WITH A KISS: Seal
Andy Samberg didn't have to beg Seal to play himself in the summer comedy Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping.
"It was an opportunity to make a fool of yourself, so it didn't take much convincing at all," the singer said in a recent phone interview. "Anything that stops you from taking yourself too seriously, I tend to be a fan of."
Popstar is only one of many reasons we're calling this the Summer of Seal. The Grammy winner also popped up at Coachella and, before that, as Pontius Pilate in Tyler Perry's The Passion. He was just on ABC's Greatest Hits, and his greatest hit, Kiss From a Rose, appeared on The People v. O.J. Simpson.
Is it any wonder? Nineties nostalgia is so hot right now, and Seal, who's sold more than 30 million albums over the past quarter century, is definitely a '90s icon. He's feeling creatively refreshed thanks to a reunion with longtime collaborator Trevor Horn — producer of Kiss From a Rose and Crazy, among many others — on new album 7. And he's back on the road for an all-too-rare tour, which stops at 8 p.m. Friday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road. $50 and up.
Touring has never been Seal's favorite pastime, but at 53, he's come around on it quite a bit.
"It's going to be an interesting collaborative affair when I come to town," he said. "I'm actually enjoying touring more than I ever have before. It should be a good show."
For more with Seal, see tbtim.es/154l.
FRESH OFF THE BOAT: Lil Yachty
These are glorious times to be a hip-hop oddball. From A-list eccentrics like Kanye West and Chance the Rapper to wild-eyed weirdos like Fetty Wap, Desiigner and Rae Sremmurd, artists are finding that you don't have to fit a traditional mold to find a big audience. That helps explain the rise of Atlanta rapper/singer/mumbler Lil Yachty. His delivery —heavily Auto-Tuned, drifting over evocative and dream like beats, often paced slower than molasses — makes him hard to categorize. Nevertheless, the 18-year-old is an artist on the comeup, as evidenced by his inclusion in this year's XXL magazine "Freshman Class" and guest spot on Chance the Rapper's widely acclaimed Coloring Book. His single One Night just hit the Billboard Hot 100, so you might as well board his speedboat to stardom at 7 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $25 and up. (813) 248-9500. theorpheum.com.
PINT-SIZED PARTY: Nelly and Kongos
Tired of pretty much everything about the 2016 presidential campaign? We hear you. And so does Bud Light, which is doing its best to lighten our nation's collective mood in the dog days of the Clinton-Trump slog toward November. Anheuser-Busch InBev is throwing free "Bud Light Party Conventions" across the nation, and the only one in Florida is slated for 7 p.m. Saturday at Jannus Live, 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Headlining are St. Louis rapper Nelly (Country Grammar, Hot in Herre) and South African-born alt-rockers Kongos (Come With Me Now), above. As with all things political, however, access is everything. To get in, you must be 21 and up, and you probably already should have registered for free tickets by now. If not, you might be able to win them from local radio stations 98 Rock and 95.7 the Beat, or pick them up through a last-minute promotion or contest. The whole process seems overly complicated, but that's politics for you. Check out budlightpartyconvention.com for details.
GAME ON: Bit Brigade
Music and video games go pretty well together, from orchestras covering Nintendo soundtracks to chiptune groups like I Fight Dragons and Anamanaguchi. Then you have Bit Brigade, an Athens, Ga., outfit that plays a live post-rock score as "master gamer" Noah McCarthy plays Metroid, Mega Man 2, The Legend of Zelda or other games on a big screen. It's an odd combination that somehow works, and is definitely not your everyday Friday-night show. Florida Night Heat and Oceans Rise at 8 p.m. Friday at New World Brewery, 1313 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City. $7. (813) 248-4969. facebook.com/newworldbrewery.
GOOD FEELING: Pleasures
At WMNF's Tropical Heatwave in April, Sarasota's Pleasures blasted New World Brewery with a typhoon of digitally twisted prog-rock that blew away the patio. Wanna know what you missed? Catch 'em at 8 p.m. Sunday at Fubar, 658 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. It's something of a homecoming show for the quartet, which features Sons of Hippies' Katherine Kelly on lead vocals and guitar, following a short tour behind their latest album F---ed Up Dreams Come True. Joining them are Cave of Swimmers, Rogerthomas and Black Pussy. It's $5, and 21 and up. (727) 424-1809. facebook.com/fubardowntown.