Circus comes to town

Plus: Vagabond Swing, Black Tusk and more ...

click to enlarge Vagabond Swing - Geoff J. Johnson
Geoff J. Johnson
Vagabond Swing

THURS 15

Blueprint w/S.K.I.P./B.C./Prince Golden The last time Blueprint was in the area, he opened for his Rhymsayers labelmates Atmosphere in Orlando, but delivered a great set that could've easily been a headliner's. So it's not surprising to see him now taking the lead spot on a five-date mini-tour through the Sunshine State. Lyrically, Blueprint is on point, but it's his experimental, synth-laden beats (which he produces himself) that really set him apart. His Orlando performance was refreshingly musical for a hip hop show; he played with a live bassist and rocked a keytar himself for most of the songs. Hopefully this tour offers more of the same. (Orpheum, Ybor City) —Christopher Spata

Judy Collins & Arlo Guthrie: Home for the Holidays Two celebrated folk music icons/veteran social activists unite for a "Home for the Holidays" tour. Judy Collins celebrated the 50th anniversary of her debut, Maid of Constant Sorrow, this year, and also issued a brand new record, Bohemian, comprised of her classy songbird interpretations of material by artists ranging from Shawn Colvin to Joni Mitchell. Arlo Guthrie, son of Woody, is best known for his narrative style and 18-minute ode, "Alice's Restaurant Massacree," and has released a few dozen albums over his 44-year career. Both artists perform selections from their respective repertoires and join each other for a couple of numbers as well. (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater)

Fedde Le Grand The Dutch DJ/producer became an overnight sensation on the electronic music scene with his 2006 hit "Put Your Hands Up For Detroit," and continued on with a string of remixes that cemented his spot as one of the top house DJs in the world. He's beloved by the "handbag house" crowd (a subgenre that takes its name from groups of girls dancing around a pile of their purses on the dance floor), and produces uplifting, vocal house music full of big electro crescendos. A perfect example: 2011's "So Much Love," which overflows with sparkling good vibes. (Amphitheatre, Ybor City) —CS

Vagabond Swing w/The Jim Morey Band Direct from Lafayette, La., Vagabond Swing dishes out a progressive and idiosyncratic mix of jazz, folk, bluegrass, ska/punk, gypsy swing, Latin and Afrobeat that's imbued with an experimental circus rock vibe. Their first record, 2011's Soundtrack to an Untimely Death, is marked by wailing trumpet drama, percussive-intense rhythmic drive, bouncy acoustic bass grooves, gruff and booming vocals, mandolin and violin melodies, some programming embellishments, and a little exotic melodica. The septet is known for staging vibrant and energetic live shows. (New World Brewery, Ybor City)

FRI 16

The Chariot w/Vanna/Former Thieves/The Greenery/Listener Atlanta-based outfit The Chariot combines elements of metal, mathcore, hardcore punk and post-hardcore into an aggressive brew. The band has been through a dozen or so lineup changes since its inception in 2003; currently, lead vocalist Josh Scogin is the only original member. (Orpheum, Ybor City)

Little High Little Low w/Redfeather/Hunter and Avery/Halibut Ramblin' Rose presents a night of Florida folk-infused music headed up by Little High Little Low, a Gainesville bluegrass-leaning five-piece, along with psyche-roots duo Redfeather, saccharine-soulful Hunter and Avery, and purveyors of sweetly poignant folk-pop, Halibut. (Ramblin' Rose Upcycle, St. Petersburg)

We Are Defiance w/Tom Denny/My Ticket Home/Wolves Among Men/many more Ocala metalcore outfit We Are Defiance is celebrating the release of their debut, Trust in Few, in March wia Tragic Hero Records with production assistance by Tom Denney (formerly of A Day to Remember). Like acts support. (Transitions Art Gallery @ Skatepark of Tampa)

Thomas Wynn & The Believers w/Davin McCoy & The Coming Attractions The ruggedly soulful Southern classic rock power of Orlando's blazing jammy six-piece, Thomas Wynn & The Believers, is built upon the chemistry of Wynn and sister Olivia, his lower rasping drawl a great compliment to her throaty-sweet gospel-tinged harmonies. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)

Woody Pines If there's ever a good time to use the word "hootenanny," this has to be it, as Woody Pines combines rockabilly, country blues and folk into a swinging, high-energy sound that feels old, but not outdated. The band includes upright bassist Zach Pozenbanchuck, Lyon Graulty playing clarinet and guitar, drummer Mike Gray, and Woody on guitar, harmonica and vocals. (Ella's Americana Folk Art Café, Tampa) —CS

