Trace Adkins, Kenny G, Dave Koz, Christopher Cross announce holiday concerts in Clearwater

Talk about celebrating Christmas in July.

Ruth Eckerd Hall on Tuesday announced a slate of holiday concerts there and at the Capitol Theatre, putting the 2014 holiday season on track to be the most music-filled yet.

Trace Adkins (above), Kenny G, Dave Koz, Jim Brickman, Rockapella and the Manhattan Transfer are among eight holiday concerts that'll take place between Nov. 29 and

All eight shows will feature an array of Christmas classics, and tickets to each will go on sale at noon Friday.

Let's run down the list:

Nov. 29: Saxophonist Dave Koz with R&B singer-guitarist Jonathan Butler, Grammy-winning singer Christopher Cross and singer Maysa at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Tickets are $35-$85. Click here.

Dec. 7: Singer-songwriter Jim Brickman's annual holiday tour will combine new music, classic hits and holiday favorites at the Capitol Theatre. Tickets are $35-$75. Click here.

Dec. 11: A cappella vocal group Rockapella brings their annual Christmas tour to the Capitol Theatre on Dec. 11. Ticktes are $30-$59. Click here.

Dec. 12: Smooth jazz king Kenny G will bring his holiday tour to Ruth Eckerd Hall. Tickets are $49.50-$79.50. Click here. …

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2014 Warped Tour preview: We the Kings, Sleeping With Sirens, Issues, Sleeper Agent and more artists to watch

Issues: No one was really asking for rap-metal to make a comeback, but Atlanta’s Issues are giving it their best shot, harkening back to the heyday of Limp Bizkit and Korn with their blend of metalcore shredding, hip-hop bass, DJ scratching, synthesizers and, of course, the obligatory tongue-in-cheek pop cover: Justin Bieber’s Boyfriend.

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Issues: No one was really asking for rap-metal to make a comeback, but Atlanta’s Issues are giving it their best shot, harkening back to the heyday of Limp Bizkit and Korn with their blend of metalcore shredding, hip-hop bass, DJ scratching, synthesizers and, of course, the obligatory tongue-in-cheek pop cover: Justin Bieber’s Boyfriend.

For its 20th edition, the Vans Warped Tour seems to be taking a look in the rear view. Most of the big names on this year’s tour, which returns to St. Petersburg’s Vinoy Park on Friday, are playing their third, fourth, even eighth (!) edition of Warped. While not exactly a greatest hits package, it’s certainly got a taste of everything that’s made Warped so popular over the past two decades. For more on the show, click here. To help get your primed, click the headline of this post to start a slideshow of some of the Warped veterans (as well as a couple of newbies) you can expect to see on Friday.

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SoundBytes: Capital Cities, Skinny Puppy, Stiff Little Fingers and more

-- Playing a club is a long way from opening for Katy Perry in a major arena, but it probably won't affect the party vibe of Capital Cities too much. Three weeks after opening for Perry at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the Safe and Sound duo has announced a show at the Ritz Ybor on Oct. 23. Tickets are $25. Click here.

-- Industrial legends Skinny Puppy are teaming up with VNV Nation, Haujobb and Youth Code for a tour that'll hit Jannus Live on Dec. 5. Tickets will go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- Alien Ant Farm scored a late-'90s hit with the cheeky Michael Jackson cover Smooth Criminal, and now you can see them at the State Theatre on Aug. 31. Tickets are $16-$18. Click here.

-- Also coming to the State Theatre on Oct. 17: Chainsaw-wielding hair metal outfit Jackyl. Tickets are $20. Click here.

-- DJ Carnage played to a massive crowd at Hogan's Beach in Tampa on July 6. Will he do the same when he plays the Amphitheatre in Ybor City on Oct. 9 alongside Dzeko and Torres and Paris Blohm. Tickets are on pre-sale now for $20. Click here. …

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Echosmith's Sydney Sierota talks Warped Tour, 'Cool Kids,' the pressures of pop stardom and more

Scan through past lineups for the Vans Warped Tour, and you’ll find the names of artists you can’t believe once played it.

Katy Perry. Eminem. Pharrell Williams. The Black Eyed Peas.

Someday in the not-too-distant future, we might be adding Echosmith to that list.

“I would have never thought to be on Warped Tour, ever,” Echosmith singer Sydney Sierota said during a recent phone call from a Warped stop in Massachusetts. “It has had a stereotype over the past few years as (having) more screamo bands or harder bands than us, but (Warped founder Kevin Lyman) is trying to broaden the genres even more lately. I think we’re one of the bands he’s kind of experimenting on that with, because we’re definitely not the most expected type.”

