Weekend music picks: Kiss, DMX, 98 Rockfest, Tampa Bay Blues Fest

Plus, Cassadee Pope, Dave Alvin, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and a big birthday for the Hideaway Cafe.
Published April 9
Updated April 10


It’s been a real long time since anyone could legitimately call Kiss “the best.” But America still wants them, and we’re still going to get them, blood-smeared makeup and all. The living, thrusting, tongue-flicking kings of ’70s stadium rock will rock and roll (all night) into Tampa one last time on what’s billed as their “final tour ever.” Take that promise for what it’s worth; if you believe Gene Simmons would really deign to walk away while leaving even a dollop of cash unsqueezed from the Kiss Army’s wallets, we’ve got a Kiss-branded bridge to sell you. Nevertheless, their farewell tour at 7:30 p.m. Thursday will be a pyro-fueled trip down memory lane for anyone who ever tapped out Detroit Rock City on the back of their Kiss lunchbox. $25.75 and up. Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-2500. amaliearena.com.


Country Music in Ybor City is a hit-and-miss proposition, but if anyone can give it a go, it might be Cassadee Pope. The Florida pop-punker-(Hey Monday)-turned-The Voice winner kicks off her spring tour at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Orpheum, hot off her sophomore album Stages. The album, which follows her No. 1 duet with Chris Young, Think of You, is packed with country-pop earworms tailor-fitted to the Maren- and Kelsea-shaped holes in your souls. As important as any of this is the fact that her new tour, which kicks off in Ybor, is dubbed the CMT Next Women of Country Tour, and features Clare Dunn and Hannah Ellis. Nashville has a real problem breaking and nurturing young female artists. If they’re not going to do it, the rest of us should. $15 and up. 1915 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. (813) 248-9500. theorpheum.com.

SMACKIN’ GOOD: 98 Rockfest

Grab your earplugs. That’s the best advice we can offer for metal fans heading to 98 Rockfest on Sunday at Amalie Arena. Turn-of-the-millennium grunge vets Godsmack and Three Days Grace headline this year’s festivities, with Tampa metalcore heroes Underoath jumping in for a heroic homecoming. Motionless in White, Rival Sons, P.O.D., Glorious Sons, the Blue Stones and more round out the bill. As always, there will be a free show outside the arena starting at 2 p.m., headlined by P.O.D., before the fun inside starts at 5. $29 and up.

THE LOWDOWN: Tampa Bay Blues Festival

Boz Scaggs may be known for horn-happy ’70s hits like Lido Shuffle and Lowdown, but he’s actually a perfect fit to headline the upcoming Tampa Bay Blues Festival. His 2018 album, Out of the Blues, was nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album at this year’s Grammys, and he’s made good use of big, bluesy brass in his catalog. He headlines Saturday at downtown St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Park, 701 Bayshore Drive NE, alongside Shemekia Copeland, the Connection with Mike Welch and more. Friday’s lineup features folks like Jonny Lang, Samantha Fish and Curtis Salgado, while Sunday brings Tab Benoit, Kenny Neal and more. $50 and up Friday and Saturday and $40 and up Sunday, $115 and up for the weekend. Gates open at noon each day, but the fun starts at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, with Salgado hosting the annual Blues Fest kickoff party; free after-shows are also planned at 10:30 on Friday (with Welch and J.P. Soars) and Saturday (with J.T. Lauritsen and Vanessa Collier). tampabaybluesfest.com.


It wasn’t long ago that a fresh DMX tour looked like a long shot. Thanks to health and legal issues, including a year in prison on tax charges, he’s been M.I.A. from local stages for a while. But he’s back and barking again in a big way, bringing a 20th anniversary tour for his debut album It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot to the Ritz Ybor. With two decades of hits like Party Up and What’s My Name at his disposal, X is gonna give it to you. $20 and up. 8 p.m. Thursday. 1503 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. (813) 390-0397. ritzybor.com.

PERFECT 10: Hideaway Cafe’s X Fest

When the Hideaway Cafe opened a decade ago, owner John Kelly wanted to create a songwriter’s haven, an intimate venue with pristine acoustics and even a recording studio where fans could really get cozy with artists. And it worked, becoming one of the area’s best small venues. In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the cafe is thinking much bigger. A huge lineup of local talent — including Rebekah Pulley, Dean Johanesen, Ella Jet, Ed Woltil and Steve Connelly and Ricky Wilcox and the Moonsnakes — will rock two indoor and outdoor stages, with an array of vendors and area businesses joining in the festival fun. It starts at 2 p.m. Saturday and is free, but remember, the Hideaway Cafe itself is as intimate as ever, so indoor seating might be packed. 1756 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 644-7895. hideawaycafe.biz.

GO WEST: Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore

If you have a cowboy hat and rattlesnake boots, now’s the time to dig ’em out. The Blasters’ Dave Alvin and former Flatlander Jimmie Dale Gilmore will team up to bring their rusty, dusty Americana album, Downey to Lubbock, to life. It’s got swing, it’s got spirit, it’s got a lot of southwestern soul. And it comes to life at Skipper’s Smokehouse. $22 and up. 8 p.m. Thursday. 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. (813) 971-0666. skipperssmokehouse.com.

Contact Jay Cridlin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.