This week in Tampa Bay area live music: Billy Joel, Sunshine Blues and Music Festival, Mustard Plug & more

Concerts, Jan. 16-22.



Geoff Tate, Queensryche
  • Geoff Tate, Queensryche
Col. Bruce Hampton & Pharaoh’s Kitchen
The godfather of avant Southern rock returns to Dunedin for another two-night (Thursday-Friday) stand featuring his current funky, bluesy rock band, Pharaoh’s Kitchen, as fronted by soulfully howling singer-guitarist AJ Ghent, who practices a fiery style of slide guitar as well as sacred steel traditions. (Dunedin Brewery, Dunedin)

Queensrÿche The final ruling to determine which party ultimately owns the rights to the Queensrÿche name takes place at the end of January. In the meantime, both vocalist Geoff Tate (who claims he was illegally fired from the band) and his former bandmates (who argue that Tate had become impossible to work with and was actively damaging the Queensrÿche brand before his excision) have continued to tour as Queensrÿche, separately. This is Tate’s date, and you can bet he’ll be playing prog-metal fare from the band’s repetoire (“Silent Lucidity,” “Jet City Woman”) in addition to cuts off his 2013 release (as Queensrÿche), Frequency Unknown. (Capitol Theatre, St. Petersburg)

Matt Woods w/Pete Stein Tennessee and Colorado join hands to send us a couple of their top country/Americana crooners for this Thursday evening show. More info here. (Ale and the Witch, St. Petersburg) —Andy Warrener

Southern Hospitality
Another band dishing out a two-night (Friday-Saturday) stand, Southern Hospitality is co-fronted by three of the South’s biggest and baddest rising stars of Southern rock, Memphis soul and boogie woogie blues — Damon Fowler on lap steel, JP Soars on regular axe, and Victor Wainwright on keys. Their full-length on Blind Pig Records debut, Easy Livin’, was produced by Tab Benoit (who also happens to be playing on this night, at another venue), and it dropped last year. They’ve been gigging behind it ever since with bassist Chuck Riley (from Fowler’s former band) and Soars drummer Chris Peet. (Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg)

Chris Cagle A Louisiana-bred country music artist who has five albums under his belt, three comps (including 2013’s Icon), and five tracks that landed in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart: “Laredo,” “I Breathe In, I Breathe Out” (his only No. 1), “What a Beautiful Day,” “Chicks Dig It” and “What Kinda Gone.” (Dallas Bull, Tampa)

  • Soul Rebels
Soul RebelsYou’ve probably never encountered a brass band with such a wildly diverse resume. The eight-piece Soul Rebels (two trumpeters, two trombone players, a saxophonist, two percussionists and a sousaphone player) performed on “Tom’s Diner” with Suzanne Vega at the 2012 Boston Summer Arts Weekend and “Seek and Destroy” with Metallica during their 30th Anniversary shows in San Francisco the same year; served as the house band for the 2013 NFL Honors Awards Show (hosted by Alec Baldwin on CBS Super Bowl weekend); and last summer, enjoyed a studio powwow with Rick Ross when the Miami rapper and his crew flew to New Orleans to hang and vibe with Soul Rebels, which, at the time, were being considered as a possible backing band for Ross’ “Mastermind Tour.” Brand new mixtape Power = Power reflects Soul Rebels’ aim to produce modern-minded music using NOLA brass band traditions, their tight and spirited sound touching on soul, jazz, R&B, funk, hip-hop, rock and even pop music. (Ale and the Witch, St. Petersburg)

Jamey Johnson He might not have any No. 1 hit singles, but country music singer-songwriter Jamey Johnson does have a platinum-certified album (2008’s That Lonesome Song), and his 2010 double album The Guitar Song, went gold. Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran, his 2012 studio album, didn’t move so well, but did earn Johnson some critical praise and featured a few unexpected guests among the usual country crooners, namely, Leon Russell and Elvis Costello. (Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg)

Tab Benoit w/Mike Zito & The Wheel Benoit is the Cajun-influenced Delta bluesman with fine guitar chops and a smoky resonant drawl who’s produced two new albums by Bay area artists; Southern Hospitality’s debut, Easy Livin’, and Damon Fowler’s forthcoming Sounds of Home (due out Jan. 21). (Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa)

