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This week in Tampa: Tim McGraw, Funk Fest, Rob Thomas, Breaking Benjamin and more

Another big week of shows in Tampa Bay is on its way, with concerts by the likes of Tim McGraw (above), Rob Thomas, Umphrey's McGee, Breaking Benjamin, Yes, Toto, Machine Gun Kelly, Donavon Frankenreiter, Cody Simpson, Plain White T's, Beres Hammond, J. Roddy Walston and the Business, Young Guns and more. Plus there's Funk Fest, with Jodeci, SWV, Dru Hill, Trick Daddy, 2 Live Crew and more. Here to walk you through it all are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa...


Funk Fest

With Jodeci, SWV, Dru Hill, Trick Daddy, MJG, 2 Live Crew, Demetria McKinney
SATURDAY 4 p.m. Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. $35 and up. (888) 547-6478, funkfesttour.com
Funk Fest returns to Raymond James Stadium on Saturday for yet another hot, sweaty night of booty-knocking soul jams. You could be forgiven for missing the news, though — Funk Fest has popped up at various venues across Tampa Bay over the last six years, with varying degrees of success. And it happens to be only one of several old-school R&B and hip-hop festivals coming to town this fall (including 95.7 Beats By the Bay and the Legends of the Old School at the USF Sun Dome). This festival's sixth stop in Tampa is heavy on '90s R&B, with headliners Jodeci, SWV and Dru Hill backed by rappers Trick Daddy, 8Ball and MJG and 2 Live Crew featuring Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell." Singer-actor Demetria McKinney (Tyler Perry's House of Payne) joins the fun, too.

Rob Thomas
With Plain White T's
FRIDAY 8 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. $65 and up. (727) 791-7400.
Fans were bumming when Rob Thomas postponed his July concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall to be with his wife as she underwent treatment for a brain lesion. But there was one silver lining: The new date, Friday, happens to be the drop date for the Matchbox Twenty frontman's new solo album The Great Unknown, which makes this gig kind of a record release party. Fun, right? If only the album was up to Thomas' usual standards. He can still pen a pop hook with the best of them, but the LP's confectionery production (from OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder, among others) slathers on way too shiny a gloss. You might think you're listening to Imagine Dragons (One Shot) or Maroon 5 (Absence of Affection), but you won't confuse it for Matchbox Twenty. (Maybe a good thing? Discuss.) Four-on-the-floor strutter Trust You sounds like a commercial jingle drawn out to three minutes, and Thomas unfortunately dabbles in dancehall on Wind It Up. The twee, handclappy Hold On Forever is hard to hate, but my favorite is the darker, understated title track, which reverberates long after you hear it. That Rob Thomas — still a little unwell, still lonely at 3 a.m. — I like a little better.

Yes and Toto
SUNDAY 7 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. $53.75 and up. (727) 791-7400.

When Chris Squire died from leukemia in June, it looked like the end of Yes. Squire was not only the sole founding and constant member of the prog-rock icons, he was a dynamic bassist and songwriter in his own right. His death threw Yes' late-summer tour into question, but the group has decided to soldier on with a lineup that includes longtime members Steve Howe on guitar and Alan White on drums, relative newbie Jon Davison on lead vocals and former guitarist Billy Sherwood returning to fill Squire's shoes on bass. It'll never again be the same band the world's rock nerds grew up idolizing, but much like their music, the lineup for Yes has always evolved. This is just the next chapter, and probably not the last. Joining them on this trek are Toto, a deeply underrated band too often relegated to punch line status due to their overplayed hit singles (Africa, Rosanna, Hold the Line).


Umphrey's McGee
With J. Roddy Walston and the Business
SUNDAY 5:30 p.m. Jannus Live, 200 First St. N, St. Petersburg. $27.50-$30. (727) 565-0550.

