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This week in Tampa: Kenny Chesney, Neil Diamond, Bon Iver, Rick Ross, Avicii and more


See that guy? That's Chesney. He's a K-9 with the Tampa Police Department, and he's named after -- you guessed it -- Kenny Chesney. His handler's a big fan, and Chesney works as a bomb dog and a patrol apprehension dog. Pretty fun, right?

We thought Chesney would be a good face for the upcoming monster concert week, which will really get cooking as Chesney (the singer, not the dog) and Tim McGraw rock Raymond James Stadium all day Saturday. Then there's the legendary Neil Diamond, the superstar DJ Avicii, and Miami's own hip-hop bawse, Rick Ross. And how about all those acts who are coming to Tampa Bay on their way to Bonnaroo (Bon Iver, City and Colour, Two Door Cinema Club)?

Beyond that, there's yet another electronic music festival (Downtown Digital), a metal festival (Scion Rock Fest), Yacht, Styx, LL Cool J and much, much more? Here to walk you through it all is Carole Liparoto...

Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw
With Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Jake Owen
SATURDAY 4:30 p.m. Raymond James Stadium, 4201 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. $29.50-$255.50. (813) 350-6500.
When Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw launch their Brothers of the Sun tour at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Saturday, the cowboys will almost certainly share the stage to perform smash duet Feel Like a Rock Star. It’s a big show — last year’s Chesney bash at Ray Jay drew a whopping 50,548 fans, making it the largest concert crowd of the year — and it calls for big buzzworthy moments. Look for Chesney to also pal around in the spotlight with the bill’s other players: Jake Owen and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals (Grace and Kenny have a duet called You and Tequila). The party, however, will start well before 4:30 p.m. Parking lots — and their infamous tailgating — open at 10 a.m. The Corona Light Party Zone, located between gates C & D on the South Plaza at Ray Jay, starts at noon. -- Sean Daly

Downtown Digital
Featuring Ladytron (DJ set), Mustard Pimp, Sonic C, Boombox, Amtrac, Party Supplies, Subpirate, Sounduo, more
SATURDAY 12 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N., St. Petersburg; Vintage Ultra Lounge, 16 Second St. N., St. Petersburg;  Bar Milo, 300 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $25 and up. 
The beat goes on in the Bay (and it sounds a lot like “innts, innts, innts”). A week after the Sunset Fest blowout at Raymond James Stadium, downtown St. Pete hosts its own, slightly more underground electronic festival. Expect 12 hours of hologram-free music from both local and national artists, including a DJ set by the dark but highly danceable New Wave riders Ladytron. Fubar’s “Turbo Tuesday” residents, including 2012 tbt* Ultimate Local Artist Subpirate, will offer plenty of dubstep, the genre that sounds “like two transformers fighting,” according to our favorite recent depiction. 

Neil Diamond
SUNDAY 8 p.m. Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $32.25-$117.25. (813) 301-2500.
Long before Bieber, there was Diamond — the guy whose brilliant brand of soppy pop still makes the ladies squeal. This is being promoted as a career-spanning show in support of The Very Best of Neil Diamond: The Original Studio Recordings. So we’d anticipate the Mom-approved Cherry, Cherry; Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon; Forever in Blue Jeans and Sweet Caroline, complemented by sparkly shirts, plunging necklines and a big band. For Diamond, who has sold more than 125 million albums over a 40-year span, and who wed his manager this spring, it seems the good times never seemed so good.

City and Colour
TUESDAY 7 p.m. The Ritz, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $25 and up. (813) 247-2555.
While taking in now-defunct hardcore band Alexisonfire and its lead screamer George Pettit at Warped Tour in 2009, we may have overlooked the band’s best bespectacled asset — guitar player and singer-songwriter Dallas Green. Today, under the moniker City and Colour, Green is giving delicate acoustic music a little edge. A true testimony to his songwriter skills, the tattooed strummer manages to keep caffeinated youth spellbound with pensive, acoustic tunes. Listen for title track Little Hell, a song “that explores the little heavens and little hells that comprise a relationship,” says Spin. 

Two Door Cinema Club
With Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
WEDNESDAY 7 p.m. The Ritz, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $21.50 and up. (813) 247-2555.
Happiness set to music. That’s the best way we can describe the buoyant sounds of Irish indie-rock outfit Two Door Cinema Club, who supported Tokyo Police Club on its last jovial Tampa trip. The band chalks up much of its stateside success to the catchy, danceable qualities of singles like What You Know and Do You Want It All? If 2012 really is the end, this wouldn’t be a bad way to go out. 

Bon Iver
With The Staves
THURSDAY 8 p.m. Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. $39.50 and up. (813) 229-7827.
The sound of chilly seclusion never sounded sweeter than when Justin Vernon retreated to the remote Wisconsin woods after a bad breakup to record his debut For Emma, Forever Ago in 2007.  Vernon, or Bon Iver (pronounced “bon ee-VAIR”) has since gone on to Grammy Awards, Kanye West and Peter Gabriel collaborations and SNL parodies. But if you think these falsetto-rich folk and pop songs will be snoozy onstage (the subject of the aforementioned SNL parody), think again.  Vernon once told Pitchfork, “I don’t want to be the guy with an acoustic guitar singing songs, because that’s boring for the most part. The song actually needs 80-500 people singing ... it needs that fight.” Plus, when Holocene starts in, your world might finally fall into place. 

