Who's more unhinged these days: Snoop Dogg or Marilyn Manson? That's a tough one. The rapper went down to Jamaica, had a religious revelation and came back "Snoop Lion" — a reggae singer and Bob Marley reincarnate. (No, really, he thinks he's Marley now.) The shock rocker, whose new album is Born Villain, is still desperate to rabblerouse and incite dropped jaws, recently calling the Bible a "horror novel" and Jesus "a pimp."
Both men will be in Tampa this month, but are they worth the moolah? Snoop is at the Tampa Bay Times Forum this Saturday headlining Last Damn Show 14, the hip-hop fest that will also feature Lupe Fiasco and 2 Chainz. On Oct. 27 at the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre, Manson will co-headline the big bad Halloweenie Roast with gore-rocker Rob Zombie. You're on your own with these shows, but this much is true: They won't be boring.
Herewith, five safer ways to spend your concert dollar:
Bananarama (Seminole Hard Rock Tampa, Friday) Who didn't have a crush on these Venus-singing Brit bombshells back in their '80s heyday? Founder Siobhan Fahey has since departed the trio, but Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin continue to whip up a retro bash. This should be a silly-fun night, and let it be known that they had more hits than you think: Cruel Summer, I Heard a Rumor, The Wild Life, Robert De Niro's Waiting... (seminolehardrocktampa.com)
Andrew Bird (Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Oct. 9) Curious jazz-folkie Andrew Bird, right, has a cultish fanbase, but a populist streak: His rendition of Kermit the Frog's Bein' Green is one of the prettiest cover songs I've ever heard. Getting his start with neo-swingers the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Bird branched out on his own, his soft voice, gypsy violin and penchant for whistling making for strange, soothing compositions. (strazcenter.org)
Journey, Loverboy and Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo (1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre, Oct. 12) I routinely quarrel with Stuck in the '80s podcast pal Steve Spears about the scourge of replacement singers. I just can't get into a band with major spare parts. But after seeing Journey — lead singer Arnel Pineda in particular — at a Republican National Convention gig, I might have to loosen my policy. The band is still tight, and although there's no substitute for Steve Perry, Pineda is a likable, good-natured guy with a suitably acrobatic voice. I hate agreeing with Spears, but Journey's still worth seeing. (livenation.com)
Band of Horses (Ritz Ybor, Oct. 14) A little Weezer, a little My Morning Jacket, a little West Coast '70s-stuck jam rock, Seattle's Band of Horses just released punnily titled album Mirage Rock, a hipster must-have this autumn. The band's lineup has gone through myriad changes, but the featured player, lead singer and songwriter Ben Bridwell, has been at the helm since the start. New single Knock Knock is pure jangly power pop, but the album eventually wanders to grittier, spacier places, which is exactly where the band's fans long to float. (ritzybor.com)
Clearwater Jazz Holiday (Coachman Park, Oct. 18-21) The bad news? In its 33rd year, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday will no longer be free, as the powers-that-be will be charging a general admission fee ($10 in advance, $15 at the gate) to anyone over the age of 12. The good news? Although arguably not pure "jazz," many of this year's acts are current and buzzworthy, including y'alternative cuties the Avett Brothers and soul-fusion wunderkind Esperanza Spalding. Slide-guitar specialist Bonnie Raitt will kick off the four-day event. There's going to be plenty of harrumphing — about price, about the lineup — but in the end, it should sound sublime. (clearwaterjazz.com)
Sean Daly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.