TOUGH STUFF: Brantley Gilbert
Shortly after announcing he and his wife were expecting their first child, Brantley Gilbert was rethinking his decision to spend the summer on the road.
"I already don't want to leave her side," the country star said in a phone interview. "But she's going to spend some time on the road, I think, so that will help out a lot. The bus is like our second home, and she does well. The first time she ever got on the bus, she already had her bus legs."
Gilbert's explosive shows might not bring out the dad in him, but they suit his rough-and-tumble persona. Hits like Bottoms Up and One Hell of an Amen — along with songs he's written for others, like Jason Aldean's Dirt Road Anthem and My Kinda Party —have made him an in-demand Nashville star.
When he kicks off a summer tour at 7 p.m. Friday at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, he knows fans will be right there with him. Which makes it easier for him to focus on music with a baby on the way.
"Every time we've ever been to Tampa, it's been a wide-open party, and that takes the nerves out of it," he said. "If you know you're around a group of people that knows how to have a good time and is all fired up about it, it's easy to get fired up yourself."
Tyler Farr and Luke Combs open. $18.50 and up. (813) 740-2446. livenation.com.
GROWING POP: Austin Mahone
Is Austin Mahone the same guy at 21 as he was at 15, when he won a shelf full of trophies from MTV, Radio Disney and the Teen Choice Awards, and was dubbed by many the next Justin Bieber? "I think so," the singer said by phone from his adopted hometown of Miami. "I don't think I've changed at all. You'd have to ask my mom." Maybe you'll have the chance when Mahone plays the State Theatre, 687 Central Ave. N in St. Petersburg, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Mahone is indeed growing up — he turned 21 with a weeklong party involving "birthday bottles" with Steve Aoki in Las Vegas — but he's already had quite a career from which to learn. Pitbull is a mentor, and he's toured with Taylor Swift, which is its own kind of education. "She's so good at what she does, you can't help but soak up everything that she's doing," he said. $25 and up. (727) 895-3045. statetheatreconcerts.com.
SHAKE IT UP: Jimmy Buffett
The main thing to know heading into any Jimmy Buffett concert isn't the dress code (guayaberas and flip-flops are totes okay) or the setlist (something tells us Cheeseburger in Paradise will make an appearance). No, what you really want to know is where nearby you can get a good margarita. Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, will mix a special batch of rocks and frozen margs for Buffett's show at 8 p.m. Saturday. You can also wander across the street to WingHouse (5003 U.S. 301 N), or even up to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, where the Hard Rock Cafe serves an "Air Mexico" margarita flight with mango, berry and blue Curacao varieties. It probably isn't what Buffett had in mind when he wrote Margaritaville 40 years ago, but as any cap'n will tell you, in a storm, any port will do. Limited reserved tickets start at $128. (813) 740-2446. livenation.com.
MUSCLE MAN: Doyle
"Bring out the monster!" That's how Glenn Danzig introduced his hulking ex-Misfits bandmate Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein when I saw them together in 2012. And he wasn't kidding — the iconic punk and metal guitarist was as terrifyingly jacked as He-Man. He remains so at 52, fronting his eponymous band Doyle, which hits the Orpheum on June 7. Doyle's latest album, As We Die, drops Friday, so expect a few new cuts alongside Misfits classics like Last Caress and Where Eagles Dare. Davey Suicide, Paths of Possession and Cypher Machine open at 7 p.m. at the Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $15 and up. (813) 248-9500. theorpheum.com.
RED HOT CHILEAN: Mon Laferte
If you're looking for a Latin artist who might pop in America in the coming years, check out Mon Laferte. The Chilean singer blends vintage folk, alternative, indie and bolero music in enchanting fashion — her early work recalls No Doubt-era Gwen Stefani, but recent albums, like this year's La Trenza, have a softer, more romantic feel, a la Tennis or James Hunter. No wonder she's playing American fests like San Francisco's Outside Lands this summer. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Ritz Ybor, 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. $21 and up. (813) 390-0397. theritzybor.com.