Tampa Bay live music Thursday with Emperor X, James Suggs holiday jazz and more

Free concerts, cheap ones and sold-out shows, too.

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✔️= Critic's Pick

✔️ Emperor X w/Alexander And The Grapes/Vetnough Chad Matheny — the Floridian composer better known as Emperor X — is a ball of positive energy, which is amazing considering the obstacles he’s had to overcome (testicular cancer, medical conditions and accidents that have left him legally blind). His infectious brand of indie-pop is just as uplifting, and his stories of traveling the world by train are even more endearing. He supports his “non-cancer record,” Oversleepers International, at this record shop gig where revered St. Pete rock outfit Alexander & the Grapes continues its run toward its still-untitled third full-length that was about 75-percent complete when we last checked in. (Microgroove, Tampa) INFO

✔️ Holiday Jazz w/James Suggs/John O’Leary/Alejandro Arena James Sugg’s new album — You’re Gonna Hear From Me — is one of the Bay area’s best jazz releases of 2018, and the trumpeter is joined by pianist and keyboard player John O’Leary (who just released a funky new album with his band, La Lucha), plus percussionist Alejandro Arena, for this up-close-and-personal concert in downtown St. Pete. Being able to see local jazz talents like this for free is almost offensive, but it’d be even shittier if folks didn’t take advantage of the opportunity. (Independent Bar, St.Petersburg) INFO

✔️ Stephen Christian w/Christian McAlhaney Last Friday, Underoath frontman Spencer Chamberlain suggested that his band and the recently revived Anberlin should play a Tampa headlining show every year. That’d be nice, but the once Winter Haven-based Anberlin is already making the most of their reunion. This show finds lead vocalist Stephen Christian and guitarist Christian McAlhaney teaming up for an extremely rare acoustic set that we suspect may dip into Christian’s Anchor & Braille material (Aaron Marsh, are you out there?) while leaning heavily on tunes Anberlin released during its 10-year run. (The Attic at Rock Brothers Brewing, Ybor City) SOLD OUT

Sunset Sunday Holiday Cruise w/Scott Imrich/DJ Cub/Steph Money Sunset Sundays was one of the best DJ afternoons that the since-shuttered location of New World Brewery ever hosted (a new location is in the works near Sulphur Springs). The series and its el capitans — WMNF’s Scott Imrich, plus DJ Cub and Steph Money — park the yacht-rock at a Tampa Heights shuffleboard hangout for this free-to-attend Thursday night party. (Shuffle, Tampa) INFO

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.


Anclote Symphonic Winds Holiday Concert (Emmanuel Community Church, Palm Harbor) INFO

Gost (Crowbar, Ybor City) CANCELED

WMNF Trivia Night (Red Star Rock Bar, Tampa) INFO

Holey Miss Moley w/The Reality (Ringside Café, St. Petersburg) INFO

TFO Coffee Concert: Orchestra a la Carte (Mahaffey Theater St. Petersburg) INFO

SOUL! Holiday Party w/DJ Gregg Schmidt/Funk Jesus (The Bends, St. Petersburg) INFO

It’s Christmas w/Erica Diceglie Band (Central Park Performing Arts Center, Largo) INFO

Jadget Gam (Dunedin Brewery, Dunedin) INFO

Robby John w/Yanni Acropolis (Red Light Café at The Bunker, Ybor City) INFO

South Tampa House Concerts presents Desmond Bratton (House Show, Tampa) INFO

Below is a list of clubs and restaurants that 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 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


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
Gator's 12754 Kingfish Dr., Treasure Island
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

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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