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Splash and Burn

Summertime is upon us again, and we know what to expect -- thunderstorms, power outages, more thunderstorms, and getting your legs stuck to the car seat. And, of course, enormous star-filled concerts like the Y-100.7 Summer Splash. While the show's musical fare leaves something to be desired -- it's Top 40 stuff, whaddaya expect? -- you have to hand it to the event's organizers for having the foresight to schedule it for before hurricane season hits. Now, if only the Ozzfest promoters had thought of that last year (or had at least learned their lesson for this year).

By far, the most interesting Summer Splash act is the Pussycat Dolls. And we stress the word act; singing and dancing are only half of it. OK, so maybe even less than that. Since debuting at Johnny Depp's Viper Room ten years ago, the burlesque-style revue act has shrunken many a pair of tighty-whiteys. The Dolls offer exactly what the name entails: half-naked hard bodies in lacy undergarments. It's like a Victoria's Secret catalog set to dance music.

And don't be surprised if Gwen Stefani makes a guest appearance with the Dolls, as she has in the past. After all, it's not like she has far to go; Stefani's on the bill as well, as part of her solo tour. Is she a ska-punker, a club girl, a hip-hop collaborator, or -- as she once sang -- "just a girl"? Right now, she's in her "Hollaback Girl" phase, riding the Billboard Hot 100 like a Lamborghini (albeit one that's heavily pimped-out).

But enough of the male-pleasing acts; here's one for the ladies -- or the little ladies, as it were. Indeed, in defiance of Osmond's Law of Boy-Band Aging, the Backstreet Boys have made it to their second decade without needing VH1 to remind younger viewers who they are. Call 'em what you will (the Backdoor Boys is kind of funny), but five years from now, you can bet they won't be making Big Macs with the New Kids on the Block.

From the land of boy-band extras comes Jesse McCartney, a made-for-Disney sweetheart who sounds like a more sugary version of Boyz II Men, if you can imagine that. Singer/songwriter Ryan Cabrera escapes this category only by the grace of his guitar. Imagine a younger, less masculine version of the Goo Goo Dolls (again, if that's possible). Considerably more artistic and a tad less cutesy are the plaintive piano-driven tunes of Gavin Degraw and the upbeat, semipunky rockers of Simple Plan (see music section).

In the Solo Performer Without a Surname category, there are Ciara and Mario. You can probably figure out the rest 'cause you've heard it a million times by now. But, hey -- at least there's one name that's not on the bill. Here's a hint: It begins with an f and rhymes with trances. Yes, that horrible, stormy bitch. Better get your summer fun out of the way early -- the next line you stand in might be for plywood.

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Jason Budjinski

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