We're still a couple months away from the onslaught of festivals and big-time arena shows heading to the Tampa Bay area this spring and summer, but there's still a lot of live music you'll want to know about in February.
Here's a preview of the famous names and must-see concerts coming to the Tampa Bay area this month.
Queens of the Stone Age, Feb. 4, The Mahaffey Theater - The stoner-rock kings are riding a big comeback wave with the critical and commercial success of their first album in six years “...Like Clockwork,” on which frontman (and only original member) Josh Homme pairs QOTSA's gritty, hard-rock riffage with a new vulnerability and maturity that has the band riding higher than ever.
Kenny Loggins, Feb. 8, Ruth Eckerd Hall - Soft rock singer (and acclaimed beard icon) Kenny Loggins may be getting a slight boost in coolness from cartoon secret agent Sterling Archer's frequent name dropping of the 1986 hit “Danger Zone,” or maybe not. Either way, Loggins has a big catalog of “yacht rock” that can be enjoyed ironically or with complete sincerity — your pick.
Tony Bennett, Feb. 12, The Mahaffey Theater - The living legend has no plans for coming off the road, and why should he? Check out the YouTube videos of Bennett's show at the Hollywood Bowl on his 87th birthday (87th!!!) and just try to detect a crack in the man's voice as he belts out “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” His daughter, Antonia Bennett, will also be singing.
Whigfest w/ Surfer Blood and Pinback, Feb. 15 to 16, Jannus Live - The annual President's Day festival (cheekily named after the defunct politcal party) really stepped up its lineup this year by scoring nationally-known indie rock headliners. Surfer Blood plays melodic, hooky, surf-rock (think Best Coast with some really dark undertones). Pinback plays electronic-infused math rock that is mellow, yet dazzlingly precise. The best overall way to describe the 48-band lineup: quality, chilled-out indie rock.
Young The Giant, Feb. 18, Jannus Live - The squeaky clean alt-rockers had the sleeper hit of 2011 with the youth/rebellion/feel-good anthem “My Body” (which became even more inescapable when it landed in a Michelob commercial). They've finally followed up that breakout success with a follow up, “Mind Over Matter,” released in January.
Trisha Yearwood, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Feb. 20 - The biggest country name on this month's concert calendar is the veteran singer with a songbook full of country ballads about strong Southern women.
Charlie Wilson, Feb. 21, USF Sun Dome - The funkified Gap Band (“You Dropped a Bomb on Me”) singer from the '80s evolved into a giant of contemporary R&B for grown folks in the 2000s, garnering a pair of Grammy nods for his song “You Are.” Even more recently, he's been turning up on a long list of Kanye West tracks, including a hook for the 2013 hit “Bound 2.” According to Ticketmaster, this one's nearly sold out already.
Demi Lovato, Feb. 26, Forum - It's a little hard to believe Demi Lovato has already been playing arenas for five years. The former Disney Channel actress brings her giant, lovelorn, ballads (“Skyscraper”) and EDM-infused pop hits (“Give Your Heart a Break,” “Neon Lights”) back to Tampa for her third concert at the Forum. “X Factor”-made girl group Fifth Harmony will open the show.
Big Gigantic, Feb. 26, Ritz Ybor - With so much dance music getting a bad rep for being “soulless,” Big Gigantic is a welcome injection of jazzy soul into the genre. The Colorado duo melds electronics with live instrumentation, including drums and saxophone, into a soulful, grooving mix of jazz, hip hop and electronic beats. Lots of energy here.
Johnny Mathis, Feb. 6, Ruth Eckerd Hall; Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Feb. 6, State Theatre; Skinny Puppy, Feb. 8, Ritz Ybor; Chimaira, Feb. 14, State Theatre; Alan Parsons Live Project, Feb. 15, Ruth Eckerd Hall; Flogging Molly, Feb. 16, Ritz Ybor; Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Feb. 18, Straz Center; The Expendables, Feb. 20, Jannus Live; Caveman, Feb. 20, Orpheum; Edwin McCain, Feb. 20, Capitol Theatre; Temptations and Four Tops, Feb. 21, Ruth Eckerd Hall; Dark Star Orchestra, Feb. 22, Jannus Live; Jucifer, Feb. 23, Orpheum; Julio Iglesias, Feb. 25, Ruth Eckerd Hall; Memphis May Fire, Feb. 25, State Theatre; Austin Mahone, Feb. 25, Jannus Live; The Black Angels, Feb. 26, State Theatre; Iron and Wine, Feb. 26, Straz Center; Bright Light Social Hour, State Theatre, Feb. 28.