Bonnaroo’s Killer Lineup: Phish, Wilco, David Byrne, King Sunny Ade, Bruce Springsteen, Al Green, Gov’t Mule

Some of the country’s big ‘n’ eclectic rock/jam festivals, like Langerado in South Florida, are calling it quits this year. Or, at least, taking a break until 2010.

Bonnaroo, though, is standing strong, with a recently announced lineup that includes a huge gift to fans of a certain highly revered jamband.

Yep, Phish, reuniting in March to play three dates in Virginia, is headed to Bonnaroo, June 11-14 in Manchester, Tennessee.

Trey and Co., slated to play two shows – count ’em – at the music-and-camping fest, are at the top of the bill, along with a long list of acts boasting serious music muscle.

The lineup includes Wilco, David Byrne, Wilco, the Rev. Al Green, Elvis Costello (solo), and the seriously over-exposed Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. More: Gov’t Mule, Erykah Badu, TV on the Radio, Band of Horses, Ben Harper, Merle Haggard, moe, Bela Fleck & Toumani Diabate, Galactic, Booker T & the Drive-by Truckers, David Grisman, Lucinda Williams, Gomez, Femi Kuti, Alejandro Escovedo, Cherryholmes, the Steeldrivers, and – yes – Nigerian juju star King Sunny Ade. More TBA.

By any measure, it’s a killer bill.

David Byrne Wows Crowd at Tampa Theatre

If I were putting together a list of the year’s best concerts in the Tampa Bay area, David Byrne’s show at Tampa Theatre would land somewhere near the top.

David ByrneMy review of the Dec. 12 show is now available at jambands.com, or read the full text below (photo courtesy of Byrne’s site):
David Byrne, Tampa Theatre, Tampa, FL- 12/12
Philip Booth
2008-12-22 Given his background as a visual artist and inveterate, relentlessly curious cultural explorer, it’s hardly a surprise that David Byrne concocts an intriguing new concept for each of his recording projects and tours — here an oversized Latin band, there a small combo with a vibraphonist.

Byrne’s latest tour, in support of this year’s Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, his first collaboration will Brian Eno in nearly 30 years, is no exception, as the former Talking Heads leader demonstrated on a return trip to Tampa Theatre, a beautifully appointed 1926 art deco movie palace that doubles as an intimate concert venue.

This time, Byrne was joined by keyboardist/programmer Mark De Gli Antoni, bassist Paul Frazier, drummer Graham Hawthorne, and percussionist Mauro Refosco plus back-up singers Kaissa, Redray Frazier and Jenni Muldaur, and a trio of hoofers. On many tunes, the vocalists and dancers, and sometimes Byrne, turned in a series of dance routines that were uniformly invigorating and creative, decidedly modern with nods to both theatrical and experimental influences.

The effect, with the entire troupe dressed in white and Byrne out front, topped with a shock of white hair, toting a Stratocaster, and putting body and soul into the performance, was mesmerizing. Cool detachment was out, and a warm sense of connection with the audience was in. Byrne even opened with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor: “It’s a set menu,” he promised. “No substitutions. I’ll be your waiter. My name’s Dave.”

The music, an exuberantly played mix of songs from the new CD, several Talking Heads albums, and the 1981 Byrne/Eno collaboration My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, kicked off with the new “Strange Overtones,” all low-riding bass and percussion groove, and squiggly synthesizer lines erupting during the instrumental break. Heads tune “I Zimbra,” with the dancers making their entrance, jumping, clapping, twisting and kicking, was followed by the electric-acoustic guitars, loping beat and gospel-edged textures of “One Fine Day.” “Help Me Somebody” (from Ghosts), with its subdued funk and found sounds, led into a tune that prompted the first of several standing ovations — an invigorating performance of the Heads’ “Houses in Motion,” replete with invigorating call-and-response singing, deep, percolating grooves, keyboard-generated sound effects and another round of jaw-dropping dance moves by Lily Baldwin, Natalie Kuhn and Steven Reker.

Those first five tunes were followed by 15 more (including three encores). The group, to the obvious delight of an audience that quickly surrendered to the music’s summons to dance, offered plenty of Heads favorites — “Heaven,” with its open-wide chorus and five-part vocal harmonies; the irresistible gospel drive and exquisite tension and release of Al Green’s “Take Me to the River”; “Crosseyed and Painless,” all chunky funk, unison vocals and whammy-bar guitar; the hypnotic “Once in a Lifetime” and “Life During Wartime”; and, late in the show, an aptly incendiary workout on “Burning Down the House.”

