Details: Saturday 7:30 p.m. 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $40-$125. (813) 740-2446.
You don't need to be smart, patient or male to enjoy a Rush show, but it certainly wouldn't hurt. The prog-rock demigods will offer up plenty of air-guitar opportunities and bromance moments Saturday, touring in support of 20th studio album Clockwork Angels. It's a conceptual album about the celestial struggle between forces of order and chaos, and includes all the cerebral, long-winded wizardry that we've come to expect from a Rush album. A novelization of Clockwork Angels, co-credited to Rush drum Jedi and lyricist Neil Peart, even made the New York Times bestseller list. Speaking of Peart, drooling stickmen have been known to show up just to see him maneuver that bazillion-piece kit.
Christian McBride Trio
Details: Friday 8 p.m. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $30-$50. (727) 892-5767.
Since his days at Juilliard, jazz bassist Christian McBride has had a penchant for steamrolling over hard-bop tradition, thumping out standards and originals with funk-pop twists. More recently, the charismatic, world-renowned player has focused his efforts on straight-ahead acoustic jazz with both plucked and bowed soloing.
With Talk Normal
Details: Wednesday 8 p.m. Crowbar, 1812 17th St. N, Ybor City. $11-$14. (813) 241-8600.
Imagine synthy, '80s-inspired pop songs sung by a guy with a throat full of river rock and you'll get a feel for indie act Future Islands. "If Tom Waits and Keyboard Cat had a baby," says an astute YouTube reviewer, a description that also works well. Howler Samuel T. Herring leads the band on synth-poperas about love and loss. The tracks are ghoulish, but surprisingly dancey, making them great for fans of New Order or the Cure.
Details: Saturday 8 p.m. Jannus Live, 16 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. $10. (727) 565-0551.
We're still no closer to a Led Zeppelin reunion, but fortunately, one of the next best things on the live stage is actually pretty decent. The Los Angeles Times hails Zoso (the name comes from Jimmy Page's personal symbol on the Led Zeppelin IV album) as "head and shoulders above all other Zeppelin tributes." And we must concur that the band both looks and sounds eerily like the legendary British rock act. Logging some 2,400 sets worldwide hasn't hurt.
Details: Friday 7 p.m. The Local 662, 662 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. $25 and up. Facebook.com/thelocal662.
"Can't even make it as rote hard rock." "Too insulting to women and your intelligence." "So egregiously dull they appeal not to fans of music, but fans of high fives." Ouch. This is the way an AllMusic critic described Oklahoma City band Hinder's debut disc in 2005. But the boys never seemed to mind. In fact, they're laughing all the way to the bank. Forthcoming album Welcome to the Freakshow comes with hints of Nickleback, Shinedown and Sammy Hagar. Hinder plays an unplugged set in St. Pete on Friday.
The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Details: Saturday 8 p.m. Demens Landing, 100 First Ave. SE, St. Petersburg. $100 and up. (727) 893-7174.
The guys behind the muscly electric-blues hits Tuff Enuff and Wrap it Up headline St. Pete's "Dollars for Doorways," a college scholarship fundraising event. The barnburnin' band brought the Texas blues scene to the forefront in the '80s, and opened shows for the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Joe Cocker, to name a few. Co-founder and harmonica whiz Kim Wilson remains the only original member, as the Thunderbirds' guitarist Jimmie Vaughan (brother of Stevie Ray Vaughan) went on to pursue a solo career years back.
Times correspondent Carole Liparoto can be reached at [email protected]