This Friday & Saturday in live music: Galactic, Black Violin, Leon Russell & more

Concerts, Jan. 30-31.

A nice round-up of live music happening this Friday and Saturday, Jan. 30-31. A breakdown of highlights below.

Black Violin South Florida viola player Wilner “Wil B” Baptiste and violinist Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester are high school friends and orchestra musicians who’ve transitioned to working artists by using their classical chops to build a uniquely distinctive symphonic fusion calling on hip hop, rock, R&B and pop music sounds. Black Violin has two full-lengths to their credit (the last was 2012’s Classically Trained), not to mention a resume that includes performing with Alicia Keys and opening for Wu Tang Clan. (Ferguson Hall at Straz Center for Performing Arts, Tampa)

The Florida Orchestra: Radiohead v. Brahms Lush and mighty symphonic themes from Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 are fused with dark electro-tinged alt rock tracks off Radiohead’s OK Computer in the latest single-night Rock Concert presentation by TFO. Guest conductor/composer/arranger Steve Hackman developed the ‘Mash-Up’ series at the Colorado Music Festival; he’s also tackled Beethoven vs. Coldplay and Copland vs. Bon Iver. In addition to his elegant, heart-squeezing No. 1-OK program, Hackman – joined by vocalists Andrew Lipke, Bill Prokopow and Kéren Tayar – stages another mash-up by the two featured artists, Brahms’ Tragic Overture vs. Radiohead’s “Street Spirit,” along with orchestral renditions of “Idioteque” and “Creep” and the fourth movement of Brahms’ 2nd Symphony. (Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg)

Passafire with Tatanka You’ve seen one reggae rock band, you’ve seen them all, but Savannah four-piece Passafire – signed to reputable reggae label Easy Star Records to release 2013 fifth album Vines – manages to juggle an appealing mix of influences and sonic textures: keys that are urgent organ swells, pluckier melodies or greasy funking lurches, big fatty dub-ready basslines, unexpectedly psychedelic guitar passages that can turn prog-technical, and an overall heavy pounding grind not common in acoustic guitar-wielding groups of this ilk. This is a free all ages Gulfster Presents show. (Jannus Live, St. Petersburg)

Applebutter Express with Under the Willow Florida natives Applebutter Express formed after leader Kyle Biss picked up a ukulele and started writing songs with his then-girlfriend Shannon in 2010. Today, the twosome are married and joined by upright bassist Matt DeSear and fiddler Joe Trivette. The quartet’s eclectic, upbeat folk-grass recently earned national attention when one of their songs, “Hey My Brotha,” was featured in a recent Reese Witherspoon film, The Good Lie; they’ve also played Bonnaroo, Hulaween and various other festival stages. Warm-up on this night by Under the Willow, a bluegrass band with a theatrical folk twist. Clog at your own risk. (Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa) –Adam Hardy

Rock for R.A.K. Benefit feat. Team Cybergeist The founder of Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Southwest Florida stages this metal and hardcore charity show to help the homeless with sets by Frostfang, Slikk Wikked, The Dood, The Defiant, Progressive Chemistry and Team Cybergeist. To get in, attendees are asked to mine closets and find articles to donate – warm men’s clothing like long-sleeve shirts, sweaters, gloves and scarves, blankets, or bags of any reusable sort (duffle, gym, backpacks and otherwise). (Local 662, St. Petersburg)

An Evening with Emerson Hart You know Emerson Hart from his ongoing gig leading AC-friendly alt rock band Tonic (“If You Could Only See,” “Open Up Your Eyes,” “You Wanted More”). Both he and longtime bandmate Jeff Russo are currently working on independent projects; Hart continues to support his second solo full-length, 2014’s Beauty in Disrepair, fueled by the end of his first marriage and the love he’s fallen into since. This Attic Records concert features warm-up from a few local singer-songwriters of the poignant, acoustic guitar-slinging ilk: Forrest Hoffar and Kristopher James. (Hideaway Café & Recording Studio, St. Petersburg)

Blast! Friday – Winter of Love w/The Family Stone Downtown Clearwater’s free, regularly scheduled street party launches in 2015 with a Woodstock-themed event featuring The Family Stone, a group led by former members of Sly and the Family Stone (sax player Jerry Martini, trumpeter/vocalist and drummer Greg Errico) who pay homage to their old music with setlists of Sly hits, including “I Want to Take You Higher, “Everyday People,” “Dance to the Music,” and “Thank you Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin.” The Ries Brothers open. (Cleveland Street, downtown Clearwater)

RedFeather with Archaic Interest, DEA + SAINT, Hussar The two tracks on RedFeather’s fresh Myakka:Fossils EP continue in the iowaska-dosed folk-experimental vein that the quartet has explored since forming a few years back, Mark Etherington’s high-toned haunting calls soaring over spacious, tribal-percussive acoustic-and-electric-guitar-driven instrumentals that build to powerful crescendos and clock in at over seven minutes each. This free Fubar date is bolstered by some eclectic high-quality warm-up and kicks-off at 10 p.m. (Fubar, St. Petersburg)

It’s Gonna Blow!!!: San Diego’s Music Underground 1986-1996 Tampa Screening Tampa is among the few cities outside Cali premiering this new feature-length documentary, which uses artist interviews and live footage to examine San Diego’s post-hardcore DIY music scene and the period of growth that occurred when its denizen uneasily and unwittingly attracted mainstream attention. After the screening, two Tampa Bands, Nude Tayne and Stress USA, deliver fully improvised live performances. Admission is $5; the screening starts at 8 p.m. sharp. (Epic Problem, Tampa)

