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Friday, May 24, 2019
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This week’s top Tampa concerts: Sam Smith, Chief Keef, Ghastly and more


What’s with all the pop lads going out with country gals this year? Harry Styles is touring with Kacey Musgraves. Niall Horan is hitting the road with Maren Morris. And on Friday, Sam Smith is coming to Tampa with opening act Cam. Both acts are worth catching in their own right. Smith’s the headliner, and rightly so; few acts this century possess as much tear-jerking, soul-wrenching sensitivity as this Oscar- and Grammy-winning tender boy. But Cam’s latest single Diane is one of Nashville’s most rollicking of the past year, and she can also bring out the hankies with her hit Burning House. Musgraves, Morris and Cam have made some of this decade’s best country music; they should all be headlining their own tours this summer, not schlepping for a bunch of tween-screamy Brits. Let’s hope some of their talent rubs off on the guys. 8 p.m. Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $25.75 and up. (813) 301-2500. amaliearena.com.


What is The Mystifying Oracle? If we’re talking about Ghastly’s new album, it’s a choppy, squelchy concoction of bassy house and dubstep, with enough melody rippling below the surface to justify comparisons to Porter Robinson and co-signs from Skrillex and Marshmello. "The Mystifying Oracle" is also the name of his new tour, a spectacle of wizardly visuals and the DJ himself in a glowing cloak. Pick the album, or pick the tour — either way, if you open your mind, the Oracle may give you the answers you seek. Breathe Carolina, Blu J and Swage open at 10 p.m. Friday. Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave. (813) 390-0397. ritzybor.com.

PRESS PLAY: The Pauses

Tampa has been mighty kind to the Pauses over the years. The Orlando indie rockers released their 2011 debut A Cautionary Tale through Tampa’s New Granada Records, and in August they’ll play an intimate show at Microgroove. But they just released their new LP Unbuilding, and the time is right for a release party at 7 Thursday at Crowbar, 1817 N 17th St., Ybor City. Produced by Jawbox’s J. Robbins, Unbuilding is itchy and kinetic in places, soft and dreamy in others. Robbins himself, along with Pohgoh, will open. $10 and up. (813) 241-8600.

DOUBLE DUTY: Exhumed and Gruesome

Hope Matt Harvey’s drinking herbal tea with honey and lemon, because he’s got a brutal night lined up. The singer and guitarist’s two death metal bands, Exhumed and Gruesome, will share the stage. The former are gore metal legends who have been snarling about splattery blood and guts since the early ’90s. The latter was conceived as a tribute to Florida death metal pioneers Death, but has built a following all its own. Harvey has called the double-bill tour an "endurance test," which is putting it mildly. It’ll be worth the price of admission to see how he pulls it off. Killing Addiction, Tyrants of Hell and Varanger open. 7 p.m. Saturday. Crowbar, 1817 N 17th St., Ybor City. $17 and up. (813) 241-8600.


A Chief Keef concert might be a pretty cool thing, not that we’d know it from experience. The perpetually legally troubled Chicago rapper has bailed on four Tampa Bay shows since 2013, most recently last summer at Jannus Live. The man stays busy; he guested on Kanye West’s Hold My Liquor and Travis Scott’s Nightcrawler, and last year collaborated with Mike Will Made It, Rae Sremmurd, Vic Mensa and Lil Pump. But until he actually shows up in town, we’ll just have to take the world’s word for it. His frequent skirmishes with the law and many beefs (most recently with Tekashi 6ix9ine, who Keef suggested was involved in a recent shooting where he was the target) have made it tough for him to keep a date. He’ll supposedly headline at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave. $27 and up. (813) 390-0397. ritzybor.com.

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