She can say that again. It’s rare for any Warped band to have a Top 40 single under their belt; it’s rarer still when that single — in this case, Echosmith’s Cool Kids — is actually shooting up the charts while the band is out on Warped. Add to that fact that Echosmith’s four members are all siblings between the ages of 15 and 21, and they’re arguably the least likely Warped act in the past few years. …

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Artist of the day: Beach Bum Pirate

Scott Ramsey, a Palm Harbor-based singer-songwriter who performs under the name "Beach Bum Pirate,"

Former graphic designer Scott Ramsey of Palm Harbor decided to take the plunge as a professional musician last November after his friends asked him to write a theme song for their cruise group, which calls itself "The Island Hoppers."

"I thought it was funny how easy it was," said Ramsey, 50, who performs under the name Beach Bum Pirate. "No wonder Jimmy Buffett does this."

Beach Bum Pirate will perform from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Sunset Grill Tiki Bar in Ruskin. For more on Ramsey, click here for Victoria Jacobsen's profile.

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This week in Tampa: Kiss, Def Leppard, The Fray, American Idol Live and more

Luis Santana

Big, balls-out rock 'n' roll take center stage this week, as Kiss and Def Leppard bring their summer tour to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. But there are plenty of other good shows this week, including The Fray, American Idol Live, Cultura Profecta, Aaron Lewis, Machine Gun Kelly, Alex G, DJ Pierre and more. Here to walk you through it all is Ray Roa...

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Ticket Window: Jason Aldean, Coral Skies Festival, Halestorm, Garfunkel and Oates and more

It's safe to say the summer doldrums are almost behind us, and a crazy fall concert season is on its way. This week's Ticket Window is simply massive, with a number of major shows going on sale, including the Coral Skies Music Festival with Cage the Elephant, Julian Casablancas, Bleachers and more on Oct. 25 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. A $20 early bird ticket sale has been extended through Monday, so hop on it. …

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Artist of the day: The Porch Sessions

The Porch Sessions are an instrumental group hailing from Ybor City. The quartet fuses the sounds of mid-nineties instrumental acts (think the math rock rhythms of Don Cabellero) with King Crimson’s violin-fueled ’73-’74 lineup. This amalgamation yields a unique twist on the genre, producing somber introspective sounds.

The Porch Sessions are Christina Piasecki, guitar and bass; Kevin Zimnock, drums; Josh Cannon, bass and guitar; and Chris Barbosa, viola. We caught up with Piasecki and Barbosa at one of their favorite haunts, New World Brewery, to learn more about their instrumental offerings.

On your Facebook page, it is stated: “On the stoop of an old Ybor City bungalow, musicians and friends gather around a twelve pack of PBR and a bottle of Buffalo Trace. And so it began.” There has to be more to the story than that. Could you elaborate? …

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Review: Dave Matthews Band digs deep, goes big for career-spanning set at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Dave Matthews Band performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on July 16, 2014.

Jay Cridlin

Dave Matthews Band performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on July 16, 2014.

You could argue the gimmick of Dave Matthews Band's 2014 summer tour -- two sets, one acoustic, one electric -- was engineered to ward off whiffs of the band becoming a legacy act.

This has never seemed like it might be a problem. The band's catalog is deep enough, its setlists diverse enough, that they can draw 15,000 fans to Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on a muggy, muddy Wednesday without batting an eye. They've played this venue 10 of the last 11 summers, and no one has ever complained. Why change?

Well, whatever shake-up the band felt they needed, it worked. For three and a half hours, Matthews' merry miscreants zigged and zagged, jammed and jogged through a career-spanning set, pleasing first-timers with huge hits and long-timers with whimsical, noodly deep cuts. If the band considered the lengthly split set a challenge to themselves, fans would have to say they met it with aplomb.Full Story

Mary Chapin Carpenter coming to the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater

The music world is all abuzz about where Garth Brooks' big comeback tour will take him, so as long as we're on the subject of mid-'90s country, let's spend a couple of minutes on Mary Chapin Carpenter.

The singer-songwriter is best known for her endlessly hit-spawning 1992 album Come On Come On -- Passionate Kisses! He Thinks He'll Keep Her! The Hard Way! I Feel Lucky! -- but her entire discography is littered with sweet, folksy songs about love and loss and hard lives. Anyone who thinks Kacey Musgraves or Brandy Clark is the be-all-end-all of authentic country folk in 2014 needs to take a deep dive into Carpenter's catalog.

Or maybe they can check her out on Nov. 7 at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater. Carpenter will bring her intimate acoustic tour to the Cap, where she'll perform stripped-down versions of her biggest hits and deepest cuts alongside a pianist and multi-instrumentalist. She'll also be joined by opener Tift Merritt, a solid draw in her own right. …

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REVIEW: Lionel Richie, CeeLo Green make grown men (and critics) weep

Lionel Richie performs Monday night at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater in Tampa.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Lionel Richie performs Monday night at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater in Tampa.

TAMPA — It's best if we just get this out there right away, while the emotions are fresh, the reverberations of show-closing We Are the World ("We are the chillllldrennn …") are still echoing and the harsh light of morning doesn't have us questioning our life choices.

