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This week’s top Tampa Bay concerts: Alice Cooper, Elvis Costello, AJR

Plus, Titus Andronicus, the Hooters, the Sugarhill Gang, the Hu and more.
Alice Cooper will perform at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Thursday. [Courtesy of Rob Fenn]
Alice Cooper will perform at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Thursday. [Courtesy of Rob Fenn]
Published Nov. 6, 2019

SPOOKY SEASON: ALICE COOPER

October’s over, and so is the Spooky Empire horror convention that brought Alice Cooper to Tampa last week. But for the original shock rocker, “every single night’s Halloween with us,” he said in a recent phone interview. “If you went to a carnival and you saw that nightmare ride that you don’t really want to go on, but you go on it anyway, that’s what the stage looks like. We put the audience on that ride.” If there’s anything Cooper, 71, is better at doing than talking about his astonishing Hollywood career, it’s giving the audience a gloriously gory performance. “I always want the scenario that anything could happen in this Alice Cooper world," he said. $51.25 and up. 8 p.m. Thursday. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.

BACK WITH THE BAND: ELVIS COSTELLO AND THE IMPOSTERS

Brainy, erudite and full of good tunes, Elvis Costello is always fun to see, no matter who he’s playing with. Throw the Imposters behind him, though, and you know you’re in for a good time. The band, featuring former Attractions Steve Nieve and Pete Thomas, brought out Costello’s bright side on last year’s smooth, throwbacky Look Now, which featured collaborations with Burt Bacharach and Carole King. The album came just a few months after Costello revealed he had been battling what he called a “small but very aggressive cancer malignancy.” It turned out to be easily treatable, relatively speaking, but still, you never know how these things can go. It’s good to see him back touring with his old mates once again. $55 and up. 7 p.m. Sunday. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 892-5767. themahaffey.com.

Elvis Costello and the Imposters will perform at St. Petersburg's Mahaffey Theater on Sunday. [Shore Fire Media]

OLD SCHOOL’S IN SESSION: SUGARHILL GANG

This year may have marked the 50th anniversary of Woodstock and the moon landing, but you know what else it was? The 40th anniversary of the Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight. The first big hit rap song ushered in the age of hip-hop, eventually transforming pop music as we know it. While Big Bank Hank is no longer with us, Wonder Mike and Master Gee are still bangin’ the boogie to the boogie as they celebrate this seminal anniversary in music. Joining them on this tour are two members of Grandmaster Flash’s Furious Five, Melle Mel and Scorpio. If you want to see the Grandmaster himself, you’ll have to wait until February, when he spins at Largo’s Central Park Performing Arts Center. But we’re only three years from the 40th anniversary of their hit The Message, so we might as well start celebrating. With DJ C-Styles. $12 and up. 8 p.m. Saturday. Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 565-0550. jannuslive.com.

THE WHO? THE HU

Throw a bundle of influences in the blender and pull out a sampler, and you might never come up with an artist as original as the Hu. They’re a Mongolian metal band that uses traditional folk instrumentation and throat singing, often in ditties about Genghis Khan. Think that sounds hard to get into? Check out their skull-knocking new album The Gereg, and especially check out their cinematic YouTube videos, which have given the band a viral boost. 7 p.m. Thursday. Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. (813) 248-9500. theorpheum.com.

The Hu will play the Orpheum in Tampa on Thursday. [Courtesy of E. Altankhuyag]

TWICE THE TRIO: AJR

Rarely does a band headline an arena show, then come back and play a festival in the same city that month. In other words, it’s a good time to be an AJR fan in Tampa. Three weeks after this weekend’s gig at the Yuengling Center, the sibling pop-rock trio behind Weak and Sober Up will return for this year’s 97X Next Big Thing at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. See them once, or see them twice — lively, behatted singer Jack Met will make it worth your while. Flora Cash opens. $32.50 and up. 8 p.m. Saturday. Yuengling Center, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. (813) 974-3004. yuenglingcenter.com.

AJR performs at 97X Next Big Thing at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in 2018. [JAY CRIDLIN | Times (2018)]

WINGIN’ IT: THE HOOTERS

Hooters and Clearwater. They just feel right together, don’t they? Thirty-six years after the original Hooters opened on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, another band of Hooters will get the spotlight down the road at the Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre. That would be the Philadelphia rockers who broke through in the ’80s with singles like And We Danced. They played alongside U2 and were highly regarded by other artists. (Did you know that singer Eric Bazilian wrote Joan Osborne’s One of Us? Or that keyboardist Rob Hyman co-wrote Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time?) But they never quite broke through and became superstars. Still, their underrated talent should shine through this weekend at their first local concert in 25 years. If you’re going, we can recommend a place to get wings on the way. $39 and up. 8 p.m. Saturday. Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. (727) 791-7400. atthecap.com.

BARD WATCHING: TITUS ANDRONICUS

Relentlessly creative and never boring, Patrick Stickles and Titus Andronicus are always worth watching. It was the case with 2015′s wild, double-disc rock opera The Most Lamentable Tragedy, it was the case with their softer 2018 experiment A Productive Cough, and it’s the case with their raucous new album An Obelisk. And the New Jersey indie folk-punks never fail to deliver the goods live. Partner and Navin Ave open. $16 and up. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St., Tampa. (813) 241-8600.

Titus Andronicus will play Crowbar in Tampa on Tuesday. [Courtesy of Ray Conception]

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  3. Paella and other seafood offerings will be offered at the SunWest Crab and Shrimp Festival this weekend in Hudson. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times (2018)]
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