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SoundBytes: The Melvins, UB40, Dark Tranquility and more

-- British reggae-pop outfit UB40 (the version featuring vocalist Ali Campbell, Mickey Virtue and Astro) is coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Sept. 22. Tickets are $35 and up. Click here.

-- Punk veterans the Melvins are returning to the Orpheum on Sept. 16, alongside Spotlights. Tickets are $20 and up. Click here.

-- DJ-producer Laidback Luke is coming to Beach Bar in Tampa on May 21 alongside Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano. Tickets are $15 and up. Click here.

-- Three hard rock and metal shows of note coming to the Orpheum: September Mourning on June 3 ($15 and up, click here), Pig with Julien-K and Ghostfeeder on July 25 ($15 and up, click here) and Dark Tranquility with Warbringer and Striker on Sept. 8 ($20 and up, click here).

-- Darkest Hour is coming to Crowbar with Havok and Jesus Piece on July 21. Tickets are $18 and up. Click here.

-- Jay Cridlin

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98 Rockfest schedule, set times: When to see Soundgarden, A Day to Remember, more at Amalie Arena

Between the Red Hot Chili Peppers on Thursday and Soundgarden, above, on Friday, Amalie Arena is turning into a 24-hour rockapalooza later this week.

That'll especially be the case on Friday, as 98 Rockfest returns for another ear-splitting year. As always, 98 Rock's annual festival will begin early in the day with free performances outside, then shift inside for a host of heavy tunes until midnight.

The softest portion of the evening will probably be a VIPs-only party in the arena's Firestick Grill. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., with a Q&A with A Day To Remember at 5:15 and an acoustic performance by Starset at 5:40. VIP tickets start at $199.

Otherwise, tickets start at $29 for the upper deck and $75 for the floor, which is general admission. Here's the rundown of the schedule and tentative set times:


10:40 p.m.: Soundgarden

9:15: A Day to Remember

8:20: Pierce the Veil

7:30: Highly Suspect

6:40: Nothing More

5:55: Beartooth


4:15 p.m.: Starset

3:10: Dinosaur Pile-Up

2:30: Loose Talk

2: DJ Skratch 'N Sniff

Click here for more details on 98 Rockfest.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Live Nation ticket deal: $20 for Tampa Bay concerts by Pitbull, Depeche Mode, Idina Menzel, more


Luis Santana


With the summer season about to kick off at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Live Nation wants to get you out to a show.

The promotions giant next week is offering all-inclusive $20 ticket deals on nearly two dozen Central Florida concerts, including 15 at the Amp. They include boldface names like Muse, Brad Paisley, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, Idina Menzel, Sam Hunt, Nickelback, Lionel Richie, Depeche Mode and many more. And again, that's $20 all-in, no added fees.

The deal takes place through from May 2-9, though AT&T customers will have access to a special pre-sale on May 1. The location of each $20 seat will depend on the concert -- for outdoor shows, it could be the lawn or reserved seating; for indoor shows it will likely be in a higher level.

Click here for details -- but note that not every artist listed is participating in the deal in every market. Here's a list of all the Tampa and Orlando concerts offering $20 tickets:

May 9: Bastille, Orlando Amphitheater

May 21: Muse with 30 Seconds to Mars, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater

May 25: Idina Menzel, Ruth Eckerd Hall

May 26: Train with O.A.R., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre …

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Spoon's Rob Pope talks fan anticipation, the Get Up Kids, the 'Twin Peaks' revival and more


Zackery Michael


More than 20 years in, Spoon are out to prove they’re still hungry.

“I really feel like the band is playing better than it ever has; it’s sounding better than it ever has,” bassist Rob Pope said by phone before a recent gig in Mexico City. “We kind of feel like we can take over anything at this point.”

That excitement comes across on the band’s ninth album Hot Thoughts, released in March to the band’s most positive reviews since its mid-2000s blog-rock heyday. And it’s the reason they’re gearing up for an enormous spring, summer and fall tour that’ll bring them to Ritz Ybor on Monday.