Dar Williams w/Jill Sobule Acclaimed singer-songwriter Dar Williams hits town on the precipice of the release of her newest album, In the Time of Gods, due out via Razor & Tie in April. The guitar-strumming chanteuse grew up with an interest in mythology; her own collection of songs offers a modern twist on stories about gods, monsters and heroes, looking deeply at where and how they fit into contemporary society. "You look at these stories from 3,000 years ago and realize the same crap is going on today," Williams laughed in a recent interview with CL. Lyrically intelligent, introspective and often wittily poignant, Williams, who has been recording music since the mid-'90s, pairs her words with gorgeous melodies. And she promises to rely heavily on her vast array of material at her concert in Clearwater. Read the complete interview with Williams at cltampa.com/music. (Capitol Theatre, St. Petersburg) —Tiffany Razzano

Circus w/Preson Philips Circus brews up folk and heartland rock with blues and pop rambunctiousness, drawing you in with the velvety-soulful vocals of lead singer/guitarist Patrick Alcine and contrasting backing vocals of bandmate Katie Peters, who has a robust soprano and powerful pipes she's not afraid to use. Also on the bill: spiritual folk pop singer, songwriter and real-life pastor, Preson Philips. (New World Brewery, Ybor City)

Third Annual Sarah Mac Band Christmas Show w/Grant Peeples Rich and husky singer, guitarist and songwriter Sarah Mac and her band, bassist Claire Swindell and guitarist Charlie Vanture, throw their third holiday party, mixing season fare into their catalog of original gospel-tinged blues and roots rock. The trio is joined by fellow Tallahassee musician, Americana/alt folkie-humorist and self-professed "Left Neck," Grant Peeples. (Hideaway Café, St. Petersburg)

Skrillex w/12th Planet/Two Fresh/Nadastrom One of the hottest dubstep artists right now, Skrillex (aka Sonny John Moore) is only 23 years old and has already produced singles by the likes of Korn and Kaskade as well as remixing a slew of others. He's what you call "mainstream" — which is probably why this show has been sold out for the past few weeks now. (The RITZ Ybor, Ybor City)

SAT 17

Epilepsy Benefit Show w/Mr. Bella/TUG/The Dead Popes/The Groves/The Proper Crooks/Ink & Sweat Tampa hard rock quartet Mr. Bella, which is fronted by dulcet-toned howler Erinmarie Christian, headlines a bill of local rock music to raise awareness and funds for The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida. (The Local 662, St. Petersburg)

Gloriana Country music newbies Gloriana started gaining momentum with their gold-selling first single, "Wild at Heart," and No. 3 Billboard charting self-titled debut in 2009 and earned the Academy of Country Music's Award for Top New Vocal Group in 2010. The band — made up of singing and guitar playing brothers Tom and Mike Gossin, and harmonizing songbird Rachel Reinert — has been working on a sophomore follow-up and though a drop date hasn't been set for the forthcoming Emblem Music Group/ Warner Bros. release, they've already issued a few new songs and will likely try them out on this night. (Dallas Bull, Tampa)

Black Tusk w/MonstrO/Kyng/Hot Snakes Bubbling up from the swampy heavy metal hotbed of Savannah, Ga. is Black Tusk, a trio that brings a relentless groove to their stoner-sludge sound. Stereogum.com gave their 2011 fourth LP and second on Relapse an "Album of the Week" spotlight in October, commenting that the band has gone from good with last year's Taste The Sin to great in this year's Set the Dial. Producer Jack Endino (Soundgarden, Skeletonwitch) gets credit, but so does the band for offering up more dynamic variation in addition to catchier moments, too. (Brass Mug, Tampa)

SUN 18

The Laurie Berkner Band Berkner is a preschool music teacher turned "kindie rock" recording artist who became one of the first to ever to appear in music videos on Nick Jr. and is featured in nearly all of the episodes of the channel's Jack's Big Music Show. Her band — Berkner on lead vocals and guitar with keyboardist Susie Lampert, bassist Adam Bernstein and drummer/percussionist Bobby Golden — is currently on the road to promote the release of their new DVD, Party Day! The theme of this year's tour is "Animal Party Concert!" and all pint-sized attendees are encouraged to bring their favorite stuffed animal to join in the fun. (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater)

OS OVNI w/No Milk/Alien House Another indie experimental music showcase and WMNF outreach concert as organized by Brigid Ochshorn (the cutie on the cover of this month's Music Issue who's a musician, 'MNF DJ, engineer and producer). She sings and manipulates sound on keys in her own solo project, No Milk, on a bill with Austin's OS OVNI, a duo that pairs freaky-weird electro bleeptisms, fuzzed-out synth burps and other digital debris with spacey muffled vocals and programmed beats; Tampa acid-trippy echoing two-piece Alien House. (Mojo Books & Music, Tampa)

