This week in Tampa Bay area live music: Carolina Chocolate Drops, Sevendust, Yonder Mountain String Band & more

THURSDAY, JANUARY 30
Nekromantix w/The Scurvy, Housebroken, Switchblade Villain
Among the subject matter covered by LA-by-way-of-Denmark’s psychobilly trio Nekromantix: skyscraper-sized spiders converging on NYC, lesser-known serial killers of the real (“Jack the Stripper”) and horror flick (“Driller Killer”) variety, demon girls and dead girls and dirty girls and ghoul girls. In sum, dark and morbid imaginings as driven by namesake Kim Nekroman’s booming vocals and pounding and plucking on upright "coffinbass" — a custom-crafted double bass with coffin-shaped body and cross-shaped headstock. He’s toured as leader of the psychobilly band since 1989 and seen 14 different players run through the ranks. Currently, he’s joined by guitarist Francisco Mesa and lady drummer Lux, with him since 2011 eighth studio album What Happens in Hell, Stays in Hell. (Orpheum, Ybor City)

Keb’ Mo’ The 62-year-old contemporary bluesman otherwise known as Kevin Moore has three Grammys to show for more than two decades of active music making, and he’s dabbled in various blues moods, from rambling rural sounds dredged straight from the Delta to more straightforward axe-licked scorchers. He’s adept on acoustic, electric and resonator guitars, has an easy sliding technique, and his vocals have a warm and soothing timbre. He hasn’t issued a new record since 2011’s The Reflection, but he does have some fresh material he’ll be trying out on this latest tour. (Capitol Theatre, Clearwater)

FRIDAY, JANUARY 31
Yonder Mountain String Band w/The Travelin' McCourys
No one throws a jamgrass hoedown like Yonder Mountain String Band, purveyors of romping tunes powered by banjo, upright bass, mandolin guitar, and four-part vocal harmonies. Four-track latest YMSB EP '13 was self-produced and released on their own Frog Pad Records label, and features one song written and sung by each band member. YSMB hits town minus regular bandmate Jeff Austin (who’s taking a break to welcome his first child into the world). To make up for his absence, another top-notch mando player, Ronnie McCoury, and fiddler Jason Carter (both of Del McCoury Band and The Travelin' McCourys) join YMSB during the first few weeks of their 2014 tour, with Travelin' McCourys (which also includes Rob McCoury on banjo and bassist Alan Bartram) opening the show. (Jannus Live, St. Petersburg)

click to enlarge Damon Fowler - Misty Leigh McElroy
Misty Leigh McElroy
Damon Fowler
  • Misty Leigh McElroy
  • Damon Fowler

Damon Fowler Group w/The Gold Hope Group Amid recording and playing with JP Soars and Victor Wainwright in Southern Hospitality, greasy swampy blues rock guitarist and gritty soulful vocalist Damon Fowler has been working on his third solo effort for Blind Pig Records. Sounds of Home was recorded with Tab Benoit at the latter’s Louisiana home studio, Fowler’s chops on slide, lap steel, and dobro on full display as they’ll be on this night in celebration of the album’s release. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)

The Orchestra Among the classic rock bands I never really got into but have come to appreciate in my later (post-30) years is Electric Light Orchestra. ELO (originally formed by Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne) delivered finely-arranged symphonic prog rock with hooky pop melodies on a dozen or so albums in the 1970s and ‘80s, and you probably know more of their songs than you realize — “Mr. Blue Sky,” “Evil Woman,” “Livin’ Thing,” “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” and “Xanadu” to name a few. Neither Lynne nor Wood are involved in ‘The Orchestra,’ an extension of ELO2 minus ELO drummer Bev Bevan and including original(ish) ELO musicians Louis Clark (synths, keys, orchestral arrangements) and violinist Mik Kaminski with guitarist/keysman Eric Troyer (ELO2), drummer Gordon Townsend, guitarist Parthenon Huxley (ELO2) and bassist Glen Burtnik. The six-piece performs ELO material with orchestral accompaniment for this Rock Symphony Series presentation; Robin Zander Band opens. (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater)

Barrier w/Adaliah Hardcore and heavy metal fans hitting this Friday night show are sure to mosh so hard their kids’ll be born dizzy. Metalcore outfit Barrier (from Chicago) spews callous and unapologetic aggression, stress-testing the structural integrity of every city they play with quaking guitars and bass, drums that hit like howitzer shells, and vocals that are a screaming reflection of pent up rage. Like-sounding Brandenton sextet Adaliah also performs. (Epic Problem, Tampa) —Shawn Ohtani

