Yes, April 2, Ruth Eckerd Hall – Don't be put off by the fact that Yes is on its second replacement for founding member and vocalist Jon Anderson. Plenty of classic rock bands are still satisfying fans late in their careers with vocal doppelgangers (just look at Journey), and with virtuosos Chris Squire (bass) and Chris Howe (guitar) still intact, the U.K. band will take fans on a cosmic, prog-rock ride as they play three of their best-loved albums from beginning to end.
Rock the Park, April 4, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park – This free monthly showcase of local talent always seems to draw a cool, diverse crowd looking to unwind after work, but factor in the warmer weather and the lineup of Poetry 'n Lotion (a brassy instrumental fusion of jazz and rock), Samurai Shotgun (alt hip-hop backed by a live rock band) and - most intriguing of all - Good Graeff, a folk-pop duo made up of twin sisters from Florida by way of Vietnam, this month's installment looks to be one of the best this year.
97X Freebie Weebie: Paper Tongues, April 6, The Ritz Ybor – Free is always good, but free tickets to see a band on track to break through to super stardom at any moment is even better. The seven-member pop rock band has a swaggering, exuberant sound that's anchored by versatile front man Aswan North, who jumps effortlessly between melodic crooning, rock shouting and hip-hop rhyme-slinging.
Smokey Robinson, April 10, Mahaffey Theater – At 72, the honey-voiced legend is getting good reviews for live shows filled with personality and hits drawn from a catalog of solo work, his time as a member of the Miracles and the long list of songs he wrote for golden-era Motown artists such as the Temptations and the Marvelettes.
Bullstock: All-American Rejects, Owl City, Hot Chelle Rae, April 12, USF Meadow - Yet another free concert this month, this one is part of USF Week at the university's Tampa campus. Pop-punk rockers the All-American Rejects (“Dirty Little Secret,” “Move Along”) are headlining, but the main attraction is the chilled-out, electro-pop from Owl City.
Cave Singers, April 14, Crowbar – This trio from Seattle plays dusty, rustic folk with an old-time sensibility that's not quite in step with the current, poppier, folk obsession, but isn't too far removed from it either.
Rihanna, April 19, the Forum – Whether or not you like listening to her slick, hyper-produced, and ever-present pop and R&B hits, Rihanna is undeniably compelling to watch as a live performer. In recent months the controversial singer oozed sex appeal as the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live” and shined bright with pop-star swagger in a performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. It's hard to imagine anything less on her Diamonds World Tour, though it's a shame that tour-mate A$AP Rocky isn't on the bill for Tampa.
Taylor Swift, April 20, the Forum – Taylor Swift will always get respect for being the rare breed of young pop superstar who actually writes her own songs. So what if they're all about busted relationships. She's joined by fellow singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, who's already a big star in the U.K.
Curren$y, April 21, Amphitheater – New Orleans rapper Curren$y, aka Spitta, brings his weed-smoke-filled lyrical haze of clever pop-culture similes, fast cars and fast women to Ybor.
98 Rockfest, April 26, the Forum – Radio station 98 Rock's big yearly festival is headlined by Seattle grunge-era veterans Alice In Chains, whose first album in four years, “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here,” is set for release in May. The lineup is full of other rock radio staples, including Stone Sour, Three Days Grace and Bullet for My Valentine. Halestrom, who won the Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance in February, is also on the bill.
Diana Krall, April 3, Ruth Eckerd Hall; Aer, April 4, Orpheum; Senses Fail, April 9, State Theatre; Chicago, April 10, Ruth Eckerd Hall; Weird Al Yankovic, April 13, Ruth Eckerd Hall; All Time Low with Pierce the Veil, April 16, Jannus Live; Steven Wilson, April 16, State Theatre; Asking Alexandria, April 28, The Ritz.