This week in live music: Heartless Bastards, Washed Out, Steve Aoki, Lady Antebellum + more

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click to enlarge Heartless Bastards - Nathan Presley
Nathan Presley
Heartless Bastards

Straighten It Out Hip Hop-A-Thon w/The Villianz/Rook da Rukus/Mike Mass/Aych/Imagiin 360/Annex/J Roc/many more
A concert showcase to support WMNF's Saturday Night Shutdown, which dispenses the latest rap and hip hop jams on Saturdays at midnight. The bill is packed with performances by a who’s who of local talent, from the deliberate tag-team lyrical flow of The Villanz rappers Divine and Main ("U Know What I Want"), to the rumbling utterances of word-flipping emcee Rook da Rukus. Special guest appearances by Dynasty, the Gwan Massive crew, DJ Blenda, the Headnokka Family, and plenty of others. (Crowbar, Ybor City)

Sensory Overload: Elysian Sex Drive w/The Sexual Side Effects/The Proper Crooks A multi-media party featuring dancing girls, Dollface fashion and live music as hosted by funk-percussive, groove-tronic rock tribe, Elysian Sex Drive. They’re joined by two other musical acts – Clearwater's The Proper Crooks, a languidly melodic rock trio with a post-punk kick; and The Sexual Side Effects, from Atlanta, their jangly driving alt rock drawing on Brit Invasion and glam influences. (Local 662, St. Petersburg)

Lady Antebellum
Barely six years ago, singing-songwriting trio Lady Antebellum (Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood) were up-and-comers on the Nashville country pop scene with a distinguishing sound and enough family connections and industry ties to get them off the ground. A recording contract with Capitol, a self-titled first album that debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country charts, and two subsequent studio LPs only added גs to their platinum-selling status, as did the mounting accolades and awards that included seven Grammys, five for 2010's Need You Now. Lady Antebellum has since graduated from Ruth Eckerd Hall (where they played in 2010) to the 20k-seater amphitheater they land at this Friday to promote their 2011 third album, Own the Night. (1-800-Ask-Gary-Amphitheater, Tampa)

Fiction 20 Down w/Resinated/UNRB What distinguishes Baltimore's Fiction 20 Down from every other positive-vibing reggae rock outfit that's come out over the past few years? I don't know, but if you're into Slightly Stoopid and bands of the more pop-melodic ilk, you'll probably like these guys, too. (Crowbar, Ybor City)

Heatwave Preview: Boom Chick / Lipbone Redding and the Lipbone Orchestra / The Whisky Gentry Three acts schedule to play Heatwave appear at this free, pre-Heat event: Boom Chick, a honky-tonkin' surf/garage rock duo made up of guitarist/singer Frank Hoier and femme drummer Moselle Spiller; frequent Americana/bluegrass callers, The Whiskey Gentry, from Atlanta; and Lipbone Redding, a storyteller, guitarist and "voice-stramentalist" named for the lip-shaping skills that allow him to mimic trombone in his mix of roots rock, swamp blues, NOLA jazz, and Southern funk n’ soul. His "orchestra" includes himself and two players who joined him along the way, bassist Jeff Eyrich and drummer Rich Zukor. (Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa)

He Is We w/Windsor Drive/Deas Vail/Plug In Stereo/South Jordan If the WB were auditioning tender indie pop bands to write songs for their latest crop of twee/teen dramas, He Is We and the acts supporting the fivesome on their "Give It All Tour" would be good candidates. Rachel Taylor sings piping youthful choruses over co-conspirator Trevor Kelly’s acoustic guitar strumming in songs like the saccharine balladry of "L-L-Love" and "All About Us" with naturally twee-attracting Owl City. (Local 662, St. Petersburg)

An Acoustic Evening with Chris Cornell
The make-up date for the gig that Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell was supposed to play last November, in support of his 2011 live record, Songbook. This show is sold out. (Tampa Theatre, downtown Tampa)

Tropical Heatwave WMNF's 31st annual genre- and venue-hopping fest encompasses 13 stages scattered all over Ybor. CL's big preview forthcoming. (Various Ybor City venues)

97X Local Band Search: Khora vs. The Wanderer In the latest 97X-hosted battle of the bands-style contest, Bay area acts vie for a warm-up spot at the rock station's free Memorial Weekend Backyard BBQ in Vinoy Park. (Headliners include The Used and Civil Twilight.) Two winners will be chosen – one from votes cast online; the other by fan votes at the live play-offs. On this night, bluesy funky rock four-piece and NBT 2011 Local Band Search winner Khora confronts the high-octane roots rock kick of The Wanderer. (Jonny Reno's, downtown St. Petersburg)