UZ Enigmatic producer UZ (stylized ‘ƱZ’) dishes out that sub-bass pumpin’ Southern crunkin’ brand of electro known as trap music, his sounds strewn with sonic splices, samples and synthesized beat-driven flotsam. UZ’s 2012 debut EP Trap Shit 6/9 (ŤɌ∆Ҏ ᶊῌῗ†6/9) was released on Jeffrees, a sub-label of Diplo’s Mad Decent imprint. (Amphitheatre, Ybor City)

  • Jake Shimabukuro

Jake Shimabukuro “I fell in love with the limitations of the instrument because I never saw the limitations as something that would hold me back,” Jake Shimabukuro comments in the trailer for 2012’s Life on Four Strings, a documentary shedding light on the Hawaiian four-string shredder and ukulele superstar. The doc was issued on DVD last year, as was a new live concert release, Grand Ukulele: Live in Boulder, featuring Shimabukuro performing material off the album of the same with his usual solo uke fusion of jazz, blues, classical, rock, bluegrass, folk, funk and flamenco music. Of his latest “Uke Nations Tour,” Shimabukuro commented, “I’ve worked up some new songs and arrangements. It’s going to be a bit more experimental this time around.” The uke whiz sold out the Capitol Theatre on his last few stops; this’ll be the first time he plays its newly restored confines. (Capitol Theatre, Clearwater)

The Cigar City Rollers A local quartet with the loose jazzed-trained grooviness of Medeski Martin and Wood as soaked in the funky vibes of New Orleans. Cigar City Rollers was formed last spring by bassist Kenny Green (Bird Street Players), drummer Dave “Bushman” Wooten, and guitarist Ian Tilp, who are currently joined by keysman Steve Holcombe. (Ella's Americana Folk Art Café, Tampa)

Barry Manilow He may be the king of all things schmaltz but 70-year-old Barry Manilow has enough staying power to continue filling arenas more than three decades after his last No. 1 AC charter, his pop cultural persistence paired with hits like “Mandy,” “I Write the Songs,” “Looks Like We Made It” and (likely most well-known) “Copacabana (At the Copa)” helping him withstand the test of time. (Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa)

Sevendust w/Butcher Babies, Wilson, Drvn Exploding onto the metal scene in the 1990s with Billboard charters like “Denial” and “Waffle,” Sevendust remains a shining example of the best that era had to offer. The Atlanta-bred Lajon Witherspoon-led quintet is still a heavyweight contender in the metal arena, especially after the release of last year’s Black Out the Sun; their ninth full-length was ranked the best heavy metal album of 2013 by reputable genre site MetalSucks.net. (State Theatre, St. Petersburg) —SO

  • Sevendust

McCormick Marimba Festival An annual event as founded by USF Music Professor Robert McCormick a dozen years ago, “to promote the study of performance practice, interpretation and the introduction of new literature in marimba performance.” Students of the under-appreciated percussion instrument from USF, SPC, UCF and Pennsylvania’s Westchester State University join soloists from Mexico, Brazil and France to take part in the two-day fest — a Friday evening (7 p.m.) solo showcase followed by a Saturday (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) packed with recitals by solo performers, ensembles and even some high school-age players. (USF-MUS Concert Hall, Tampa)

Peanut Butter Lovesicle w/Drake & Sofia, Lions After Dark Cock-rocking guitar riffs, propulsive low-end grooves and vigorous pounding rhythms make up the sounds of Pennsylvania power trio Peanut Butter Lovecicle, which mixes elements of vintage classic rock and metal (ala Jimi Hendrix and Deep Purple) with modern genre-hopping twists and turns and stoner-psychedelic sensibilities. Second EP Dirty Pride was recorded with legendary producer Henry Hirsch (Lenny Kravitz, Mick Jagger) at his 1869 church-turned-studio in Hudson Valley, N.Y. (New World Brewery, Ybor City)

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1
Arctic Monkeys w/The Orwells
The fifth album from snotty Brit invasion garage/psych rock foursome Arctic Monkeys (currently based in LA) has been growing on me like a fungus; at first I thought AM was too classic rock derivative, but then I decided I didn’t care because the grooves were so damn good. Apparently I’m not the only one; tickets to this show have been sold out for weeks. Good luck finding a pair. (Jannus Live, St. Petersburg)

  • Carolina Chocolate Drops

Carolina Chocolate Drops Carolina Chocolate Drops were virtual unknowns before their Grammy win for fourth album and Nonesuch Records debut Genuine Negro Jig exposed them to a whole new segment of folk-roots fans. Since then, the old timey string band has amassed an impressive following, issued two more recordings (including another full-length, 2012’s Leaving Eden), expanded and adjusted the lineup, and added some blues and jazz notes to their sonic flavor. Original founding member Rhiannon Giddens (5-string banjo, fiddle, kazoo) is currently joined by Hubby Jenkins (guitar, mandolin, 5-string banjo, bones), Rowan Corbett (guitar, bones, snare drum, cajon, djembe) and cellist Malcom Parson. (Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center, downtown Tampa)

Localtopia This huge free salute to all things St. Pete serves as the two-year anniversary party of Keep Saint Petersburg Local. In addition to more than 100 vendors, a craft beer garden serving brews by Cycle, Green Bench and St. Petersburg Brewing, and various family-friendly and artistic diversions, Localtopia features live music and entertainment all day long by Jun, Halibut, Electric Landlady, Rebekah Pulley & The Reluctant Prophets, Applebutter Express and Betty Fox Band, among others, as well as in-the-round "Living Room Live" performances by Forrest Hoffar, John Holt III, Shane SD Anderson and Ed Woltil as presented by Hideaway Café & Recording Studio. (Williams Park, St. Petersburg)

SubAp! Anniversary Party w/Wolf-Face, X Priest X, Alexander & the Grapes, Def Poets, Sunshine State Full disclosure: Suburban Apologist founder Ray Roa does some freelance writing for CL. Which, more than anything else, should indicate the quality of local music scene coverage offered by his grassroots site, and why it’s celebrating three years of prolonged existence on this night. The lineup for SubAp!’s anniversary party includes Michael J. Fox-channeling punk rock faves Wolf-Face (a review of their rad new album, Still a Son of A Bitch, forthcoming) and newish Gainesville outfit Sunshine State, led by Against Me! former Warren Oakes with Troy Perlman (Whiskey and Co, The Enablers), Mike Magarelli (The Scaries) and Kyle Fick (The Featured Creatures). (New World Brewery, Ybor City)

  • Steep Canyon Rangers

Steep Canyon Rangers The Grammy-winning bluegrass quintet that normally accompanies Steve Martin on the road when the actor/comedian is doing the musician thing — dude plays a mean banjo — hits town minus Martin’s star power and plus new Rounder Records full-length, Tell The Ones I Love, which features drumming by fellow NC musician Jeff Sipe (Leftover Salmon, Aquarium Rescue Unit). Steep Canyon Rangers pairs tuneful multi-voice harmonies with strong songcraft and tight instrumentals on guitar, banjo, mandolin, bass, and fiddle. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2
St. Pete Pre-International Noise Conference
A prelude to the International Noise Conference held in Miami Feb. 4-8; 23 performers (including Whitey Alabastard, John Freda, Love Brrd, BLK/MAS) deliver 10-minute sets of noisy sonic experimentation from 12:30 to 7:10 p.m. Admission is free. (The Venture Compound, St. Petersburg)

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4
10 Years: Live and Unplugged
Knoxville alt metal makers 10 Years hit town on the heels of issuing Live & Unplugged at the Tennessee Theatre, an EP featuring live stripped-down versions of select tracks from their six-album catalog. This performance is in the same format, with added unplugged cuts. (State Theatre, St. Petersburg)

Queens of the Stone Age w/Chelsea Wolfe The fantastic hard rocking n’ seething band from California hits the ‘Burg fresh off closing down the 56th annual Grammys with Dave Grohl, Nine Inch Nails and Lindsey Buckingham. Find out more in the story HERE. (Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg)

  • The Airborne Toxic Event

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 5
The Airborne Toxic Event
On their third and latest LP, The Airborne Toxic Event takes a step back from their normally anthemic and lushly-orchestrated mix of alt rock and synth pop to get a bit more earnest and emotive. Unfortunately the tracks on 2013’s Such Hot Blood proving strongest are the ones that return to Airborne Toxic’s trademark sonic ways. Here’s hoping this live date finds them sticking with more heartening fare ala “Sometime Around Midnight” and leaving all the more plodding numbers off the setlist. (State Theatre, St. Petersburg)

Bring Me The Horizon w/Of Mice & Men, Issues, Letlive. Incorporating elements of everything from classical music to electro-pop into their sound, Bring Me to the Horizon have consistently bucked their riders with every album release. Though the band still stands on a hard and heavy foundation, the influence of genres beyond their metalcore foundation give the band a distinctive sound that vocalist Oliver Sykes has called cathartic and therapeutic. Also noteworthy: Of Mice & Men, a metalcore outfit from California. (Jannus Live, St. Petersburg) —SO

CLICK HERE to see a complete rundown of shows taking place this week and in the coming weeks.

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