This weekend's best bets in Bay area music: Taylor Swift, AZ and Cormega, The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt, Chrisette Michele and more


Off With Their Heads Minnesota punk-pop foursome Off With Their Heads have been bringing their blend of crunchy guitars, raucous drumming and drill sergeant vocals to venues across the country for nearly eight years now, as both headliners and support for acts like Against Me! and Youth Brigade. The band doesn’t seem to take things too seriously. Self-released videos “F*** this, I’m Out” and “Keep Falling Down” are goofy, comical clips that go surprisingly well with their angst-ridden lyrics. Look for their Epitaph Records debut this summer. 8 p.m. doors, Orpheum, Ybor City, $8. –Matthew Spencer


[image-1]FRIDAY, MARCH 5


Southern Culture on the Skids [pictured] w/Webb Wilder Duo For more than 25 years, SCOTS has brought their trademark brand of good time-twisted rockabilly to audiences across the country, frontman Rick Miller sing-talking twangy in droll numbers like “Camel Walk” (“You make me want to walk … like a camel”). 8 p.m., Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa, $15 in advance/$20 dos.


Guisando Caliente Latin Jazz Quintet An intimate show of Afro-Cuban jazz by the St. Pete-based foursome, which features Kenny Drew Jr. on keys, Frankie Pineiro on congas, Jeff Rupert on sax and John Jenkins on beats, and Mauricio Rodriguez on low end. 8 p.m., [email protected], St. Petersburg, $15 students/$20 general.


Dropkick Murphys Only a few weeks after Flogging Molly raged the Ritz, Boston-based Celtic punk/hardcore septet Dropkick Murphys land at the same venue. The band purveys a whiskey-drenched, wildly rousing brand of rock, the gruff lead vocals of Al Barr trading off with the rah-rah shouts of his bandmates. Instruments like bagpipes, tin whistle, accordion, banjo, bodhran, bouzouki and mandolin bring an authentic feel to their music. On March 16, they release Live On Lansdowne, a live CD/DVD set that was recorded during their annual string of St. Paddy’s Day gigs in Boston. 6:30 p.m., The Ritz Ybor, Ybor City, this show is sold out.


SATURDAY, MARCH 6


[image-2] w/Jerry Outlaw & Friends Virtuoso guitarist Steve Morse [pictured] has spent nearly four decades honing his skills from one genre to the next and developing a diverse style that culls from Southern and progressive rock, blues, country, funk, jazz and classical influences. He’s best known as the founding frontman of rock fusion group Dixie Dregs, but the accomplished and prolific musician has also toured and recorded with Kansas and Deep Purple, and has enjoyed a thriving solo career in the midst of it all with his licks and shreds. Morse is one of only three guitarists in Guitar Player magazine’s "Guitar Player Hall of Fame"; the other two are Steve Howe and Eric Johnson. 8 p.m. doors, State Theatre, St. Petersburg, $20 in advance/$25 dos (all ages).


Mouse Fire Just as Lakeland based indie-poppers Mouse Fire started to make waves with their 2007 Lujo Records debut, Wooden Teeth, lead singer and co-founder Joey Bruce bailed. Keyboardist Shane Schuch, bassist Justin Cason and drummer Aaron Venrick forged ahead as a trio and never looked back. If their music is any indication, they’re hardly worse for wear — “Hungry Like the Teen Wolf” has one of those tambourine-driven synth beats that would be an instant hit on a drunken dance floor. Mouse Fire is set to release their sophomore effort, Big Emotion, in May. 9 p.m., New World Brewery, Ybor City, $7. –Matthew Spencer


Blue Sky Mission Club w/3rd Stone Band The Brewer’s Ball has been sold out for weeks, but if you were interested in the band, not the beer, you can see the spirited upstate New York roots rock fivesome Blue Sky Mission Club perform this show the night before. Tampa's own funk rock five-piece 3rd Stone headlines. 8 p.m., Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa, $8.


[image-3] [pictured] w/The Shakes The revolving collective of dance music-cum-performance artists who make up Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt produce fun and quirky electro pop with shouted choruses not unlike what you might find in a punk rock anthem, but delivered with goofy cheer instead of aggro angst. The two-year-old ensemble was originally founded by leader Neil Fridd as a dance theater project; it’s evolved into a traveling dance party with the goal of involving their audiences in on their fun and getting the normally stone-faced indie statues crowd to break out of their molds. A typical live show involves directed sing-alongs and choreographed dances, a communal costume box for audience members who really want to join in on the fun, and all-manner of light toys as well as band members operating lighted backpacks and chandeliers (described as “the spectacle of Daft Punk with $16 at a flea market, help from an oriental trading magazine and a lot of duck tape”). Terror Pigeon has been signed to David Byrne's Luaka Bop label and releases their debut, I Love You. I Love You. I Love You And I'm In Love With You. Have An Awesome Day! Have The Best Day Of Your life!, in May. 9 p.m., Crowbar, Ybor City, $8 (ages 18 and up).


