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Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
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June's best concerts in the Tampa area

Blu, today, Crowbar - You haven't heard Blu on the radio, but the Los Angeles indie-rap hero has been on hip-hop heads' radars since his debut "Below the Heavens" (a collaboration with Exile) landed him in XXL's annual, taste-making "Freshman Class" feature in 2009. Blu is a thinking-man's rapper in the vein of Common, but what really makes him stand out is his lack of braggadocio. Humility is a rare, but welcome trait in rappers.
ZZ Ward, Wednesday, Ritz Ybor - Alt-blues newcomer ZZ Ward has a voice that's gritty but elegant, and a style that's unlike anything else out there right now. Her debut album, "Til the Casket Drops," came out last year, packed with sultry, brazen delta soul, pop and an interesting guest appearance by Kendrick Lamar. Catch her now before she's playing bigger venues for more expensive tickets.
Kings of the Mic Tour, Thursday, the Mahaffey - In their 90s heyday, you'd never have seen Public Enemy, Ice Cube, LL Cool J and De La Soul together on a super-tour like this. Changing tastes, coastal tensions and the fact that they were all headliners in their own right wouldn't have allowed it. Luckily, a couple decades have passed and you can see four legendary acts on one ticket.
Fleetwood Mac, Friday, Times Forum - This year marks the 35th anniversary of Fleetwood Mac's 11-times-platinum masterpiece "Rumours," one of the most successful albums in history, and the band's seminal work. Based on early reviews of the tour, fans can expect to hear almost the entire album, which is a good thing.
Grizzly Bear, June 19, The Ritz Ybor - Of the billion indie rock bands spawned from Brooklyn in the 2000s, Grizzly Bear is one of the groups that has held on while other stars of that scene have fallen from grace (ahem, The Strokes). The quartet has earned their well-deserved place as critical darlings with a sound that ranges from minimalist and folky, to elaborate, psychedelic rock.
LaserSpectacular: Music of Pink Floyd, June 22, Mahaffey Theater - So it's not a concert per se, but if there has ever been music that deserves to be paired with a 10,000-watt sound system and colorful, choreographed lasers, it's the grandiose rock of Pink Floyd. Maybe that's why the Pink Floyd laser show is in its 25th year of touring.
Brad Paisley, June 22, The Amphitheatre - Okay, Brad Paisley was way off the mark with that "Accidental Racist" song he made with LL Cool J (turns out, people though it was literally accidentally racist), but at least Paisley's ambitious enough to tackle tough topics, and try to make them palatable with a dose of humor and southern charm. Plus, Paisley is a singer-songwriter-guitarist who's known for putting on a good live show.
Dirty Heads, June 24, Jannus Live - You won't find a more appropriate band for an outdoor show on a humid summer night. The Dirty Heads sound exactly how you'd expect four long-haired, white guys from SoCal who play chillaxed reggae and pop rock with a little hip-hop flavor (think Sublime, but without the edge) to sound. In this case, it's not a bad thing.
Bob Dylan, June 27, Mid-Florida Amphitheatre - Bob Dylan is a cultural icon, arguably one of the most important personalities of the 20th century and the standard by which all serious songwriters are measured. The tour hasn't started yet, so we don't yet know if he'll play a nostalgia show filled with his early classics, or if he'll stubbornly stick to modern-era material off albums such as 2012's "The Tempest." But does it matter? He's earned the right to do what he wants. That he's bringing quality acts Wilco, My Morning Jacket and Bob Weir along on the Americanarama tour is what bumps this one up from a great concert, to an absolute must-see.
Other notable concerts: King Django, June 5, New World Brewery; Rascal Flatts and The Band Perry, June 7, Mid-Florida Amphitheatre; Obituary, June 8, Orpheum; Dwight Yoakam, June 11, Jannus Live (canceled; will be rescheduled); Tiger's Jaw, June 15, Orpheum; Billy Idol, June 18, Ruth Eckerd Hall; Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, June 18, Mid-Florida Amphitheatre; Kool & The Gang, June 21, Mahaffey Theater; Homegrown Hip Hop 5, June 22, State Theatre; Pitbull and Kesha, June 28, Mid-Florida Amphitheatre.
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