The new material was compelling and well received, too, and, as if to prove a point, Byrne closed the concert with “Everything That Happens,” a lush, slow-moving ballad built on chiming, air-hanging guitars, the leader’s fragile, vulnerable sounding vocals and big, gospel-edged background vocals. “Everything that happens will happen today/and nothing has changed, but nothing’s the same,” he sang, perhaps suggesting a thing or two about his approach to music/performance — carefully and artfully designed but always marked by in-the-moment appeal and spontaneous musical eruptions.

Byrne, at this point, has nothing left to prove. Still, at 58, he continues to give every performance as if it were going to be the one that defined his career. Yet again, he has delivered one of the year’s most memorable pop tours.

Tampa Bay area Concert Calendar – Jazz, Blues, Jamband, New Orleans, Americana, Rock, More

Selected concerts — jazz, blues, jamband, New Orleans music, Americana, worldbeat, pop/rock and more — on the music calendar of the Tampa Bay area and environs:

  • May 1 – Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers + Rev. Billy C. Wirtz, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, 8 p.m.
  • May 3 – UB40, Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg, 8 p.m.
  • glsalley-pic-without-logoMay 8 – Ghetto Love Sugar, Infinite Groove Orchestra, Rocksteady@8, Yeoman’s Road, Davis Islands, Tampa, 9 p.m.
  • May 8 – Kings of Leon + The Walkmen, USF Sun Dome, Tampa
  • May 15 – War + Derek Jive & the Funky Five + Soul Purpose, State Theatre, St. Petersburg, 7 p.m.
  • May 16 – WMNF Tropical Heatwave: Chuck Prophet, Trombone Shorty, Bonerama, Michael Burks, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Sara Borges, James Intveld, BeauSoleil with Michael Doucet, Kinobe and Soul Beat Africa, Magadog, the Vodkanauts, Will Quinlan and the Diviners, and more, Cuban Club, Ybor City, Tampa, 5 p.m.
  • May 28 – Side Door Jazz: TRIO VIBE with singer Edgar Wilcox,  Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg, 7:30 p.m.
  • May 28 – Stanton Moore, the Crowbar, Ybor City
  • May 29 – Damon Fowler Group + Shawn Kellerman, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • May 30 – Legendary JCs + TBA, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, 8 p.m.
  • May 31 – WMNF Jazz Jam: Sam Rivers, Infinite Groove Orchestra, PBS, World Afro-Cuban Ensemble, Impromptu, and Trio Vibe, Skipper’s Smokehouse, 4 p.m.; $12 advance, $15 day of show
  • June 12 – Eric Lindell, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • July 18 – The Avett Brothers, Cuban Club, Ybor City (Tampa)
  • June 19 – Cope + Diocious, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • July 11 – 4th Annual WMNF Americana Fest: Blue Mountain, Ted Lukas and the Misled, Will Quinland & the Diviners, Have Gun Will Travel, Thomas Wynn & the Believers, Nervous Turkey, Black Finger, Mike Dunn & the Kings of New England, Matt Butcher, Nine Volts, and Roppongi’s Ace, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, 4 p.m.
  • August 12 – Dave Matthews Band + Robert Earl Keen, Ford Amphitheatre, Tampa
  • October 9 – U2, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa

Also handy for concertgoers: Creative Loafing’s recent piece on the area’s Top 20 concert venues.

