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Ginuwine's 'Pony': The freakiest, funniest, most fantastic slow jam of the last 20 years

When R&B singer Ginuwine drops the iconic squelch of bass that kicks off his classic hit Pony on Friday at the USF Sun Dome, the place will jolt to life with thousands of gyrating bodies.

Pony is the alpha and omega of over-the-top sex jams, a glistening slab of '90s R&B so completely ludicrous it's irresistible. From its bombastic belch of an opening note to lyrics so pointed they border on pornographic ("Send chills up and down your spine / juices flowing down your thigh"), Pony is musical shorthand for shameless, no-holds-barred freakiness. And because today's Internet culture worships at the altar of '90s nostalgia, Pony and Ginuwine have become go-to references for anyone in search of a sexually charged smile.

Need proof? Just watch the trailer to Magic Mike 2. Try to resist it. You can't.

Ginuwine will perform alongside Keith Sweat, Dru Hill and others at the USF Sun Dome on Saturday. Tickets are $39 and up. Click here for details.

For more on the brilliant legacy of Ginuwine's Pony, click here for our story.Full Story

Ticket Window: Florida Georgia Line, John Fogerty, Alanis Morissette and more

Another week, another huge country concert going on sale at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. This week it's Florida Georgia Line with Thomas Rhett and Frankie Ballard on May 29.

Other Tampa Bay concerts with tickets going on sale this week: Crizzly (April 23, Ritz Ybor), Alanis Morissette (April 28, Mahaffey Theater), Built to Spill (May 14, State Theatre), John Fogerty (May 16, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre), Florida Georgia Line (May 29, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre), Justin Furstenfeld (June 12, State Theatre), Don Williams (Oct. 14, Capitol Theatre) and John Waters (Dec. 16, Capitol Theatre).

Click here for this week's edition of Ticket Window.

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Parmalee's Barry Knox talks strawberry shortcake, festival hang sessions, the greatness of Bob Seger and more

This’ll be Parmalee’s first trip to the Florida Strawberry Festival. But don’t think for a second Barry Knox doesn’t know his way around a berry patch.

“My grandmother used to grow strawberries,” said the bassist for the North Carolina band. “We actually had a U-pick garden right outside of Parmale, N.C. My grandmother would take me there to pick strawberries all the time. So I’m a fan.”

The town that gave Parmalee its name has a population of fewer than 300 people, so it’s almost a miracle they’ve risen to become one of country music’s hottest young groups. Since founding in 2001, the quartet released four increasingly popular albums, the latest of which, 2013’s Feels Like Carolina, featured the Top 10 country hit Carolina.

Parmalee may be a family band, with brothers Matt (vocals, guitar) and Scott Thomas (drums) joined by their cousin Knox, but their sound can get mighty rowdy and raucous, a revved-up combo of straight country and Southern rock that has enabled them to tour with artists like Brad Paisley and Florida Georgia Line. …

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Kelly Clarkson coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

It's hard to miss Kelly Clarkson these days. The inaugural American Idol champ has been relentless in making the publicity rounds in the build-up to the release of her new album Piece by Piece. Heck, she was just in Orlando on Feb. 21, performing as part of Universal Orlando's Mardi Gras concert series.

Soon enough, she'll even be right here in our own backyard.

Clarkson on Tuesday announced plans for a tour that will stop at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Sept. 15, according to Live Nation. Tickets to the show are $20-$99.50, and they go on sale March 14. This will be her first Tampa Bay tour stop since she performed at the same venue alongside Maroon 5 in 2013.

Joining Clarkson on this tour are singer-songwriter Eric Hutchinson and seemingly unstoppable a cappella sensations Pentatonix, who just won a Grammy for their Daft Punk medley, and are performing at Busch Gardens' inaugural Food & Wine Festival on March 22.

Click here for details on Kelly Clarkson's upcoming tour stop in Tampa.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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My Morning Jacket coming to Hard Rock Live in Orlando

The venue may not be as intimate (or as close to home) as the New World Brewery patio, but My Morning Jacket are finally coming back to Florida.

