Music Menu

Mike Tramp w/Grid Loc/V.M. Seriously, what's up with all the formerly finely-tressed frontmen (alliteration, people) hitting the road lately? Kip Winger, Ron Keel — now it's one-time White Lion singer and frosted heartthrob Mike Tramp, whose plaintive, scratchy whine was considered compelling by young girls, and by the young boys who wanted to touch their breasts. Granted, Wait had a pretty good hook, but without shred-hero Vito Bratta's flamboyant fretwork (copped largely from one Edward Van Halen, if you'll remember), what's the point? Probably a new solo effort from Tramp, as if the crowd will be breathlessly anticipating new material, and not waiting around for When The Children Cry. (July 5, Brass Mug)

The Casualties w/A Global Threat Tri-State Area gutter punks The Casualties sport a devoted local following almost as large as their mohawks; the staff at Star Booty has to put a security guard on their bondage pants rack for a week before and after these gents come to town. They're loud, fast, chaotic and politically disenfranchised. Expect a similarly phlegm-inspiring set from A Global Threat, but with a more overt antigovernment stance. (July 6, State Theatre)

Buckcherry w/Econoline Crush/Sinomatic Why settle for mere glam nostalgia? Sunset Strip standard-bearers Buckcherry are bringing their feather boas, leather wear and druggy sleaze-rock back to Jannus. The quintet won't be winning any polls for originality — they pillage Circus of Power, Cheap Trick, Aerosmith and the Stones without shame (and the fact that lead screamer Josh Todd looks like the love child of Steven Tyler and Mick Jagger doesn't help, either) — and their current album Time Bomb is fairly generic dose of strut, booze and bar chords. But as an angst-free, fist-pumping no-brainer of a good time, the band's live set is tough to beat. Canadians Econoline Crush are a bit more moody and modern rock oriented; rookies Sinomatic apparently purvey a blended cocktail of hard rock swagger and art-damaged pop, whatever the hell that means. (July 6, Jannus Landing)

Beatnuts w/Arsonists NYC producers-turned-performers Beatnuts are a seriously under-appreciated deviation from commercial hip-hop's glut of bouncers, thugs and human jewelry display cases. Hard but not gangsta, and clever without tipping over into cerebral college obscurity, the duo flows well over lush tracks laced with hooks. They turned in some production work on the Arsonists' forthcoming second disc, Date of Birth, and decided to take the Brooklyn crew out on the road. Arsonists are another stand-alone act (see the Music column), one that neither bows to mainstream convention nor cultivates the backpack heads. Innovative and entertaining, they put more into their live set than any rap icons since Public Enemy. (July 6, Masquerade)

Left Hand Black/Shiver/Clubber Lang/Southern Most The seriously heavy Left Hand Black scores a second consecutive Music Menu mention. Quite different from your average groovecore offering, LHB is either so scary it's disquieting, or so disquieting it's scary. Also cutting its own trail through the nu-metal wasteland is Shiver, a doomy, hypnotic quartet that owes far more to Danzig, Sabbath and the burgeoning Spitfire Records/Southern underground scene than to any Family Values Tour participants. Imagine a stoner-rock band covering Slayer's South of Heaven, and you've got a place to start. Clubber Lang make their first State appearance, and relatively younger outfit Southern Most kick things off. (July 7, State Theatre)

Javen Campbell Largely unknown spiritual/pop/R&B artist Javen Campbell seems to be taking the grassroots approach to getting the word out. He's appeared on BET, is getting spins on radio stations across the country, and shares the stage with artists as disparate as BeBe Winans and Reba McEntire, all without the benefit of a recording contract. Can you say Sammie? I bet you can. Like all good press releases, Campbell's assures us that missing his free 8 p.m. performance at the North Tampa Barnes & Noble (11802 N. Dale Mabry) would be akin to declining an invitation to check out some band called the Beatles at the Cavern Club. Who's to say? (July 7, Barnes & Noble)

Andre Dawson/Audrey Landers/Mesha While not exactly a performance, this one merits a mention on the strength of its charity and weirdness angles. It seems that retired baseball star Andre Dawson has started up a record label, Acclaim. Acclaim's first three signings — country outfit Wiley Fox, actress-cum-singer Audrey Landers (of Dallas fame) and R&B diva Mesha — are all Florida based. Dawson, Landers and Mesha will be on hand at this kickoff party to sign autographs, immediately following Saturday's Devil Rays/Marlins game at the Trop. For a donation, fans can have their picture taken with the semi-celebrity of their choice; all proceeds benefit The Angelus Home, a Hudson facility that offers assisted living for the severely disabled. An autographed guitar will also be raffled off. Whether or not Dawson will be accepting demo tapes at this event was not addressed, but a good would-be pop star knows how to work it smoothly, right? (July 7, Ferg's Sports Bar)

Buffalo Strange Rob Pieniak and his band of world-beat folkies deliver eclectic acoustic rock permeated by reggae, Arabic and jazz influences. How much more Skipper's could a combo be? They even work in the left-field instrumentation, with the occasional dulcimer or marimba. See you in the pit. (July 7, Skipper's Smokehouse)

Union 13 w/The Immigrantz/A Buck Short/Pulling Out Though Epitaph issued the band's latest disc, Youth, Betrayal and the Awakening, Union 13 have little in common with that imprint's usual fare. They play a frenzied, metallic brand of hardcore that's long on fury, and infused with a social commentary borne of the members' coming-of-age in the East L.A. barrio. Bilingual, brash and uncompromising, but with a sense of fun intact, the foursome is reputed to have blown its contemporaries off the stage during the first installment of Epitaph's seasonal package series, the Punk-O-Rama tour. Be intrigued. (July 8, The Brass Mug)

Depeche Mode w/Poe It doesn't really matter whether legendary synth-mopes Depeche Mode are mounting a comeback or just receiving some timely assistance from the current enthusiasm for All Things '80s. Exciter may be their best album in years, but that's not really saying much. It's also mature and fairly positive, light years away from the simple, vaguely dark pop tunes of their heyday. And those tunes are why people are going to take in the show. The band has always been an entrancing concert experience, and Enjoy the Silence is always going to be a great song. All the magazine-fueled speculation regarding staying power versus retro kitsch is irrelevant; if they can still deliver the goods live, then who cares? The ethereal, shadowy electro-pop of Poe seems an appropriate accessory. (July 8, Ice Palace)

The Come-Ons/The Lynwoods/The Proms/The Fizz Find the skinny tie that matches your pleated chinos. The Refuge is hosting a '50s Rock Show, complete with bopping garage sounds from four acts that kept Royal Crown Hair Dressing in business through the lean years. (July 9, The Refuge)

—All entries by Scott Harrell

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