This weekend in live music: Dads, Jason Mraz, Anvil, SOJA & more

Concerts this Sat.-Sun., Feb. 14-15

It's a rather diverse weekend in live music. Check out the highlights below, and additional shows at the bottom...


Jason Mraz Whenever I see his name, I immediately think: “I'm just a curbside prophet with my hand in my pocket and I'm waiting for my rocket to come.” The title track off Jason Mraz’s debut is just as sunny, carefree and positive as the blue eyed-soulful pop rock that’s followed. But he’s no longer broke and waiting to blow up; more than a decade later, he’s got a few Grammys and platinum-selling albums to his credit, an adoring international fanbase, and a well-textured fifth studio LP, YES!, that brings him on the road. (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater) —Leilani Polk

Amanda Palmer & Neil Gaiman: Heartbreak Hotel Provocative piano-banging songstress Palmer and author/graphic novelist Gaiman are married in real life, and are known for putting their avant garde minds together in creative collaborations. The twosome hits town just in time for Valentine’s Day to stage a "one-night stand" of music and stories that apparently showcases the most heartbreaking work they've ever made. Read Julie’s story here. (Tampa Theatre, downtown Tampa) —LP

The Black Heart Valentine Show A evening packed with “songs of murder, wanton lust and revenge” as staged by a few Tallahassee outfits – folk-blues purveyors Sarah Mac Band and cheeky Americana rocker Grant Peeples and the Peeples Republik – and joined by special guest multi-instrumentalist Gurf Morlix. (Hideaway Café & Recording Studio, St. Petersburg) —LP

Life of Song feat. Robin Zander Band A unique interactive fundraising event to benefit Instruments of Change, a nonprofit that provides music instruction and instruments to at-risk youths in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. A full day of lectures, workshops, interactive sessions and critiques by respected songwriters (like Cheap trick primary Robin Zander) and industry professionals (including reps from Music Row publishing company Wrensong and Nashville's iconic Bluebird Café) is followed by an evening concert presentation. Songwriter participants play sets “in the row,” and take turns telling the story behind their odes before clearing the stage for a headlining performance by Robin Zander Band. (Capitol Theatre, Clearwater)—LP

The Contortionist with Revocation, Fallujah, Toothgrinder No band embodies the layered instrumentation of prog metal quite like Indianapolis sextet The Contortionist. Robby Baca and Cameron Maynard build deep guitar atmospheres on guitar, drummer Joey Baca and bassist Jordan Eberhart seamlessly navigate the tempo-changing rhythm section, and new lead singer Mike Lessard has the sort of vocals that keep the ear guessing, morphing from smooth and melodic to harsher death metal intones. Combined with Eric Guenther’s dimension-shifting keywork, The Contortionist’s latest full-length, 2014’s Languages, takes you on a journey to another musical planet. (Orpheum, Ybor City) –Seth Peterson

Anvil with Lord Dying, Rockstarr Bentley, 20 Shades, Consinity, Autumns Pain Though it’s now known more as the focus of next-big-thing-that-never-was documentary film Anvil! The Story of Anvil, this Canadian power-metal outfit has been active since the late ‘70s, and is credited by many with being the bridge between the Judas Priest-style New Wave of British heavy metal and the birth of West Coast thrash. Unlike the overly serious speed-metallers that followed, however, Anvil’s more interested in hosting a loud-ass rock party than bemoaning humanity’s social ills. (State Theatre, St. Petersburg) —Scott Harrell

Third Annual WhigFest Music & Arts Festival w/JJ Grey & Mofro & many more Find out more info HERE. (Jannus Live, MacDintons, Mandarin Hide, Ringside Cafe, St. Petersburg)

Trout Fishing in America The folk-pop duo made up of Keith Grimwood (bass, vocals) and Ezra Idlet (guitars, vocals) write acoustic music that alternates between the clever children’s-geared story-songs that are their bread and butter (“I Think I'll Need a Band-Aid,” “Nursery Rhyme Polka,” “Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers” and the like), and the more mature but no less charming odes ala 2010’s Lookin' at Lucky. Trout Fishing in America stages a kids’ show at 3 p.m., with an adult presentation to follow later (at 8 p.m.) featuring warm-up from the Rev. Billy C. Wirtz. (Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa)—LP