For Tampa fans, it’s a long time coming. This might not be Spoon’s first-ever Tampa gig, but it’s their first as headliners, and the first since 2005’s Gimme Fiction and 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga elevated the Austin, Texas group to indie-rock superstar status. Hot Thoughts is full of catchy alterna-power-pop tracks that recall earlier hits I Turn My Camera On, The Underdog and The Way We Get By, earworms that ended up splashed all over TV, movies and commercials. That might be why the band is so eager to get back on the road. …

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Paul McCartney coming to Tampa's Amalie Arena on July 10; how to get tickets

Paul McCartney performs on day 2 of the 2016 Desert Trip music festival at Empire Polo Field on Oct. 8, 2016, in Indio, Calif.

Photo by Chris Pizzello | Invision | AP

Paul McCartney performs on day 2 of the 2016 Desert Trip music festival at Empire Polo Field on Oct. 8, 2016, in Indio, Calif.

UPDATE: The rumors are true: Paul McCartney is indeed coming to Tampa for the first time in 12 years. He'll perform at Amalie Arena on July 10, venue officials announced Tuesday. Tickets are $31.25 and up and go on sale at 10 a.m. May 1. See or check back here soon for more details. Read the latest here

America is all abuzz about Paul McCartney this morning.

All around the country, word is trickling out about a possible mid-morning tour announcement, with several major cities (Detroit, Newark, Brooklyn) confirming a concert and a few more (Des Moines, Shreveport) looking possible.

Is Tampa on that list?

It sure seems that way. Amalie Arena has called a press conference to announce "some exciting event news" at 11 a.m. Tuesday, during which Lightning owner Jeff Vinik will join media for tea and biscuits. How very British Invasiony.

Given that a host of arenas in cities around the country (including Wichita and Syracuse) also have concert-related press conferences scheduled for this morning, it seems likely we're talking about one major tour, and given the dates and rumors that have already trickled out, McCartney is looking like a solid bet. …

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SoundBytes: Isley Brothers, Donald Fagen, Trombone Shorty, Post Animal and more

Post Animal, featuring Joe "Steve from 'Stranger Things' Keery on the right.

Post Animal

Post Animal, featuring Joe "Steve from 'Stranger Things' Keery on the right.

-- Here's a cool show for all you Stranger Things fans out there: Chicago psych-rock band Post Animal, which features Joe Keery, the actor who plays Nancy's smarmy boyfriend Steve on the smash Netflix series (that's him on the right, above), on guitar. They're coming to New World Brewery on June 30. Tickets are $7. Click here.

-- Shout it from the rooftops: R&B legends the Isley Brothers are coming to the Mahaffey Theater on Aug. 6. Tickets are %59.50 and up. Click here.

-- In lieu of a summer Steely Dan tour, how about a solo show by Donald Fagen and his band the Nightflyers? Fagen will perform solo and Steely Dan hits on August 9 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Tickets are $45 and up. Click here.

-- Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue have played so many festival shows around Tampa Bay over the last few years, it's hard to remember the last time they actually played a headlining gig. But that stretch will end Sept. 28 when they play Jannus Live alongside Dumpstaphunk. Tickets go on sale April 27. Click here. …

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'Harry Potter,' 'La La Land' orchestral concerts coming to Tampa Bay

A scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

A scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Accio concert tickets.

The Florida Orchestra will bring the music of Harry Potter to life with a one-night performance of John Williams' score to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, accompanied by a live screening of the film. The score and screening take place Sept. 30 at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa.

This is the first Tampa performance for the popular "Harry Potter Film Concert Series, which launched last year and will hit hundreds of performances in 35 countries through 2018. Tickets to the show start at $38.50 and go on sale at 10 a.m. May 12. Click here for details.

In other live film score news, the Mahaffey Theater has announced plans for a one-night-only La La Land event, featuring a live performance of the film's score by a symphony orchestra while the movie plays overhead. That'll take place Aug. 18, with tickets on sale now for $45 and up. Click here for details.

