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All-day gig to rock new digs

The 97X Next Big Thing daylong rock show got booted last month from Coachman Park in Clearwater, where it was despised by the mayor and at least a chunk of the citizenry.

That's good, because Coachman Park really was too cramped for a festival this size. And it's bad, because it really was fun watching the punk kids interact with the Scientologists on the streets of downtown Clearwater.

But now, the Next Big Thing for Next Big Thing is Ford Amphitheatre, where NBT 6 goes down Sunday. I reviewed last year's show, and, believe me, it's fun. Sixteen acts are playing the 12-hour festival. Here's the lowdown on a few of them:

My Chemical Romance

Sure, I have said it seems like Brooks & Dunn plays the Tampa Bay area constantly, but My Chemical Romance really did in 2005, playing here four times (including NBT).

I recall that because I got a tooth knocked loose in a MyChem mosh pit at the Warped Tour. (Good time, though, and a great set.) Even critics who were lukewarm on MyChem's breakout disc, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, have hailed its new release The Black Parade as one of those most unusual of recordings: a concept album that's actually good.

Expect a killer show - just watch out for the pit.

30 Seconds to Mars

What's even rarer than a good concept album? An actor-led side-project rock band that won't make your ears bleed.

Eyeliner-addicted hottie Jared Leto (Requiem for a Dream, Fight Club) fronts postgrunge rockers 30 Seconds to Mars, which also played NBT last year.

While the band's tunes are nothing exceptional, they're pretty solid for the genre. Plus, Leto shows off some strong pipes on the hit tune The Kill, which has a way of growing on you.

Say Anything

Sorry, stargazers, Jared Leto will have to do - despite the name, John Cusack has nothing to do with this emo-rock sextet.

Instead, you get a guy named Max Bemis, who wrote and performed almost all of the instruments on the band's critically acclaimed disc ... Is A Real Boy.

You'll be hard-pressed to find a catchier or smarter single than Alive With the Glory of Love, but the disc is packed with smart tunes, lilting harmonies, awesome sing-along/shout-along backing vocals and overall punk-pop brilliance.

Angels & Airwaves

The new project by Blink-182's Tom DeLonge, AAA's debut disc We Don't Need to Whisper is a mass of heavily produced sonic landscapes structured around DeLonge's unmistakable super-nasal vocals.

I find it overwrought and not half as entertaining as anything off Blink's last disc.

That said, my buddy Erika generally has pretty good taste in music, and she tells me she loves this stuff. So maybe she's right on this one, and I'm wrong.

(Nah, probably not.)

Most of all, I'm looking forward to ...


You might know them as "the treadmill video guys," but these four Chicago dudes are so much more.

Take a break from the main stage and check out this power pop band, an '02 NBT alumnus, on the smaller stage.

Because Get Over It rocks, and if this group's live show is even half as amusing as its meticulously choreographed videos for A Million Ways and Here It Goes Again, Borat had better watch his back.

Rick Gershman can be reached at or 226-3431. His blog, The Ill Literate, is at

if you go

97X Next Big Thing

The 12-hour rock festival is Sunday at Ford Amphitheatre. Gates open at 10 a.m. Tickets: $34-$68.20. Call 740-2446.