CL previews upcoming shows

Uncle John's Band, Mountain, the Red Chord

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Thursday, June 7

UNCLE JOHN'S BAND This Tampa Bay-based seven-piece has been honoring the music of the Grateful Dead since 1990, delivering impassioned performances every Thursday night at the Skipperdome since 1998 — many of which I have enthusiastically attended over the years. During UJB's run, the band has earned a reputation as the preeminent cover band in the area. On mandatory numbers like "Truckin,'" "Franklin's Tower" and "Friend of the Devil," they take just enough liberties to re-create the jamming spirit, while still paying tribute to the legacy of the late Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, et al. In addition to Dead numbers, UJB spices its lengthy sets with lively renditions of songs like Neil Young's "Everybody Knows This is Nowhere" and commendable originals by rhythm guitar/vocalist Rich Whiteley. Highly recommended — even if you're not part of the patchouli set. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)

JORAN SLANE w/JENNY FLORY/DOUG SPEARS Auditorium frontman (and CL staffer) Joran Slane, who is also opening for Colbie Caillat on Friday, delivers emotive, artfully rendered musings that sound anything but folkie. Fellow Tampa Bay musician Jenny Flory is a singer/songwriter/acoustic-guitar strummer who sings with the soulfulness of an R&B throwback. And Orlando's Doug Spears brings a rich earthiness to his playing that recalls that of Gordon Lightfoot and a gruffer James Taylor. (Tre Amici at The Bunker, Ybor City)

Friday, June 8

DR. DOG w/ROPPONGI'S ACE/HEADSET Dr. Dog are five young fellas from Philly making blue-eyed soul music with a healthy dose of indie twang. Following glowing reviews in mags like Rolling Stone, opening gigs for bands such as The Strokes, The Raconteurs and Black Keys, Dr. Dog are on their first national headlining tour and coming to town for a Tampa Bay debut. Roppongi's Ace are a local neo-classic rock outfit that made quite a splash last month at Tropical Heatwave. Clearwater's Headset are a duo playing a mellow, spacey — in a good way — brand of alt-country. (Crowbar, Ybor City)

[email protected] This is drummer Jonathan Priest's official last show before he packs it up and heads to North Carolina to pursue a career in Chinese medicine and embark on the next stage of his creative journey. The Bay area is about to lose a valuable asset, as Priest plays with not one but five groups, including [email protected], and he's one of a few beat-keepers I've seen who possesses that can't-take-your-eyes-off-him sort of energy. He can dial into a groove and carry it along as if it were the most natural thing in the world, reeling it in or stretching it out depending on the vibe of the room. [email protected] perform dub and roots reggae and ska, marked by funk jazz and other Afro-Caribbean elements. Don't miss this last chance to see Priest playing with them. (Yeoman's Road Pub, Tampa) —Leilani Polk

MOUNTAIN w/THE DIVE BAR STALKERS/HAMMERSLUG It's my contention that "Mississippi Queen," which reached No. 21 on April 4, 1970, was the first heavy metal Top 40 hit. Go listen to it again. Those guitars are big. The band broke up in '72, re-formed a few times, and now works the classic-rock nostalgia circuit. This lineup includes founder/guitarist/singer Leslie West and early drummer Corky Laing. The Dive Bar Stalkers are a heavy boogie band from Florida, and Hammerslug are an instrumental power trio out of Tampa. (Bourbon Street Nightclub, New Port Richey) —Eric Snider

EARTH BOMBS MARS When Rich Whiteley isn't co-fronting Uncle John's Band (see Thursday's entry) or playing solo, he helms Earth Bombs Mars, a quartet that concentrates on Whiteley's own compositions, adding a refreshing, dreamy jazz element to a solid folk-rock foundation. (Kelly's Pub, Tampa)

ST. PETE INSTITUTE OF NOISE PRESENTS NOISE FEST This event features about 40 bands — most with local ties — performing Friday through Sunday. As the event's name suggests, this is music that is willfully weird. It implements found sounds, electronic outbursts, Eno-ish synthesizers, taped dialogue, manipulated percussion, braying donkeys — stuff that grates on most ears while being considered genius by others. Saturday's lineup includes some of the festival's most notable acts: Chicago's Aaron Zarzutki and Gainesville's Hal McGee. (Transitions Art Gallery @ Skatepark of Tampa)

REV. BILLY C. WIRTZ w/ELVIS WESLEY Skipperdome favorite Billy C. Wirtz brings back his boogie-woogie piano tunes and bawdy stand-up shtick with opener Elvis Wesley, an ex-wrestler and Presley impersonator. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)

