This week in Tampa Bay area live music: The Tontons, Mobb Deep, Hank & Cupcakes, and more

Concerts, Aug. 15-21

UNRB/High 5 Go/After The Fact/Won’t Be Arsed/Plug
A bill of Florida-brewed talent that includes the vigorous, electric ukulele-driven four-horn ska fusion of St. Petersburg septet UNRB; the fast upbeat punk-pop of Tampa three-piece High Five Go; the brassy ska-reggae punk-pop of After the Fact, from Ft. Myers, fresh off playing Warped Tour and a short run of dates in the Southeast; and hard-hitting mildly ska-toned punk rockers from St. Pete, Won’t Be Arsed, their sound marked by synthesizer drama and gritty shouted vocals. (Local 662, St. Petersburg)

Nate Najar Trio The regularly scheduled Side Door Jazz appearance by classy, nylon string jazz guitar maestro Najar, as supported by upright bassist John Lamb and Stephen Bucholtz on drums. The trio performs a program of select hits from The Great American Songbook. (Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg)

Mobb Deep w/Rival
Queens, NYC rappers Prodigy and Havoc came up as harder-edged hip-hop duo Mobb Deep during the resurgence of East Coast hip-hop in the 1990s, influencing the next generation of from-the-street rap narratives with releases like 1995’s The Infamous and 1996’s Hell on Earth. The twosome briefly fell into 50 Cent’s G-Unit fold, long enough to release polished 2006 album, Blood Money, and have been sporadically active since then; Havoc recorded and released a sophomore solo album, Prodigy served a three-year prison sentence that ended in 2011, and upon his release, they laid down 2011’s seven-song Black Cocaine EP. Mobb Deep went on indefinite hiatus last year, possibly due to a Twitter-fueled spat, or maybe it was so Havoc could work on another solo LP, 13, which dropped earlier this year. They reunited in May for this 20th anniversary tour, and a self-titled eighth studio album is in the works. (Jannus Live, St. Petersburg) 

Wolfgang Gartner California house music DJ and producer Wolfgang Gartner (real name: boring old Joseph Youngman) has eight No. 1 hits on the Beatport charts, his sounds have been tapped in TV, film and video games, and he regularly makes masses of people dance to his mix of tech, progressive and electro house sounds at events like Ultra and World Electronic Music Festival. (Amphitheatre, Ybor City)

Kasondra Rose & The Sleepless She usually plays solo acoustic sets at bars and restaurants around the Bay area, but this date finds singer-songwriter Kasondra Rose — who pits her pretty soprano over original material drawing on elements of roots rock, jazz and pop — joined by a full band for an intimate plugged-in Hideaway set. (Hideaway Café & Recording Studio, St. Petersburg)

Cope w/Charlie Dandelion Arguably one of the most popular local jam acts around, Cope delivers a breezy heartening blend of easy-going folk-Americana rambles, funky jiving reggae-tinged grooves, and straightforward rock ’n’ roll drive as led by the tight guitar-bass interplay of harmonizing brothers Dennis and Kenny Stadelman, and rounded out by the key-playing and sax work of Juan Montero and resounding rhythms and fills by newest member, drummer Brad Elliot. Warming up the Skipperdome stage is Charlie Dandelion, the newest ensemble led by keys-playing musician Animal (Funky Seeds), their sound drawing heavily from funk, gospel and blues rock aesthetics. (Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa)

TC Carr’s Allstar Bolts of Blue Band Florida native singer-songwriter TC Carr plays a mean soulfully howling harp, usually joined by a rotating cast of all-star guest musicians, and delivering well-braised blues in this particular live outfit, which includes guitarist/singer Eddie Wright and guitarist Josh Nelms, among other TBA special guests. (Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg)

Retro Red Square Recall w/Hank & Cupcakes
The weekly Saturday night party hosted by DJs Rig and Noi that brings the bodies to Orpheum with a mix of 1980s fare — from Dark Wave to classic hip-hop, indie dance tracks, electroclash and other hip-minded sounds. This week’s edition gets a live music kick that fits in with the mood: husband-and-wife dynamos, Hank & Cupcakes. You can tell the couple is fun just by looking at them, and performances do not disappoint. Ariel Scherbacovsky (Hank) and Sagit Shir (Cupcakes) are Tel Aviv natives currently based in Brooklyn; he plays bass, she sings and dances behind the drumkit while pounding out beats to balance her hubby’s seething grooves. The result is electro-rock with definite pop and disco overtones. Debut full-length Naked! was released last month. (Orpheum, Ybor City)

