Clear65° FULL FORECASTClear65° FULL FORECAST
Make us your home page
Instagram

Tampa Bay's best concerts of 2014, Part 4: Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, Zac Brown Band and more

Queens of the Stone Age performed at the Mahaffey Theater on Feb. 4, 2014.

Dirk Shadd

Queens of the Stone Age performed at the Mahaffey Theater on Feb. 4, 2014.

(Through the end of the year on Soundcheck, our contributors are looking back at the best local concerts of 2014. Today: Soundcheck and tbt* editor and writer Jay Cridlin.)

Arctic Monkeys (Feb. 2, Jannus Live): Arctic Monkeys came to St. Petersburg at an interesting time, right as their single Do I Wanna Know? hit No. 1 on the American alternative chart, and one week before they were slated to headline Madison Square Garden. Jannus Live was really too small a venue for that band at that moment, and they played almost like they knew it, swaggering and sneering with bruising greaser muscle. They tossed out every trick in their playbook to win over the crowd, and it worked. …

Full Story

The top 10 Tampa music stories of 2014, No. 6: The year of the super-sized festival

(Welcome to the end of the year on Soundcheck! From now through Dec. 31, we’ll be wrapping up the year’s best music, best local concerts and the biggest local music stories of the year. Stay tuned as we count 'em all down!)

The last couple of years, festivals have figured prominently into our top local music stories of the year. We’re just living in a festival culture now, with a new fest popping up every other week, it seems.

This year, though, we saw a new trend: The super-sized festival.

Maybe it started in 2013, when WMNF’s Tropical Heatwave expanded from one day to two. Or maybe it came when Live Nation decided to blow up the format for its Funshine Music Festival and rebrand it the Big Guava Festival, with hopes of turning it into one of the Southeast’s must-see fests. …

Full Story

This week in Tampa: Bleachers, Donna the Buffalo, Kevin Gates and more

Welcome to "This Week In Tampa" on a Wednesday, an early Christmas present for your eyeballing pleasure! The only major concert of note on Christmas night in Tampa is a big one -- local labe3l New Granada's kickoff to their three-day 20th anniversary concert at New World Brewery. Click here for all the details on that one.

Other concerts taking place in the week between Christmas and New Years: Bleachers (abover), Donna the Buffalo, Kevin Gates, Oliver Heldens, UZ, Saigon Kick, Sleepwave and more. Here to walk you through it all is Ray Roa...

Full Story

Tampa Bay's best concerts of 2014, Part 3: Bruce Springsteen, Lionel Richie, Counting Crows and more

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on May 1, 2014.

Lara Cerri

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on May 1, 2014.

(Through the end of the year on Soundcheck, our contributors are looking back at the best local concerts of 2014. Today: tbt*’s Sean Daly.)

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (May 1, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphtheatre): “These are loose, more curious days for the blue-collar bard, his three-hour-plus shows all things to all people, including himself. He plays for the newbies (Badlands, Born to Run), for the diehards and rabid set list hunters who come to his shows praying for rarities (Brothers Under the Bridge), for his own well-worn, needy soul (a screaming cover of Them’s Gloria). His shows are still epically long, sweaty, comprehensive, but it’s a different feel now. There is nothing left to lose; he’s earned the right to do whatever the heck he wants.” …

Full Story

The top 10 Tampa music stories of 2014, No. 7: A new comedy boom in Tampa Bay

Louis C.K. headlined the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Aug. 8, 2014.

Jay Cridlin

Louis C.K. headlined the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Aug. 8, 2014.

(Welcome to the end of the year on Soundcheck! From now through Dec. 31, we’ll be wrapping up the year’s best music, best local concerts and the biggest local music stories of the year. Stay tuned as we count 'em all down!)

In August, the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival kicked off in Tampa, with major comedians like Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, Chris Hardwick, Hannibal Buress and Marc Maron performing at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. It was a watershed show for Tampa Bay comedy fans — but it was only part of what made this a great year for comedy by the bay.

