With Miranda Lambert
FRIDAY 7:30 p.m. Ford Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. (813) 740-2446. $37.25-$75.50.
The ladies may be crazy about his farmer's tan and tillin' talents, but Kenny Chesney has swapped most of his tractor tales for tropical ones in recent years. With sunny-day hooks like, "Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to go now," the island fascination continues on his upcoming release Lucky Old Sun. (Coincidentally, Beach Boy Brian Wilson has similarly titled That Lucky Old Sun set for release next week.) Chesney, a top touring act, pleases Parrotheads and country fans alike with hits Beer in Mexico, Never Wanted Nothing More and When the Sun Goes Down.
Featuring the Underkatz Crew, Lizz Straight, Wally B., Shady Rock, DJ Kayess, the Pyrotechnik Mic Deluxx and more.
FRIDAY 9 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 N 17th St.,Ybor City. $5. (813) 241-8600.
Disgusted with rap's disrespectful messaging and its hold on youth (i.e., young kids singing Soulja Boy songs), this collective has arranged a spirited night of hip-hop, poetry, jazz and R&B. "Better times through better rhymes," they say. The Underkatz Crew is led by vet DJ Shady Rock, a frequenter of open-mic shows Viva La Frieda, Black On Black Rhymes and L.A. Soul, and a firm believer that rap minus lies equals hip-hop. The vibrant Lizz Straight, host of WMNF's Poetry is... has material both bold and beautiful.
With Josh Hoge
FRIDAY 7 p.m. State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $12. (727) 895-3045.
Cleveland prodigy Kate Voegele was opening for Counting Crows and John Mayer at age 16. But it wasn't until her debut this year (five years later) on the CW's One Tree Hill that the singer-songwriter-actor would connect with a mass audience. Her upbeat pop-rock tunes, including the bright Only Fooling Myself, might remind you of Vanessa Carlton, though Voegele shows versatility with darker piano-driven stuff in the vein of Fiona Apple.
SATURDAY 7 p.m. Ford Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. (813) 740-2446. $30-$53.
John Mayer may turn out to be a better artist than just the guy your girlfriend is dragging you to see. Sure, his smart remarks and hot dates make that hard to fathom, but the way he governs a guitar on R&B, pop, rock, soul and blues songs is very respectable. A Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan influence shows up often, and Mayer's cover of Hendrix's Bold as Love is first-rate. His smooth voice shines on the slick call for unity, Waiting on the World to Change (although the song sounds awfully close to Curtis Mayfield's People Get Ready).
'80s Regeneration Tour
Featuring ABC, the Romantics, A Flock of Seagulls, Missing Persons, Naked Eyes
SATURDAY 7 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $33-$65. (727) 791-7400.
Put on your (insert appropriate Reagen-era closet items) for an '80s regeneration. Unfortunately, there's no Belinda Carlisle or Human League on this leg of the tour, but the Romantics may have the goods to bring you back. That includes the energetic, Kinks-styled What I Like About You and bass-slapper Talking In Your Sleep. A Flock of Seagulls, remembered more for hair than hits, has I Ran; Naked Eyes does Always Something There To Remind Me; and ABC delivers Poison Arrow. Hiccupy vocalist Dale Bozzio leads Missing Persons.
The Jonas Brothers
With Demi Lovato, the Veronicas
THURSDAY 7 p.m. Ford Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. (813) 740-2446. $25-$79.50.
After a weak attempt to market the Jonas Brothers as a Christian pop band, Columbia Records dropped the Jersey boys in 2006. Whoopsie-daisy. The new A Little Bit Longer (Hollywood) is shaping up to be one of the year's best-selling rock releases (with 525,000 discs sold in its debut week). Yes, the boys are part of the Disney conglomerate, but they actually play their instruments and write most of their own material. Some of the tracks recall Hanson, and they admit as much on That's Just the Way We Roll. Their latest pop-rock and funk-flavored Burnin' Up is pure fun.