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Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018
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November's best concerts in the Tampa Bay area


Sleigh Bells, State Theatre, Nov. 1: Be prepared for the loud onslaught of feral beats, heavy metal riffage and screaming as it swirls together with shiny, catchy pop melodies and Alexis Krauss' hypnotic cooing. The genre-mashing duo (guitarist Derek E. Miller is the other half) has smoothed out some of the rough edges on “Bitter Rivals,” but they remain one of the rawest acts on the indie scene.


Lucero and Titus Andronicus, State Theatre, Nov. 2: Both bands have earned comparisons to Springsteen for their singers' somewhat gritty vocals and their longing, Americana-inflected lyrics. Lucero does it through a lens of Memphis-bred southern rock, country, punk and soul. Titus Andronicus (who actually come from The Boss's home state of New Jersey) do it with cathartic punk anthems that spill over with emotion.


Drake, Forum, Nov. 6: Back in 2009, the Canadian rapper/singer may have been the most hyped unsigned artist ever when he achieved fame off the strength of a free mixtape (and forged a path for numerous hip hop artists after him to do the same). Three albums and four years later, Aubrey Drake Graham is one of the biggest stars in music. His award shelf may have changed (it now holds a Grammy) but he has stayed with what has worked for him musically — confessional, braggadocious and yet insecure lyrics  that usually revolve around one theme: "Hey ex-girlfriend/high school classmate/record exec, why didn't you see my greatness back then?" Oh, and gorgeously moody tracks by Noah “40” Shebib. Those have made all the difference.


Cyndi Lauper, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Nov. 8: To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of her monster hit “She's So Unusual,” the 80s star with the unmistakable multi-octave voice will perform the entire album from top to bottom at her Clearwater show. If you've seen Lauper perform in recent years, you'll know she has managed to take those bubblegum pop hits and infuse them with a sweet sincerity that makes them feel new again.


Coastline Festival, MidFlorida Amphitheatre, Nov. 9: Now that rock has given way to electro-pop (and rock bands who aren't afraid of pop) as the preferred genre among the cool, young, indie crowd (call them hipsters, if you must), comes this new multi-stage fest that gathers some of the most electrifying, high energy, shiny-happy pop acts around. Led by the euphoric-yet-dark Passion Pit, the lineup includes Matt & Kim, Fitz and the Tantrums, Two Door Cinema Club, The Joy Formidable and others. The “musiculinary experience” also has a “foodtrucktopia” serving up an eclectic mix of ethnic and vegetarian eats, a craft beer cove, and an art show (so far we know it includes giant, touchable, humanoid sculptures).


Ribfest, Vinoy Park, Nov. 9 and 10: It's tough to decide if it's the music or the food that's most enticing about this annual St. Petersburg tradition, but with a forecast of clear skies and temperatures in the 70s, it shouldn't take much to get you to spend a day at this waterfront park anyway. The ribs come prepared by master barbecue chefs from as far away as Australia, and the lineup spans big names from classic rock (REO Speedwagon, Steppenwolf) to 90s alternative (Gin Blossoms, Sister Hazel) to country (Justin Moore, Josh Thompson).


Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Nov. 23, Sun Dome: “The Heist,” the debut album from wordsmith Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis came out just a little more than a year ago, and in that span propelled the duo from virtually unknown to playing arenas. Sometimes it feels like it was by sheer force of will that Macklemore became a star. His song “Ten Thousand Hours” references a theory laid out in Malcolm Gladwell's book “Outliers” that regardless of talent, anyone who wants to be proficient in anything must spend 10,000 hours doing it, and he's a perfect example of an artist who toiled for years on his climb to success without the help of a record label. Even if the album's self-righteousness can be a little trying, Macklemore's lyrical skills are unquestionably strong, and his willingness to go where an often homophobic genre has never gone on the marriage equality anthem “Same Love” is nothing short of revolutionary.


The Florida Orchestra Rock Series: Pink Floyd, Nov. 29, The Mahaffey: In a season that has The Florida Orchestra paying tribute to the music of The Beatles and the Eagles, it's Pink Floyd's stargazingly trippy rock that we're most excited to hear performed with orchestral backing. The orchestra joins a full rock band and vocalist Randy Jackson, for a night that will celebrate the 40th anniversary of “Dark Side of the Moon.”


Kanye West, Forum, Nov. 30?: As of the time of this writing, the fate of Kanye's tour is unclear. First he postponed his Vancouver concert to propose to Kim Kardashian. Then he postponed it again for unknown reasons. Then a giant LED screen that's being used during his shows was damaged in a truck accident, apparently making it “impossible” for him to perform until it's fixed. Exactly what that means for his Nov. 30 date at the Forum, we're still waiting to find out. We'd forget about it, and write off this often obnoxious, self-proclaimed genius, if it wasn't for the fact that “Yeezus” was, well, sort of genius.


Reel Big Fish and Goldfinger, Nov. 2, Jannus Live; John Legend, Nov. 4, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Gwar, Nov. 5, The Ritz; Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Nov. 6, The Palladium; Josh Groban, Nov.8, Forum; Juicy J, Nov. 9, Jannus Live; John Vanderslice, Nov. 13, New World Brewery; TobyMac, Nov. 15, Sun Dome; Joe Bonamassa, Nov. 15 and 16, O.A.R., Nov. 17, Jannus Live; Bret Michaels, The Palladium, Nov. 15; Buddy Guy & Jonny Lang, Nov. 19; Rick Ross, Nov. 22, The Mahaffey; Mayday Parade, Nov. 27, The Orpheum,. Joey Bada$$ and Ab-Soul, Nov. 23, Jannus Live. 

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