ARCHIVE LIST

2009 shows

  • April 17-Sunday, April 19 – Stringbreak Music Fest: The Waybacks, Hoots & Hellmouth (photo, left), Randy McAllister Band, Thomas Wynn & the Believers, The Greencards, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, Todd Charles, Have Gun Will Travel + more, Sertoma Ranch, Brooksville
  • April 17 – The Waybacks + Wildlife Refugees, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, 8 p.m.
  • April 16 – Side Door Jazz: Denise Moore & Then Some, Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg, 7:30 p.m.
  • April 10 – Dickey Betts & the Great Southern Band + Fastgun + Angels with Dirty Faces, State Theatre, St. Petersburg
  • April 10 – Saffire the Uppity Blues Women + Julie Black, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, 8 p.m.
  • April 7 – Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • April 5 – Old School Tampa Reunion Concert: Beanstalk + Joe Popp, My Little Trotsky, and Maggie Council, Skipper’s Smokehouse
  • April 5 – Ribbon of Highway: Jimmy LaFave, Joel Rafael, Kevin Welch, Ray Bonneville, Ronny Elliott, Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johny Irion, Tampa Theatre
  • April 4 – Bill Wharton The Sauce Boss, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, 8 p.m.
  • April 4 – Freddie McGregor + Junior Reid + Jahfari, Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg, 8 p.m.
  • April 3 – Ben Folds + Jukebox the Ghost, The Ritz, Ybor City (Tampa)
  • April 3 – Allman-Tyler Band (with Gregg’s son Michael), Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa, 8 p.m.
  • April 2 – Side Door Jazz: Stan Hunter (photo, left) Quartet with trumpeter Bob Swisher, bassist Michael Ross, and drummer Ron Gregg, Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg
  • March 28 – North Mississippi All Stars + Hill Country Revue, State Theatre, St. Petersburg
  • March 27 – Charlie Louvin + Will Smith and the Diviners, New World Brewery, Ybor City (Tampa)
  • March 27 – Toubab Krewe, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • March 26-Sunday, March 29 – Suwannee Springfest: Donna the Buffalo & others, Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak (see my post on this)
  • March 20-22 – Tampa Bay Blues Fest: Fabulous Thunderbirds, Delbert McClinton, Irma Thomas, Bernard Allison + more, Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg
  • March 20 – “Swing Into Spring: A Tribute to Benny Goodman” : Ken Peplowski (photo, left) with Kenny Drew Jr. Trio (including bassist Joe Porter and drummer John Jenkins), The Palladium, St. Petersburg
  • March 20 – Spiritual Rez + The Hip Abduction, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • March 20 – The Original Wailers, Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg
  • March 19 – George Benson: Tribute to Nat Cole, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater
  • March 10 – Helios Jazz Orchestra with singers Rita Wilson, Joanna Rose, and Michael Cerone, First Unity Church, St. Petersburg, 7 p.m.
  • March 15 – Bonnie Raitt, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, 8:30 p.m.
  • March 15 – Terry Adams Crazy Trio + Vodkanauts, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • Friday-Saturday, March 6-7 – TRIO VIBE (Philip’s band), Della’s Delectables/Della’s After Dark, Brandon
  • Friday, March 6 – COPE with Middle Rhythm Session, Skipper’s Smokehouse, 8 p.m.
  • March 5 – The Organic Trio, Side Door Jazz @ Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg, 7:30 p.m. (Al Downing TBJA)
  • March 5 – Richard Drexler (performing and discussing his music), St. Petersburg College HS 109
  • March 5 – George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic, Jannus Landing, St. Petersburg
  • March 3 – Helios Jazz Orchestra, with saxophonist Butch Thomas, and singers Rita Wilson and Paul Wilborn, Palladium Theater
  • March 1 through Saturday, March 7 – Sarasota Jazz Festival: Dick Hyman, James Moody (photo, above), John Allred, Bill Allred, others, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Holley Hall and other venues, Sarasota
  • Feb. 28 – The Subdudes + The Ditchflowers, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • Feb. 28 – Mardi Gras Mambo: Neville Brothers + Dr. John and the Lower 911, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota
  • Feb. 28 – Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials, Ace’s Lounge, Bradenton, 8:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 23 – Bill Moring, bassist (photo, above), with USF Jazz Faculty Ensemble, USF-Tampa Monday Night Jazz Series, USF Music Recital Hall 
  • Feb. 23 – Bill Moring master class (open to the public), FAH 107, USF Music Building
  • Feb. 5-6 – Perpetual Groove, The Crowbar, Ybor City (Tampa)
  • Feb. 5 – B.B. King + Buddy Guy, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater
  • Feb. 5 – Kenny Drew, Jr. (above) Trio with bassist Richard Drexler and drummer John Jenkins, Side Door Jazz Series @ Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg (Al Downing TBJA)
  • Feb. 4 – Pato Banton, Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa
  • Jan. 31 – SPC Jazz Festival: Sue Terry Quartet (w/ Richard Drexler, Mark Neuenschwander and Tracy Alexander), SPC Music Center
  • Jan. 30 – SPC Jazz Festival: Alfredo Rivera & Manigua + O Som Do Jazz featuring Andrea Moraes Manson
  • Jan. 29 – Dark Star Orchestra, Jannus Landing
  • Jan. 29 – St. Petersburg College Jazz Festival: Helios Jazz Orchestra featuring saxophonist Sue Terry (photo, above) and singers Joanna Rose & Rita Wilson, SPC Music Center
  • Jan. 27 – Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota
  • Jan. 27 – Keller Williams, Jannus Landing
  • Jan. 26 – Jon Metzger, vibraphonist, with USF Jazz Faculty Ensemble, USF-Tampa Monday Night Jazz Series
  • Jan. 24 – USF-Tampa Magic Marimba Festival/Conference, FAH 101 & 102
  • Jan. 23 – Big Sam’s Funky Nation +  The Trio, The Crowbar
  • Jan. 23 – Side Door Jazz: Mindy Simmons Trio – A Tribute to Peggy Lee, Palladium Theater
  • Jan. 23 – USF-Tampa Magic Marimba Festival/Conference, FAH 101 & FAH 102
  • Jan. 18 – Donna the Buffalo, Skipper’s Smokehouse
  • Jan. 16 – Richard Drexler and Kenny Drew, Jr. (“Keyboard Explosion”) with bassist John Lamb and drummer Don Capone, Mahaffey Theater  Bayview Room
  • Jan. 11 – Ira Sullivan (photo, above) Quartet with  Michael Royal, Richard Drexler and Danny Gottlieb, Springs Theatre, (Tampa Jazz Club)
  • Jan. 9 – Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe,  State Theatre
  • Jan. 9 – Pinetop Perkins + Liz Pennock & Dr. Blues, Skipper’s Smokehouse (Philip’s preview, St. Petersburg Times)
  • Friday, Jan. 9 & Saturday, Jan. 10 – TRIO VIBE (Philip’s band), Della’s Delectables, Brandon
  • Jan. 8 – Guisando Caliente Latin Jazz Quintet (with saxophonist Jeff Rupert and pianist Kenny Drew, Jr.), Side Door Jazz, Palladium Theater (Al Downing TBJA)
  • Jan. 3 – Bonerama, Aces Lounge, Bradenton (Philip’s preview, St. Petersburg Times)
  • Jan. 2-3 – J.J. Grey & Mofro + Inca Maya, Skipper’s Smokehouse (Philip’s preview, St. Petersburg Times)
  • Jan. 2 – Galactic + the Lee Boys, Jannus Landing (Philip’s preview, St. Petersburg Times)

