This week in Tampa Bay area live music: Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, BB King, Man or Astroman? & more 

Concerts, Dec. 26-Jan. 1

The Gift w/Deadmau5/Adventure Club/Nervo/GTA/Nom De Strip
It’s the night after Christmas, and all through the town, not a creature is stirring, except for a Deadmau5. The kids are snug in furry legwarmers and flashy threads, while his progressive house music makes them dance and bob heads. Yes, it’s The Gift, the last giant electronic music event of the year, presented by Disco Donnie and Sunset Events for some bonus holiday cheer. (The rhyming ends here.) On this night, Deadmau5 (aka Joel Zimmerman) stages an “unhooked” set, minus his giant LED cube and plus freestyle mixes and mash-ups of his favorite songs, original material and the odd bootleg find. (Raymond James Stadium, Tampa)

ZZ Top
I caught up with Billy Gibbons more than three years ago when ZZ Top hit town supporting Tom Petty. At the time, the Houston blues rock trio — which likely could’ve spent the rest of its tenure touring on the strength of classic rock staples like “Legs,” “Pearl Necklace,” “Cheap Sunglasses,” “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Gimme All Your Lovin’” — was in the beginning stages of recording the Rick Rubin-produced La Futura, described by Gibbons as “loud and kinda rude.” ZZ Top’s first full-length in nearly a decade and 15th album overall dropped last year and show a badass return to sleazy form as led by Gibbons’ well-aged gritty growl and showcased in the swaggering crunch of lead-off track “I Gotsta Get Paid” and the more heartache-y tender shuffle, “Over You.” Expect to hear the aforementioned hits along with new material — and before you’re inclined to write it off as setlist filler, stop and take a listen; you’ll remember why you started loving this band in the first place. (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater)

An evening with Hendrix, Osborne & Key Folk rockers John Hendrix (guitar, vocals), Sam Osborne (bass, vocals) and Gary Key (guitar, harmonica, vocals) performed as a trio around the Bay area for around seven years, until Key relocated to the Virgin Islands in 1994. The musicians have gotten together to play the odd live dates since, though this is the first time in nearly a decade that all three have made it back onto the stage at once. Each jumps between lead vocals and backing harmonies, and setlists include original compositions along with covers by James Taylor, The Beatles and Crosby, Stills and Nash, among others. (Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa)

Mighty Mongo w/Paint the Town Red/This Day's Age/Ajeva A showcase of local alternative talent headlined by Mighty Mongo. Sweet-voiced keytar-wielding Lindsay Vitolla and male counterpart, singer-bassist Alex Card, pilot a pop catchy style of surf and ska-punk flavored alt rock that earned them a spot on the 2013 Warped Tour. Acoustic pop trio Paint the Town Red and propulsive funk-reggae rock outfit Ajeva bring added value to the bill. (Local 662, St. Petersburg)

Kansas “Dust in the Wind” is a song so poignant that if it catches you in the right (or wrong) mood, you’re liable to get a little choked up, or at least suffer from some bittersweet nostalgia about all those moments you didn’t take time to appreciate while they were happening. The strength of that track along with classic rock radio staple “Carry on Wayward Son” have fueled Kansas through the decades. The Topeka-spawned prog rock outfit celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. (Hard Rock Café at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Tampa)

Blast! Friday w/Little River Band A significant placeholder in Australian rock n’ roll history, Little River Band achieved crossover success in the U.S. with easy swaying soft prog ode “Reminiscing.” The song barely broke the Top 40 in their home country but peaked at No. 3 here and it’s been played a yachtload since then — more than four million times, according to BMI, which recognized it as one of the most frequently played songs in American radio history. The member who wrote it, Graeham Goble, hasn’t been in LRB since 1992; in fact, no one from the original 1975 lineup remains, although Wayne Nelson has been around since ’80. (Cleveland Street, downtown Clearwater)

97x Last Free Show w/Switchfoot/J. Roddy Walston & The Business I’ll cop to a recent affinity for Switchfoot. I’d mostly avoided listening to the band up until recently, not being a fan of their humdrum heavy and radio-ready alt rock. But there’s something really exciting about the sonic direction they’ve taken, if soaring new single “Who We Are” off forthcoming ninth LP Fading West is any indication. 97X gets credit for re-acquainting me to Switchfoot. The station also deserves a shout-out for introducing J. Roddy Walston & The Business to listeners via “Heavy Bells” (off this year’s Essential Tremors), then letting Walston’s charmingly boisterous bar-soulful Southern-brewed rock woo said listeners into voting the track onto the playlist all on their own. Bonus props to 97X for partnering with Shock Top to bring both acts to play the Last Free Show. Visit for ticket drop locations. (Jannus Live, St. Petersburg)

Jonathan Scales Fourchestra w/Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio
Three men make up Asheville’s Jonathan Scales Fourchestra: namesake musician Scales drives the jazz fusion train with his unique steel pan technique, drawing a more diverse palette of melodic timbres from the instrument than you’d hear normally in island music and trading poly-complex rhythms with bassist Cody Wright and drummer Phill Bronson, the latter also delivering straightforward beat support. Scales credits Bela Fleck's unconventional banjo technique as influencing his approach to the pans and his track “Lurkin’” was actually inspired by his early encounters with the artist as an obsessed fan, and Fourchestra’s self-titled debut (which dropped on Ropeadope Records this summer) features guest spots by two Flecktones players, Victor Wooten and Howard Levy. On this night, the instrumental trio alternates sets with choppy brassy drawling jazz-trained guitar rocker Bobby Lee Rodgers and his band; then the two perform together. (Ale and the Witch, St. Petersburg)

