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SoundBytes: DJ Snake, Damon Dash, Circa Survive and more

-- Looking for a party tonight? This one slipped by us, but DJ Snake is rocking Venue 578 in Orlando tonight at 10 p.m. TURN DOWN FOR WHAT. Limited tickets are available. Click here for details.

-- Jonny Craig, the troubled but talented singer from Dance Gavin Dance and Emarosa, is playing a super-tiny show very soon: Epic Problem at the Skatepark of Tampa. He'll be there on Sept. 17; tickets are $15 and they go on sale Monday. Click here.

-- Major metal show forthcoming: Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity and The Shrine at Jannus Live on Oct. 4. Tickets are $19. Click here.

-- Circa Survive is touring behind the 10th anniversary of their album Juturna, and that tour will bring them to the Ritz Ybor on Nov. 21. RX Bandits will open the show. Tickets are $21.50. Click here.

-- Hip hop executive Damon Dash, whose former relationship with Jay Z made him one of the industry's most powerful entrepreneurs, is scheduled to speak at a daylong conference and lecture at Tampa's Dubai Nightclub, 3849 Northdale Blvd. on Sunday. Tickets start at $10. Click here for details.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Ticket Window: 'Legends of the Old School,' Martin Lawrence, Eric Paslay, Clutch and more

The biggest thing going on sale this week is the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. Not the actual venue, mind you, but pretty much every major show coming there during its 2015-16 season. That includes concerts (Eric Paslay, Will Hoge, Straight No Chaser), comedians (Martin Lawrence, Christopher Titus), Broadway stars (Alan Cumming, Sutton Foster), Broadway musicals and the theater's Club Jaeb concert series, featuring Anais Mitchell (above), Penny and Sparrow, Whitehorse, Emily Hearn, Birds of Chicago, Antje Duvekot, KaiL Baxley and Tyrone Wells. …

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Gary Clark Jr. coming to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

Here’s a show blues and indie rock fans have been waiting on for quite some time.

Dynamic Texas singer, songwriter and guitarist Gary Clark Jr. is set to make his long-awaited Tampa Bay debut next spring, he announced today.

Clark – who this summer alone has played with the Rolling Stones and toured with the Foo Fighters – is set to play Jannus Live in St. Petersburg on Feb. 18, his first scheduled date of 2016. (He’ll also be at the House of Blues in Orlando on Feb. 20, for those of you in East Hillsborough.)

The tour announcement came alongside details about Clark’s second studio album, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, which comes out Sept. 11. Pre-orders, which begin today, include two new tracks, The Healing and Grinder.

Tickets to the St. Petersburg show will cost $30-$35 and go on sale Aug. 7. As a bonus, every concert ticket purchased for this headlining tour will include a free download of The Story of Sonny Boy Slim.

Buy your tickets early, because this is one of the first must-see shows of 2016.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Willow Shields talks 'Hunger Games,' 'Dancing With the Stars' and more

While most of the geek-chic fun this weekend will take place at Tampa Bay Comic Con, at least one star of a big-budget sci-fi francise is taking her talents elsewhere in town.

Willow Shields, who plays Primrose Everdeen in the Hunger Games franchise, will appear at the Shops at Wiregrass as the centerpiece of the Wesley Chapel retail center's Back to School Bash from noon to 3 p.m.

Shields, who also competed on Dancing With the Stars, was booked for the gig because organizers think she's a good role model for girls. Despite her role in a massive Hollywood franchise, she's done her best to keep her head on her shoulders.

"I've learned never to take anything people say about you personally," she said in a phone interview. "I just laugh off any negative comments."

For more of Virginia Barreda's interview with Willow Shields, click here.

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This week in Tampa: Toby Keith, Counting Crows, Perpetual Groove, Kygo and more

As the calendar eases into August, it's time to hit a show. Lots of choices this week, including Toby Keith, Counting Crows, Kygo, Perpetual Groove, Floetry, Pato Banton, Breathe Carolina, Citizen Cope, Hey Sleeper, Colt Ford, UZ, the Appleseed Cast, 10 Years, Nonpoint and more. Here to walk you through it all are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa...Full Story

Lea Thompson talks Tampa Bay Comic Con, 'Back to the Future,' 'Howard the Duck' and more

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future, so why not celebrate Tampa Bay Comic Con, which returns this weekend to the Tampa Convention Center, with Lea Thompson?

"You never think that you're doing something that 30 years later people will be still appreciating," Thompson said in a recent phone interview. "The exchanges, the nice feelings are there between the people there and the celebrities. It's such a lovely event. I love people that are not trying to act too cool to have a good time. Dress up and get your freak on. I like them, not the ones trying to pretend they are the coolest kid on the block."

For more of Robbyn Mitchell's interview with Lea Thompson, click here.

But that's not all. Comic Con is also bringing in a couple of other geek goddesses, including Star Wars' Carrie Fisher, Terminator's Linda Hamilton, The Hunger Games' Jena Malone, Game of Thrones' Keisha Castle-Hughes and Jessica Henwick, Futurama's Billy West, SpongeBob SquarePants' Tom Kenny and more. Click here for a preview.

