No, it's not the year 2001. Yes, Ja Rule & Ashanti are co-headlining a show at the Ritz in Ybor City tonight. If all that nostalgia about the rapper & singer is too much to handle, then kick it with more a contemporary name like Jerrod Niemann, who plays Dallas Bull tonight. All that, and more, detailed below.
Ja Rule w/Ashanti Where would we be without Ja Rule and Ashanti? We definitely wouldn’t have makeout staple “Always On Time,” that’s for sure. The duo — whose collaborative hit gave at least half a million pre-pubescent boys their first boners back in 2001 are cashing in on the comeback craze by sharing a bill that looks great on paper, but hasn’t fared well in critics’ reviews. That doesn’t mean it won’t be packed with fans for this Friday night party, though, as many of the stops on the “Natural Born Hitters” tour have been complete or near sell outs. Reports say the 35-year-old singer from Roslyn, New York and 40-year-old rapper from Hollis, Queens in New York City take the stage together from the jump, taking turns on songs and jumping into each other’s cuts when appropriate, making for a fluid, highly entertaining set. (The Ritz, Ybor City) INFO
Jerrod Niemann If you love country hunks but can’t afford a Luke Bryan ticket, then head to the Bull tonight. Jerrod Niemann has already been crucified to the bro-country genre by the unfair research scribes at Wikipedia, and at 37-years-old he better work fast at outrunning the stereotypes. The Liberal, Kansas songwriter sings about buzz-chasing (“Drink to That All Night”), having fun while staying broke (“Donkey”) and some other feel-good sappy stuff (“A Little More Love”) on his own albums, but what’s notable is that he’s also stroked his pen for country heavyweights like Garth Brooks and collaborated with solid genre dudes like Colt Ford and Lee Brice. (Dallas Bull, Tampa) INFO
Sunset Beach Concert Series w/Jazz Phools Good on the Jazz Phools for staying true on this one. The guys had to cancel their last scheduled appearance due to weather, but they’re back to make it up for the good people of Tarpon Springs who were all jazzed up to tap their toes to the sounds of Gatsby-era Hot Jazz, Dixieland, swing and generally 1920s appropriate horn and drum brush sounds. (Sunset Beach, Tarpon Springs) INFO
Joyce Meyer Ministries Conference w/Matt Redman & Christy Nockels On a praise and worship excitement scale, the tunes at a Joyce Meyer gathering on right on par with getting an extra stale piece of the host at communion. That’s okay though, because they are good enough and more than due their purpose of providing a break from the 73-year-old’s extremely uplifting and motivational sermons. This event is free and seating is first come, first served, so early arrival for the three-day residency is suggested if you plan on heading out. (Amalie Arena, Tampa) INFO