ALTERNATIVE ROUTES: Modest Mouse and Brand New
The summer tour pairing Modest Mouse, below, and Brand New marks a rare crossing of indie rock paths.
In one lane you have Modest Mouse, beloved Washington state alt-rockers who have managed to Float On across America for 20 years now. Little more than a year ago, we were still wondering if Isaac Brock and company would ever release new music, much less play Tampa again. But then they headlined (and sold out) the Gasparilla Music Festival and dropped rambunctious sixth album Strangers to Ourselves, all in the span of a week, suggesting a band reinvigorated.
Then you have Brand New, a band with no Float On-sized hits but an even more rabid following (their 2014 concert at Jannus Live sold out in less than an hour). They, too, are in the midst of a lengthy album hiatus — it has been seven years since 2009's ferocious Daisy — though they have sated fans with thrashing, gnashing singles like I Am a Nightmare. But they might be running out of time: Frontman Jesse Lacey has hinted Brand New's days are numbered; they recently started selling T-shirts reading "Brand New: 2000-2018".
Considering the rarity of seeing both Modest Mouse and Brand New live in Florida, it's no wonder their concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre is turning out to be one of this summer's sleeper sellers. Who knows if we'll ever see them here again? $25.95 and up. (813) 740-2446. livenation.com.
HIGHS IN THE '90S: Summerland Tour
Looks like Art Alexakis and Mark McGrath have patched things up. A few years ago, the frontmen for Everclear and Sugar Ray had a falling out over the direction of the '90s nostalgia tour they co-founded, Summerland. The gist, according to Alexakis: He thought Everclear should keep touring behind new music, while McGrath was happy to shut up and play the hits.
Well, time (and cash) heal a lot of old wounds, and with late-'90s nostalgia at an all-time high, it's time to get the bands back together again … sort of. Only a few core members remain of Everclear, Sugar Ray and Sponge combined; the rest joined this millennium. (Lit, on the other hand, has mostly stayed intact all these years, only replacing late drummer Allen Shellenberger in 2009.) But no matter who's playing, hearing all those hits (Santa Monica! Fly! Plowed! My Own Worst Enemy!) will instantly take you right back to the era of Simpson and Lewinsky.
Incidentally, the show on Wednesday will mark the first major concert at R.O.C. Park, 300 Municipal Drive in Madeira Beach, since a handful of rain-soaked events last year. While the city itself isn't producing or promoting the show, Doug Andrews, the city's director of parks and recreation, said he thinks things should run much more smoothly this year. In addition to more parking ($15) adjacent to the park, the city will have a water taxi shuttling fans between the park and parking ($10) at Madeira Beach Municipal Marina, 503 150th Ave.
Tickets are $14.95 and up via summerlandtour.net, though deals are floating around on sites like Eventbrite and Ticketweb.
IF THE BOOTS FIT: Austin Lucas
As you're picking your country music savior du jour — Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell — consider Austin Lucas, right. The Indiana native brings tatted-up punk authenticity and confessionalism to barroom twang on his new album Between the Moon and the Midwest. As you might guess from the title and the album's mournful pedal steel, Lucas is part of the proud lineage of "cosmic American music," a spacey melange of country, folk and rock popularized by Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Bros., and continued by artists like the Jayhawks and Wilco. If it's a honky-tonk cosmonaut you're looking for, Lucas is your guy. He performs with Matt Woods and Will Quinlan at 8 p.m. Saturday at New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $10. (813) 248-4969.
FABLE SETTER: Aesop Rock
It's kind of shameful that the first line of Aesop Rock's Wikipedia profile is "Not to be confused with A$AP Rocky." The man born Ian Bavitz, right, has been rapping a decade longer than the chart-topper who kind of ripped his handle — not that he has let the slight slow him down. After 20 years spitting dense, peculiar but almost always arresting lyrics to an underground fan base, he recently made his network TV debut on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, backed by indie rockers Yo La Tengo. The appearance came in support of his acclaimed, confessional new album The Impossible Kid, and so does a tour that'll bring him to the State Theatre, 687 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, at 8 p.m. Friday. Fellow indie hip-hop heroes Homeboy Sandman, Rob Sonic and DJ Zone flesh out a top-to-bottom solid bill. $19. (727) 895-3045. statetheatreconcerts.com.