Starting with Dave Chappelle in December, a slew of big-name shows passed through Tampa Bay, including many who’d rarely, if ever, performed here before: Ansari, Kyle Kinane, Michael Che, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Garfunkel and Oates, Doug Benson’s podcast Doug Loves Movies. …

Full Story

Artist of the day: Luke Schwartz

Luke Schwartz is a composer/performer who currently lives in New York city, but he earned his Master’s in music with a concentration in composition from the University of South Florida in 2011. When he comes back to Florida to visit for the holidays, he stages a performance of his original compositions with friends and musicians — Schwartz on guitar, Jose Cochez on drums, Tom Kersey on cello and Chris Barbosa on violin — at Florida Avenue Brewing Co. in Seminole Heights.

Luke called us from the big city to give us some insight into his compositions, technique and upcoming performance.

Why don’t we start with you telling us a little bit about your background? …

Full Story

Tampa Bay's best concerts of 2014, Part 2: Against Me!, Ty Segall, Action Bronson and more

Ty Segall performed at the Skatepark of Tampa on Sept. 12, 2014.

Brian Mahar

Ty Segall performed at the Skatepark of Tampa on Sept. 12, 2014.

(Through the end of the year on Soundcheck, our contributors are looking back at the best local concerts of 2014. Today: tbt*’s Jimmy Geurts.)

Priests (Jan. 14, Planet Retro Gallery): January was an unusually busy month for up-and-coming acts in Tampa Bay — in one week alone, Speedy Ortiz, Priests and Perfect Pussy all played shows, which is 3/7 of a Pitchfork showcase right there. And while there was an undeniable novelty in seeing Perfect Pussy play a literal storage unit, most impressive was Priests, proving a worthy addition to the long lineage of Washington D.C. punk.

Against Me! (Jan. 25, State Theatre): The Florida punk group has always been a great live act, even when touring in support of records like White Crosses that didn’t always match them in quality. Yet the release of this year’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues, their first record since leaving major label Sire and frontwoman Laura Jane Grace coming out as transgender, seems to have reinvigorated them, as this show is arguably the best they’ve ever been. …

Full Story

The top 10 Tampa music stories of 2014, No. 8: 'Blackfish' bites back at Busch Gardens, SeaWorld

Jason Derulo kicked off the 2014 Bands, Brew & BBQ concert series following a controversial stretch for the park in the wake of the documentary Blackfish.

Luis Santana

Jason Derulo kicked off the 2014 Bands, Brew & BBQ concert series following a controversial stretch for the park in the wake of the documentary Blackfish.

(Welcome to the end of the year on Soundcheck! From now through Dec. 31, we’ll be wrapping up the year’s best music, best local concerts and the biggest local music stories of the year. Stay tuned as we count 'em all down!)

It all started with last fall’s Blackfish, a documentary criticizing SeaWorld’s treatment of orcas like Shamu. In the wake of the film, artists like Heart, Barenaked Ladies, Willie Nelson and Joan Jett pulled out of the Orlando park’s Bands, Brew & BBQ concert series out of protest.

In January, the controversy spilled over to SeaWorld’s sister park, Busch Gardens, which has a Bands, Brew & BBQ concert series of its own. Suddenly acts like Pat Benatar and the Beach Boys were canceling Tampa dates, all because of Blackfish.

None of this had a positive effect on the bottom line of SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., which owns both parks -- attendance was down, and earlier this month, CEO Jim Atchison was ousted as part of a company-wide restructuring that will include layoffs. …

Full Story

Review: Jingle Ball brings Pharrell Williams, Demi Lovato, frenetic pop spectacle to Tampa's Amalie Arena (w/photos)

Pharrell Williams performed at the 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Dec. 22, 2014.

Luis Santana

Pharrell Williams performed at the 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Dec. 22, 2014.

What do two Top 10 singles, a pair of Grammy nominations and the fact that it’s your 21st birthday get you at the 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball?

If you’re Meghan Trainor, it means a scant 10 minutes on stage at the very tip-top of the night. And the singer couldn’t have been more thrilled to get it.

“Opening the show is epic,” said the singer of All About That Bass, one of 2014’s biggest pop-chart juggernauts. “It's actually my favorite, because I get to watch everyone and relax out there. I don't want it to end.”