Maze feat. Frankie Beverly If you're at all familiar with Maze at all, it's likely from quiet storm and R&B hits like "Joy and Pain" and "Can't Get Over You," Frankie Beverly's soulfully low, gently raspy howl carried over smooth and easy grooves. The San Francisco band has been around for nearly three decades. (Carol Morsani Hall at the Straz Center, downtown Tampa)

Take Back the Night Concert w/Wendy Rich/Shawn Brown/Sugar and Spice/The Sofa Kings/The Mighty Good and Strong Band/Betty Lou Fox/Patty Sanphy/many more
Tampa-by-way-of-Texas blues howler Wendy Rich is joined by various other locals at the 17th annual charity concert with a twofold purpose: to raise awareness about domestic violence issues while drumming up funds and support for a related local organization. This year's beneficiary is Family Justice Center of Hillsborough County. (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa)

Washed Out w/Airbird/Dog Bite Ernest Greene is the chillwave indietronic musician otherwise known as Washed Out whose well-regarded first LP, Within and Without, was issued via Sub Pop last year and has earned him all manner of indie street cred. Greene's easy-on-the-ears vocal intones glide over warm and dreamy washes of synths, thick waves of bass, and casually danceable tempos. (Crowbar, Ybor City)

Florida Mountain Boys A stringband of Bradenton-based pickers, pluckers, strummers and a fiddler, too, weave together bouncing sun-kissed bluegrass tunes and sing in tight three-part harmonies. (Ella's Americana Folk Art Café, Tampa)

Florida Night Heat with Very Special Guests A few TBA bands that played the Heatwave stages drop by The Hub on their way out of town. Psych-stoner rock/power grime trio Florida Night Heat warms up the party. (The Hub, downtown Tampa)

Vince Gill Ace country music journeyman Vince Gill returns to the Bay area on his current tour supporting his 12th and latest studio album, Guitar Slinger. CL Writer Gabe Echazabal gushed about the nearly three-hour Gill show in Clearwater a few years ago, commenting, "From downright hilarious accounts of some of his experiences in his 35-year long career as a musician to gut-wrenching tales of personal tragedies and woes, the evening's spoken portions were almost as entertaining as Vince's amazing musical performances." (Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg)

The beloved Jeff Tweedy-fronted alt country rock outfit breezes through Tampa on their current tour backing 2011's The Whole Love. Stay tuned for Julie Garisto's Q&A with longtime member John Stirratt at (Carol Morsani Hall at Straz Center for Performing Arts, Tampa)

Catie Curtis A few things you may not know about folk rock songstress Catie Curtis: the backing band on her 2011 10th record Stretch Limousine on Fire includes drummer Jay Bellerose and bassist Jennifer Condos, both touring players in Ray LaMontagne's Pariah Dogs, and musician friends/guests Lisa Loeb and Mary Chapin Carpenter added their own distinctive vocal stylings to select Stretch tracks; in 2005, she and fellow folkie Mark Erelli won the Grand Prize in the International Songwriting Competition for "People Look Around," their response to the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe; she recently acquired a new pug puppy named Ruby – she is black, wrinkly, cute and rather intimidating to Curtis' resident pug, Sam. (Jaeb Theater at Straz Center for Performing Arts, Tampa)

Heartless Bastards w/These United States
"I feel like this is the strongest record I've ever done," singer-songwriter-guitarist Erika Wennerstrom told Billboard Magazine last year as her Austin-based band, Heartless Bastards, was putting the finishing touches on their fourth full-length and debut release with Partisan Records. Arrow – produced by Spoon drummer Jim Eno and issued in February – finds Wennerstrom in a happier and less introspective place than 2009's The Mountain, her throaty lower-register vocals delivering soulful croons or high-spirited howls over brawny, unadorned blues-infused rock n' roll. (Orpheum, Ybor City)

Steve Aoki w/Autoerotique
He's been so busy producing, re-mixing, guest starring and collaborating on tracks with other musicians, not to mention running his esteemed electro label Dim Mak, and juggling a myriad of other business ventures, that mega electro house music maker Steve Aoki has had little enough time to devote to his own work. His solo debut, Wonderland, finally dropped in January, and finds him incorporating elements of electropop, dubstep and synthpunk into his dance-inducing sound, with a diverse roster of guests like Kid Cudi and Rivers Cuomo adding different flavors and vibes to the mixes. (The Ritz Ybor, Ybor City)

Allen Stone w/Sugar & The Hi Lows/ZZ Ward Don't let singer-songwriter Allen Stone's scraggly blond hair, clunky outdated spectacles and penchant for wearing sports jerseys and grandpa sweaters fool you – hiding behind the thrift store poster boy image is a rising young talent working hard at the Motown throwback angle with his tight catchy mix of retro-imbued R&B, pop and soul. USA Today called him a "pitch-perfect powerhouse," and I concur; his lightly velvety vocals can be exquisitely mellifluous pleas or howling commands that fit wherever they happen to land. (Orpheum, Ybor City)

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

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