Not that you needed an extra excuse to check out one of America's best and most innovative jam bands, Umphrey's McGee, on Sunday at Jannus Live. But here's one: Before and after the show, you'll be able to try Nothing Too Fancy Pale Ale, the latest band-beer collaboration between St. Pete's Rock Brothers Brewing and Tampa's Cigar City Brewing. The brewers will tap Nothing Too Fancy at a release party at 6 p.m. Saturday at Cigar City, 3924 W Spruce St. in Tampa; then, they'll haul the kegs over to Jannus and Mandarin Hide (231 Central Ave.) on Sunday. Umphrey's may not bust out a four-hour-plus set like they have at festivals like Bonnaroo, but that's okay — the opening act, shagadelic soul-rockers J. Roddy Walston and the Business, are pretty great, too. May the suds and good vibes flow all night long.

Breaking Benjamin
With Young Guns
WEDNESDAY 7 p.m. Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N., St. Petersburg. $36. (727) 565-0550.
It's been over half of a decade since Breaking Benjamin gave fans any new music, but they've come back from their hiatus with a bang. A new LP, Dark Before Dawn, debuted at no. 4 on the Billboard 200, and its lead single -- Failure -- spent almost ten weeks on top of alternative radio charts. You'll recognize frontman Ben Burnley at this mid-week show, but even longtime followers might be doing a little head scratching at the show as it'll be the first time Burnley, 37, is joined on tour by new bandmates after a strange dissolution of band back in 2010. Young Guns, with a brand new LP Ones and Zeros tearing up radio, opens the show.

Beres Hammond
With Harmony House Musicians, DJ Inferno, DJ Kirky, DJay Blaque
FRIDAY 7:30 p.m. Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N., St. Petersburg. $30-$50. (727) 565-0550.
If there were an official stamp of approval for bonafide roots-reggae music, then Beres Hammond would probably be the recipient of one. In fact, the 59-year-old might actually be qualified to be the one doling them out. With a healthy 20-piece, almost 40-year-old discography in his pocket, Hammond is a legend thanks to a soulful delivery that can also handle the rigors of dancehall, R&B, soul and even a touch of hip hop if it needs to. He is still touring behind the same 2012 double LP he brought with him for a 2013 stop at the same venue, but that doesn't mean that both rastas and even the most casual of reggae music fans won't get something special by heading out to this one.

Machine Gun Kelly
TUESDAY 7 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N. 17th St., Ybor City. $30. (813) 241-8600.

You're going to have to consult Las Vegas on the over-under for Machine Gun Kelly (aka MGK) getting arrested while he's in the Bay area, but we'll go ahead and break down what's been up musically for the guy Pinellas County Sheriff deputies know as Richard Colson Baker. A new single, A Little More, is a sign that MGK's forthcoming sophomore LP General Admission will perform well on the charts, and the song's biting anti-fame message is a refreshing turn of the tide in a mainstream hip hop ecosystem that's become depressingly anti-cerebral. Baker, 25, isn't immune to a party though, and another single (Till I Die) plus his surprise July mixtape (F*** It) feature the kind of beats, samples, lyrics, and gravel-throated singing you want to buy a better car stereo for.

Shaun Hopper
SATURDAY 9:30 p.m. The Amsterdam, 1049 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $20-$30. (727) 623-4950.

There are no shortage of Shaun Hopper shows in the Tampa Bay area, but this one is special. The local fingerstyle guitarist has been adorned with nearly every epithet you can throw at a unique talent ("virtuoso," "savant," and "prodigy" to name a few), and has played every size stage you can think of. He was the last man to play locally with B.B. King before the blues legend passed away, and on Saturday fans can get a very up close and personal glance at what six-string wizardry looks like. Hopper is playing The Amsterdam on Central Avenue, a tiny space usually reserved for small shows, local music festivals, and loads of quality free entertainment, but the cover for this gig is well worth it. Hopper is a world class show stopper who slaps, taps, and strums his way around a fretboard like no other, so be careful not to break your jaw when it drops to the floor at this intimate show.

Permanent Makeup Album Release
With Wet Nurse, Ex-Breathers
SATURDAY 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E. Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $8. (813) 248-4969.
Permanent Makeup recently debuted a new track, Weak In The Knees, via longtime alternative music authority Magnet Magazine, and while the the national attention kind of bucks the St. Pete DIY punk band's raison d'être, the accolades and praise are natural, well-deserved byproducts of an ethos that screams "make music because you want to" and "don't let anyone else tell you how." On Saturday, the group -- made up of husband and wife duo Chris and Susan Nadeau plus James Bess -- are joined by a pair of A-plus Florida noise-bringers (Orlando's Wet Nurse and Tallahassee's Ex-Breathers) as they all celebrate a new Permanent Makeup LP, Taker, which finds the band more agitated, driven, and fantastically weathered all while still managing to weave their signature guitar squeals and inherent love of the Tampa Bay area into 13-tracks of some of the most important music being made here at home.

