CLUB EMPIRE'S 10TH ANNIVERSARY FEAT. FLAVOR FLAV Anybody remember when The Masquerade used to be down at the other end of Seventh? Or when the club was called Evolution? Well, if it seems like just yesterday, it wasn't, because hip-hop-heavy Club Empire has been packing 'em in on the strip's east side for 10 years now. They're celebrating with a free performance by former Public Enemy hype-man/apologetic critic of emergency response services/current reality-TV gigolo Flavor Flav, who always knows what time it is, and not just because he's got that giant timepiece around his neck. Pre- and post-Flav spinnage comes courtesy of DJ Eyeball, DJ Royce and various special guests. (Club Empire, Ybor City)
RICHARD THOMPSON The British singer-songwriter and guitar wizard has enjoyed an enthusiastic Tampa Bay following ever since he first played St. Pete's long-gone Club Detroit in the early '90s. He's a gregarious sort, who can turn an acoustic solo performance (which is what this show will be) into something special. Thompson deftly combines his Brit-folk roots with elements of rock 'n' roll, blues, R&B and other styles. (Tampa Theatre, Tampa) -Eric Snider
BADFINGER Pete Ham, the creative nexus of the Welsh band Badfinger, committed suicide 30 years ago; I could not dig up personnel in the current incarnation, but let's hope they can adequately play such great early '70s power-pop tunes as "Day After Day," "Baby Blue" and, especially, "No Matter What." (The group's first major hit was the cloying "Come and Get It," handed to them by Paul McCartney after a few failed attempts to break singles.) Badfinger was probably the best of the Beatles chasers, which never set well with the members, although the group was signed to the Fab Four's Apple label. Badfinger even got its name from the working title of the Beatles song "With a Little Help From My Friends:" "Bad Finger Boogie." (Bourbon Street, New Port Richey) -ES
THE U.S. STORM TOUR Hard-edged, industrial-influenced electronic tuneage from Assemblage 23 (the quasi-live-band brainchild of Seattle native Tom Shear) and Backandtotheleft. There's also a DJ set by Negative Format principal Brian Matson. (Masuqerade Infinity Room, Ybor City)
ABI TAPIA & FRIENDS Austinite country/folk singer-songwriter Abi Tapia's on the road supporting her latest independent album, One Foot Out The Door. She and her coterie have an early appearance in Bradenton at Manatee Community College's Earth Day Celebration (which kicks off at 10:30 a.m.), and a low-key gig at North Tampa's Sacred Grounds Coffeehouse tonight. (Manatee Community College, Bradenton; Sacred Grounds Coffeehouse, Tampa)
THE LARGO MUSIC FEST The City of Largo presents three days of music for boomers. Tonight's theme is "Americana Salute," which should maybe include a parenthetical addendum explaining that no, they don't mean alt-country; Don McLean, Lee Greenwood and Ron Rich perform. Tomorrow night's program, "Rock Salute," features Three Dog Night, Survivor and local classic-rock cover act Rent Money, and Sunday's "Pop Salute (Pop as in The Boston Pops, Rather than Ashlee Simpson)" includes both the Florida Orchestra and Pinellas Youth Symphony. Largo Central Park is located at 122 Central Park Drive, naturally enough, and you can get more info at www.largomusicfest.com. (Largo Central Park, Largo)
SATURDAY, APRIL 23
LUDACRIS Though Atlanta-based rapper Ludacris originally made waves with the independent, sexually charged "What's Your Fantasy?" he's since brought a much-needed sense of humor to the Dirty South scene. Luda's as guilty as any of his contemporaries for offering up his share of oversimplified, bouncy dreck ("Move Bitch" springs irritatingly to mind), but he's also worked some canny hooks, and is unafraid to offer up creative lyrical topics or sometimes play the fool. D12's Proof will reportedly serve as this show's hype man; Juvenile and Pretty Ricky & The Mavericks provide support. (USF Sun Dome, Tampa)
SPRING FEST 2005 Come on, Bruce. You couldn't come up with a better name than Spring Fest? There are, like, five of those! Anyway, this one's definitely got the biggest name, as far as all-ages indie-scene stuff goes - South Florida emo faves Further Seems Forever will headline 10 hours' worth of Christian punk, rock, pop, and hardcore. Other buzzed outfits include 7th Star, My Rocket Heart, Dreams You Die In, and Take These Eyes; 15 acts in all will perform, beginning just after noon. (688 Skatepark, Clearwater)
REBA MCENTIRE w/BRAD PAISLEY After a lengthy run as the single most successful female country artists of the '80s and early '90s - during which she scored 18 No. 1 singles - Reba hit the small screen to respectable sitcom popularity. There's no doubt she's still able to pull in music fans of all ages and give them what they want, and the presence of comparatively young pop-country hitmaker Brad Paisley helps out. (Ford Amphitheatre, Tampa)
Tyler- I can't believe how talented of a writer you are. This article was beautifully…
Great interview! Give the interviewer a full time job! He's great!
The DJ was actually The Castle's very own DJ Tom Gold :)
Fabulous review Gabe! Too bad I missed it.