Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Music Issue 2014: Northern Pinellas (Clearwater, Largo, Dunedin, Palm Harbor)

Posted By and on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 5:43 PM

click to enlarge Ringo Starr at Ruth Eckerd Hall - KEVIN TIGHE
  • Kevin Tighe
  • Ringo Starr at Ruth Eckerd Hall

Capitol Theatre The historic theater’s full potential was realized last year after a $10.7 renovation transformed the time-worn venue into an elegant modern performance space, retaining many of its historical elements in the architecture and design details, but upping the capacity from 450 to 737 (which includes six private loge boxes) and adding brand new seating as well as a second-floor wraparound balcony and third-floor rooftop terrace, state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, extra restrooms, a bona fide box office and concession stands, and an open and airy lobby replete with full-liquor lounge. 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater, 727-791-7400,
Upcoming Shows: Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers (9/30); Los Lonely Boys (10/22); Jorma Kaukonen (10/23) —LEILANI P.

Dunedin Brewery Florida’s oldest family-owned microbrewery just celebrated its 18-year anniversary with four days of music featuring both local talent and nationally touring acts, both of which play here Thursdays through Saturdays, and sometimes Sundays, too. The 200-cap live music staple of Dunedin is active in the community and usually hosts an outdoor stage during street festivals and its own regularly scheduled beer-driven celebrations, though bands repping jammy rock, funk, blues and newgrassy sounds generally play inside on the standing room stage that faces the giant brew tanks. 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin, 727-736-0606,
Weekly Happenings: One Sun musician and educator Ben Plott welcomes local players for an open mic jam every Wednesday night.
Upcoming Shows: People’s Blues of Richmond (8/7); Bloody Jug Band (8/16); Jonathan Scales Fourchestra (8/17).

Largo Cultural Center Located in Largo’s sprawling, bucolic Central Park, the Cultural Center houses a polished, comfortable 466-seat theater that’s a great venue for solo performers who might get swallowed up in a bigger space. The center proved to be a great fit for cabaret/jazz vocalist Jane Monheit, and should serve just as nicely for Duncan Sheik, the pop star (“Barely Breathing”) turned musical theater innovator (Spring Awakening, American Psycho). And speaking of musical theater, one of the region’s most accomplished community theater troupes, Eight O’Clock Theatre, makes its home at the Largo Center and is known for ambitious, large-scale musicals. 105 Central Park Drive, Largo, 727-587-6751,
Upcoming Shows: An Evening with Terry Bozzio (9/5); Duncan Sheik (9/20); Zebra (9/25); Shrek the Musical (11/7-16); Company (May 22-31).

Orbit 19 Lounge Just north of the Pinellas/Pasco line, Orbit 19 combines the eternally casual vibe of its low-key surroundings with owner Dadia JanEvska’s chic aesthetic. Bartenders are great mixologists and serve up some lovely fizzy drinks to make the summer more enjoyable. The décor includes the leg lamps from A Christmas Story that reflect Orbit 19’s cool but quaint 1960s basement party atmosphere. Good times to go include the venue’s anniversary and holiday shows, when Dadia and Co. do it up big with national headliners. The rest of the year offers some top-notch acts, burlesque and themed party nights. 1542 U.S. 19 N., Holiday,
Upcoming Shows: DJ Jason Barco (also of The Castle) spins every Thursday with a great mix of past and present alternative rock; UNRB (7/25); The Stick Martin Show (8/15). 

Ruth Eckerd Hall Perennially one of the region’s top venues for big touring shows — the main auditorium seats 2,182, and the orchestra pit 62 — Ruth Eckerd also hosts up-close-and-personal performances in its 182-capacity Murray Studio Theater, a flexible space that has accommodated dance, improv, jazz and educational programs of the Marcia P. Hoffman Performing Arts Center. Mainstage musical attractions coming up in next few months range from venerable folk-rockers Crosby Stills & Nash to the still-vibrant Tori Amos. 1111 N McMullen Booth Rd, 727-791-7400, Clearwater, 
Upcoming Shows: Maxwell (8/1); Crosby Stills & Nash (8/9); Michael McDonald & Toto (8/19); Tori Amos (8/22)

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