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Top 5 can't-miss concerts for August in Tampa Bay

For the first time in a long time, I wasn't on the American Idol beat this year. And you know what? I missed it. Really! Missed creating snotty nicknames for the caterwaulers (whither Elliott "Amish Leprechaun" Yamin?). Missed the rabid, totally delusional Idol fans who would light up my e-mail with ferocious put-downs ("Clay Aiken is twice the man you'll ever be!"). Even missed Simon's spectacular man-bosoms. So with Times TV/Media Critic Eric Deggans in Los Angeles — covering the mayhem of the latest Idol shakedowns, no less (come back, Ellen!) — I gladly volunteered to cover Wednesday's American Idol Live concert at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa. I couldn't pick Didi Benami out of a lineup, but rest assured she'll have a cool nickname by the end of the night. Herewith, five more hot August concerts:

1. Aerosmith and Blue Oyster Cult

(1-800-ASK-GARY, Saturday): Let's be honest: How much longer will we be able to enjoy Steven Tyler? Not to be morbid, but the last time we saw the oft-rehabbing singer, he was the spitting image of an undead Audrey Hepburn. Dude looks like a lady, indeed! Aerosmith is an iconic American blues-rock band, but these guys have some seriously bad habits. My advice? See them now. Trust me, you'll miss the delicate subtleties of Love in an Elevator more than you think. (

2. Norah Jones

(David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, Aug. 11): My co-worker Dawn calls her "Snorah Jones." Cheap gag, yes, but not altogether wrong. Still, the gauzy blues-folk songstress is a seductive force, even if she is a deadly detriment to anyone operating heavy machinery. Jones was once part of the since-kaput Lilith Fair that was supposed to come to Tampa, so it's nice she still honored her promise with this local show. (

3. Natalie Merchant

(Ruth Eckerd Hall, Aug. 24): I had a 20-minute phone interview with Ms. Merchant last week, and I've never been more butterfly-bellied in my life. Not only is her new concept album, Leave Your Sleep, ambitious and complex, but I've also crushed on her for most of the past 20 years. At first, we kept getting disconnected. When our line was secure, I weakly flirted, "I thought we were star-cross'd heheheh." To which she replied, "Hermph." Much sadness. My feature on Merchant — in which the pop-culture averse artist says she has no idea who Lindsay Lohan is — runs in our Weekend section Aug. 19. It was written in tears. Enjoy! (

4. Jack Johnson

(1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre, Aug. 25) Wow, this list of shows isn't exactly the most caboose-goosing collection, is it? Norah, Natalie and now Jack Johnson, who, while a vital artist, is also incredibly adept at making me pass out. The Hawaiian troubador is curiously engaging, and his new album, To the Sea, is a lush, liquid salve for our oil-slick woes. That said, Johnson's voice should be studied in scientific labs; it's both inviting and blissfully NyQuillian. There won't be a lot of "standing" at this gig; in fact, bring a pillow. (

5. Hank III

(State Theatre, Aug. 28): Grandson of Hank, son of Bocephus, Hank Williams III (or just "Three" if you're hip) is a hollow-eyed hellion who smokes, drinks and smokes arguably more than his prodigious progenitors. That said, he is a fantastically devilish talent, a live-show dervish, with a haunted yodel that sounds just like Hank the First's. Three will play a li'l honky-tonk, then some feisty hellbilly — and then, taking off his cowboy hat and pulling apart his ponytail, he'll spend the last 20 minutes as a screamo punk outfit that is almost unlistenable. But don't worry: He'll warn you first. Those Williams boys may be trouble, but their mama taught 'em a few manners. (

Top 5 weekend movies Dollar amounts in millions

Inception, $27.5

Dinner for Schmucks, $23.3

Salt, $ 19.2

Despicable Me, $15.5

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, $ 12.5


Top 5 prime-time TV shows

America's Got Talent — Tuesday (NBC)

The Bachelorette (ABC)

America's Got Talent — Wednesday (NBC)


Wipeout (ABC)

Source: Nielsen Co., for week ending July 25

Top 5 songs on iTunes

Love the Way You Lie, Eminem (feat. Rihanna)

Dynamite, Taio Cruz

Teenage Dream, Katy Perry

I Like It, Enrique Iglesias (feat. Pitbull)

California Gurls, Katy Perry (feat. Snoop Dogg)

Source: iTunes Music Store

Top 5 Yahoo search terms in Tampa Bay

 Airline tickets

 LeAnn Rimes

 Melissa Rycroft

 Wikileaks

 Tropical Storm Bonnie


Top 5 can't-miss concerts for August in Tampa Bay 08/01/10 [Last modified: Thursday, August 12, 2010 10:57pm]
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