MON 19

The Irish Tenors The singing trio made up of tenors Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns and Ronan Tynan may have been spawned by TV — they were originally put together by a group of producers for a PBS special in 1998 — but since then, The Irish Tenors have managed to work their own way to stardom with four more specials and nine albums (including the platinum-selling Ellis Island in 2001). Their most recent is 2010's seasonal Christmas, and this near-holiday show will likely be packed with selections from that album — "Go Tell It On The Mountain," "O Holy Night," "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" and a "Sleigh Ride/Feliz Navidad" medley, among others. (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater)

TUE 20

Helios Jazz Orchestra: License to Thrill The 18-piece jazz orchestra is joined by with vocalists Denise Moore, Andrea Manson, David Thut and Tyler Freeman in a program of music from spy-themed films and shows — the James Bond and Austin Powers series, Mission: Impossible, The Man from U.N.C.L.E, The Prisoner, Get Smart, and others. The concert is followed by an hour-long jam session with Helios members and various local musicians. (Nova 535, St. Petersburg)

WED 21

Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band We all know Woody Allen as the eccentric writer, director, producer and actor of a huge mountain of films. In addition to the 75-year-old's prolific film output, he's also taken time to add playwright, short fiction author, and jazz musician to his resume. He began playing clarinet as a child and he's performed publicly on the instrument since the late 1960s. His New Orleans Jazz Band has been active for more than 35 years, and has performed a regular Monday night gig at Manhattan's landmark hotel, The Carlyle, for the past few decades. Their huge (1,200-plus song) repertoire includes an eclectic NOLA-flavored mix of early 20th Century jazz, pop tunes, hymns, spirituals, marches, blues and rags. Live, there's no playlist, nor do the musicians know what song Allen, in partnership with band director/banjo virtuoso Eddy Davis, will choose next. Joining Allen and Davis are trumpeter Simon Wettenhall, trombone player Jerry Zigmont, Greg Cohen on string bass, drummer John Gill, and Conal Fowkes on keys. (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater)

ALSO THIS WEEK

Ben Fagan & The Holy City Hooligans Thurs., Dec. 15, Pegasus Lounge, Tampa

Crow's Nest Showcase w/Troy Youngblood/Skull n' Bone Band/Gracie Grieshop/Garrick Aden Buie/Dean Johanesen/Rene Schlegel/Dennis Stadelman and Juanjamon/Funky D from Thurs., Dec. 15, Crowbar, Ybor City

Grateful Dead Night Deluxe w/Uncle John's Band/The Standback Band Thurs., Dec. 15, Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa

Sheila Kirsten Hughes / Mike Donahue / Geoff's Evil Twin Thurs., Dec. 15, Tre Amici @ The Bunker, Ybor City

Henry Wolfe Thurs., Dec. 15, New Port Richey Public Library, New Port Richey

Bouncehouse Thurs., Dec. 15 The Beach Bar, Clearwater

Four Shillings Short Fri., Dec. 16, Sacred Grounds Coffeehouse, Tampa

3 Pint Harmony Fri., Dec. 16, Three Birds Tavern, St. Petersburg

Mike Desselle: "A Gift of Blues, Jazz, Bluegrass and Country" w/Melissa Nolan Fri., Dec. 16, Murray Studio Theater at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater

The Human Condition Fri., Dec. 16, Dunedin Brewery, Dunedin

Rockin the Holidays w/Sunshine and Bullets/Red Rockits/Lions After Dark/more Fri., Dec. 16, State Theatre, St. Petersburg

Donny Simonds Band Fri., Dec. 16, Dave's Aqua Lounge, St. Petersburg

Sacred Lands Christmas Music Benefit for the Homeless w/Crabgrass Cowboys/many more Fri., Dec. 16, Sacred Lands, St. Petersburg

Pretty Voices w/Car Bomb Driver/Dank Fri., Dec. 16, The Local 662, St. Petersburg

Swamp Logic Fri., Dec. 16, O'Briens Irish Pub, Tampa

Rise of Saturn / Samurai Shotgun Fri., Dec. 16, Pegasus Lounge, Tampa

The Hip Abduction w/Jahfe Fri., Dec. 16, Jannus Live, St. Petersburg

Beach Day Fri., Dec. 16, Orbit 19 Lounge, Holiday

The Black Honkeys Fri., Dec. 16, The Beach Bar, Clearwater

Halcyon w/Christie Lenée Sat., Dec. 17, Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa

Koko Ray and The Soul Providers Sat., Dec. 17, Dave's Aqua Lounge, St. Petersburg

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