Justin Hurwitz, who won an Oscar for La La Land's score, won't be in attendance, nor will John Legend, Emma Stone or Ryan Gosling. Too bad. But at least the musical will feel bigger than ever.

-- Jay Cridlin


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Kings of Leon coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

Kings of Leon


Kings of Leon

A month and a half after headlining the Okeechobee Music Festival, Kings of Leon have announced they're coming back to Florida.

The Tennessee rockers will bring their upcoming fall tour to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Oct. 28, Live Nation announced Monday. Dawes will open the show. Tickets are $32.50 and up, and they go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. Click here for details.

The family Followill has become a reliable arena-sized act over the past decade, since hit singles Sex On Fire and Use Somebody turned them from fiery, acclaimed buzz band to Grammy-winning modern rock superstars. In 2016 they released their seventh album Walls, headlining numerous festivals in the process. This summer alone, they'll headline the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis, Jazz Fest in New Orleans and Rock Werchter in Belgium.

And anytime you can catch Dawes, the superb Southern California alt-country-rock group led by songwriting savant Taylor Goldsmith, it's worth the price of admission.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Kenny G performs aboard flight out of Tampa, goes viral after Clearwater concert

You thought Kenny G's concert Friday at Coachman Park in Clearwater was something special? You should've been there for the after-party.

While flying home from Tampa to Los Angeles, TMZ reports, the saxophone superstar was approached by an attendant raising money for Relay For Life. Kenny said that if they could raise $2,000 from everyone on the plane, he'd perform right there on the plane. They did, and he did. The video proof is above.

"Happy to help!" he tweeted when Delta thanked him for the impromptu performance.

Check out more video of the performance below.


#KennyG plays impromptu show on a #delta flight from #Tampa. The passengers had to raise 1k for #RelayForLife! @Delta

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Review: Neil Diamond spins 50 years of hits, memories for fans at Tampa's Amalie Arena

Neil Diamond performed on April 23, 2017 at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

Luis Santana

Neil Diamond performed on April 23, 2017 at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

It’s a story Neil Diamond has told before, and one he’ll surely tell again. But they never tire of it in Tampa.

“We’re real happy to be here in my premiere city,” Diamond told the crowd of more than 14,500 Sunday at Amalie Arena. “I played here 50 years ago. It was my first professional performance. Some of you may have been there. Oh, I loved every minute of it, and I decided to do it again and again and again. So here we are tonight.”

Here we are indeed, with Diamond a year past his own diamond birthday, celebrating the golden anniversary of a singular lifetime in song. Fifty years after Tampa made him a star – heck yeah, we’re claiming it – Diamond, backed by a band of a baker’s dozen on a four-tiered Vegas-style bandstand, repaid the city with two career-spanning, hanky-tugging hours of his biggest hits.

Well, not all of them – there’s a reason Diamond’s latest greatest hits collection spans 50 songs on three discs. There was no room on Sunday for Red Red Wine, Song Sung Blue, Heartlight, Crunchy Granola Suite, Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon or any number of personal favorites the diehards would’ve died for. Such is life when your songbook spans a half century. …

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Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor lineup: Against Me!, Beach Slang, Smoking Popes, more

What says Florida punk like a double dose of Against Me!?

The alt-punk heroes led by Laura Jane Grace will headline both nights of the fifth annual Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor, an annual precursor to the giant punk gathering known as Fest in their hometown of Gainesville.

This year's Pre-Fest will return Oct. 25-26 to venues around Ybor City. Bands announced on the initial lineup include Against Me! both nights, as well as Beach Slang, Rainer Maria, Smoking Popes, the Lillingtons, Teenage Bottlerocket, Mustard Plug, A Wilhelm Scream, Mikey Erg and more. Click here for the full Ybor lineup so far.

Tickets to this year's Pre-Fest go on sale April 28 for $60; the price increases July 1. Package tickets including passes to both Pre-Fest and Fest start at $165. Click here for details on tickets.