SMOG City Tour w/12th Planet LA record label and EDM incubator SMOG deals primarily in dubstep and bass music. The “SMOG City Tour” puts a rotating group of its artists together on one bill. Heading up the traveling unz-and-womp party is DJ, producer and SMOG co-owner 12th Planet (real name: John Dadzie), whose mixes call on heavy-bumpin’ jungle, DnB and dubstep sounds, with light hip hop and electro flavor. Also performing on the Tampa date: Protohype, Flinch, SON OF KICK and Steady. (Amphitheatre, Ybor City)

  • Billy Joel
Billy Joel w/Tom Odell I spent the majority of my youth resisting my mom’s compulsive Billy Joel adoration. First, it was a cassette tape (remember those?) that she played over and over again in the car — Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II. Shortly after, she picked up a VHS copy of Billy Joel — Live From Long Island at a yard sale, then An Innocent Man and The Stranger on vinyl, and it was all Billy Joel, all day, every day for far too long. This Piano Man overload spurred my aversion to his music for many years, and I’ve only recently curbed my knee-jerk reaction to change the station when any BJ songs pop up on the radio. In fact, I’ve discovered a new appreciation for him as an adult, and I still know the majority of his (pre-1994) catalog. I even have some faves: the urgency of “Pressure” and “The Stranger,” the blue collar musings of “Allentown,” the bouncy pop-rock of “Uptown Girl” and “It’s a Matter of Trust,” the snotty shuffling rock of “You May Be Right,” the ambling groove of “Keeping the Faith,” the poignant prettiness of “She’s Always a Woman.” Likely you’ll hear all of these and more during Joel’s first in town since 2006 — if you got tickets to the show before it sold out. (Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa)

Chris Botti
Ten albums and four Grammy nominations deep into his career, jazz trumpeter/composer Chris Botti finally received his due with 2012’s Impressions, which earned him a Grammy win for Best Pop Instrumental Album last year. Impressions also peaked at No. 1 on the U.S. Jazz charts, and features some interesting guests, among them, rock guitarist Mark Knopfler in a cover of “What a Wonderful World,” and an original collaboration, “Tango Suite,” with vet post-bop keys player Herbie Hancock. He’s backed by his usual fine group of instrumentalists — drummer Billy Kilson, pianoman Billy Childs, vocalist Lisa Fischer, violinist Caroline Campbell, bass player Richie Goods and guitarist Leonardo Amuedo. (Capitol Theatre, Clearwater)

The Tampa Collective Lagunitas Brewing Company and Skipper’s team up to throw a brews and tunes pre-party for the Sunshine Music & Blues Festival, held at Vinoy Park the following day. The evening kicks off with a free Lagunitas craft beer tasting from 7 to 8 p.m. followed by a concert featuring The Tampa Collective, made up of locally-based professional musicians (including guitarist Josh Lamkin and keysman Howard Helm) along with rotating guests like Damon Fowler and Doc Lovett, as fronted by vocalist Dre Anders; they play Southern-fried rock with bluesy and jammy tendencies. (Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa)

Afroman w/Lying with Lions Yes, he’s most renown for his sole radio jam, “Because I Got High,” and perhaps you’re familiar with his other well-known groove, “Crazy Rap” (“Colt 45 and two zig zags, baby that’s all we need”), but I bet you didn’t know alt hip hop artist Afroman has 14 studio albums to his credit. The most recent was 2012’s Marijuana Music, which just goes to show you that the dude has a one track mind. He’s also multi-talented; not only does he rap and sing(ish), he plays guitar, bass and drums. (State Theatre, St. Petersburg)

Tedeschi Trucks Band
  • Mark Seliger
  • Tedeschi Trucks Band
Sunshine Blues and Music Festival w/Tedeschi Trucks Band/Leon Russell/Galactic/Hot Tuna Acoustic/JJ Grey & Mofro/more
Now in its second year, the Sunshine Blues and Music Fest returns to Tampa Bay with the same headliner as its inaugural edition: Tedeschi Trucks Band, an 11-piece fronted by soulfully crooning songstress Susan Tedeschi and slide guitar giant/husband Derek Trucks, who craft a finely-textured blend of gospel-hued roots rock, blues and R&B. Filling out the bill this year are snowy-haired-and-bearded piano-banging country-folk vet Leon Russell; the energetic sax-blasted NOLA-brewed jazz-funk makers Galactic; and greasy grooving, soul moving, Florida-spawned swamp rockers JJ Grey & Mofro. (Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg)