PRIDE & PASSION 2007 feat. GIDDY-UP, HELICOPTER! w/VENUS IN FURS The annual Pride and Passion soiree, which is billed as a Celebration of Identity, will feature a performance by Tampa's Giddy-Up, Helicopter!, a popular local shoegaze band that separates itself from fellow mope-rockers with warm arrangements featuring off-the-wall (for the indie set) instruments like lap steel and banjo. The five-piece recently released their debut CD I Am Secretary, and are preparing to embark on a summer tour that will take them up the East Coast and out to Chicago. The opening slot has been reserved for the debut of Venus in Furs, an all-female Velvet Undergound cover band featuring local talents Rebekah Pulley, Karen Collins (bass/vocals), Sandy Grecco (drums) and Laura Taylor (Theremin/vocals) (Museum of Art, Tampa)

Saturday, June 9

JOHN MOONEY & BLUESIANA w/SARASOTA SLIM New Orleans-based bluesman John Mooney has music in his bloodlines; his grandfather played mandolin and banjo in a "raggy jazz" style back in the '20s. As a teenager on the roam, the budding singer/guitarist met the legendary Son House, and the old-timer took Mooney under his wing. Mooney's blues is a mixture of new and vintage, funky and flowing, with plenty of Crescent City spice. Sarasota Slim, one of the Bay area's true blues icons, infuses his music with plenty of swagger and a bevy of grimace-inducing guitar licks. This is the Suncoast Blues Society's 10th anniversary bash. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa) —ES

THE RED CHORD w/THROUGH THE EYES OF THE DEAD/DESPISED ICON/ALL SHALL PERISH A night of death metal headlined by Boston's The Red Chord, a band that's all about the evil grunts and speeding guitar riffs but gets proggy with stop-on-the-dime tempo shifts. Scary shit, but kind of clever, too. (State Theatre, St. Petersburg)

RICHARD ELLIOT w/RICK BRAUN/PETER WHITE Ah, another smooth-jazz extravaganza. Saxophonist Elliot has been tootin' a funky saxophone on the national scene since the '80s. Braun, a trumpeter with an airy, romantic sound, has released a dozen CDs since his 1993 debut. Acoustic guitarist Peter White's music epitomizes the term "breezy." (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater) —ES

TAMPA BAY CARIBBEAN CARNIVAL This two-day event features a variety of acts, with Puerto Rican salsa ensemble El Gran Combo headlining on Saturday and Trinidad reggae/calypso luminary Bunji Garlin enjoying top billing Sunday. (Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg)

THE SEMIS Guitarist/singer Billy Summer fronts this trio that specializes in dirty power-pop and is known for turning downtown St. Pete's favorite dive bar inside out whenever they play it, which is often. (Emerald Bar, St. Petersburg)

Sunday, June 10

BOBBY HICKS w/RONNY ELLIOTT /JIM CARRICK Headliner Bobby Hicks specializes in a cantankerous brand of folk: He's fond of chastising carpetbaggers, developers and The Man. Ronny Elliott is of course capable of delivering a reprimand of the highest order (just ask him about Chubby Checker), but he's also one of the region's most poetic tunesmiths, a man who writes songs like "Bluer than You" and "How Many Stars" that tug on the heartstrings without ever sounding icky. Jim Carrick is an acclaimed finger-picker from St. Augustine. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)

DRAGLINE/ BLACK IN THE MIND/LETTER PERFECT AND TAILGUNNER JOE/THE EARLS OF SLANDER Tampa's Dragline play an old-school style of hard rock that blends screamers with clunky ballads burdened with such lines as "It's not surgery, it's rock and roll." (Crowbar, Ybor City)


FOREVER THE SICKEST KIDS w/FAREWELL/UPPERCLASS TRASH This evening of pop punk is headlined by Dallas-based sextet Forever the Sickest Kids, an ensemble that adds electronica gimmicks to a sound that splits the difference between power-pop and emo. (Crowbar, Ybor City)

ASIA Can a band be labeled a "supergroup" if its component parts were never that super to begin with? If the answer is yes, then Asia can still lay claim to the tag; the group boasts former members of lame mega-proggers like King Crimson, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Yes. Give 'em credit, though, for slogging it out through the lean years, still touring and recording like the world was safe for spandex pants and 35-minute interstellar jams. Asia play Ruth Eckerd Hall the following day (with the Alan Parsons Live Project), Thursday, June 14. (Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota) —Cooper Levey-Baker

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