Here are our top picks for live music this month around the Tampa Bay area, plus all the other concerts you should know about. Matchbox Twenty and Goo Goo Dolls, Aug. 4, MidFlorida Amphitheatre - This double-headliner, pop-rock super tour is a GenXer's dream come true, bringing together two of the biggest bands of the Clintonian era with a deep cache of hits such as "Iris" and "Push" to transport you back to when you were listening on a Discman. But don't mistake this for a pure nostalgia show, both bands are veteran performers with serious musical chops and solid new music released in the past two years.
Justin Bieber, Aug. 8, Times Forum - Scoff all you want, but there is something to seeing a pop superstar perform at the height of their musical (and tabloid) fame that can't be matched by anything else on this planet. From the shrieking, fainting fans, to the big-budget stage effects, be prepared for a spectacle - and to see the Biebs descend from the rafters on a pair of angel wings.
Adam Ant, Aug. 9, The Palladium, St. Petersburg - Performers such as Adam Ant were made to be experienced live. The British new wave star with 80s hits such as "Good Two Shoes" and "Stand and Deliver," still looks like a cross between a dandy highwaymen and a pirate, and his world tour is getting good reviews for its theatrics as much as its tight musical performances.
Mobb Deep, Aug. 16, Jannus Live - One of the most underrated acts in hip-hop history, Mobb Deep combines brooding, moody beats, gritty stories of street life and a lyrical dexterity that has given them one of the most unmistakable sounds in the genre. OneRepublic, Aug. 17, Tropicana Field - The Tampa Bay Rays concert series continues with swoon-worthy, soulful pop-rockers OneRepubic, who will play a concert directly following the Rays game versus the Toronto Blue Jays. The band, which gets comparisons to Coldplay and Fun, has put together quite the catalog of songs in the few years since they came on the scene. For instance: the smash hit "Apologize" with Timbaland, the uplifting "Good Life," the dramatic "Secrets," and the R&B-feeling "All the Right Moves" among others.
Icona Pop, Aug. 18, Ritz Ybor - Whether or not you know the name, you've no doubt heard their romping, infectious and indefinitely repeatable electro-pop anthem "I Love It." It turns out the empowered, all-girl group from Sweden has plenty more music to offer, and it sounds they're out to prove that colorful pop music can actually be edgy.
Bruno Mars w/ Fitz and the Tantrums, Aug. 28, The Forum - The perfectly coiffed, eternally grinning and super versatile pop singer comes to Tampa with the Moonshine Jungle Tour, his first headlining arena tour. Mars has more than enough personality to fill a space that big himself, but that he's bringing along the unrelentingly danceable retro soul band Fitz and The Tantrums makes this one a must see.
MC Chris, Aug. 29, Crowbar - The biggest star of the "nerdcore" rap genre delivers lines about cruising in a Delorean and Boba Fett's jet packs. Yet another sign that geeks have taken over everything.
Blake Shelton, Aug. 30, MidFlorida Amphitheatre - "The Voice" coach and one of the hottest entertainers in country music returns to the Tampa area for the second time this year. Last time he set a record with how fast the 9,000 tickets sold out for his headlining show at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City.
Summer Jam, Aug. 31, Ybor City - Latin-infused indie rock headliner Helado Negro may be from Brooklyn, but there is no better introduction to the local music scene than this annual, multi-venue festival that has been closing out the summer in Ybor City for nearly a decade. Among the more than 15 bands performing at New World Brewery, Crowbar and The Social are Zulu Wave (Tampa), Wolf-Face (St. Petersburg), The Sh-Booms (Orlando) and Will Quinlan & the Diviners (Tampa).
Also this month: Whitesnake, Aug. 1, Ruth Eckerd Hall; Jonas Brothers, Aug. 3, MidFlorida Amphitheatre; Paul van Dyk, Aug. 10, Amphitheatre; Backstreet Boys, Aug. 23, MidFlorida Amphitheatre; Chick Corea and Bela Fleck, Aug. 23, Ruth Eckerd Hall; Hippiefest, Aug. 24, Ruth Eckerd Hall; Toni Braxton, Aug. 28, The Mahaffey; Big Country, Aug. 30, State Theatre; Riff Raff, Aug. 31, State Theatre.