Rick Ross 
FRIDAY 9 p.m. Hawaiian Village at Stadium Green Iguana, 2520 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. $30 and up. (813) 868-7600.
The Boss Ricky Ross has had a whirlwind couple of months. And no, we’re not talking about his performance at NBA All-Star weekend. Ross experienced an on-flight seizure, was questioned about a dead body found on his front lawn, and was sued in a $10 million lawsuit for using the name of former L.A. drug kingpin “Freeway” Rick Ross. In spite of all that, Miami’s big poppa stays schemin’, giving us all the half-bellowed raps about opulence that we’ve come to love about him.

With Onuinu, The Soft Rock Renegades, more
FRIDAY 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. $11-$14. (813) 241-8600.
Bubblegum electro-pop philosophizers Yacht continually stress that they’re not a cult. Super weird, yes. Just not a cult. For nearly 10 years, the Portland dance duo of Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans has been delivering interactive performances, which include a barrage of multimedia, offbeat pop and slippery electronica about dystopia and utopia, respectively. Yacht’s experimental and explorative qualities have led them to some memorable gigs all over the globe. That includes a show in a kid’s bathroom in suburban St. Louis. Bechtolt stood on the toilet while an audience crowded in the hall.

Scion Rock Fest
Featuring Sick of It All, Down, Sleep, Cerebral Ballzy, Sleep, Revocation, Phobia, The Atlas Moth, Flyingsnakes, Cellgraft, more
SATURDAY 4 p.m. The Ritz, 1503 Seventh Ave., Ybor City; Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City; Czar, 1420 E. Seventh Ave., Ybor City; Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. Free. RSVP at
This compact car-sponsored event brings sport utility-sized noise. Around 25 metal bands will perform at four different venues throughout the course of the day.  ick of It All, one of the longest-standing hardcore bands, has been grinding out unrelenting metal since 1986. Co-headliner Sleep earned the distinction “stoner-rock titans” from the Chicago Tribune. (Are their moms proud of that one?)

With Gareth Emery, Chuckie, more
THURSDAY 8 p.m. Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $22.25-$46.75. (813) 301-2500.
Six months ago, Swedish DJ Avicii was playing The Venue in Clearwater. Now he’s about to headline the Tampa Bay Times Forum. This can only be a testament to how popular electronic dance music has become over the past year. Avicii, best known for the worldwide smash Levels — the Etta James-sampling dance track that inspired Flo Rida’s Good Feeling — will be joined by some other ascending electronic artists, including Gareth Emery and Chuckie.

SUNDAY 7:30 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $35-$79.50. (727) 791-7400. 
A Dennis DeYoung-less Styx returns to fill Ruth Eckerd with arena-sized melodramas like Come Sail Away, Renegade and Lady. The band, which formed in a small Chicago basement in the early ’60s, has performed more live concerts since 1999 than all of the previous years of its career combined, proving our desire for classic rock radio grandiosity and soaring power ballads has only grown. Tommy Shaw, James “JY” Young, Lawrence Gowan, Todd Sucherman and Ricky Phillips will appear.

LL Cool J
With DJ Z-Trip
SATURDAY Following Rays vs. Orioles (first pitch at 4:10 p.m.). Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg. Free with game ticket.
The Rays have a weekend full of freebies planned for their weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles. On Friday, the first 10,000 fans receive a Jeremy Hellickson figurine, and on Sunday, the first 10,000 kids age 14 and under get a Desmond Jennings Bobblehead. And on Saturday, one of rap’s founding loverboys (before the ladies loved Drake, they loved Cool James, don’tcha know) will take the mic for a free concert. Is Big Ole Butt family-friendly enough to make the setlist? We hope so. -- Jay Cridlin

Also playing

Barely Pink Fri. With The Human Condition, The Semis. 8 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $10-$13. (813) 971-0666.    

The First Friday Soul Review featuring The Black Honkeys Fri. 8 p.m. The Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $5. 

Kings County (acoustic) Sat. 9 p.m. Hard Rock Cafe, 5223 Orient Road, Tampa. Free. (866) 502-7529.

Rebel Fri. With Zulu Wave, Boxwood. 9 p.m. New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $7. (813) 248-4969.

Will Erickson Fri. With Renee Proffitt. 8 p.m. The Hideaway Café, 1756 Central Ave., St Petersburg. $5. (727) 644-7895.

Fourth Annual IPA Festival Sat. featuring Ultraviolet Hippopotamus. 7 p.m. Dunedin Brewery, 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. $5. (727) 736-0606. 

Oblivious Signal Sat. With Look Right Penny, more. 8:30 p.m. Pegasus Lounge, 10008 N 30th St., Tampa. $5-$7. (813) 971-1679.

Suncoast Blues Society Anniversary Party Sat. featuring Billy Seward and Soulphonic, Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones, Dennis Gruenling. 8 p.m. Skipper’s Smokehouse, 910 Skipper Road, Tampa. $10-$13. (813) 971-0666.

The Malone Brothers Thurs 7:30 p.m. Jaeb Theater at David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa. $23-$25. (813) 229-7827.

-- Carole Liparoto, tbt*

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 3:32pm]


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