SOJA with The Green, Leilani Wolfgramm Virginia reggae-dub rock eight-piece SOJA are currently backing 2014 studio full-length Amid the Noise and Haste, which was produced by Supa Dups, features guest spots by the likes of Damian Marley and Collie Buddz, and peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart. (Jannus Live, St. Petersburg)—LP

Ol’ Dirty Sundays: Scram Jones DJs Casper and LeSage welcome Scram Jones to the decks for the latest ODS; he’s a respected producer, DJ and emcee from New York who’s worked with the likes of Wu Tang Clan, Styles P, Mariah Carey, Pharrel Williams and Lloyd Banks, among others (Crowbar, Ybor City)—LP

John Hopkins Middle School Steel Drum Band Charity Show feat. La Lucha The Witches BBQ Den sponsors a special charity event for John Hopkins Middle School Steel Drum Band – the only one of its kind in Pinellas County – to support an upcoming trip to Virginia to take part in a national competition. JHop’s Assistant Percussion Director and local jazz drummer Mark Feinman brings his band into the mix, and La Lucha trades off sets with the 26-strong student ensemble after they kick off with a one-hour collaborative presentation. It all goes down from 4 to 7 p.m. (Ale and the Witch, St. Petersburg)—LP

click to enlarge Dads - Carly Hoskins
Carly Hoskins

Dads with Roger Harvey Crafting a blend of mathy alt rock and emo revivalist punk-pop marked by poignant stream-of-consciousness lyricism is New Jersey two-piece Dads (guitarist/vocalist Scott Scharinger and drummer/vocalist John Bradley), currently touring behind sophomore full-length I’ll be the Tornado. (Epic Problem, Tampa)—LP

Chant the Trees with Tesla Family Sibling progressive folk duo Chant the Trees finds brothers Kade and Ryan Ballogg singing sweet earnest harmonies (with Kade primarily on lead) and weaving intricate mandolin and guitar melodies together into Appalachian-hued sounds, their original tunes interspersed with modern covers like Nick Drake’s “Cocaine Blues” and “Terrible Angels” by Cocorosie. Tesla Family opens with psychedelic roots music built on mando, drums and electric guitar. Poetry readings in between sets. ([email protected], St. Petersburg)—LP

Walter "Wolfman" Washington with George Porter Jr. and Runnin' Pardners It’s a double bill of legendary Big Easy icons under the stars at the Skipperdome. “Wolfman” Washington helped shape the sound of NOLA R&B as far back as the ‘50s, and has worked with the likes of Lee Dorsey, Irma Thomas and David Lastie. George Porter, Jr. is best known for his tenure in The Meters, and is currently one of the original members keeping that storied outfit’s spirit alive with The Funky Meters. (Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa) —SH

Whitney James’ Jazz Valentine
*SOLD OUT* Sat., Feb. 14, Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg
Yesterday and Today: The Interactive Beatles Experience Sat., Feb. 14, Largo Cultural Center, Largo
Currentz w/Florida Mountain Boys Sat., Feb. 14, Ale and the Witch, St. Petersburg
Gasparilla Knight Parade Party w/Baby Anne Sat., Feb. 14, Amphitheatre, Ybor City
Lauren Mitchell Band Sat., Feb. 14, Dunedin Brewery, Dunedin
Valentine's @ The Bends w/Sugar Bear & 2Critical Sat., Feb. 14, The Bends, St. Petersburg
Abortion Twins CD Release show w/Counted Out/The Prople/The Antidon'ts/An Ounce of Onskay Sat., Feb. 14, Brass Mug, Tampa
Cruisin’ at the Capitol Street Party w/The Black Honkeys/The Stone City Sun., Feb. 15, Cleveland Street, downtown Clearwater
Ajeva Sun., Feb. 15, Ka’Tiki, St. Pete Beach
John Hammond Sun., Feb. 15, Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center, Tarpon Springs
Lucky Costello Sun., Feb. 15, Dunedin Brewery, Dunedin
Too Smooth Presents: My Gospel Valentine Sun., Feb. 15, Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg
AMFMS w/Geri X Sun., Feb. 15, The Hub, downtown Tampa
Lobo Marino w/Red Feather/Ask for Tiger Sun., Feb. 15, The Fuzz Factory, Gulfport

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