Details: Wednesday 7:30 p.m. Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. $49.50 and up. (727) 791-7400.
If Andrew Lloyd Webber is the beloved king of Broadway bombast, oversized singer Marvin Lee "Meat Loaf" Aday rules the concept in the rock world. Beefy, overwrought and arena-ready, '77 breakout album Bat Out of Hell helped define the operatic rock genre and remains one of the world's five top-selling albums of all-time. This tour with longtime band The Neverland Express supports new disc Hell in a Handbasket (which features unlikely contributors Chuck D, Lil Jon, Trace Adkins and Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath). "People who come to Meat Loaf shows know what to expect," he says. "They know they're going to get full-on energy with the best rock 'n' roll band in the world. That's not an opinion. That's the truth."
With Luke Bryan
Details: Friday 7:30 p.m. 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $34.50 and up. (813) 740-2446.
Sporting a Resistol cowboy hat low over his eyes, Jason Aldean does outdoorsy country with undeniably Southern titles. See Hicktown, Big Green Tractor or Dirt Road Anthem. In late 2008, Aldean gave the contemporary country brand a firm slap to the rear with AC/DC–like electricity on stomper She's Country. Aldean continued to muddy up the boundaries of the genre with a little hip-hop cross-pollination on Dirt Road Anthem, the blockbuster tune written by Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert. Opener Luke Bryan, a small-town Georgia boy who can — ahem, ladies — "grow his own groceries and salt cure a ham" (Country Man), will serve up guitar-based contemporary country with a side of small-town lyricism.
Details: Sunday 7 p.m. Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $20 and up. (813) 247-2555.
Rarely would we have the opportunity to put Jason Aldean and Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T. in the same paragraph, so we're going for gold here. Plain and simple, these guys, despite their musical differences, are making it cool to be country. The spitter with the Southern drawl got his start in true DIY fashion, making beats on his PlayStation's MTV Music Generator. Today, K.R.I.T. is at the top of his game, with flow and lyricism strong enough to please the purists, and the right stuff to get the dirty South party started.
Details: Saturday 9 p.m. Ybor Amphitheatre, 1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $10 and up. (813) 873-8368.
Just as a new wave of feverish dance enthusiasts are consulting DJs for their weekend stimuli, electronic music fans in the late '90s and early '00s relied on artists like BT to keep the late-night pulse. BT, or Brian Wayne Transeau, conducts a weekly program Laptop Symphony on Sirius XM. But for evidence that he goes beyond a play button and a swirling screensaver, check out BT for yourself Saturday in Ybor.
With Beverly McClellan
Details: Aug. 16 at 8 p.m. The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. $35-$45. (727) 822-3590.
Put this one on your radar for next week, when stunt guitarist Steve Vai brings big, six-string action to the Palladium. It's a huge get for the modest-sized St. Pete venue considering the vet Vai, who practically set the standard for rock guitar virtuosity with Joe Satriani in the '80s, stills draws big around the globe. New solo album The Story of Light picks up where his last musical narrative left off. It's "a cosmic journey of a man driven mad by grief, intertwining tragedy, revelation, enlightenment and redemption," Vai describes. Pretty deep stuff for a guy who dueled Karate Kid Ralph Macchio in a climatic guitar-off in '86 flick Crossroads. The Voice finalist Beverly McClellan, who appears on Vai's searing rendition of traditional gospel call-and-response anthem John the Revelator, opens the show.
Times correspondent Carole Liparoto can be reached at [email protected]