stereos across the world. The rest of the bands - emo-punk disco lovers Panic! At The Disco, brooding indie rock outfit The Neighbourhood and Tampa's own New Cathedral - are all worth seeing at least seven times over, and the show's price tag (free for anyone smart enough to navigate themselves to the Sun Dome's parking lot) make this Friday show a no-brainer.
University of Tampa's Party In The Park
With Matt and Kim
FRIDAY 9 p.m. Plant Park at the University Of Tampa, 201 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa. Free to students; $10 for guest ticket. (813) 253-6291.
While USF hosts a more populous and open free concert on their campus just 10 miles away, the University of Tampa will take over a nice portion of the Hillsborough River's west bank for a more private, but equally pop-tastic and pretty much free shindig of their own. Husband-and-wife party starters Matt and Kim will headline the show in Plant Park, but non-students hoping to dance and sweat to hits like Let's Go, Daylight and Cameras will need an assist from someone who actually takes classes there. Each registered UT student is entitled to one free ticket plus the purchase of one guest ticket for just $10. Guests must enter with their student host, so make sure you're attending with someone you know in real life and not buying tickets through some secondhand ticketing web site. Get more details at UTpartyinthepark.com.
With Jo Mersa, Wayne Marshall
SATURDAY 7 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $22 and up. (727) 565-0550.
Stephen "Ragga" Marley is entering the meaty part of a two-album journey that initially found him exploring roots reggae on the 2011's Revelations Part I. That album was good enough to win Bob's second-born son a Grammy for "Best Reggae Album," but a companion LP, the forthcoming Revelations Part II, will push the boundaries and limits of reggae purists around the world. The recent leaked single Rock Stone is a potent, steamy cut featuring dancehall staples Sizzla and Capleton that unfolds in a mostly traditional manner until it unleashes a dubstep-riddled dance break at the end. The song is part head-scratching and part-genius, but just like the album' s lead single (Thorn Or A Rose with the Roots' Black Thought), the cut is a testament to the immense impact that the reggae genre (and the Marley family) has had on every type of music that has come after it.
With Dead Cat Lounge, The Scurvy, Nerds Raging
SATURDAY 7 p.m. The Brass Mug, 1450 Skipper Road, Tampa. $20-$25. (813) 972-8152.
The Dead Milkmen have evolved with the times by adopting Facebook and Twitter accounts, but the nerdy Philly punks have not outgrown the satirical, scathing repertoire and live show that made them famous in the '80s and early '90s. Albums like Big Lizard in My Backyard, Bucky Fellini and Eat Your Paisley! found them using a sharp wit to rant and make fun of pop culture (Instant Club Hit) while also scoring an MTV hit by tongue-in-cheekily lampooning underground culture with their single Punk Rock Girl. The band broke up after mourning the death of bassist Dave Blood in '94, but reunited a decade or so later. More than 30 years after their inception, the Milkmen's swing through Florida will surely address touchy topics like violence and homophobia in a way that only they can.
SUNDAY 7:30 p.m. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $35-$55. (727) 791-7400.
Todd Rundgren is the kind of guy whose talent might sadly go unnoticed until someone spends sleepless evenings reading articles and watching documentaries about all the records the 65-year-old singer, songwriter, and producer has ever touched. It's easy to fall into hits like Hello It's Me and Can We Still Be Friends. It's fun to get drunk and dance to Bang The Drum All Day and get seduced by the harmonies and screeching lead on Love Is The Answer. But don't forget that underneath all the '80s pomp and occasional cheesiness is a true musical savant who has appeared on Nine Inch Nails-approved remix albums, fronted the Cars and manned the board for Grand Funk Railroad. He probably has Patti Smith and Meat Loaf on speed dial, and even brought Auto-Tune to Rick Derringer (listen to Everything from a 2011's (re)Production). Recent live shows have featured Daft Punk covers while touching on prog-rock, soul, psychedelia and everything in between, so be ready to be delightfully baffled at this one.
With Carousel, Future Unlimited
MONDAY 7 p.m. Cuban Club, 2010 Avenida Republica De Cuba, Ybor City. Free (but not guaranteed, based on venue capacity) with RSVP at redbullsoundselect.com.
Throughout the year cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin and Miami host Red Bull Sound Select events that bring breaking artists to play unique, mostly free events alongside the specific regions' best emerging talent. Tampa Bay gets its own moment of attention from the energy drink's music curators when the Sound Select Tour Bus (a Back to the Future-esque vessel that transforms into a full-scale stage equipped with venue-quality lights and sound) parks at the Cuban Club to present a show from Cherub. The Nashville electro-pop duo's big single, Doses and Mimosas, is a disco-ready, synthed-out homage to indulgence ("I'm skipping breakfast and drinking a beverage to ignore it all, 'cause ignorance is bliss").
