For those still grieving over the canceled ZZ Top show at the Ford Amphitheatre this summer, Rob Mondora has an invitation:
"Come on over to the Largo Cultural Center and see ZZNot. It's the next best thing.''
Mondora, 45, the artistic director at the Cultural Center, has the Southern rock band in his August Rocks lineup, a monthlong program that includes more than 12 tribute bands performing on select dates.
Also slated to make a stop in Largo:
• Bark at the Moon, an Ozzy Osbourne tribute band.
• Don't Stop Believin', a Journey tribute band.
• RUSHour, a Rush tribute band.
• Highway to Hell, an AC/DC tribute band.
• Carnival of Crue, a Motley Crue tribute band.
• Texas Flood, a Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute band.
August Rocks includes other entertainment as well.
On Friday and Saturday, 43 summer campers at Largo Cultural Center will present School House Rocks Live! Jr. Kids take to the stage for a musical theater version of the '70s television series.
Terri Donofrio, who directs the show along with her husband, Rick Donofrio, believes rock 'n' roll can be a great educator. "Kids learn math through rhythm and timing and English through the lyrics,'' said Donofrio, 48.
An outdoor event, August Rocks in Central Park, will take place from 3 to 10 p.m. Aug. 15. Featured will be five Tampa Bay based bands along with a motorcycle show created in partnership with motorcycle enthusiast magazine Born to Ride.
Finally, the Largo Cultural Center will hold its annual guitar auction from Aug. 21 to 30. Fans are invited to go to eBay to bid on instruments signed by members of Marshall Tucker Band, Nazareth, Poco and Rick Derringer, to name a few.
Mondora thinks August Rocks — which pairs bands with songs originally by wild men like Ozzy Osbourne and Motley Crue members with elementary age kids singing Conjunction Junction, What's Your Function — is a natural fit, not a stretch.
Although some of the tribute bands include a bit of shock value, parents can relax, Mondora said. "The bands are always on their best behavior in Largo."
And although many of the shows seem to target older baby boomers, Mondora has seen tribute shows "bring in three generations from one family.''
"Anyone who thinks rock music isn't valuable should think about that,'' said Nick Pidgeon, 12, who plays Tom the Teacher in School House Rocks Live! Jr. "It's fun, and you learn history by being a rock fan."