Fall Arts Preview 2016: Music

Concerts you defnitely can't miss and even more you probably shouldn't.

Brian Wilson The Beach Boys mastermind is bringing Pet Sounds to St. Pete in honor or the album’s 50th anniversary. The LP was considered almost experimental in its era and not instantly adored by critics or fans, which Wilson admits baffled him. There’s no confusion about it anymore. Half a century after its release, Pet Sounds still stands as one of the bravest, most innovative and holy collections of modern pop music. Bands across all genres are still inspired by the way the album’s amazing collection of instruments both traditional and head-scratching coalesced so well. Wilson, for his part, is getting old, and conversations with him are still famously short. What really stood out in our chat with the legend was a still-fresh adoration of the songs on Pet Sounds and the way he’s bringing them to life on stage. Another ‘60s heavyweight, Van Morrison, has already sold out his three nights in town, and it’ll be a wonder if there are still tickets available for this show by the time this preview sees print. September 13, Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg

Leon Bridges w/Lianne La Havas Look at his face. Leon Bridges is a boy. Still, the music he makes is straight out of your grandmother’s fancy AM radio. The 27-year-old Fort Worth, Texas songwriter has moved well beyond his early days of house shows and obscurity thanks to a love of old soul and R&B, which he faithfully recreates on a fantastic debut LP, Coming Home. These days, Bridges is playing big theaters and even secured a spot on President Barack Obama’s summer playlist alongside artists like Aretha Franklin, Gary Clark Jr., and Courtney Barnett. His stop at Ruth Eckerd Hall promises to be full-on nostalgia complete with pressed suits, old-school backdrops, and old-school manners, too. If there was ever a time for guys like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke to be reincarnated, it is now, and Leon Bridges is exactly the guy to carry the torch. September 14, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater

Merchandise LP release w/Public Memory/Sleeping Pills/Naga Why all the hullabaloo about a local band playing a local club in the middle of September? Because that local band is Tampa’s Merchandise, a collection of 813-raised misfits and sonic Jacque Cousteaus who evolved from the hardcore scene and remain blindly devoted to their mission to marry their many collective influences into a sound that isn’t always popular, yet always true to the creative impulses frontman Carson Cox & co. feel inside. They released an excellent ‘80s-influenced LP, After the End, on famed UK imprint 4AD Records, and will celebrate a sophomore album, A Corpse Wired For Sound, at one of Ybor City’s busiest rock clubs. It’ll be tough to top the debauched, boozed-soaked affair that marked the release of After the End at downtown Tampa dive The Hub in the summer of 2014, but we’re willing to bet that Merchandise’s growing legion of fans and loyalists will do their best to have good ol’ time at this one. UPDATE: Since we've printed this, Merchadise announced an even more intimate LP release show at Mojo Books & Music in Tampa — details on that show are available at CL's events page. September 23, Crowbar, Ybor City

The Florida Orchestra: Pops in the Park In October, the Florida Orchestra is going on tour — sort of. Almost a century ago, several different iterations of the collective saw their fair share of monikers (Tampa Symphony Orchestra, Tampa Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Symphony), but in 1966 a merger finally came to fruition in dramatic fashion (think of a nautical union in the center of Tampa Bay) to create the Florida Gulf Coast Symphony. TFO finally adopted its current name in the ‘80s and three decades later continues its mission to enrich the cultural life of the Tampa Bay area with live symphonic music. Their Pops in the Park series will stop in St. Pete and Tampa in October, and is set to blast the sounds of pop tunes, plus film & Broadway hits, before ending with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. The shows are free, and the Orchestra is encouraging attendees to bring canned goods for a food drive that benefits Tampa Bay Harvest, a Brandon-based nonprofit that delivers food to charities that feed the hungry across the area. October 15, Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg & October 16, River Tower Park, Sulphur Springs, Tampa

Dolly Parton Tell your out-of-town family to come to Tampa for Thanksgiving because there’s no reason for you to not be around for a show from the original — and still reigning — queen of country music. Dolly Parton says, “you’re never old unless you choose to be,” and she’s going to express all of that at this Amalie Arena show supporting — brace yourself — studio album no. 43. Pure and Simple, released in August, was born out of two intimate shows at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, which Parton, 70, recreated at her Dollywood compound 200 miles away. The shows featured a stripped-down set-up, which will be what fans see at this show where Parton promises to work through cuts from the new album while also weaving in songs fans haven’t heard in a while, and the hits. November 26, Amalie Arena, Tampa


Donovan, September 7, Capitol Theatre, Clearwater INFO
Baroness w/Pallbearer, September 7, State Theatre, St. Petersburg INFO
Arturo Sandoval, September 17, Busch Gardens “Red Carpet Series,” Tampa INFO
Schoolboy Q w/Joey Bada$$, September 28, Jannus Live, St. Petersburg INFO
Clearwater Jazz Holiday w/Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue/Daryl Hall/Kool & the Gang/Preservation Hall Jazz Band/Commodores/Houndmouth/The Lone Bellow/The Mavericks & more, October 13-16, Coachman Park, Clearwater INFO
Jason Isbell w/Josh Ritter, October 19, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater INFO
Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor, October 26-27, Ybor City (various venues) INFO
Lindsey Stirling, November 1, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater INFO
Kevin Devine w/Pinegrove/Julien Baker/Petal, November 5, Orpheum, Ybor City INFO
Animal Collective w/ Actress, November 8, The Ritz, Ybor City INFO
Rhye, November 13, State Theatre, St. Petersburg INFO
Drive-By Truckers w/Kyle Craft, November 16, Tampa Theatre, Tampa INFO
The Havana Cuba All-Stars, November 17, Straz Center, Tampa INFO
BCS Championship Concert Series, January 6-8, Curtis Hixon Park, Tampa
Van Morrison, January 17, 18, 19 Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater SOLD OUT


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Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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