The xx. On Coexist, the breathy-pretty intones of Romy Madley (guitars, keys) and the fuzzy-burring timbre of Oliver Sim (bass, synths) slide together in gentle melody atop heart-aching minimalist soundscapes of producer/engineer/beatssmith Jamie Smith. The xx have earned across-the-board critical gushing for their sophomore full-length; if you slept on getting tickets to the Ritz to see London’s dreamy indie pop trio, I suggest you start finding that friend with extras, stat. Thurs., Feb. 7, The Ritz Ybor, Ybor City.
Muse. Though Muse have enjoyed platinum success and played to massive audiences overseas since the early ’00s, the UK’s anthemic rock trio didn’t earn arena status in the U.S. until after relentless exposure via the Twilight film franchise, the subsequent release of 2009’s The Resistance, a Grammy win, and a fatty slot opening several dates on U2’s giant 360 Tour in 2010, including the one here in Tampa. Muse finally make their way back, as headliners rocking a 2012 sixth album, The 2nd Law. Sat., Feb. 23, Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa.
Leonard Cohen. On his last stop in Tampa in 2009, iconic 78-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen mesmerized with his accomplished showmanship, debonair style, and self-possessed passion built on more than five decades of experience. His expert phrasing is even more apparent in a live setting, as is his ability to jump effortlessly from spoken word to evocative serenades in his husky baritone, all while leading a multi-piece ensemble through his own finely textured jazz-and-gospel-tinged folk-rock compositions. Cohen returns to the Straz on his world tour backing 2012’s Old Ideas, his first album of new material in eight years. Mon., March 18, Carol Morsani Hall at the Straz Center for Performing Arts, Tampa.
Also on the radar…
Arlo Guthrie: Woody Guthrie’s 100th Birthday Tour. The iconic folk/protest singer hits town on his solo “Here Comes The Kid Tour” honoring his father’s 100th birthday and folk legacy. Feb. 2, Capitol Theatre, Clearwater.
Carolina Chocolate Drops. Grammy-winning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops mightily impressed Tampa audiences at Tropical Heatwave 2011, and finally bring their old-timey folk-blues tunes back to town. They come bearing a 2012 fifth LP, Leaving Eden, and a new member, cellist Leyla McCalla. Feb. 15, Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center, Tampa.
Lotus. Somehow, Philly-Denver instrumental jamtronic groove outfit Lotus has been embraced by the hipster listener sect, and ventures to a bigger venue when they re-visit Tampa on their “Build” tour. Feb. 20, The Ritz Ybor, Ybor City.
Blues at the Crossroads Two. A guitar-licking, harp-blowing tribute concert to two founding fathers of modern Chicago blues — Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf — as staged by The Fabulous Thunderbirds, James Cotton, JJ Grey, Jody Williams and Bob Margolin. Feb. 22, Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg.
Pink, with The Hives. The Forum kicks off a big season of femme-driven poptastic entertainment with ass-kicking songstress Pink, who hits town on the heels of yet another platinum-seller, Truth About Love; first single “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” was Pink’s 12th on the Billboard top 10 since 2000. Feb. 27, Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa.
Gasparilla Music Festival. The only confirmed act for the second GMF is LA-bred Latin-world-funk rock and hip-hop fusion ensemble Ozomatli. An official announcement revealing the rest of the lineup is expected soon, and should deliver some more intriguing notes if the 2012 lineup is any indication. March 9, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, Tampa.Tenacious D. Regardless of your feelings about last year’s Rize of the Fenix, if you consider yourself a Tenacious D fan there’s no way you’ll miss this super rare chance to see cheeky acoustic guitar-rocking twosome Jack Black and Kyle Glass in a live setting. March 11, Hard Rock Live, Orlando.
Lady Gaga. Her “Born This Way Ball” was the fifth highest-grossing tour of last year, and the 2013 second leg makes its way down to Tampa this spring. March 13, Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa.
Deftones. The ferocious, alt-metal Grammy winners celebrate 25 years in 2013 and tour behind well-received 2012 seventh album, Koi No Yokan, their second with bassist Sergio Vega. March 21, Jannus Live, St. Petersburg.
Alicia Keys. This girl is on fire. The piano balladeer and R&B/hip-hop singer-songwriter burns a trail down to Tampa on her “Set the World on Fire Tour.” March 24, Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa.
Rihanna. Rounding out the Forum’s spring pop calendar is Barbados native superstar Rihanna, ranked fourth by Forbes in its “Celebrity 100” list featuring the world’s most powerful celebs based on a year’s earnings ($53 million for Rihanna). April 19, Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa.
The Black Crowes. We were skipped in favor of Orlando for the past few Crowes tours. The Southern psych-and-blues rocking band has finally deigned to return, and to a new venue. Perhaps this time it’ll be one that frontman Chris Robinson likes. April 30, Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg.
Crosby, Stills & Nash. The seminal folk trio returns to Clearwater for another night of acoustic melodies and three-part harmonies. May 7, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater.