The buzz from Kenny Chesney and Neil Diamond's big gigs may still be wearing off, but this is no time to stay indoors and play Uno. Tampa Bay is the major music hub of the Sunshine State because we show up, and this month is packed with concerts. In today's Weekend section, I write about accidental rock star Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver, the trippy folk-popper who plays the Straz Center for the Performing Arts tonight. Here are five other June shows to get you off the couch and back into the fray.
ZZ Top, Gretchen Wilson, 3 Doors Down (Tropicana Field, June 17) Calling themselves the "Gang of Outlaws," the Bearded Ones, the Redneck Woman and, uh, the Dudes Who Did Kryptonite will unload the licks after the Rays play the Miami Marlins. How will they fit all that music into a postgame show? Keep in mind it's a Sunday tilt that starts at 1:40 p.m. Plus the three acts are currently touring together, so they have this stuff down. I like this booking a lot. Should be a wild one. (raysbaseball.com)
Explosions in the Sky (Ritz Ybor, June 19) Along with Texas brethren This Will Destroy You, whose music was used to moody effect in Moneyball, Explosions in the Sky is part of a fascinating, if small, club: mesmerizing instrumental bands from the Lone Star State with cinematic credibility. Explosions is beloved in Hollywood, especially after their soundtrack work for Friday Night Lights, both the movie and TV show. Not sure how the band's music will play live — especially in a club like the Ritz Ybor — but I'm more than willing to find out. (ritzybor.com)
Coldplay (Tampa Bay Times Forum, June 28) Coldplay's latest album, 2011's Mylo Xyloto, was a typical release from Chris Martin and his not-so-merry men: overdramatic, overproduced, overlong, overhyped. And yet, underneath all the tears and gloss and Kong-sized crescendoes, Coldplay displayed nuance and ache, especially on Mylo's best cut Princess of China, a moving duet with R&B star Rihanna. At the song's 1:42 mark, Rihanna, in response to Martin's confused paramour, delivers a startling vocal turn, both catchy and devastating. You know she's going to show up on tour with Coldplay at some point. Why not here? (tampabaytimesforum.com)
One Direction (1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre, June 29) For every generation of Teen Beat boy toys — from Shaun Cassidy to the JoBros to Justin Bieber — there is a new generation of boy-toy hair. For instance, One Direction enjoys a neo-Bieberian moptop. The X Factor scamps run by Simon Cowell and currently owning the screams of 12-year-olds worldwide blend modern flip with retro shag, especially that Harry Styles, the bad boy of the British quintet. Totally rad coifs: That's what makes them beautiful. (livenation.com)
Def Leppard and Poison (Tampa Bay Times Forum, June 30) Speaking of hair: It's not summer in Tampa Bay without the hirsute brigade of '80s metalists invading our sunny shores. Poison has an unstoppable spark plug in Bret Michaels, and Joe Elliott, left, and the boys in Def Lep will be riding the buzz of new '80s flick Rock of Ages. If you're still not sure whether to drop your cash for this indoor gig or for the Kiss-Motley Crue show on July 28, then consider this subtle tip: Late July is a really bad time for Gene "the Demon" Simmons to be blowing fire in your face. (tampabaytimesforum.com)
Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected] Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.