This month marks my sixth year living in Florida and covering music for this paper. One of the first shows I reviewed for the Times was hip-hopper Faith Evans at Jannus Landing, a great outdoor venue. It was so apocalyptically hot, even at 9 p.m., I could barely read my notes from all the sweat dripping down my pen. Does that say Biggie Smalls or Bocce Balls? What the heck? I've since embraced the animalistic wetness and body-odor-ness of summer shows in the Sunshine State. So instead of keeping you inside, I've put three outdoor shows on the following list. Towel up, boys and girls.
Top 5 July concerts in Tampa Bay
Motley Crue (St. Pete Times Forum, Wednesday): When Stuck in the '80s chum Steve Spears and I chatted up Crue drummer Tommy Lee recently, we were taken aback at how mellow the "dude"-spouting dude was. After all, this is a man who spent great swaths of the '80s in nothing but a leather Speedo. How dare he mature! But we're not worried: When the lights go down and the lighters go up, Tommy and Sunset Strip hooligans Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars will certainly unload such hairy-knuckled immature odes as Girls, Girls, Girls and Kickstart My Heart. And Tommy better not relax too much: His solo will be performed on a "360 drum roller coaster." (sptimesforum.com.)
Jason Aldean (1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre, July 15): A few years back, Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson and their pals in the MuzikMafia tried to inject Nashville with hip-hop and related pop-culture juice. But something about that rang false, calculated and their careers lost traction. Jason Aldean, on the other hand, is a like-minded rebel who has paired with Kelly Clarkson and Ludacris. And yet, he's such an earnest country-rocker, his career — juiced by hits She's Country and Big Green Tractor — remains on the path to becoming a better kind of big and rich. (livenation.com.)
Hayes Carll (Skipper's Smokehouse, July 19): Hailing from the Woodlands, Texas, which is a really cool name for a town, Hayes Carll is a singer-songwriter who first got critical huzzahs with 2008's She Left Me for Jesus, which is a really cool title for a song. Carll plays the country grit, Dylan with more smirk under his nails, and yet his new album, KMAG YOYO, is more moving than earlier efforts. (skipperssmokehouse.com.)
Selena Gomez (Ruth Eckerd Hall, July 30): Why put Justin Bieber's girlfriend in this rundown? Because she's Justin Bieber's girlfriend! And Biebs' fans don't take kindly to someone stealin' their man. So as well as Selena's followers who love her on Disney's Wizards of Waverly Place — and can't wait to see her in new flick Monte Carlo — you'll also have some of her haters mingling outside. And all of these screaming, warring girls WILL BE 12 YEARS OLD. Mayhem, I tell you. I might bring my daughters. I might bring body armor, too. (rutheckerdhall.com.)
Vans Warped Tour (Vinoy Park, July 31): It's hard to find the renegade, the rebellion, the savage punkdom in a touring behemoth that's now in its 16th incarnation. For all its tatted-up glory, the Warped Tour — this year featuring such loudy faves as Against Me! and Less Than Jake — is a grandpa in the music biz. Which is why there's now an Antiwarpt Music Festival in St. Petersburg on July 30, the alt-cousin of the kid who's gone corporate. Thing is, many fans will go to both. Yes, we all win. Now let's all get an obscure body part pierced! (vanswarpedtour.com.)
Sean Daly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Facebook (facebook.com/seandaly.tampabay) and Twitter (@seandalypoplife).