Engelbert Humperdinck I’ve always thought it intriguing how a man with such a hilarious mouthful of a name managed to score so much dough writing schmaltzy pop songs. But I suppose Engelbert Humperdinck has a certain mild Elvis appeal, even if his music – of which there is a ridiculous amount, six decades worth – is much more akin to Bacharach-style easy listening. His most recent release, last year’s Engelbert Calling, includes duets with big names like Elton John, Willie Nelson, Shelby Lynn and Gene Simmons. This is apparently his 25th appearance at Ruth Eckerd. (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater)

Twisted Chalet feat. Hell on Earth with Rising Up Angry, Arise To Burn & more Remember the band that announced they’d be helping a terminally ill fan commit suicide at one of their shows back in 2003, and managed to stir up so much controversy that the Florida Senate passed a bill barring the “exploitation of self-murder” for “commercial or entertainment purposes”? Yeah, that was Hell on Earth, a Tampa-spawned industrial metal outfit responsible for such songs as “The A.I.D.S. Infested Blood of Christ” and “My God Is Heroin.” Their live show is a revolting mix of freaky costuming and stunts that include anything from selling ‘whores’ on stage to the highest bidder, to blending up a cow’s heart and making shakes for the most blood-thirsty fans. This particular ‘Twisted Chalet’ show promises plenty more in the way of dark depravity. (The Social Club, Ybor City)

Tinsley Ellis with Dre and the Collective Veteran bluesman Tinsley Ellis comes to town on the eve of issuing his latest album, Tough Love, out February 3 on Alligator Records. B.B. King’s influence can be heard in the soulful lyrics, and Ellis’ powerfully raw, guitar-fueled sound hearkens back to the origins of rock itself. (Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa) –Seth Peterson

Set and Setting, Downfall of Gaia, Kodama  St. Petersburg's Set and Setting had a great 2014, what with their signing to LA's respected LA-based heavy music label Prosthetic Records, national tours with Mouth of the Architect and Pallbearer, and the subsequent release of sophomore full-length A Vivid Memory. The instrumental post-metal/classical/drone quintet kicked off 2015 with a nine-date East Coast tour in support of the album joined by Germany doom metal outfit Downfall of Gaia, and ending in St. Pete on this night. (Fubar, St. Petersburg)

Leon Russell “A Song for You” has been covered by no less than 70 people, from Herbie Hancock’s Grammy- nominated smooth jazz rendition featuring Christina Aguilera, to Bon Iver’s delicately lovely mash-up with Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. ‘Course, Leon Russell’s original stands rather well on its own, otherwise why else would it get re-imagined so much? The blues rocking, Southern boogieing and country-folk rolling singer-songwriter has been active for more than five decades, but enjoyed a renaissance after his 2010 collab with fellow piano man Elton John; last year’s Life Journey is an album of covers that pay homage to the influences and styles he’s delved into through his career. (Capitol Theatre, Clearwater)

Darkhorse Saloon with The Dull Blades, Gino & the Goons Jacksonville four-piece Darkhorse Saloon doles out ‘70s-evocative rock n’ roll with modern stoner and psychedelic qualities not unlike Queens of the Stone Age – ominous groaning and droning vocals, grinding and squealing guitars, drums pounding through heavy pointed rhythms. (New World Brewery, Ybor City)

Merchandise with Parquet Courts, Soda Merchandise returns to the hometown frontman Carson Cox called a “cultural wasteland” with hard-buzzing garage rock four-piece Parquet Courts. Story on the latter here. Though this show is sold out, a limited number of tickets will be available at the door. (American Legion Hall, Tampa)

click to enlarge Galactic - Zack Smith
Zack Smith

Galactic with Monophonics New Orleans generates a wellspring of funk-jazz talent. Amid the most reputable and relevant is Galactic, active two decades with a sonic palette that stays firmly grooving via the strong backbeat of famed drummer extraordinaire Stanton Moore, while soaked in the ass-shaking sounds of their hometown (including bounce music), and spiced up with effects, samples, and experiments in hip hop, electronica, Latin music and jazz fusion, all marked by the warped and distorted howls of sax player/harmonica blower Ben Ellman. Make sure to arrive early and catch Monophonics, a psych-soul outfit from San Franscisco with impressive live power. (State Theatre, St. Petersburg)

The Rhythm Kings Orchestra Fri., Jan. 30, Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, Tarpon Springs
Wildstylez Fri., Jan. 30, Amphitheatre, Ybor City
Smokestack Lightning/Phil Coale Band/Soma Riot Fri., Jan. 30, Market on 7th, Ybor City
Banditos Fri., Jan. 30, Dunedin Brewery, Dunedin
Refusal of Fate w/Rockstarr Bentley/Demented Truth/Solace & Ruin/Wicked Revolution Sat., Jan. 31, Local 662, St. Petersburg
Hymn for Her Sat., Jan. 31, Ale and the Witch, St. Petersburg
Mushmind/Shadynasty/Samurai Shotgun/Poster/Trials Sat., Jan. 31, Crowbar, Ybor City
Imani Sat., Jan. 31, Hideaway Café & Recording Studio, St. Petersburg
Gasparilla Post-Party w/Oscar G Sat., Jan. 31, Hyde Park Café, Tampa
The Fritz Sat., Jan. 31, Dunedin Brewery, Dunedin
Mosquito Teeth/SINGOD/The JPP/Tomb Of Ligeia/Julia Set Sat., Jan. 31, Brass Mug, Tampa

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