The Kentucky rockers on Tuesday announced a May 4 release date for The Waterfall, their first new album in four years. And amid all their high-profile festival appearances (Bonnaroo, Governor's Ball, etc.) this summer, they've carved out time for a headlining tour.

My Morning Jacket will play Orlando's Hard Rock Live on Aug. 4, according to their website. Mini Mansions have been tapped to open the show. Fan club pre-sales will start March 9; tickets will go on sale to the general public March 13. Click here for details.

To tide you over, the group has released a new single, Big Decisions, which combines their trademark crunchy riffs and Jim James' yearning vocals with a Southern-fried slide guitar. Click here to check it out.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*


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Trampled By Turtles' Ryan Young talks hip hop, bluegrass, Prince, Bob Dylan and more

Zoran Orlic

When Trampled By Turtles takes the stage at this weekend’s Gasparilla Music Festival, you’ll see guy with a fiddle, a guy with a banjo, a guy with a mandolin, a guy with an acoustic guitar and a guy with an acoustic bass.

Sounds a lot like a bluegrass band. But they’re not.

“We didn’t start playing in order to be a bluegrass band,” said the guy with the fiddle, Ryan Young. “This thing was just a chance for us to play our acoustic instruments, and it turns out it’s almost the exact instrumentation of a bluegrass band. But that wasn’t the original intent.”

If you listen closely to their seven studio albums, you can hear that. Trampled By Turtles may be a staple on the Billboard bluegrass charts, but they have more in common with the Avett Brothers or Mumford and Sons than Bill Monroe or Earl Scruggs. Since forming in Duluth, Minn., in 2003, they have consistently blurred the lines between bluegrass, folk and Americana, forging a crowd-pleasing sound that has riled up festival crowds from Stagecoach (pop country) to MerleFest (traditional bluegrass) to Bonnaroo (rock, jam and everything in between). …

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SoundBytes: Madonna, John Fogerty, Toby Keith, Ozomatli, Built to Spill, Flux Pavilion and more

-- In case you missed it: Madonna is coming to Florida! But once again, she'll be in Miami, not Tampa Bay. Her Rebel Heart world tour is kicking off at AmericanAirlines Arena -- her only tour stop in the Sunshine State -- on Aug. 29. Tickets are $40 and up. Click here.

-- John Fogerty is going back in time to 1969. That year, his band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, released three seminal albums -- Bayou Country, Green River and Willy and the Poor Boys -- and all three will get a big tip of the cap when Fogerty comes to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on May 16. He'll also play songs from the rest of his career, both solo and with Creedence. Tickets to that show are $19 and up, and they go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- SeaWorld doesn't announce the artists performing at its spring Bands, Brew & BBQ concert series until right before the show (with good reason, it seems), but they're kicking things off with two huge names this weekend: Toby Keith on Saturday and Lynyrd Skynyrd on Sunday. Concert admission is free with park admission. Click here for details. …

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Lil Wayne (maybe) coming to Club Skye in Tampa

Luis Santana

Clubland drop-ins by big-name rappers are always kind of a crapshoot. Actually, now that we think about it, anything involving Lil Wayne is always kind of a crapshoot.

That said: His Weeziness appears to be booked for a live appearance at Club Skye in Ybor City on March 19. If you believe the hype (and trust in the power of refunds), tickets are $40 (early bird), $50 (GA), $75 (VIP) and $100 ("all access, exclusvie, up close and personal") via Eventbrite. Click here for details.

Should we believe one of the biggest rappers on the planet is actually going to make an appearance at a small club in Ybor City? Well, look: We've been burned by this exact sort of thing before. And we definitely weren't the only ones.

That said, it's reasonably safe to assume Lil Wayne WILL be in Tampa that weekend for the Skatepark of Tampa's Tampa Pro tournament. He is, for some reason, a fixture at the park's biggest annual tournament, which this year runs March 19-22. He loves the Skatepark of Tampa, and has even skated there following shows in Tampa. …

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Photos: David Blaine magically appears in Tampa for DeBartolo All Star Charity Gala

Illusionist David Blaine headlined the 12th annual DeBartolo Family Foundation All Star Charity Gala on Feb. 28, 2015 at Peter O. Knight Airport in Tampa.