Vanguard 10-Year Reunion w/Bangarang/NoMore A Gainesville punk rock quartet active from 1998 to 2003 reunites for a few gigs this weekend — including this Pegasus date — while all the members are on hand at once (bassist Jason Jackman calls Tampa home but drummer Erick Charles lives in NYC, singer/guitarist Robinson Moore in LA and lead guitarist Brandon Dougherty planted roots in Naples). Vanguard’s four-part harmonies soar over forceful punk rock drive, evoking Bad Religion minus the crustiness. (Pegasus Lounge, Tampa)

DVBBS It’s hard not to judge brothers Chris and Alex Andre for the mild Jersey Shore-ness of their shared good looks. But the Canadian twosome who perform as DVBBS (pronounced “dubs”) come off as humble in interviews, and YouTube videos show a particularly animated pair that gets the crowd pumped up while knob-turning and churning out dramatic electro/progressive house music carrying hints of reggae, hip hop and pop. This date falls on the heels of dropping an international dance hit with American producer Borgeous, “Tsunami.” (Amphitheatre, Ybor City)

Teach Me Equals w/The Dull Blades/Mountain Holler This summer, Teach Me Equals collaborators, Sarasota-based couple Erin Murphy and Greg Bortnichak, took their self-styled ‘scrape rock’ (post-classical art rock driven by cello, violin and dual vocals) on the road, honing their live delivery, ensnaring fans, and getting a better handle on their co-songwriting skills along the way. Five months and one totaled camper later, the twosome return for a holiday break at home, and play a few dates before embarking on the next half of their national tour. (New World Brewery, Ybor City)

Zach Deputy w/Kaleigh Baker Despite his relatively youthful age, I regard Zach Deputy as the Santa Claus of the one-man band world — he’s big, jolly, bearded, and spreads joy everywhere he lands with his funky hopping, island grooving, Motown soulful dance rock odes, which he builds live by looping his instrumentals on drum pads, percs and guitar. His deep booming vocals can hit falsetto notes, and he intersperses his singing with beat-boxing and MJ-style squeals. (Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa)

Grandpa’s Cough Medicine w/Mark Schimick
Forget the mountain-hewn Americana music of yesteryear. Instead, reflect for a moment on the outlaw bluegrass of Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, a trio from Jacksonville that prefers aggressive rapid-fire banjo and flat-picked guitar playing, walloping upright bass drive, and two-part vocal harmonies waxing on dark, cheeky and sometime lurid subject matter ala “The Murder Chord,” an ode about a man who’s possessed by evil music then compelled to kill his whole family. (Ale and the Witch, St. Petersburg)

Man or Astroman?
Fact: Man or Astroman? killed it at Orbit 19 Lounge earlier this year, backing 2013 full-length Defcon 5...4...3...2...1. Fact: You lamed out on the show because you thought Holiday was too far to drive. Fact: The quirky surf-space rockers are returning for NYE and throwing down at Ella’s. So. What are you waiting for? Get your fucking tickets, man, before this thing sells out! (Ella’s Americana Folk Art Café, Tampa)

All Good New Year's Eve 2013: Florida Night Heat & Samurai Shotgun w/Djs Qeys, Mes, Silence & Soft Rock Renegades The usual All Good Tuesday night jams are boosted by live music and guest DJs during this spirited celebration of the New Year, with Florida Night Heat serving the usual drone, stoned n’ psychedelic-oozy rock n’ roll while Samurai Shotgun rips through an onslaught of their urgent funking hip hop. No cover to this NYE party. (Crowbar, Ybor City)

NYE with Donna the Buffalo A festive convergence of The Herd hits the Skipperdome to ring in 2014 with Donna the Buffalo. The New York roots-folk jam ensemble was founded nearly 25 years ago by co-songwriters Jeb Puryear (vocals, guitar) and Tara Nevins (vocals, guitar, fiddle, accordion, washboard, percs). This year they issued their first fresh full-length in five years and 10th album overall, Tonight, Tomorrow and Yesterday. A warm-up set of bright Americana by Rebekah Pulley Duo, featuring the local songstress hopping between keys and acoustic guitar as joined by collaborator/life partner Rob Pastore on double bass and steel guitar. A champagne toast, breakfast buffet and party favors for the midnight festivities are included in the ticket price. (Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa)

BB King New Year’s Eve The most significant elder statesmen of blues guitar lands at one of the oldest operating theaters in Florida to thrill Bay area NYE revelers with his accomplished fretwork, and those distinctive expressive axe tones so many bluesmen try to imitate but never quite achieve, and that King seems to draw out so effortlessly from his black Gibson, Lucille. This intimate holiday performance kicks off with a warm-up set by fingerstyle whiz Shaun Hopper. For those who can’t quite swing this date, King also plays a second show on Thurs., Jan. 2. (Capitol Theatre, Clearwater)

CLICK HERE to see a complete rundown of shows taking place this week and in the coming weeks.


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