All 14,480 fans at Amalie Arena Monday night would likely agree. This year’s sold-out Jingle Ball crammed a whopping 14 chart-topping pop acts into a mere 3 1/2 hours, an all-you-can-Spotify smorgasbord that left barely a moment to breathe between hits.Full Story

Backstage at the Jingle Ball: Jessie J, Charli XCX, Shawn Mendes, Meghan Trainor and more

Jessie J walks the red carpet of the 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball on Dec. 22, 2014 at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

Luis Santana

Jessie J walks the red carpet of the 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball on Dec. 22, 2014 at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

So much happens at each year's 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball that it's impossible to cram all into one recap. This year's Jingle Ball on Monday at Tampa's Amalie Arena is no exception. Here are a few highlights from our backstage chats with performers...

*****

"Tampa just feels like a holiday place," said British pop star Jessie J about the final stop of the Jingle Ball tour. The Bang Bang singer did her Christmas shopping in Tampa and her parents and best friends arrived in town Monday afternoon. "That's what so hard about being on tour. Being away from the people that make you feel like you can do this."

To distinguish herself in a 10-minute Jingle Ball set, she keeps it simple. "I purposely didn't have any dancers, no pyro or anything like that," she said. "You only have 10 minutes, two songs, and when Arianna (Grande) comes (in Bang Bang) that time is split so I try to distinguish myself with my voice and my performance. Just being myself, I guess."

Jessie J said Rita Ora had the craziest costumes of the whole Jingle Ball tour. "She once wore a red carpet on the red carpet," she laughed. "I used to wear some pretty crazy stuff a couple years ago but I'm old now, so I've toned it down." …

Full Story

The top 10 Tampa music stories of 2014, No. 9: New Cuban Club, pristine parks bring big shows outside

Workers rushed to tear down the Cuban Club's bandshell and make the area presentable for WMNF's Tropical Heatwave festival in May.

Jay Cridlin

Workers rushed to tear down the Cuban Club's bandshell and make the area presentable for WMNF's Tropical Heatwave festival in May.

(Welcome to the end of the year on Soundcheck! From now through Dec. 31, we'll be wrapping up the year's best music, best local concerts and the biggest local music stories of the year. Stay tuned as we count 'em all down!)

It’s tough to anyone no one really loved the Cuban Club Bandshell, a small dish of a stage and backdrop awkwardly positioned outside Ybor City’s historic building. But its demolition this spring paved the way for what could still become a major new venue in the Tampa music scene.

Granted, we haven’t quite seen it yet. Aside from May’s Tropical Heatwave festival and a November show by Lake Street Dive, the Cuban Club’s new outdoor stage, which can host crowds of up to 4,000, hasn’t really been tested. Still, Tropical Heatwave felt like a much bigger event, and the Cuban Club may soon become a bigger deal for local concerts. …

Full Story

Tampa Bay's best concerts of 2014, Part 1: Outkast, Nine Inch Nails, Brand New and more

Outkast headlined Day 1 of the Big Guava Music Festival at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

Luis Santana

Outkast headlined Day 1 of the Big Guava Music Festival at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

(Through the end of the year on Soundcheck, our contributors will be looking back at the best local concerts of 2014. Up first: tbt*’s Stephanie Bolling.)

The Black Angels (Feb. 26, Daddy Kool Records): The main gig at the State Theater did not disappoint, but it was the free, intimate Daddy Kool show a few hours before that makes the cut. The rareness, realness and unpretentiousness of a band posting up and playing five songs at a local record store, interact with fans within arms’ length and still sound impeccable ... bravo! …

Full Story

The top 10 Tampa music stories of 2014, No. 10: Concerts return to Steinbrenner Field

Jared Leto and Thirty Seconds to Mars joined Linkin Park for a show at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa on Aug. 9, 2014.

Luis Santana

Jared Leto and Thirty Seconds to Mars joined Linkin Park for a show at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa on Aug. 9, 2014.

(Welcome to the end of the year on Soundcheck! From now through Dec. 31, we'll be wrapping up the year's best music, best local concerts and the biggest local music stories of the year. Stay tuned as we count 'em all down!)