Ol’ Dirty Sundays: Grand Wizard Theodore w/Charlie Chase For this edition of the weekly hip hop dance party, resident DJs Casper and LeSage welcome a very special guest all the way from the Bronx, NYC: Grand Wizard Theodore, a DJ and turtablist who apprenticed under Grandmaster Flash and is commonly credited as the inventor of scratching; his mastery of needle drops and other techniques are also legendary. Another guest on the decks this night: Charlie Chase, formerly of Cold Crush Brothers. (Crowbar, Ybor City)

Picture Perfect w/Therapeutic Chokehold New Jersey pop punk outfit Picture Perfect hits Mojo for a free in-store as part of their “Wither Like a Rose” tour hyping up forthcoming debut album Rose. Support from Tampa’s own ’90s alt-rock influenced Therapeutic Chokehold, purveyors of heavy grunginess and discordance studded with with unexpected melodies. Music kicks off at 7 p.m. (Mojo Books & Records, Tampa)

People’s Blues of Richmond w/Florida Night Heat This is the third time People’s Blues of Richmond has stopped through town in the past six months, and all I can say is, “Welcome back!!” The group practices a raw, instrument-battering brand of garage ’n’ blues rock dosed in psychedelia and finished with some funky pounding grooves and the occasional offbeat circus/gypsy digressions. (New World Brewery, Ybor City)

This Or The Apocalypse w/Sworn In/Shai Hulud/Sirens & Sailors /Agerasia/Act Of Mercy
A metalcore outfit from Pennsylvania, This or the Apocalypse doles out crushing odes marked by high technicality, odd time signatures and dense polyrhythms, vocals fluctuating between rage-filled verse-flinging, gut-deep roars and higher-pitched shrieks. (Orpheum, Ybor City)

Mustard Plug
  • Ben Kremaku Photography
  • Mustard Plug
Mustard Plug w/Akultura/Victims Of Circumstance
The first single off Mustard Plug’s new LP, “White Noise,” mixes punk-crunchy distorted guitars, over bouncy-fast rhythms, ska tooting horns, sampled radio transmissions, and gruff braying vocals yelling, “You got nothing left to tell me, you got nothing left to tell, you’ve got nothing left to sell me, white noise ringing in my ear!” The vet sextet’s seventh studio album, Can’t Contain It, dropped last week and is their first full-length of new material in seven years, as well as their debut on Florida’s own No Idea Records; in an official statement about the album, vocalist Dave Kirchgessner claimed “This album is a strong evolution in our sound and our art while still staying true to the goal of playing party music for punk rockers.” Mustard Plug raised $25k to fund its recording via; among the goodies offered in exchange for pledges was a song written and recorded by the band on the topic of the winner’s choice. (Crowbar, Ybor City)

Eddie Money Unplugged The AC rock ’n’ roller used to have a house in Florida and still manages to hit town a few times a year. This date finds him backed by two guitarists (one doubling on percussion) and occasionally jumping onto piano for a stripped-down unplugged concert featuring fan favorites and hits (“Baby Hold On,” “Two Tickets to Paradise,” “Take Me Home Tonight,” “Think I’m in Love”) along with select cuts from his decades-spanning catalog. (Capitol Theatre, Clearwater)

AFI There seems to be two schools of thought about the 2013 ninth album from the band otherwise known as A Fire Inside; one side hails Burials as a fine quality, impeccably produced dystopian alt rock record while the other side objects to its whiney, too-flamboyant overtones. (AFI frontman Davey Havok called it a record of silence, “and the burials that result from that silence. It’s of betrayal, cruelty, weakness, anxiety, panic — deep and slow — despair, injury and loss. And in this it is shamefully honest and resolutely unforgiving.”) This is the second leg of AFI’s tour in support. (The Ritz Ybor, Ybor City City)

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