Tonight in live music: Benjamin Booker, Downtown River Jam, Yo Gabba Gabba Live! & more

Concerts this Fri., Dec. 5.

click to enlarge Benjamin Booker makes his triumphant return to Tampa Bay tonight. - Joshua Shoemaker
Joshua Shoemaker
Benjamin Booker makes his triumphant return to Tampa Bay tonight.

A big schedule of shows slated on this Fri., Dec. 5. Breakdown of highlights below.

97x NBT Pre-Party with Benjamin Booker The fast rising Booker – still touring behind his self-titled ATO debut – was just featured on a full page spread in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, where he was slapped with the “Hot Blues Punk” title as part of the magazine’s annual “Hot List.” He stops through his old home town fresh from wrapping up a month-long European jaunt and prior to a quick whip through Australia and the UK to play the free all-ages Next Big Thing pre-party. (Hogan’s Beach, Tampa) –Ray Roa

Yo Gabba Gabba Live! All my friends who are both parents and certified music-heads have steered their kids to Yo Gabba Gabba!, the tunes-fueled Nick Jr. television show following the adventures of DJ Lance Rock and his handful of bizarrely cute come-to-life toys. The series features all manner of relevant musical guests, among them, Erykah Badu, Weezer, The Roots, of Montreal and beat-boxing show regular Biz Markie. Live, it’s like an eye-popping rock concert for kids. On the 30-city “Music is Awesome!” tour, the gang is joined by Biz and satire rapper Leslie Harrell as well as special TBA guests. (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater) –Leilani Polk

Skinny Puppy with Front Line Assembly, Haujobb, Youth Code Whether or not Skinny Puppy is still relevant isn’t important; the 32-year-old Vancouver group initiated a genre revolution with their electro-industrial sounds that has inspired Nine Inch Nails among others. Their own noisy synthesized palette is warmer, studded with samples, tape splices and multiple sonic layers colliding over drum machine beats and distorted guitars, the processed vocals of Nivek Ogre spewing streams of unrest about anything from drug abuse to politics, religion and animal rights. Another Vancouver-area group started by Skinny Puppy former Bill Leeb in 1986, Front Line Assembly, has fitted snugly into the warm-up slot vacated by VNV Nation, and joins Skinny Puppy on their rechristened “Eye Vs. Spy Tour 2014.” (Jannus Live, St. Petersburg)–LP

Dan Bern Though a favorite of critics who’s earned comparisons to the likes of Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello, the prolific LA-area acoustic folk rock troubadour with the twangy, brassy-nasally vocal quality has operated pretty much under the radar since his 1997 debut. But Dan Bern has continued trucking, recording upwards of a dozen LPs, a handful of EPs and a few live albums. This tour backs 2014’s light and slightly cheeky Songs of Fall, ranging from the breezy salt-stained tribute to a sleepy Florida Keys town, “Islamorada,” to a droll look at the separation of a future America, “Break Up the U.S.A.” (Hideaway Café & Recording Studio, St. Petersburg)–LP

Jubilee Riots with Bloody Jug Band
 It’s not normal or even advisable for a band that has carried its moniker for 13 years to change it, but Canada’s indie world fusion/folk rock outfit Jubilee Riots, formerly known as Enter the Haggis, has done just that and raised enough funds through a recent Pledge Music campaign to issue their eighth studio album and first as Jubilee Riots, Penny Black; its subject matter is based on story submissions from their fans gathered during the campaign. (Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa)–LP

Shoeless Soul CD Release with Row Joma, The Vivid Moxie There’s something vaguely European in the breezy grooving pop-fusion tunes of Shoeless Soul. Perhaps it’s the lightly Swiss intones of singer-songwriter Rene Schlegel and his loose jangly guitar playing, or the easy rambling rhythm section of bassist Sladjan Vidic and drummer Dave Gerulat, or the lounge-sexy saxophone of Mike Ratza, the latter two members also cooing harmonious backing to Schlegel’s warm tenor. The quartet celebrates the release of a new self-titled album on this night. (Dunedin Brewery, Dunedin)–LP

Downtown River Jam Music & Arts Festival: Mike Pinera & the New Blues Image, The Big Wu, Lemonade, Big Something, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, Lingo, Sumilan, Bobby Lee Rodgers, Cope, Applebutter Express, Have Gun, Will Travel, Come Back Alice & many more Festival season has slowed down as we’ve drawn closer to the tail end of 2014, but it hasn’t dried up completely and this weekend kicks off what is likely to be one of the last multi-stage, multi-band events this year. Downtown River Jam brings more than 30 jammy rocking acts to three Pinellas area venues for its second annual Friday-Saturday throwdown, a mix of home-brewed talent and touring outfits that draw on some combination of grassy, electro, jazzy, funky, bluesy, reggaefied and hip hop sounds. A street party features booths with handmade art and merch, craft beer, and tasty eats round out the offerings. A portion of the proceeds goes to environmental group “Are You Safe” and its efforts to clean and manage downtown river areas; the Hillsborough River is its current project. (State Theatre and Local 662, St. Petersburg; The Blueberry Patch, Gulfport)–LP

Click HERE to check out more events for today and the next week.

About The Authors

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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