And just how high does your geek flag fly? Click here for a quiz.

And, super bonus: Click here for a game of cosplay bingo!

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Coming soon, it's 'Bey Day' for Beyonce fans at Tampa's Ritz Ybor

 Beyonce attends the "China: Through The Looking Glass" Costume Institute Benefit Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015 in New York City.

Mike Coppola | Getty

Beyonce attends the "China: Through The Looking Glass" Costume Institute Benefit Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015 in New York City.

Every February, the Ritz Ybor in Ybor City celebrates "Dre Day," a party with a West Coast Dr. Dre theme -- Dre beats, Dre costumes, Dre photo booths, etc.

This September, the party is getting a lot more fierce. Sasha Fierce, that is.

The first-ever "Bey Day," celebrating all things Beyonce, is coming to the Ritz on Sept. 3, the day before Queen Bey's 34th birthday. Expect live tribute acts; classic Beyonce, Destiny's Child and Jay Z videos all night courtesy of VJ Nick James; specialty cocktails like the "Drunk In Love" and "Bootylicious"; prizes for "single ladies," a Tampa Bay Fashion Week dress contest; Beyonce birthday cake and more

How real is Bey Day: There's already a website: BeyonceTampa.com. (Hey, Beyonce hasn't played Tampa since 2007; might as well get some use out of that URL.)

Tickets to Bey Day 2015 go on sale Friday. GA tickets are $10 until Aug. 20, $15 until Sept. 3 and $20 at the door. VIP tickets are $50. A portion of proceeds will go to Chime For Change, a charity promoting health, education and justice for girls -- co-founded, of course, by Beyonce. Click here for details. …

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Idina Menzel brings the best of Broadway to Clearwater

As she has often done in this world tour, Menzel quickly engaged the audience. She complimented a girl in an Elsa costume, teased a fan for wearing a fluorescent shirt and flirted with an elderly man in the front row.


As she has often done in this world tour, Menzel quickly engaged the audience. She complimented a girl in an Elsa costume, teased a fan for wearing a fluorescent shirt and flirted with an elderly man in the front row.

CLEARWATER -- A near-capacity crowd filled Ruth Eckerd Hall on Tuesday to see one of Broadway's most recognizable names. A fair number of the 1,858 in attendance were girls in their teens and younger, but a lot of silver heads dotted the crowd as well for a show scheduled to start at 8 p.m.

With the star attraction more than a half-hour late, the crowd broke into rhythmic clapping. Menzel finally made her entrance at 8:37. Her opening number, Defying Gravity, brought audience members roaring to their feet, an indication of goodwill that would only grow stronger over the next two hours. Menzel, 44, delivered the powerhouse vocals that got her nominated for Tony awards in the musicals Rent, Wicked and If/Then (winning in 2004 for Wicked), and drove Let It Go from the Disney movie Frozen to the top 10.

As she has often done in this world tour, Menzel quickly engaged the audience. She complimented a girl in an Elsa costume, teased a fan for wearing a fluorescent shirt and flirted with an elderly man in the front row.

"Is that your husband?" Menzel asked the woman sitting next to the man. "I love it when there is a straight guy in my audience." …

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Photos: Idina Menzel at Ruth Eckerd Hall

Broadway superstar Idina Menzel appears at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Tuesday.


Broadway superstar Idina Menzel appears at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Tuesday.

Broadway star Idina Menzel brought her world tour to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Tuesday night. Here are some images from the show. Read Andrew Meacham's interview with Menzel here.  

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Chance the Rapper coming to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

It's shaping up to be an amazing autumn for hip-hop fans in Tampa Bay.

On the large side, you've got acts like J. Cole, Big Sean, Chris Brown, YG and Kid Ink coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. On the smaller side, you've got Earl Sweatshirt and Vince Staples at the Orpheum and Cannibal Ox at the Local 662.

And today we get news of the show that might trump them all: Chance the Rapper on Nov. 5 at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg.

This spring, the Chicago rapper and his crew -- billed as Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment -- released Surf, one of the best, most uplifting and most free-thinking rap albums of the year. And his live shows are a wonder to behold, as anyone who saw him at Tampa's 2014 Big Guava Music Festival can attest. Chance is a dynamic performer, part James Brown and part Kanye West, who usually brings a full band to back his wildly impassioned delivery.

Ticket prices haven't been announced, but they go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. You should get them. Really, you should. Click here for details.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Martin Lawrence, Eric Paslay, Sutton Foster, more coming to Tampa's Straz Center

In case the calendar has been sneaking up on you, July 31 is right around the corner -- it's Friday, in fact.

Friday is the day that most single tickets to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts' 2015-16 season go on sale to the general public. That includes a slew of Broadway shows; speakers like Cary Elwes and David Sedaris; concerts by the likes of Matisyahu, Patti LaBelle, Itzhak Perlman and Will Hoge; and the Straz's annual Club Jaeb Americana series.