I sang a lot at Lionel Richie's Monday show at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.

And when I say a lot: NO, A LOT, DUDE. Like caterwauling, I-don't-care-who-hears-me belting. Eyes closed, one hand to heaven, with full-tilt way-off-key going-for-it-osity: "You laughed at me! You said you never needed me!" I feel your pain, Lionel!

In fact, at one point, somewhere amidst the double-shot goodness of the forever-sunny You Are (an explosion of flowers on the video screens) and the crescendoing Truly (an explosion of explosions on the video screens), I basically turned to the strange man next to me and crooned right in his big, sweaty face: "TRULY IN LOVE WITH YOU GIRL!!!" I couldn't help myself. To his credit, the guy didn't flinch. He crooned right back. And on and on, for almost two hours in front of 8,500 adoring people, all ages, all walks of life. …

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SoundBytes: Halestorm, the Beach Boys, Nick Swardson, Graham Nash and more

-- The Mahaffey Theater is carving out an unusual niche this fall by booking some of hard rock's most talented female-fronted bands. The Pretty Reckless, with singer Taylor Momsen, performs there on Sept. 19. And on Nov. 14, it'll be Lizzy Hale and her Grammy-winning band Halestorm. Tickets are $22.50 and they go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- Comic Nick Swardson from Reno 911! and a host of Adam Sandler movies is returning to the Straz Center in Tampa on Sept. 30. Tickets are $39.75 and they go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- Coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall, on Jan. 7: The Beach Boys. Bear in mind, however, that the modern incarnation of the "Beach Boys" includes Mike Love and Bruce Johnston, but not Brian Wilson, Al Jardine or David Marks. Still, should be a fun show. Tickets are $40-$75, and they go on sale Saturday. Click here.

-- Before Crosby, Stills and Nash perform at Ruth Eckerd Hall on Aug. 9, Graham Nash will pop over to the Clearwater Barnes and Noble, 23645 U.S. 19 N, for a signing of his book Wild Tales. The signing takes place at noon. Click here for details. …

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Steve Martin, Martin Short, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, more coming to the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg

Well, Happy Monday from the Mahaffey Theater! The St. Pete venue decided to brighten up your week with a massive announcement of concerts, comedy shows and stage and special events, all coming to the theater starting in September.

Among the highlights: A joint conversation and Q&A by Steve Martin and Martin Short on Sept. 7; a motivational afternoon led by comic-turned-mogul Steve Harvey on Oct. 18; a Christmas show by Kenny Rogers on Nov. 30; a holiday spectacular featuring Peabo Bryson, Dreamgirls' Jennifer Holliday, Ruben Studdard and Taylor Dayne on Dec. 9; a concert by soul legend Smokey Robinson on April 12; and a live, interactive cooking presentation by Dinner: Impossible Chef Robert Irvine on April 19. Concerts by Patti LaBelle, Terry Fator, Ramsey Lewis and Philip Bailey and more are also in the works. …

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Interpol, Macy Gray coming to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

As always, we must issue the following headline-based disclaimer: Interpol and Macy Gray are NOT touring together. Though who wouldn't want to hear an ominous post-goth rendition of I Try, or a funkadelic, freakadelic version of Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down?

No, the turn-of-the-millennium critical darlings are touring separately. But coincidentally, both announced shows at Jannus Live on Monday.

First up is the Grammy-winning Gray, sort of a proto-CeeLo from the late '90s and early 2000s, whose raspy voice and oddball flair turned I Try into a global smash, and follow-up singles like Sexual Revolution into shoulda-been hits. She'll be at Jannus Live on Oct. 18; tickets are $26 and they'll go on sale Friday. Click here for details. …

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Photos: Joan Jett meets Joe Maddon, throws out the first pitch at Tropicana Field

Joan Jett threw out the first pitch before the Tampa Bay Rays' 10-3 win against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 12, 2014.

Eve Edelheit

Joan Jett threw out the first pitch before the Tampa Bay Rays' 10-3 win against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 12, 2014.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts played a free postgame concert following the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday night, and the rock legend made the most of her maiden voyage to the Trop.

Before the game, she hobnobbed with Rays manager Joe Maddon, who tweeted a photo with the caption (of course), "I Love Rock and Roll." Then Jett threw out the first pitch. "She's a lefty with decent stuff, good glove," tweeted Marc Topkin, who added: "Decent first pitch by @joanjett; what are odds #Rays Myers, who caught it, knows any of her songs?"

Then Jett went to the PA booth to serve as stadium announcer for an inning. Fox Sports Florida's Andrew Astleford tweeted: "Joan Jett's doing pretty well announcing batters. I think she has a future behind a microphone."

And hey, the Rays won 10-3, so everyone was in a good mood for the show.

Click the headline of this post for a slideshow of photos from Jett's day.Full Story