The fall concert season looms and a glut of attention-grabbing tours all seem to be landing in Florida over the next three months. With far too many concerts to choose from, here's a thematic rundown of the most important ones to aid in your live music planning.
Hip-hop on the fringe. Several alt hip-hop artists bring their distinctive styles to the area. Lucrative and long-lived Minneapolis twosome Atmosphere makes a stop in Orlando (Sept. 19, Beacham Theatre) as does fresh rhyme-slinging Childish Gambino (Oct. 8, Plaza Theatre), the musical persona of Donald Glover (from NBC's Community). Locals are treated to the return of LA-based rapper Murs (Oct. 5, Crowbar), and debut visits from the avant cheeky Brooklyn trio Das Racist (Oct. 6, State Theatre), and the darker LA collective led by Tyler, the Creator, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (Nov. 2, The Ritz Ybor).
Ground-breakers. Ruth Eckerd Hall welcomes four performers to a stage that seems small in proportion to their huge influence on jazz fusion (Return to Forever, Sept. 11), indie rock (Elvis Costello, Sept. 17), synth pop and electronica (Duran Duran, Oct. 10) and country music (Dolly Parton, Oct. 15).
Homegrown buzz. Billy Summer-led surf-garage quartet The Semis unveil their new album, Decapitator Blues, the much-anticipated follow up to 2010's award-winning Back to the Beach (Sept. 10, Dave's Aqua Lounge). Experimental indie rock outfit Candy Bars re-emerge after more than a year (Sept. 17, New World Brewery). And Have Gun, Will Travel celebrates the release of its new Suburban Home Records LP, Mergers & Acquisitions. (Oct. 21, Skipper's Smokehouse)
O-Town is for hipsters... Orlando always attracts some of the hippest indie tours. This fall, there's the Conor Oberst-led Bright Eyes (Sept. 11, House of Blues), indie-pop sensations Foster the People with fellow fast risers Cults (Sept. 20, Beacham Theatre), Canadian electro dance funk duo Chromeo with soulful LA-based singer-producer Mayer Hawthorne (Sept. 21, Beacham Theatre), British disco dance outfit Friendly Fires and NYC dance-alt hip-hop artist Theophilus London (Oct. 8, The Social), seminal indie rock outfit The New Pornographers, Newman and Case included (Oct. 13, Beacham Theatre), and a few Pitchfork.com overseas favorites — Japanese experimental trio Boris (Nov. 2 Firestone Live) and M83, the ambient pop outfit of French musician Anthony Gonzalez (Nov. 2, The Social).
...But Tampa Bay is getting hipper by the minute. Local promoters are ramping up our hip factor with much-anticipated shows by Bad Brains (Sept. 20, State Theatre), Surfer Blood (Sept. 21, Crowbar), Peter Bjorn and John (Sept. 24, Czar), Langhorne Slim (Sept. 28, Crowbar), Frank Turner (Sept. 30, Crowbar), Junior Boys (Oct. 4, Crowbar), Ween (Oct. 8, Jannus Live), Battles (Oct. 26, Crowbar), Memoryhouse (Oct. 29, New World Brewery) and Ted Leo & the Pharmacists (Nov. 1, Crowbar).
Bear Creek Festival vs. Orlando Calling. Two festivals, one weekend, and no plausible way to do both. Bear Creek Festival (Nov. 10-13, Sprit of Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak) features rock, funk and jamtronica-geared music (Trey Anastasio Band, Medeski Martin & Wood, John Scofield, Funky Meters, The Coup, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Garage a Trois, Beats Antique and more). Camping isn't required but is included in the ticket price, in a beautiful setting, at the best time of year to sleep outdoors in Florida. Orlando Calling (Nov. 12-13, Citrus Bowl Park) is an easier commute, doesn't require camping or even an overnight stay. Because of the seeming lopsided nature of the lineup — all the stuff you want to see on Saturday (The Killers, The Raconteurs, Pixies, The Avett Brothers, The Roots, Gogol Bordello, Iron & Wine, Drive By Truckers, Dr. Dog), all the stuff your folks want to see on Sunday (Blake Shelton, Doobie Brothers, Warren Haynes Band, Kid Rock, Chris Isaak, Dwight Yoakam, Buddy Guy) — you can go for a day and be none the worse for wear.