SUNDAY, MARCH 7


[image-4]Chrisette Michele [pictured] w/Laura Izibor On her stop here last summer, singer-songwriter Chrisette Michele provided soul and R&B support to Maxwell. The Grammy-winning artist headlines on this tour and promotes her sophomore album, 2009’s Epiphany, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and has earned largely favorable reviews. 7:30 p.m., David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, downtown Tampa, $32.50 and $43.50.


Connie Francis If you were to ask your grandparents who Connie Francis is, their eyes would probably light up with memories of yesteryear: poodle skirts, malt shops, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, and the like. In fact, you could probably go around the world asking people who she is and receive similar nostalgic reactions. Throughout her career, Francis re-recorded several of her hits in thirteen languages, including Greek, Yiddish, Italian and Japanese. She has one of those classic, soaring voices — a similar style of delivery to Brenda Lee and Patsy Cline — that’s tailor made for schmaltzy ballads like her 1962 hit “Al Di La” and mid-tempo doo-wop like 1959’s “Frankie.” 7 p.m., Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg, $47-$102. –Matthew Spencer


On the Come Up Local Showcase w/Set It Off/John Gold/Hippodrome/The Sun Society/Old North East/Kiki and The Whales/Wine to Water A showcase of up-and-coming local acts ranging from the punchy emo punk pop of Set It Off, to the piano folk rock of Old North East. 5 p.m. doors, Crowbar, Ybor City, $10 (all ages early show).

A quick breakdown of this weekend’s most worthy concerts beginning with Thursday, ’cause that’s when the weekend really starts, right? For a more comprehensive schedule, check out our Upcoming Concerts page.

THURSDAY, MARCH 4

Taylor Swift [pictured] w/Kelly Pickler Country pop singer-songwriter Taylor Swift – the waify blond who became the unfortunate victim of Kanye West’s notorious temper tantrum at the VMA awards last year – is so dang popular that tickets to her arena show in Tampa were sold out as early as December. The Tampa show is also the first stop of her “FEARLESS Tour 2010,” which may also have something to do with it. 7 p.m., St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa; the show was sold out but due to demand, a limited number of $25 and $59.50 tickets were released yesterday; call 813-301-2500 or drop by the box office early and you may still be able to score a pair or two.

The Moody Blues “Nights in White Satin” is, by far, the most widely recognized classic rock single by The Moody Blues, lead singer David Justin Hayward’s powerful vox expressing the pain of unrequited love against dramatic symphonics and choral backing vocals that rise in unsettling wails. England’s progressive rock band has been around for more than 45 years and their catalog diverges widely, from the fast and demanding 1970s blast of “Question,” to the synthified psychedelia of 1978’s “Steppin’ in a Slide Zone,” to the soft AC rock of their 1986 AC hit, “Your Wildest Dreams.” Hayward is still leading the band with longtime members John Lodge and Graeme Edge, and the three are backed by aux members Norda Mullen (flute, guitar, percs, harmonica, vox), Paul Bliss (keys, guitar), Bernie Barlow (keys, percs, vox) and Gordon Marshall (drums, percs). 8 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater; this show is sold out.

AZ / Cormega w/Dynasty/Aych/The Villanz AZ (aka Anthony Cruz, pictured) is best known for his rhyming collaborations with Nas (most famously on Nas’ “Life’s A Bitch”) and for his part in the ill-fated hip-hop supergroup The Firm with Nas, Foxy Brown and Nature. Cormega (aka Cory McKay) rose to fame as an original member of The Firm in the mid-90s, though he was ejected before the group’s first album was even recorded. Both are NYC-based rap artists – AZ is a Brooklynite while Cormega reps Queens – who've eluded commercial success but managed to carve out respectable solo careers in the underground scene. AZ’s forthcoming 2010 release, Do or Die 2, is the sequel to his 1995 standout debut; Cormega is on tour to promote his fourth and latest studio album, Born And Raised, which dropped in October. 10 p.m., Crowbar, Ybor City, $15 (ages 18 and up).

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