Luis Santana

Illusionist David Blaine headlined the 12th annual DeBartolo Family Foundation All Star Charity Gala on Feb. 28, 2015 at Peter O. Knight Airport in Tampa.

The DeBartolo All Star Charity Gala is one of the glitziest and most star-studded events on Tampa's social calendar, and over the years, they've attracted some pretty big headliners -- John Legend, Jay Mohr, Rick Springfield and more.

But the 12th annual All Star Charity Gala pulled a real A-lister out of its hat on Saturday at Peter O. Knight Airport in Davis Islands: Illusionist and endurance artist David Blaine. Blaine's appearance was such a secret that not even host Eddie DeBartolo was let in on the secret, said his daughter, Lisa DeBartolo Miggs.

Blaine was the secret guest of honor and headlining performer at this year's ceremony, which also attracted a who's who of athletes, movers and shakers from Tampa Bay and beyond, including Jim Brown, Jerry Rice, Derrick Brooks, Patrick Willis, Adrian Zmed, Evan and Jaron, Willa Ford, Tony Little and celebrity chefs Tyler Florence and Scott Conant. Tbt*'s Amy Scherzer reports that DJ Samantha Ronson performed at the after party next door, which featured chicken fingers and shakes from PDQ. …

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Dan + Shay's Dan Smyers talks about the festival lifestyle, classic rock covers, winning over John Legend's fans and more

Plant City is a long way from Wexford, Penn., but for Dan Smyers, Dan + Shay’s gig at the Florida Strawberry Festival will still feel a little like a hometown show.

Smyers’s parents moved from Pennsylvania to Clearwater a few years ago, and “anytime we’re in Florida, they’ll kind of drive around a couple hours here and there,” he said in a recent phone interview. “It’s a nice change of pace from the weather in Pennsylvania. It’s a more laid back, kind of beachy vibe. It’s great, man. I wish I could get down there more.”

The invitation’s open, especially as Dan + Shay keep rising through the ranks of country’s up-and-comers. Smyers and longtime pal Shay Mooney have received steady airplay for their Top 10 single 19 You + Me, and in the past year have booked tours with both Blake Shelton and Hunter Hayes. Their dreamily telegenic looks and all-ages-welcome lyrics have made them poster-worthy pinups among squealy teenage listeners, which helped their first album Where It All Began debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s country albums chart. That’s something no country duo — not Brooks and Dunn, not Big and Rich, not Florida Georgia Line — has ever accomplished. …

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SoundBytes: Natalie Prass, Earl Sweatshirt, Old Crow Medicine Show and more

-- All this positive press singer-songwriter Natalie Prass is getting these days is boosting her profile and making her more in demand ... which might be why a "schedule conflict" is to blame for why she's dropped out of the Straz Center's Club Jaeb concert series on May 11. In her place will be Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion. Tickets to that one are $28.50. Click here.

-- Americana favorites Old Crow Medicine Show are coming back to Jannus Live on May 15 with support from The Devil Makes Three, which should make for a pretty wild show. Tickets are $36-$42. Click here.

-- Odd Future rapper Earl Sweatshirt is making a rare appearance in Florida! Details are slim, but according to Pitchfork, he'll be joined by Vince Staples and Remy Banks on April 30 at the Orpheum. We'll keep you posted on ticket info when we get it.

-- Metal outfit Prong is coming to the Orpheum on Nov. 4. Tickets are $12-$15 and they go on sale March 14. Click here.

-- Perpetual Groove are preparing a two-night stand at the State Theatre on July 31 and Aug. 1. Tickets are $25-$30. Click here. …

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Aloe Blacc, Austin Mahone, Daughtry, more added to Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival lineup

A week from the kickoff of Busch Gardens' inaugural Food & Wine Festival, the theme park has unveiled the fest's full concert lineup -- and it's stacked with big names from the pop world.