The Birth #Raplife Edition: Samauri Shotgun/Rival/AMiAM/Jorok Local hip-hop-centric entertainment company iLivethatLife holds this event celebrating its launch and “all things #Raplife” — local rappers and emcees, producers, B-Boys, DJs, graffiti artists and fans of the genre — with an afternoon of urban vending (T-shirts, lids, CDs and more), live performances by the likes of Samurai Shotgun, the progressive hip-hop band fronted by rapper Prince Golden, and a B-Boy battle replete with official judges and a prize package that includes $100 cash among other goodies. Noon-5 p.m. (Local 662, St. Petersburg)

Holey Miss Moley w/Legacy Direct from Orlando, Holey Miss Moley purveys funky jammy rock with percs-immersed rhythms, waka-waka guitar riffs, melodic keys texture and grooves, and sax savor. Support from one-man reggae-funk show Legacy (Sean Maloney looping his instrumentals on acoustic, bass and electric guitars with beatboxes and other mouth sounds). (Dunedin Brewery, Dunedin)

Shaun Hopper w/Joe Smothers It’s a night of solo guitar prowess as dominated by local acoustic finger-style axe extraordinaire, Shaun Hopper, who’s known for his specialized technique — tapped and hammered harmonics, percussive flourishes on the instruments’ body and neck, finger-picking and string plucking, bare-fingered slides up and down the fretboard — and clever synthesis of classical, New Age and folk influences. (Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa)

Rays Summer Concert Series: OneRepublic OneRepublic hit Orlando on Monday, actually headlined the show that also featured Mayer Hawthorne, and has returned to Central Florida to serenade local audiences with their feel good pop-rock (like the whistle-pretty ditty “Good Life”) after the second of three Rays bouts against the Toronto Blue Jays. (Tropicana Field St. Petersburg) 

Look Mexico w/Alexander & the Grapes/Jonah Vin/Macrame Owls Austin-by-way-of-Tallahassee outfit Look Mexico brings their wobbly, things-might-fall-apart, emo-math-Owls-appealing sounds back to the Sunshine State, on the road with St. Pete’s own indie rockers, Alexander & the Grapes (this date marks the Grapes homecoming), and pimping a new album of old unreleased jams, The Hang Loose Collection. Another Texas outfit caravanning with Look Mexico is angular guitar-melodic outfit Jonah Vin, and Tampa’s driving alt-rock/experi-pop five-piece, Macrame Owls rounds out the bill. (New World Brewery, Ybor City)

Jobsite Theater Anniversary Gala The Straz Center’s resident troupe celebrates 10 years with a horn-imbued funk, soul and R&B revue as delivered by local faves The Black Honkeys. (Jaeb Theater at Straz Center, downtown Tampa)

Lauris Vidal/Booker & Norton/Snakehealers Lauris Vidal brews up exuberant alt-folk tunes and howls rustily over his strums on handmade cigar-box style guitar. Booker & Norton features singer-guitarist Benjamin Booker and drummer Max Norton beating out soulful alt-bluesy two-piece rock tunes. And Snakehealers is the twangy Gainesville-based rock quartet led by Devon Stuart (formerly The Takers). (The Hub, downtown Tampa)

Icona Pop w/K. Flay
You know that super sticky synthpop track with the youthful femme vocals cheering a rah-rah carefree chorus, “I don’t care, I love it!”? The one that’s oversaturated the airwaves and used in a range of places, from a Samsung Galaxy S4 commercial to Jersey Shore spinoff Snooki & JWoww (it was the theme song)? That’s Icona Pop, a duo made up of Swedish natives Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo; the rest of their songwriting is equally high-spirited and cheerful. New album This Is… Icona Pop, comes out in September. Warming up the stage on this date is K.Flay, the lady rapper-songstress from San Francisco with the husky-slinky flow style and a University education that lends an elevated level cleverness to her lyrics. (Czar at The Ritz Ybor, Ybor City)