Leisure Cruise

With Saskatchewan, Hotbox, DJ Minihorse
SUNDAY 7 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N. 17th St., Ybor City. $7-$10. (813) 241-8600.
Indie music's now long-running obsession with the 1980s has yielded quite the crop of synth-heavy, sequencer-driven outfits, and Leisure Cruise are a perfect example of that. Made up of Broken Social Scene alumni Dave Hodge and singer-songwriter Leah Siegel, the NYC-based duo have managed to thread a weirdly uplifting doomsday vibe into their ultra-catchy, deeply melodic brand of basement-born, club-ready space-race synth-pop. A new video for The Getaway is a fantastically weird clip of Fueled CEO Rameet Chawla (who also happens to be one of Gotham Magazine's "100 Hottest Bachelors") dancing his ass off in the streets of Manhattan, and befitting of the vibes found on Leisure Cruise's 2014 self-titled LP. A buzzing Tampa future-pop outfit (Hotbox) and longtime Orlando kings of all things chill (Saskatchewan) open the show.

Donavon Frankenreiter
With Cody Simpson
THURSDAY 8 p.m. State Theatre 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 895-3045.
It's been exactly a year since Donavon Frankenreiter last washed up on Pinellas shores, and where Thursday's show is definitely a same-venue, same-artist situation, there are some very notable wrinkles surrounding the appearance from the Jack Johnson-approved, 42-year-old SoCal songwriter. He's got a brand-spanking new album of familiarly mellow, familial-themed folk (The Heart) to play, and he's joined on the bill by Cody Simpson, who is the only Australian export that could top a koala bear in cuteness. Simpson, 18, was just in town for the Tampa Bay Rays' post game concert series, but his new album (Free, released in July) is an upbeat, laid-back collection of backyard BBQ-ready folk-pop worthy of an immediate encore performance.

Also Playing

Acho Brother, Fri. 8 p.m. Beer & Brownies, 2312 W. Waters Ave., Tampa. Free. (813) 304-2118.

TC Carr & Bolts of Blue CD Release, Fri. 8 p.m. The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg. $13-$25. (727) 822-3590.

Kim Lenz, Fri. With Ted Stevens & The Doo Shots. 8 p.m. Skipper's Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Rd., Tampa. $12-$15. (813) 971-0666.

Oceanstone, Fri. 9 p.m. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Free. (727) 736-0606.

Telekinetic Walrus, Fri. With Betty Dawl. 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E. Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $8. (813) 248-4969.

The Black Honkeys, Fri. 9 p.m. Ringside Café, 16 Second St. N., St. Petersburg. $5. (727) 894-8465.

Donna Lu, Fri. With Jordan Esker & The Hundred Percent. 9 p.m. Orbit 19 Lounge, 1542 U.S. Highway 19 N., Holiday. Free. (727) 937-8330.

Danielle DeCosmo, Sat. 6 p.m. The Hideaway Café, 1756 Central Ave., St Petersburg. $5. (727) 644-7895.

The Atlas Moth, Sat. With Vattnet Viskar. 6 p.m. Orpheum, 1915 E. 7th Ave., Ybor City. $12-$15. (813) 248-9500.

Under The Covers: 1994-2004, Sat. With The World Has Turned, The Misanthropes, A Gentlemen Army, Frostfang, Hell-Bent, Fox Wedding. 8 p.m. The Local 662 (662 Central Ave.) & Fubar (658 Central Ave.), , St. Petersburg. $5. Facebook.com/thelocal662.

Bingo Players, Sat. With Basomatik, Shanta, Nasty Nate. 10 p.m. Amphitheatre Event Facility, 1609 E. Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20-$25. (813) 873-8368.

Nate Najar Quartet, Sun. 6:30 p.m. The Independent, 5020 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, Free. (813) 341-4883.

-- Ray Roa and Jay Cridlin

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