Tampa Bay live music Friday with Florida Orchestra's Gershwin performance and more

Cracker and Camper van Beethoven sold out Skipper's, too.

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✔️=Critic's Pick

✔️ The Florida Orchestra: Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue The Florida Orchestra is very busy this week, and three performances of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue — which married the worlds of jazz and classical — are just the beginning. Cuban pianist Aldo López Gavilán will guest on keys for the concerts where Thomas Wilkins conducts the Gershwin piece along with one from William Grant Still’ (Symphony No. 1 “Afro-American”) and another from Antonin Dvorak (Symphony No. 7). Those who caught López-Gavilán give a dazzling 2017 performance of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with TFO know that this show (or the others in St. Petersburg and Clearwater) are not to be missed. A pre-concert talk starts one hour before the concert, and free tickets for kids and teens are available if procured in advance. More info available via floridaorchestra.org. (David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa) INFO

✔️ Cracker w/Camper Van Beethoven David Lowery is making mad money on Friday, friends. The 58-year-old Texas songwriter hits the stage twice for this sold-out Skipper’s Smokehouse show that features both Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven taking the stage. Collectively, both bands (led by Lowery) have released four albums in the last five years — and all of the efforts feel like personal odes to the north and south regions of California. Don’t worry if you slept on tickets to this one, however, since both bands almost always tour together, somewhere in America, every winter. (Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa) SOLD OUT

Row Jomah Last year, Row Jomah pondered the end of an affair on “Shred the Gnar” from its 2017 LP, Guns & God & Gold. “The actual song is about the stream of consciousness things that go through a person’s head when they’re trying to figure out where a relationship went wrong,” frontman Joe Roma told CL about the track, which the band has been playing live — and enjoying — for years without lyrics. “I’ve purposely never written lyrics, just a general motif and a couple lyrical themes that repeat. I like the idea of the song taking on the life of however I’m feeling that particular day, every time I sing it.” This late-ish show is free to attend. (Ella’s Americana Folk Art Café, Tampa) INFO

New Year, New Me: Art Show and Fundraiser w/Betty Dawl One half of Tampa duo Trapfone (Betty Dawl) handles the tunes as Independent Bar’s Seminole Heights location stages an art show that takes a long look at the art of Bay area designer Chris Preston (whom CL tapped for the cover of its 2017 Music Issue). Proceeds from the sales of Coppertail beer will go to nonprofit Boards For Bros, which provides free skateboards to Tampa Bay’s underserved youth. Playstation nerds will be happy, too, since the event also features a Tony Hawk: Pro Skater competition complete with prizes for first and second place. (Independent Bar and Café, Tampa) INFO


Florida Folk Scene Showcase w/Mountain Holler/Matt Walker/The Wandering HoursSeveral venue owners reached out to CL after we published a story about the closure of St. Petersburg venue Fubar, which shut its doors after New Year’s Eve. One of those owners was Robert Hughes, who wanted to assure our readers that Cage Brewing was committed to being a home for the arts in the new year. Hughes — along with organizers of the Florida Folk Scene showcase — are putting their money where their mouths are with this free show featuring solo crooner Mountain Holler, once Rhode Island-based songwriter Matt Walker and neo-traditional mountain folk outfit The Wandering Hours. (Cage Brewing, St. Petersburg) INFO

Marshall Tucker Band Nearly half a century of Southern rock gold gets celebrated when Marshall Tucker Band (which sold out The Cap in 2017) returns to downtown Clearwater with its hits — “Heard It In a Love Song,” “Fire On The Mountain,” “Can’t You See,” and “Take The Highway” — in tow. This is the kickoff of a massive 2019 tour, so expect longtime bandleader Doug Gray to work out a few kinks at the intimate gig. “The tour is not completely put together yet,” Gray recently told popculture.com. “We’re not in a resurgence — that’s an old word that everybody uses. But we’re in a continued path that’s above our normal route. People take the high road and the low road. Well we’re riding the middle, and we’re happy being in the middle all these years, because we don’t stop.” (Capitol Theatre, Clearwater) INFO

Highway To Hell w/Ultimate Def Leppard It wouldn’t be First Friday in St. Petersburg without a slight dose of mainstream weirdness, so here’s a one-two cover band punch that indulges in the already over-the-top opulence of both AC/DC and Def Lep. This is a free, all-ages show, so don’t let our curmudgeonly, salty outlook dissuade you from having a good time on the cheap. (Jannus Live, St. Petersburg) INFO

