Fischer's Fab 10

The Ohio State Fair, in all its glory, has begun, with main stage entertainment at the Celeste Center getting underway Thursday, July 24, with the kings of '90s New Jack R&B Boyz II Men, with opener Christon Gray, an up-and-coming R&B singer and Columbus native.

And in a move that's somehow newsworthy, the Beach Boys, for a Tuesday, July 29, date at the fair, will be joined on drums, guitar and vocals by John Stamos!

Other main stage highlights include: Lady Antebellum, July 25; Bachman & Turner/Foghat/Blue Oyster Cult, July 26; Heart/Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, July 30; and Aretha Franklin, July 31.

For a full schedule and ticket prices (which include fair admission), visit ohiostatefair.com.

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"The sound is massive." -- Ohio State University Marching Band Former Director Jonathan Waters.

"There's nothing like it." -- Columbus Symphony Orchestra Conductor Albert-George Schram.

The Beat can't get enough mileage out of these quotes from past conversations with both conductors of the annual tradition that is the two ensembles' combined concert for the orchestra's Picnic With the Pops series. The music is special (unique arrangements created specifically for these combined ensembles) and fun, and the concert serves (The Beat has always felt) as the first reminder that football season is not far off.

A fireworks show follows the concerts, which are set for Friday and Saturday, July 25 and 26, at Columbus Commons. General admission tickets at the gate are $25/$8. Table seating also is available by advance purchase.

Visit picnicwiththepops.com.

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Britain's Royal Blood is not merely tabloid fodder (Get it? Prince William et al? Never mind.) but a bright new face on the rock 'n' roll scene.

Sort of a White Stripes meet Foo Fighters, Royal Blood plays groove-heavy tunes that hit hard -- can power chords be stripped-down? If so, that's what this is.

Catch them live before their debut full-length hits in a month or so and they bust out. Royal Blood will play The Basement Friday, July 25. Tickets are $10/$12.

Visit promowestlive.com.

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Motel Beds is a versatile, melodic riff-rocking outfit. On record and in concert, the Dayton-based quintet proves equally adept at hook-laden pop-rock and crash-and-burn, old-style rock 'n' roll.

The band is playing a pre-release show for its These Are the Days Gone By record at Double Happiness Friday, July 25. WV White and Dreadful Yawns open.

Tickets are $7. Visit doublehappinessohio.com.

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Alt-punk siren Brody Dalle is serious -- and fun.

The Melbourne, Australia, native resides comfortably in the same family tree as Debbie Harry and Courtney Love. The former frontwoman of The Distillers and Spinerette, Dalle, after taking some time off to care for her young children, has released her first solo record, Diploid Love, and hit the road.

Her travels include a stop at the A&R Music Bar Friday, July 25. Tickets are $15. Visit promowestlive.com.

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Smooth. In a cute way.

That's Canadian crooner Michael Buble, whose latest record, To Be Loved, continues a string of chart-toppers for the singer, who peppers his modern pop songbook-style tunes with classics from the genre.

Buble is on tour this summer with a mammoth show, which arrives at the Schottenstein Center Saturday, July 26. Tickets start at $57.50. Visit schottensteincenter.com.

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Drummer Alan Evans has been jamming with his own bands and for other projects for the better part of 20 years. In addition to masterminding his own recording studio, Evans now has a new trio called Playonbrother.

This funk-jazz group exudes both hot and cool, and new organist/keyboardist Kris Yunker has stepped right in and made the material his own.

Dig Alan Evans' Playonbrother Saturday, July 26, at Brothers Drake Meadery. Tickets are $10. Visit brothersdrake.com.

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Los Angeles hip-hop collective Jurassic 5 found the call of keeping old-school creativity alive, reuniting last year after a six-year hiatus.

Scratching, sampling and rhyming as though they were riding a bike, the six-member J5 felt like a reunion tour was in order. Thus, the "Word of Mouth Reunion Tour," which stops at Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Sunday, July 27. The tour includes old friends Dilated Peoples and Beat Junkies.

Tickets are $25. Visit promowestlive.com.

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Anthemic electronica trio Panama is as contemporary as it gets, its moody and shimmering electronic pop peppered with frontman Jarrah McCleary's piano for color.

To say the band is fully modern is not to suggest it hasn't studied its synthpop ABC's -- Alphaville, Bauhaus and Cabaret Voltaire.

Panama will play The Basement Monday, July 28. Tickets are $5. Visit promowestlive.com.

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OK so it's our job to know this stuff, but The Beat confesses to being blissfully unaware of Iggy Azalea until a few months ago. Fancy that.

The would-be-rapper-turned-model-turned-rap-sensation emerged from the American South after moving to the U.S. from Australia at the age of 16. Her major-label debut, The New Classic, finds Azalea comfortably blending Kesha, Gwen Stefani and Missy Elliott.

Azalea is sure to be a quintessential summertime concert outdoors at Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Thursday, July 31. Tickets are $35.

Visit promowestlive.com.

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