Aloe Blacc (above), Daughtry, Daddy Yankee, Austin Mahone, Echosmith, Josh Turner, Collective Soul and KC and the Sunshine Band have been added to the Food & Wine Festival, running Saturdays and Sundays through the end of April. They join previously announced acts like Kenny Rogers, Pentatonix, Steven Curtis Chapman and Kool and the Gang.

The Food & Wine Festival kicks off next weekend, with Gavin DeGraw on March 7 and Fifth Harmony on March 8. Here's the full schedule:

March 7: Gavin DeGraw

March 8: Fifth Harmony

March 14: Kool and the Gang

March 15: Boys Like Girls

March 21: Kenny Rogers

March 22: Pentatonix

March 28: Steven Curtis Chapman

March 29: El Gran Combo

April 4: Collective Soul

April 5: Echosmith

April 11: KC and the Sunshine Band

April 12: Josh Turner

April 18: Austin Mahone

April 19: Daddy Yankee

April 25: Daughtry

April 26: Aloe Blacc

Click here for more info on the Food & Wine Festival.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Artist of the day: Robert Wegmann

Robert Wegmann is an enigmatic musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and painter who has been playing in the bay area for 30-odd years.

On Friday, he’ll be performing with his trio at the Hideaway Café in St. Pete (click here for details). The ensemble is composed of musicians he has worked with in one capacity or another over the years, including Nina Slyusar on accordion and background vocals and Frederick Charles on guitar and background vocals.

Wegmann, who sings and plays guitar and bass, met with us in the dimly lit American Legion lounge in Seminole Heights to talk about his life in the Tampa Bay music scene.

 How did you get your start musically?

First band that gave me notoriety was a band called the Triple X Girls; that was in the early ’80s. We weren’t girls; we just wore makeup like the New York Dolls. The 360 was the next band, and then I went onto my own after that. It was all me after that. So, probably ’86 I broke away. I became solo.

What prompted you to go solo?

I don’t have to explain anything to anybody else except myself.

That’s a nice way to put it.

(laughs) If I wanna quit the band, I can cite differences with myself. …

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Wanda Sykes talks about returning to stand-up, 'egomaniac' Kanye West and more

Wanda Sykes doesn't give a damn what Kanye West thinks after bum-rushing Beck at the Grammys. 

"He's crazy. He's just an egomaniac. He's nuts," Sykes said by telephone from Los Angeles.

"I wanted someone to ask him, when he's going off about real artists and Beck and whatever: Have you listened to Beck's album? It's pretty good. And having (West) think singing over a manhole cover is pretty spectacular? I say no, thank you, sir."

Sykes' opinionated, no-nonsense humor is back in fine form. And so is she, returning to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Friday after spending much of the last few years focusing on her family and the Amazon series Alpha House. Click here for details on the show.

For more of Steve Persall's interview with Wanda Sykes, click here.Full Story

This week in Tampa: Strawberry Festival, Indigo Girls, Miranda Sings, Chris Tomlin and more

Are you heading to Plant City tonight for the kickoff of the Florida Strawberry Festival? Good! The 11-day affair features a ton of country music talent (Hunter Hayes, Reba McEntire, Alabama, Loretta Lynn, Brett Eldredge and more) as well as a few Oscar-winning A-listers (Kevin Costner, above, and John Legend) on this year's bill. It runs tonight through March 8 at the Strawberry Festival grounds. If you've missed our previews so far, here's a look at the lineup, here's our interview with Hunter Hayes, and here's our interview with Scotty McCreery.

One more show next week for your calendar: Ray Roa, who writes each week's installment of "This week in Tampa" here on SoundcheckCorps., is reviving his music site, Suburban Apologist, as a print publication at a concert featuring the Generationals and Rose Quartz. The show is at 8 p.m. March 5 at Crowbar, and tickets are $10-$12. Click here for details.

Other artists performing around Tampa Bay this week: The Indigo Girls, Miranda Sings, Chris Tomlin, Chris Cagle, Megan Hilty, Hoodie Allen, Ferry Corsten, Leo Kottke, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Shpongle, Kris Delmhorst, Kalin and Myles, Melissa Manchester and more. Ray and others will walk you through it after the jump...Full Story