As Friday's on-sale date approaches, however, the Straz is throwing a slew of new concerts our way -- starting with a just-announced gig by comic Martin Lawrence on Sept. 12. Tickets to that one start at $39.50, and like all Straz shows, it'll go on sale Friday. Click here for details. …

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SoundBytes: Jose Gonzalez, Slow Magic, Thee Oh Sees and more

-- A few years ago, Swedish indie-folk singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez brought his band, Junip, to Ybor City -- a rare treat for fans of the band and even Gonzalez himself, but still, it wasn't really a proper solo set, was it? So here's an awesome concert to announce: A show by Gonzalez on Sept. 29 at the State Theatre. Tickets are $22-$25 and they go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- Three more fantastic September concerts to note by promoters Aestheticized, who are doing the Jose Gonzalez show: Vacationer on and Thee Oh Sees with Jensen Serf Company and Plastic Pinks on Sept. 18 (tickets are $12-$15, click here); Vacationer with Great Good Fine OK and more on Sept. 22 ($10-$13, click here); and Slow Magic with Daktyl on Nov. 14 ($13-$16, click here).

-- Country singer Eric Paslay had a big hit with Friday Night, and now he's coming to the Straz Center in Tampa on Oct. 2. Tickets go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- Also coming to the Straz: Comic Christopher Titus on Sept. 12. Click here.

-- Chicago rapper Lil Durk is coming to the Orpheum on Sept. 16 with Gunplay and Hypno Carlito. Tickets are $25-$30. Click here. …

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'Legends of the Old School' Salt-N-Pepa, Vanilla Ice, Naughty By Nature, more coming to Tampa's USF Sun Dome

Let the battle of the old school throwdowns begin!

Coming first, on Aug. 22, we have Funk Fest Tampa Bay, with '90s R&B and hip hop stars Jodeci, SWV, Dru Hill and 2 Live Crew, among others, coming to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

Then on Sept. 19 it's the Super Freestyle Explosion, with a host of freestyle pop icons -- Stevie B, Taylor Dayne, Lisa Lisa, the Original Cover Girls and more -- coming to Amalie Arena.

Now comes word of what might be the funkiest show of them all: The Legends of the Old School, coming to the USF Sun Dome on Dec. 4.

Salt-N-Pepa, Vanilla Ice, Naughty By Nature, Color Me Badd, K7 and TKA and, once again, 2 Live Crew are all coming to the Sun Dome for the '90s-tastic party. DJ Magic Mike will also perform a live set. Talk about your MTV Party to Go hits: Shoop, Whatta Man, Push It, Ice Ice Baby, Hip Hop Hooray, OPP, I Wanna Sex You Up, All 4 Love, Me So Horny, Come Baby Come ... this is one stacked lineup.

Tickets are $35-$125, and they go on sale July 31. Click here for details.

So who's got the flyest, freshest lineup so far? Funk Fest, the Super Freestyle Explosion or the Legends of the Old School? Let the vogue-offs begin!

-- Jay Cridlin

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Fifth Harmony's Lauren Jauregui talks fan armies, social media, her song of the summer and more

Most of us will never know the work that goes into leading a fan army.

“We’re always engaging them on social media, letting them know that they’re important and reminding them as often as possible that they are so important to us,” said Lauren Jauregui of the wildly popular girl group Fifth Harmony. “It goes beyond that whole celebrity-fan relationship. In person, they’ll ask us for advice on things. We have major moments with them. We make them feel so special and let them know that as people, they’re important, not just as our fans.”

Jauregui knows what she’s talking about. Fifth Harmony’s fans, dubbed the Harmonizers, are among the most ardent in Top 40 pop; MTV recently gave them a trophy for “Best Fandom Army.” It’s been like this ever since Fifth Harmony rose to fame in 2012 on the American X Factor. Fans obsess over every move made by all five members (Jauregui, Camila Cabello, Ally Brooke Hernandez, Normani Kordei and Dinah Jane Hansen), and support the group’s endeavors with almost frightening fanaticism, pushing their hit summer single Worth It to the brink of Billboard’s Top 10. …

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Funk Fest Tampa lineup: Jodeci, 2 Live Crew, Dru Hill, more coming to Raymond James Stadium

We've said this before, but it bears repeating: Funk Fest, the annual traveling tribute to old-school hip hop and R&B, hasn't had an easy road in Tampa Bay.

It's been held in three homes (Vinoy Park, Curtis Hixon Park and Raymond James Stadium) over the past five years. Some headliners have arrived late; others haven't shown at all. And there have been many complaints about amenities.

All that said: Last year's Funk Fest, held for the first time at Raymond James Stadium, must have been a relative success. Because Funk Fest will return there next month.

This year's Funk Fest Tampa lineup is out, and it includes a slew of names from the '90s and beyond: R&B outfits Jodeci (above), SWV and Dru Hill; rappers Trick Daddy, 8Ball and MJG and 2 Live Crew (featuring Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell, Fresh Kid Ice and Brother Marquis); and singer-actress Demetria McKinney. Funk Fest lineups do tend to change here and there, so don't be surprised to see additions or deletions. But for now, that's the lineup.

Funk Fest 2015 is Aug. 22 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Tickets to this year's event are $35-$120, and they're on sale now. Click here for details.

-- Jay Cridlin

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