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This weekend's best Tampa Bay concerts: Tom Jones, Slayer, B2K, Hillsong United

Slayer’s farewell tour hits the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Friday. [Gene Ambo]
Published May 9

By Jay Cridlin

Times Entertainment Critic

REIGN ENDING: Slayer

No one ever accused Slayer of taking the easy road anywhere. That includes their long-running farewell tour, which only on its fifth leg is finally reaching Tampa. After 38 years and a dozen studio albums, the thrash metal titans will call it a career in the coming months, leaving the echoes of Angel of Death and Raining Blood ringing in fans' ears. It's likely not the ending singer Tom Araya and guitarist Kerry King hoped for years ago, not after 2013's death of guitarist and songwriter Jeff Hanneman and departure of longtime drummer Dave Lombardo. But they're pulling out all the stops nonetheless, bringing an all-star metal lineup along for the ride in Amon Amarth, Lamb of God and Tampa's own Cannibal Corpse. $25 and up. 6 p.m. Friday. MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. (813) 740-2446. livenation.com.

HOLY ROLLERS: Hillsong United

For a guy who grew up in the church — and not just any church, but one of the biggest and most influential churches to come along in the last 40 years — Joel Houston wasn't that inspired by Christian rock. "We knew Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, some of these things," the leader of Hillsong United said by phone recently. "But for the most part, I just grew up on the music that my friends were into, what's on the radio and what we had available to us. As kids we used to go to the local CD store and you could listen to whatever CDs you wanted to. We'd spend time in there trying to find Smashing Pumpkins and that sort of stuff." Houston's parents are the founders of Australia's Hillsong Church, the trendy house of worship whose adherents include Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, and he's also the church's global creative director. But he's best known from Hillsong United, arguably the biggest praise-rock outfit going. The group sells out arenas all over the world on the strength of sweeping alt-rock songs like Oceans (Where Feet May Fail), which they'll no doubt play when they hit Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. Amanda Lindsey Cook and Mack Brock open. $22.50 and up. 7:30 p.m. Saturday. 4802 U.S. 301 N. (813) 740-2446. livenation.com.

THUNDER FROM DOWN UNDER: Rufus du Sol

If you're hitting a major festival this summer, you're probably going to come across the name Rufus du Sol. At Coachella, it was lodged just below Childish Gambino. At Life Is Beautiful in Las Vegas, it sat just above Janelle Monae. At this weekend's Shaky Beats in Atlanta, they're No. 2 on the whole bill. It's all a testament to the Australian electronic-alternative-funk trio's captivating live presence, and their increasing presence overall — their latest single Treat You Better has popped up on Billboard's dance and alternative charts. No wonder this show, originally slated for Jannus Live, was moved to a much larger venue due to high ticket demand. $35 and up. 8 p.m. Thursday. Cuban Club, 2010 Avenida Republica de Cuba, Ybor City. axs.com.

BOYS TO MEN: The Millennium Tour

Examine the list of Billboard's top-grossing concert tours in early April, and some familiar names pop up: Eric Church, Kenny Chesney, Billy Joel, Ariana Grande. Ahead of them all, however, is B2K, the turn-of-the-millennium R&B boy band featuring Omarion, J-Boog, Lil Fizz and Raz-B. The nostalgia is strong for grownup diehards still bumping Bump, Bump, Bump, even if the tour hasn't been drama-free. B2K originally imploded in part because Raz accused the band's manager and mastermind Chris Stokes of sexual assault, a claim he has resurfaced this spring on social media. (Stokes still denies the accusations.) And last week, Raz was arrested before a tour stop in Minnesota on a domestic assault allegation. All things considered, this might be the last time B2K tours this way for a while. If so, they've chosen an appropriately nostalgic group of early-2000s R&B tourmates, including Mario, Pretty Ricky, Lloyd, Chingy, Bobby V and the Ying Yang Twins. $49.50 and up. 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-2500. amaliearena.com.

SEX BOMB: Tom Jones

Tom Jones may be turning 79 in a month, but his velveteen purr is absolutely timeless. Don't even try and say you wouldn't love to hear that Welsh rumble tickling your eardrums, even now. It's not unusual, is it? Polish up your Carlton Dance moves when Jones brings classics like What's New Pussycat, Delilah, She's a Lady and Sex Bomb to Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater, at 8 p.m. Friday. Sold out. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.

RISING APPALACHIAN: Tyler Childers

If you're looking for the next Chris Stapleton or Jason Isbell, Tyler Childers might be your guy. The Kentucky singer-songwriter has built up a rabid following for his evocative lyrics and rambunctious live shows; his recent gig headlining WhigFest at the Ritz Ybor nearly stirred up a riot. Rolling Stone has called him "the 21st Century Voice of Appalachia," and he just booked his first headlining show at Red Rocks. Americana fans already know him well — he has toured with John Prine and Sturgill Simpson — but if you're not yet on board, his concert at Jannus Live might be your last chance to catch him at such a small venue. $35 and up. 8 p.m. Thursday. 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. (727) 565-0550. jannuslive.com.

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