Selections of the Week: MegaCon, Monster Jam, Ryan Hamilton, Aly + AJ and more

MegaCon returns to the Orange County Convention Center in full force
MegaCon returns to the Orange County Convention Center in full force photo by Daniel Rodriguez

Our picks of the best things to do and see this week.

Wednesday, May 18: Aly & AJ

Multi-platinum indie pop siblings Aly & AJ have come a long way creatively from their Disney-adjacent early years. And the proof is in the pudding of the newly released "deluxe" version of their first album in over a decade [writer turns to dust], A Touch of the Beat Gets You Up on Your Feet Gets You Out and Then Into the Sun. For this new platter, the sisters experimented with ensemble playing, recording the album with a full band for a much fuller sound. And they're taking that band and these songs around the country. Sidebar: If you miss this show, you'll have another chance to see them when they open for Ben Platt at the Amway in October. 7:30 p.m., House of Blues, Disney Springs,, $26.50-$58

Thursday-Sunday, May 19-22: MegaCon

The long-lived annual fandom convention returns to the Orange County Convention Center in full force with four days' worth of signings, comics, cosplay, panels and more nerdy merchandise than you can shake a stick (wand?) at. Celeb guests this year include all four of the core Hobbits from the LOTR trilogy, the protagonists of Trailer Park Boys (!), more than a few cast members of Star Trek and Clerks and Frank "The Dark Knight Returns" Miller! And forgive us for getting excitable, but a passel of WWE wrestlers have been also been added — the standouts being a very rare appearance from the Undertaker, as well as Rey Mysterio Jr. and Alexa Bliss. Finally, there will be a memorial service for iconic comics illustrator George Pérez on-site. Fitting. 9800 International Drive,, $22-$155

Friday, May 20: Ryan Hamilton

This rescheduled date from comedian Ryan Hamilton — occasioned by, and this is not the set-up to a joke, the comedian getting hit by a bus — promises to be worth the wait. Hamilton made his name doing more family-friendly fare on his Netflix special Funny Face and stand-up appearances on all the usual late-night suspects. Hamilton has survived the comedic crucible that is opening for Jerry Seinfeld (and did we mention he survived being hit by a damn bus?), so this gent has earned his headliner status. 7 & 9:30 p.m., Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave.,, $35

Saturday-Sunday, May 21-22: Monster Jam

Monster Jam returns with a weekend of world finals competition to celebrate some big anniversaries and, of course, rev up some monster trucks to jump, race and smash a bunch of stuff. This show commemorates the 30th anniversary of Monster Jam and the 40th anniversary of the iconic Grave Digger truck. Competition categories include Racing, Freestyle and High Jump. The roster of trucks heading into the Orlando finals is fearsome and includes Son-Uva Digger, Grave Digger, Soldier Fortune, Avenger, Whiplash, Zombie, Monster Mutt and Megalodon. Camping World Stadium, 1 Citrus Bowl Place,, $40-$225

Sunday, May 22: Candlebox

Candlebox had a hard go of it in their early years, critically speaking (sales were just fine, thank you very much), despite artistic patronage from Madonna. But they stuck around — a crucial factor in the 1990s alternative-rock stakes — and now they're out treading the boards around North America celebrating the 30th anniversary of their self-titled debut album. And if you needed more impetus, last week frontman Kevin Martin told Long Island radio station 94.3 FM that he's retiring from touring next year. 8 p.m., The Plaza Live, 425 N. Bumby Ave.,, $30-$49.50

Tuesday, May 24: Hypocrisy

For devotees of the dark musical arts, this show will be a pretty big deal. Hypocrisy have not only been influential leading lights in death metal since the early 1990s, but frontman Peter Tägtgren has had an even more outsized influence on the sound of underground metal via his production work, helming countless albums by black metal heavy-hitters. This year finds Hypocrisy, 30 years on, touring behind new album Worship and Tägtgren openly opining that this might be their last U.S. tour. Plan accordingly. Support comes from Carach Angren, The Agonist, Hideous Divinity. 6 p.m., The Abbey, 100 S. Eola Drive,, $25

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