If you're just going to Fest, the lineup also includes Against Me! (playing their debut Reinventing Axl Rose in its entirety; perhaps a preview of what's to come in Ybor?), Hot Water Music, Hum, Snapcase, Screaming Females, Tim Barry, Iron Reagan, 88 Fingers Louie, Atom and his Package and at least one more mystery headliner, as well many of the bands that are also playing Pre-Fest. …

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Mojo Books and Records owners talk Record Store Day, their 10th anniversary and more

Melanie Cade, co-owner of Mojo Books and Music in Tampa.

Charlie Kaijo

Melanie Cade, co-owner of Mojo Books and Music in Tampa.

A decade ago, opening a brick-and-mortar book and record store was as dicey an investment as it still sounds today. That didn't stop Dan Drummond and Melanie Cade from opening such a shop near the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Today, Mojo Books and Records is coasting right along, thanks in part to another institution marking its 10th edition in 2017: Record Store Day. The annual celebration of independent record store culture returns Saturday, the same day Mojo marks its 10th anniversary with a day of music and giveaways at their store.

For Mojo, Record Store Day is "Christmas in one weekend, I would say," Drummond said in a recent interview.

"When we first started, a lot of our customers were more the collector types. Then maybe three years down the road, we started seeing more and more younger people who were getting into vinyl. Now it's a mix. And a lot of the people that are younger customers are growing older, and a lot of them are staying with it."

For more with Mojo's owners, click here for our interview.

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Kenny G talks practice, collaborations, comedy, the perfect sax solo and more

Kenny G

Chapman Baehler

Kenny G

Even with some 75 million records sold, Kenny G isn't about to ditch practice.

The smooth jazz saxophonist, who performs Friday at Coachman Park in Clearwater (click here), still practices three hours a day, running his scales and perfecting his technique, just so he can stay as sharp at 60 as he was at 17, when he first joined Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra.

"I'm always trying to learn how to play my scales better and jazz licks faster, higher, cleaner, stronger, longer, everything," he said in a phone interview. "It's like (being) an athlete. You may be very great at what you do, but you've still got to keep training so you can maintain. I suppose if I only practiced about a half hour a day, I'd probably maintain where I am. But I'm trying to get better and better. There's no end to how good you can be."

For more with Kenny G, click here for our interview.

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Photos: Big Sean drops into Tampa's Ritz Ybor for intimate, sold-out gig

Big Sean performed at the Ritz Ybor in Tampa on April 19, 2017.

Kasamba Kokayi

Big Sean performed at the Ritz Ybor in Tampa on April 19, 2017.

In one of the most hotly anticipated hip-hop shows of this spring, Big Sean dropped into the Ritz Ybor Wednesday night, bringing such hits as Bounce Back to a relatively intimate space.

MadeinTYO opened the show. Kasamba Kokayi was there snapping photos; click the headline of this post for a slideshow.

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SoundBytes: Austin Mahone, Warpaint, Gabriel Iglesias and more

-- Tween-pop star Austin Mahone is growing up, and heading back out on tour. He'll stop at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on June 1. Tickets are $25 and up. Click here.

-- Indie outfit Warpaint will open for Depeche Mode at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Sept. 13. Click here.

-- Deathcore band Fit For an Autopsy will perform at the Orpheum on June 21, alongside Tombs. Tickets are $15 and up. Click here.

-- Video game/live rock act Bit Brigade will return to New World Brewery on May 19, alongside Spar and Boy Without Batteries. Tickets are $7 and up. Click here.

-- Is Gabriel Iglesias ready to get back on the road? Ticketmaster has him performing at the USF Sun Dome on Dec. 22, with tickets going on sale May 5. The "Fluffy" comic recently canceled a handful of dates due to an unspecified health issue, including one in March at the Sun Dome. But in a recent Instagram post, he said he's losing weight and his physical health "is well on its way to being where I want it to be as long as I stay the course." Click here.

-- Jay Cridlin

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