They Might Be Giants, Pat Metheny Trio and Alejandro Escovedo

Concerts of the week

click to enlarge They Might Be Giants - Joshua Kessler
Joshua Kessler
They Might Be Giants

Gentle Giants

Long considered precursors to the alternative rock movement of the '90s, They Might Be Giants (named after a 1971 film starring George C. Scott) relied on whimsy and quirk more than angst, so when grunge exploded out of Seattle — not long after the band scored a gold album with Flood in 1990 — TMBG was soon consigned to cult status. Founding members John Flansburgh and John Linnell, childhood friends from Massachusetts, have stayed the course over the years, releasing witty, eclectic CDs bulging with irony and fun, and touring incessantly. Their most recent disc, last year's The Else, is another terrific addition to the canon — grabby power-pop with just enough weirdness and frivolity to make it unique. Always out-of-the-box thinkers, TMBG, while working their way up through the New York underground in the early '80s, set up Dial-A-Song, a phone line that played songs on an answering machine.
They Might Be Giants w/Oppenheimer/The Postmarks, 8 p.m. Tues., March 11, Jannus Landing. $22 advance, $26 day of, —Eric Snider

A Pat case

Back in the '80s and into the '90s, Pat Metheny was one of the only legit jazz artists to fill theaters in Tampa Bay. His 30-plus-year career has seen the guitarist/composer earn critical plaudits and commercial success, which are often mutually exclusive in the jazz world. The Pat Metheny Group, his larger ensemble, seduced people with its grandiose melodies, epic arrangements and expert improvisation. It was jazz with crossover appeal that never fell into the black hole known as "smooth." In recent years, Metheny has been more apt to tour with his trio, which includes bassist Christian McBride and drummer Antonio Sanchez. This aggregation plays a more challenging, yet still accessible, program that hews closer to acoustic jazz orthodoxies. Metheny reworks some of his old compositions, emphasizing expansive solos over meticulous arrangements.
Pat Metheny Trio, 7:30 p.m. Mon., March 10, Tampa Theatre. $51, $38.75, —ES

Under his own influence

Co-founder of the influential cow-punk band Rank and File, which formed in '79, and a member of the trailblazing Austin, Texas, outfit the True Believers in the '80s, Alejandro Escovedo found a sympathetic audience for his iconoclastic brand of Texas music during the alt-country boom of the 1990s. A series of acclaimed solo albums — Gravity, Thirteen Years, With These Hands — prompted the alt-country mag No Depression to name Escovedo its artist of the decade. In 2001, he issued A Man Under the Influence, his career best. A subsequent bout of hepatitis C nearly killed him, but he bounced back; his performance at WMNF's 2005 Tropical Heatwave sent chills up the spine. For this 'MNF gig, Escovedo will perform as part of an acoustic duo with guitarist David Pulkingham.
Alejandro Escovedo, 8 p.m. Fri., March 7, Palladium, St. Petersburg, $20. —WT

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