With Freddie Gibbs, Krizz Kaliko, Jarren Benton, Psych Ward Druggies
TUESDAY 8 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $26.50 and up. (813) 247-2555.
Tech N9ne's brand of horrorcore rap - complete with strange romantic advice (Pillow Talkin') and unthinkably twisted hip-hop murder ballads (Real Killer) - completely goes against the sensibilities of the midwest region of the U.S. he calls home, but all the oddity and his hyper-speed, chopped-up delivery have garnered him a devoted following. He's bringing another of the midwest's greatest gifts to hip hop, Freddie Gibbs, to the Ritz for what might be an early contender for show of the year. Gibbs, 31, has been on a rapid rise since the release of a 2009 mixtape, The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs, and while he doesn't rap about the macabre, his nonchalantly authentic, almost uncomfortably hard gangsta rap has earned him a reputation for being one of the realest emcees in hip hop. A new LP, Cocaine Pinata, is the best stuff he's put out in a young but already accomplished career, and this show will probably be the last one he isn't headlining for a while.
With Moses Sumney
WEDNESDAY 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $20-$22. (727) 895-3045.
If you're looking for a band whose career path is going swimmingly, look no further than Local Natives. Yeah, the SoCal quintet has endured a few lineup changes over their almost 10-year journey, but their two albums of sometimes lucid, always sweeping and cinematic indie rock is the kind of stuff music nerds listen to in darkened rooms with big headphones on. Their live set - where vocal harmonies, kinetic drums, handclaps and sonic textures come alive in an almost orchestral fashion - is the band's bread and butter, though, as evidenced by the way Local Natives keep graduating to bigger venues every time they blow into town. L.A. crooner Moses Sumney, whose new song Man On The Moon is an irresistibly airy breath of soul-folk, opens the show.
Judy Collins Fri. 7:30 p.m. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $49-$65. (727) 791-7400.
Friday Extra Concert Series Fri. With Tim Hutchinson, Urban Gypsies. 7 p.m. Curtis Hixon Park, 600 N Ashley Dr., Tampa. Free. (813) 274-8221.
Rhythm and Rib Fest Fri.-Sun. With Tracy Lawrence, Doug E. Fresh, Lyfe Jennings, Musiq Soulchild, T-Pain, BK Jackson, One Night Rodeo, Nu Jazz, Impulse. Manatee County Fairgrounds, 1402 14th Ave., Palmetto. $15 and up. (941) 722-1639 or gulfcoastribfest.com.
Arturo Sandoval Fri. 8 p.m. Friday Morning Musicale, 809 W Horatio St., Tampa. $65-$100. (813) 251-1990.
Hoots & Hellmouth Fri. With Have Gun, Will Travel. 8 p.m. Skipper's Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $10-$13. (813) 971-0666.
Dopapod Fri. With Greenhouse Lounge. 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Ybor City. $10-$13. (813) 241-8600.
Bellamy Brothers Fri. 7 p.m. Pasco High School, 36850 State Road 52, Dade City. $15-$25. (352) 524-5508.
Trace Bundy Sat. 6 p.m. Hideaway Café, 1756 Central Ave., St Petersburg. $15-$18. (727) 644-7895.
Noah Gunderson Sat. 7:30 p.m. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. $15. (813) 229-7827.
The Zombies Sat. With Pat Sansone. 8 p.m. Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $49.50-$89.50. (727) 791-7400.
JD Wilkes and the Dirt Daubers Sat. With Ophelia. 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $8-$10. (813) 248-4969.
Ben Prestage Sat. 9 p.m. Ale and The Witch, 111 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 821-2533.
BT Sat. With Doco, Baso Matik. 10 p.m. Amphitheatre, 1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15. (813) 873-8368.
Chris Robinson Brotherhood Sun. 7 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $23-$25. (813) 247-2555.
Del Barber Mon. 7:30 p.m. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. $28.50. (813) 229-7827.
Bob Schneider Tues. With Will Quinlan. 7 p.m. Skipper's Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $17-$20. (813) 971-0666.
The Sounds Tues. With Blondfire, Ghost Beach. 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $20. (727) 895-3045.
Manchester Orchestra Thurs. With Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band, Balance and Composure. 6 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $17-$20. (813) 247-2555.
Blessthefall Thurs. With Silverstein, the Amity Affliction, Secrets, Heartist. 6 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $18-$20. (727) 895-3045.
-- Ray Roa, tbt*