Doo Dah Beasties It’ll be about 72 hours too late, but we’re hoping that Bay area pop and folk band Doo Dah Beasties plays its ultra-punchy and catchy 2016 single, “New Year’s Day” at this free show happening at one of St. Petersburg’s perennially overlooked live music strongholds. (The Ale & the Witch, St. Petersburg) INFO

#Pound Friday w/Nerd Rage/D3V/Lizzy Jane/Winta Defining ourselves by gender is so 2018, but here’s a late-night EDM gig where dudes can get in free before 11:30 p.m. (ladies get in and drink for free until midnight). One of the Bay area’s longest-running dubstep producers, Nerd Rage, headlines the show where a handful of tried-and-true #Pound Friday residents play support. (The Ritz, Ybor City) INFO

Gloria West & The Gents w/Anthony Castellano/James Suggs/Paul Gavin A drop of jazz will play well alongside pints of the good stuff being offered at Ybor City’s best new brewery. It’s not uncommon to see singer Gloria West — plus frequent collaborators Anthony Castellano, James Suggs and Paul Gavin — on a Bay area stage together, but we’ll still make plans to stop in for a few tunes at this free show. (Zydeco Brew Werks, Ybor City) INFO


*See a list of venues hosting residencies and tribute or cover bands at the bottom of this post.

Oxford Noland w/Kerry CourtneyDonna Lu (The Bends, St. Petersburg) INFO

Duo Sol Caliente (Paul’s Landing at The Vinoy, St. Petersburg) INFO

80s Party w/DJ Evan Sanders (Red Star Rock Bar, Tampa) INFO

La Lucha (Marchand’s at The Vinoy, St. Petersburg) INFO

Zachary Biss (The Horse and Jockey, South Pasadena) INFO

Tres Chingones w/Demian Gordon (Brass Mug, Tampa) INFO

Somatic (Dunedin Brewery, Dunedin) INFO

Lisa Noe w/Kelly Neff/Melissa Crispo (Hideaway Café, St. Petersburg) INFO

Trill Jam (Pegasus Night Club, Tampa) INFO

Danielle Mohr (Nebraska Mini-Mart, Tampa) INFO

Below is a list of clubs and restaurants that either regularly book both original music acts as well as tribute and cover bands or feature a concert calendar stocked with higher-quality residents. Follow the links to the see more.


c. 1949 Florida Beer Garden 6905 N Orleans Ave., Tampa
Hideaway Café 1756 Central Ave., St. Petersburg
Jazz House Supper Club 9331 East Adamo Dr., Tampa
The Landing at Jannus 200 First Ave N., St. Petersburg
The Living Room 487 Main St., Dunedin
The Mandarin Hide 231 Central Ave., St. Petersburg
Ringside Café 16 2nd St N., St. Petersburg
Ruby's Elixir 15 3rd St. N., St. Petersburg 
Seminole Hard Rock Café 5223 Orient Rd, Tampa
Tampa Armature Works 1910 N Ola Ave., Tampa
The Vinoy Renaissance 501 5th Ave NE, St. Petersburg

Tribute/Cover/Open Mics

3 Daughters Brewing 222 22nd St., St. Petersburg
Buckets Grill & Tap 4535 Gunn Hwy., Tampa
Captain Jack’s On The Water 21 Oscar Hill Rd., Tarpon Springs
Caddy's On The Beach 9000 W Gulf Blvd, Treasure Island
Café Hey 1540 N Franklin St., Tampa
Gator's 12754 Kingfish Dr., Treasure Island
Green Iguana 4029 S. Westshore Blvd., Tampa
Ferg's Live 490 Channelside Dr., Tampa
JD's Restaurant & Lounge 125 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach
Hula Bay Club 5210 W Tyson Ave., Tampa
O'Briens Irish Pub Multiple Locations, Tampa
Rick's On The River 2305 N Willow Ave., Tampa
Smokin' 19 3080-3090 34th St N., St. Petersburg
Two Buks 1915 N. Hercules Ave., Clearwater
Yeoman Cask & Lion (two locations: 202 N. Morgan St., Tampa; 200 1st Ave. S., St. Petersburg)

There’s more to the Tampa Bay concert calendar, and we’ve got it waiting for you on local.cltampa.com. Visit cltampa.com/music every day to get daily concert roundups plus all the latest concert announcements and local music. Follow us on Twitter (@cl_music) and subscribe to the newsletter, too.

About The Author

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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