2008 shows

Winter Concert Picks: David Byrne, Derek Trucks/Susan Tedeschi, Galactic

Some folks around the Tampa Bay area are practically swooning in anticipation over several just-announced early 2009 shows by big pop and big hat acts.

Who’s coming?

  • Britney Spears, still cute, still annoying, still irrelevant (3/8, St. Pete Times forum);
  • Jessica Simpson, same as Britney (Florida Strawberry Festival);
  • Elton John/Billy Joel, once formidable pop/rock artists long off to other interests but back on the cash-grab trail (3/5, SPT Forum);
  • Fast-rising teen country star Taylor Swift (also Strawberry Fest).

Yawn. It’s all enough to make me elated that I’m no longer forced to consume standard-issue pop and rock for a living.

It’s a good bet that musical intrigue and non-rote performances will be in much greater supply at three under-publicized shows this month and next.

David Byrne, the former Talking Heads head, brings his “Songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno” tour to Tampa Theatre on Dec. 12. He’s touring in support of Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, his first collaboration in nearly three decades with Brian Eno. Byrne’s work has remained vital and creative over the years, and his shows at Tampa Theatre have been among the area’s best concerts.

Reviews of the tour, which has Byrne and his four-piece band (keys, drums, bass, percussion) joined by three backup singers and three dancers, have been positive.

Jonathan Valaria, writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer, had this to say about a November show:

“David Byrne got his first of countless standing ovations Saturday night just five songs into his set at the Tower Theater, where he closed out the North American run of his ambitious tour in support of Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, his splendid second collaboration with Brian Eno.

Not surprisingly, the ovation was occasioned by the first Talking Heads song of the night – “Houses In Motion” from Remain in Light – but it was more than just a beloved old song that elicited such a response from the crowd, which, much like the 56-year-old Byrne, straddled the fulcrum of middle age.

No doubt drawing on lessons learned from his collaboration with choreographer extraordinaire Twyla Tharp, Byrne created a show that uses bodies in motion to advance the ambiguous narratives of his arty, multicultural rock music.

Byrne – looking fit, trim and sporting a magnificent shock of silver hair – sounded in fine voice and handled all guitar duties with surprising aplomb, expertly replicating the pneumatic wheeze of chords on “Home,” the angular funk-strum of “Crosseyed And Painless” and the molten leads of ‘I Feel My Stuff.’ ”

Also certain to be among the highlights of the winter concert season:

  • Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi’s Soul Stew Revival (Dec. 29, Tampa Theatre), a bluesy, jammy, funky collaboration between the Allman Brothers’ slide-guitar wizard and his wife, an impressive blues guitarist and singer-songwriter in her own right.
  • New Orleans funk/jam stars Galactic, with the Lee Boys (Jan. 2, Jannus Landing). Galactic’s grooves are deep and funky, and they often inject experimental sounds and hip-hop rhythms into the mix. I’ve seen the band upteen times, in the Tampa Bay area and in New Orleans, and I’ve only been disappointed when they’ve let guest rappers or singers hog the show. Not sure yet what’s up for this tour.