The concert calendar for March has a little bit of everything, from Rock Hall of Famers to offbeat hip-hop giants to arguably the biggest pop star of the moment. Here's a sampling of the shows you'll want to know about this month.
Kellie Pickler, March 4, Florida Strawberry Festival – You're going to want to drive out to Plant City for some strawberry shortcake anyway, but the charmingly southern Pickler is also your best bet for live country music this month. She may be a product of the “American Idol” pop factory, but Pickler favors traditional country and gets comparisons to a modern-day Tammy Wynette.
Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, March 4, Ruth Eckerd Hall – It's rare for a musical group to be so beloved that their legend can support a hit musical based on their lives while they're still very alive themselves. Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons , subjects of the Broadway smash “Jersey Boys,” bring 1960s hits such as “Walk Like a Man,” “Big Girls Don't Cry” and “December 1963 (Oh What a Night)” to the Clearwater stage – no actors needed.
Paramore, March 6, Hard Rock Tampa – The pop-punk powerhouse led by fiery-haired frontwoman Hayley Williams visits Tampa to make up for dropping out of Tampa's 93.3 FLZ Jingle Ball in December to instead appear on the finale of “The Voice.” The show is part of the 10th anniversary celebration at the Hard Rock, and you can only get tickets by winning them. Details on how to do that are here.
Gasparilla Music Festival, March 8 and 9, Curtis Hixon Park – The downtown music fest that surprised even its founders with its runaway success gets expanded to two days and 40 bands for its third year. The fest's biggest headliners yet, the over-the-top, psychadelic rockers The Flaming Lips, play Saturday. Trombone Shorty headlines Sunday. There's also Venezuelan collective Los Amigos Invisibles, indie rockers Delta Spirit and Americana singer-songwriter Jason Isbell.
Dash Berlin, March 9, Hogan's Beach – The Hulkster's restaurant books another EDM star for a waterfront dance party. Dash Berlin, the Dutch (aren't they all Dutch?) trance master is one of the most popular DJs on earth. If you're looking for something to hold you over until Sunset Music Festival at RayJay, this could be it.
2 Chainz, March 17, Jannus Live – 2 Chainz, the charismatic master of memorable one-liners gets opening support on the “2 Good to be T.R.U. Tour” tour from the much more subtle Pusha T, who put out one of the best hip hop albums of 2013 with “My Name Is My Name,” making this a double must-see for hip hop fans.
The Casket Girls, March 19, Crowbar – The Savannah, Ga. trio of sisters Phaedra and Elsa Greene, plus producer Ryan Graveface (guitarist for Black Moth Super Rainbow), make haunting, spectral, psych-pop that sounds like it was made during a dream state, and according to Graveface it was.
Miley Cyrus, March 20, Forum – If you haven't seen the salacious pictures from the “Bangerz” tour, you may not know what the internet is (in which case, how are you reading this?) If what we've seen so far is any indication, it's going to be a far wilder spectacle than Miley's December performance the Tampa Jingle Ball – and that show included a dwarf in a space suit and twerking on a booze-chugging Santa Claus.
George Thorogood, March 21, Ruth Eckerd Hall – Mr. “Bad to the Bone” himself and his band, The Destroyers, will get down and dirty for some fun, grooving blues rock on the Clearwater stage.
Action Bronson, March 21, The Orpheum – The official party of Skatepark of Tampa's Tampa Pro tournament — considered by many to be the “Super Bowl of skateboarding”— features larger-than-life rapper/chef/hilarious Twitter personality Action Bronson. His free mixtape, “Blue Chips 2,” was a fantastical journey through overindulgence, epic leisure and superhuman gangster-ness, but we honestly have no idea what to expect from Bronsolini in person.
The Avett Brothers, March 29, USF Sun Dome – Brothers Scott and Seth Avett have been amazingly consistent in making high quality music over their eight albums, even as the Avetts have varied from the sort of bleak, pure folk of “Emotionalism” to the feel-goodish alt-country of “The Carpenter.” This is the must see concert of the month.
Also this month: Collective Soul, March 2, The Mahaffey; Emblem3, March 5, Capitol Theatre; Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, March 6, Capitol Theatre; Don McLean, March 7, The Capitol; Boys II Men, March 7, Florida Strawberry Festival; Hopsin, March 7, Orpheum; 1964…The Tribute, March 7, The Mahaffey; 2 Live Crew, March 7, The Local 662; The Band Perry, March 9, Florida Strawberry Festival; Michael Bolton, March 10, Capitol Theatre; Boney James, March 13, Capitol Theatre; The Hit Men, March 14, The Mahaffey; Aaron Neville, March 14, The Capitol; Tyler, the Creator, March 18, The Ritz Ybor; Schoolboy Q, March 19, State Theater; Between the Buried & Me, March 20, The Ritz Ybor; Bone Thugs n Harmony, March 22, Jannus Live; Vince Gill with Amy Grant, March 22, Ruth Eckerd Hall; Psychadelic Furs, March 25, Capitol Theatre; Moody Blues, March 25, Ruth Eckerd Hall; Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band, 8 p.m., March 26; Scotty McCreery, March 28, Ruth Eckerd Hall; Casting Crowns, March 28, USF Sun Dome; Dio Disciples, March 28, The State Theatre; Get the Led Out, March 30, Tampa Theatre