Not sure if you've heard, but at the end of this month, the Republican National Convention is gamboling into town — and life, as you know it, will careen off the rails. Whether you're a Democrat, a Republican or my reclusive uncle who routinely votes for "Dirty Harry," your normal access to roads, restaurants and related daily normalities will be put on hold for four days. My advice: Either get out of town or hunker down with all 167 seasons of Dr. Who. But before the pols get here, I say live it up! Life, liberty and the pursuit of devil horns! Bang your head! Herewith, five ways to R.O.C.K. before the RNC.
Bush (Ritz Ybor, today) "Breathe in, breathe out." Good advice from Gavin Rossdale, whose '90s-born band Bush (Everything Zen, Machinehead, Glycerine) was part grunge-y frown, part British glam. Since his heyday, Gav's best work has been starting a family with ageless No Doubt sprite Gwen Stefani. But hey, the '90s renaissance is heating up, and Rossdale is one of those blessed dudes who gets better-looking by the day. So maybe this will be Bush's first step toward a major comeback? Or, at the very least, maybe Gwen-Gwen will show up? Either way, don't miss it. (ritzybor.com)
Ted Nugent (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Monday) I enjoy the random radio mew of Cat Scratch Fever as much as the next crossbow-wielding rabble-rouser, but that's not why I'll be at this buzzworthy gig. The Nuge is a right-wing stalwart, a gadfly who makes Ann Coulter play like Barney Frank. His comments about our president are routinely head-scratching, thus with all eyes on FLA coming up, you just know his tongue is gonna wag. To be fair, guitar wonks praise Ted's incendiary axemanship. But I'm more interested in his other riffs. (rutheckerdhall.com)
Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan (1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre, Aug. 10) You want to see a good-looking crowd of 20,000? Go to this midriffed hoedown, one of the most raucous, and most sexy, shows of the year. Aldean is a giant now, and Bryan, with smash hit Drunk on You, is shaping up to be that way. Both cowboys appeal to pretty girls and hunky boys, all of whom will have a randy ol' time at one of the biggest concert fiestas of the summer. (livenation.com)
Jason Mraz (1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre, Aug. 14) Last Saturday, I spent a chunk of my afternoon talking to Jason Mraz, above, on the phone. He's a mellow folk-popper for sure; no matter what he's talking about — for instance, the man loooves avocados — he sounds like he's breaking down the plot of a Cheech & Chong movie. But Mr. I'm Yours is a likable peacenik, and he too is amazed that his soft, hippie ruminations have the ability to pack humongous venues like the Tampa amp. In this era of vacuous pop and Kardashian celebrity, Mraz's domination is something to cheer. (livenation.com)
Big Time Rush (1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre, Aug. 25) America's answer to those scampy Brits in One Direction, Nickelodeon creation Big Time Rush will garner a ferocious storm of ear-bleeding screams from Tampa Bay's YA population. Hey, the kiddos need to burn steam before the elephants parade into town, too! Fair warning: At last month's One Direction show, the tween adulation was beyond auditory; the caterwauling was like flaming oatmeal in my ears. I don't care if they're unfashionably dorky: Jam the earplugs in as tight as you can. (livenation.com)
Sean Daly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.