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Top 5 concerts in October

There was great hoedown hullabaloo recently when I wrote a less-than-yeehaw review of a Lady Antebellum gig at Ruth Eckerd Hall. The morning gang at WQYK roasted me good, accusing me of hating country music.

That's crazy: I love country music — good country music. I was gushing about Miranda Lambert for years, long before the Nashville establishment finally embraced the spitfire after the rise of The House That Built Me, her safest, sweetest hit.

But Rascal Flatts is the sound of Gummi Worms being stuffed in my ears. And Sugarland — the smiley duo that plays Tampa's 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre on Oct. 15 — makes me want to start a saloon fight, or at least rob an orphanage.

That said, I looove Carrie Underwood, as you're about to discover in the following list. Sure, she's as chipper as Sleeping Beauty, but sunshine can sing for sure. Just forget that I trashed her last album...

Top five October concerts

1. Bob Dylan (USF Sun Dome, Thursday) If you're expecting nuance or subtlety or any chance of understanding the words, this local stop from the iconoclastic Mr. Zimmerman might leave you cranky. Dylan is 69 now and, well, he's entertaining a party of one. Long ago his shows became rough jams in which his words are merely another fuzzed instrument in the scrum. But hey, at least he's having fun: Word is, these days he's cradling the mike stand a la Dean Martin. Ring-a-ding-dinnng! (gousfbulls.com)

2. Vampire Weekend (Jannus Landing, Oct. 12) Led by Ezra Koenig, this Columbia U-formed quartet excels at grammatical fetish (they have a song called Oxford Comma), upturned collars and elitist indie rock. But you don't need to be Sammy Smartypants to enjoy their stuff. In fact, VW is one of the great dance-your-tuchus-off bands around. Sure, they have a song pretentiously called Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, but beyond the rich-boy angst lie irresistible Afro-pop rhythms. (jannuslive.com)

3. Clearwater Jazz Holiday (Coachman Park, Oct. 14-17) Beloved local hunk Eric Darius, inset, New Orleans saint Dr. John and the Dixie Chickens in Little Feat are all on the bill for this year's groovy get-down on the water. It bears repeating that the Jazz Holiday is totally FREE. That still blows me away. The Rays gave away 20,000 seats the other day; the Jazz Holiday, on the other hand, has been letting us in without charging a nickel for 31 years. (clearwaterjazz.com)

4. Carrie Underwood (St. Pete Times Forum, Oct. 25) The last time Underwood played the St. Pete Times Forum, the press was seated up by the stage. The chart-topper is as proud of her gams as she is of her high-wattage pipes, so her skirts were variations of short-shorter-gulp. That put me in the perilous position of almost seeing too much. Look away? Continue gawking? What was the journalistically right thing to do? It's a moral quandary I struggle with to this day. And think about a lot. (sptimesforum.com)

5. MGMT (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Oct. 27) Ruth Eckerd Hall was recently named one of the top venues in the world and for good, quirky reason: A month after hosting a unique solo show from Neil Young and that Lady Antebellum gig (which I didn't love, but it was still one heck of a get), the 2,180-capacity joint welcomes Brooklyn's uber-hip electro-dance group MGMT. There's not a lot of room to dance at REH, but when MGMT plays Time to Pretend and Kids, rest assured we'll all find space to move. (rutheckerdhall.com)

Sean Daly can be reached at sdaly@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8467. His Pop Life column runs every Sunday in Floridian.

Top 5 concerts in October 10/03/10 [Last modified: Monday, October 4, 2010 10:37am]

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