Big Night Out Festival w/Fuel/Hoobastank/Local H/Alien Ant Farm/Snapm/Fall On Purpose 98Rock presents a bill of whiney-wailing post-grungey alt-rock bands that enjoyed their heyday in the late 1990s and early ’00s, and still get regular rotation on the Tampa Bay radio station. Fuel is best known for acoustic guitar-textured hearts-bleeding singles “Hemorrhage (In My Hands)” and “Bad Day,” Hoobastank did their mainstream time with propulsive rockers like “Crawling in the Dark,” “Running Away” and more schmaltzy “The Reason,” Local H kept it copacetic with “Bound for the Floor,” and Alien Ant Farm hit the charts with their distortion heavy cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” and original cut, “Movies.” S.N.A.P.M. from Sarasota and St. Pete’s Fall on Purpose provide the local flavor during this day-long fest. Tickets for $.98 are available at and select local retailers. (Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg)

Rays Summer Concert Series: Victoria Justice Nickelodeon’s Zoey 101 and Victorious teen pop star hits the Trop to entertain the masses after the Tampa Bay Rays take on the Toronto Blue Jays in the final game of the three-day bout. (Tropicana Field St. Petersburg) 

The Mud Flappers w/6 Volt Rodeo The first time I saw The Mud Flappers, they were busking on the corner of 15th Street and Seventh Avenue, taking full advantage of the people filling the streets for WMNF’s 2012 edition of Tropical Heatwave in Ybor City while making good use of the free time they were left with after finishing their set earlier that day. Their carefree spirit was charming, enthusiastic, infectious, and this brightness seeps into their music — a mix of vintage folk, gypsy jazz, and rural country-blues built on an assemblage of instruments that include mandolin, trumpet, ukulele, harmonica, fiddle, banjo, upright bass, accordion, drums, kazoo and even Theremin. The complementing vocals of Lauren Carder and Sarah Elizabeth Patrick — one rich, velvety and low, the other soft, high and sweet — are sometimes joined by the masculine back-up harmonies of main wrangler George Moore Jr., or he takes drawling lead to their back-up coos. The Orlando septet is joined by Western swinging rockabilly outfit, 6 Volt Radio. (Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa)

A Great Big Pile of Leaves w/Sugar Glyder/Sainthood Reps
Fresh off issuing sophomore full-length You’re Always on My Mind, A Great Big Pile of Leaves rolls through town, bringing their mix of dreamy ’90s-tinged indie rock and more buoyant pop-catchy odes shaded with Afro-melodic guitar phrasing. The enchanting lower-toned lead vocals of frontman/guitarist Pete Weiland paired with the higher-register backing harmonies of his bandmates create a nice overall balance. (Epic Problem, Tampa)

The Tontons w/Sonic Grafitti/Caleb Hyers Band
There’s something inherently alluring about The Tontons. Maybe it’s the vocals of frontwoman Asli Omar, sometimes teeth-hurting dulcet coos, other times lower-register crushed velvet moans, murmurs and humming intones. Or perhaps the Houston band’s music is responsible; difficult to really pin down but in essence, indie rock coated in light garage, Southern blues, psychedelia and pop flavors. Either way, Tontons are definitely a band to keep an eye on. (Crowbar, Ybor City)

Darling Parade w/What Happened In Vegas/Lakeview Drive/Variance/The Pals/Enter Intruder An alt-rock quartet from Nashville, Darling Parade is led by commanding femme singer-guitarist Kristin Kearns and has been buzzing hard behind debut full-length, Battle Scars & Broken Hearts, out this April on Page 2 Music. (Local 662, St. Petersburg)

BBQ Wednesday Acoustic Series: Joe Popp
The Tampa native musician turned NYC denizen hasn’t been back to the Bay area in a while; in fact, the last time I wrote about him was in 2010, in conjunction with a Jobsite Theater revival of the play he originally scored for the troupe’s rock musical version of Pericles. I imagine he’s back in town because of Jobsite’s 10-year anniversary gala, but regardless of the reason, Popp — who currently builds guitar amps and effects in Harlem and plays in a few different raucous rock bands — has scheduled time for an intimate acoustic performance as part of New World’s Wednesday series. (New World Brewery, Ybor City)

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


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