Almost all of Derek Jeter’s career came and went between concerts at Steinbrenner Field — Sting with Natalie Merchant in 1996 and Linkin Park with Thirty Seconds to Mars in 2014.

The stadium’s return to live rock 'n’ roll didn’t go as smoothly as fans might’ve hoped — the lines to get in stretched well across Dale Mabry Highway and into the RayJay parking lot, leading to a wait of an hour or more for many fans to get inside. But once it started, it turned out as well as can be hoped for on a baseball field, with nearly 15,000 fans rocking the outfield and stands. It didn’t hurt that Jared Leto, who won an Oscar in February for Dallas Buyers Club, was one of the star attractions. …

Full Story

Keith Ulrey talks about 20 years of New Granada Records, the label's Christmas extravaganza and more

Ray Roa

Perched cross-legged on a chair in the center of his Seminole Heights record store Microgroove, Keith Ulrey can talk circles around the music industry's woes. The red-bearded, bespectacled 43-year-old is the head honcho and general do-it-all force behind beloved local imprint New Granada Records, which celebrates its 20th anniversary with a three-night concert this Thursday through Saturday at New World Brewery in Ybor City.

The label boasts nearly 50 releases over the last 20 years, and while many have been long out of print, Ulrey is candid about the less glamorous details of running the operation full time. A room in his house is dedicated to unmoved product, and Microgroove’s New Granada listening post stands next to to a box of label releases he can’t give away.

Select titles are teetering on sold out, but he still can’t hide subtle, solemn looks of disappointment while waxing about what consumers are missing out on when they don’t buy physical.

“If I’m a painter, people come see my painting. Only one person can buy it, but you experience it,” he said. “With physical product, liner notes, graphics, packaging — that’s the art.”

New Granada's three-night extravaganza kicks off Christmas night with a reunion show by Ulrey's old band Pohgoh, who enjoyed a dose of popularity in the mid-'90s and who will be performing behind their first new music in more than a decade and a half. Permanent Makeup and Atlantic Oceans join Pohgoh on Thursday; Friday brings Alexander and the Grapes, Tracy Shedd and Rec Center; Saturday is Sunbears!, DieAlps!, the Pauses and Alameda. Click here for details on the show.

For more on the 20th anniversary of New Granada Records, click here for Ray Roa's story.Full Story

Review: With Christine McVie, Fleetwood Mac sound refreshed, revitalized at Tampa's Amalie Arena

Fleetwood Mac -- including Christine McVie, far left, and John McVie and Stevie Nicks, far right -- played Tampa's Amalie Arena on Dec. 20, 2014.

Jay Cridlin

Fleetwood Mac -- including Christine McVie, far left, and John McVie and Stevie Nicks, far right -- played Tampa's Amalie Arena on Dec. 20, 2014.

What does one member mean to a band?

Depends on the band and the member, but if we’re talking Fleetwood Mac and Christine McVie, it’s worth breaking out some stats.

A sold-out crowd of 17,620 packed Tampa’s Amalie Arena Saturday night to catch the Mac on their first tour with the songwriter, pianist and occasional lead singer since 1998. That’s up from 14,071 who came to see them last summer, up from 10,008 in 2009.

Why does McVie hold that kind of sway over the Fleetwood Mac faithful, when the band is better known for its other singers, perpetually linked ex-lovers Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, who sing their most massive hits?

Just as there are folks who call George their favorite Beatle, many say McVie is Fleetwood Mac’s strongest songsmith, and any version of the band that doesn’t include her just isn’t the same. A reunion with McVie was Fleetwood Mac’s ultimate trump card in their quest for continued relevance in this, their 47th year – a regrouping of their classic Rumours-era lineup, and a reopening of their songbook to classic tracks they haven’t played in years.

On Saturday, Tampa got ‘em all – Say You Love Me, You Make Loving Fun, Little Lies, Everywhere, plus a McVie-led Don’t Stop and Songbird as parting gifts. It was the band’s 40th and final North American concert of 2014, and they must be hitting their stride, because they haven’t sounded this vital and copacetic in years.Full Story