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Review / photos: Ty Segall hits the Skatepark of Tampa for raucous, jam-packed show

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

Photo by Brian Mahar.

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

One thing that can be said about Friday’s sold-out, sweaty, swarming Ty Segall concert at the Skatepark of Tampa: it's a good thing it got moved from Epic Problem.

As great as it is to catch a critically acclaimed act in a venue as intimate as the DIY punk room, it always seemed like too small a space for Segall. And sure enough, the raucous crowd packed the room to the rafters even in the considerably larger Skatepark of Tampa next door.

Segall is somewhat unique as an artist, with endless indie cred while being openly influenced by classic rock. At the same time, he's a fierce live presence with crowds moshing and stage diving like the audience of a hardcore show at, well, Epic Problem.

The Skatepark of Tampa proved itself a worthy venue replacement. SPoT founder Brian Schaefer took the stage to say the show reminded him of the anniversary party concerts that used to be held at the skatepark. And there’s an undeniable novelty to a show where skaters are cruising a bowl behind you.Full Story

Review: Good Graeff rock and roll on Tampa's TECO Streetcar System

Indie folk-pop act Good Graeff performs aboard the TECO Streetcar on Sept. 6, 2014.

Photo by Demetrius Freeman

Indie folk-pop act Good Graeff performs aboard the TECO Streetcar on Sept. 6, 2014.

As the metallic chime of the TECO Streetcar bell rang, the crowd settled into the wooden seats and sat at attention as Brooke and Brittany Graeff began their two-hour music set.

"We are Good Graeff, it rhymes with safe," said 26-year old Brittany as she introduced her twin sister and herself to the crowd of 70 riders aboard the streetcar departing from Ybor City on Sept. 6.

The band performed as one of the featured acts during last year's inaugural Gasparilla Music Festival and organizers chose them to be part of the streetcar music series, a partnership between GMF and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transport Authority, designed to provide a sample of Tampa's local music scene while showcasing the city's transportation options.

"First we thought it was for a video and then we found out that we were going to be providing entertainment for the people on the trolley and then we were like, 'That sounds so much more rewarding,'" said Brittany when recalling the invitation to perform for the series.

For more on the Streetcar concert series, including a video of Good Graeff's performance, click here for Jonathan Milton's story.Full Story

Review: Bro Safari lights up the Amphitheatre in Tampa with infectious party beats

Bro Safari and MC Sharpness perform at the Amphitheatre in Ybor City on Sept. 12, 2014.

Photo by Ray Roa.

Bro Safari and MC Sharpness perform at the Amphitheatre in Ybor City on Sept. 12, 2014.

To the concerned parents of Tampa Bay: your kids are alright.

Yes, Friday night did find them leaving the house clad in obnoxious fluorescent trucker hats and muscle-exposing tank tops all accented by Mickey Mouse-esque white gloves (“What the heck are those for, anyway?”). And yes, to confirm your suspicions, some of your kids did change into furry boots and skimpy shorts. A few even brought full-body costumes, transforming themselves into purple dragons, puffins and at least one panda bear.

Be happy, though, because your offspring and almost 1,000 of their closest friends were all very safely contained within the walls of 1609 E Seventh Ave. in Ybor City.

That’s where they queued up for a midnight line that almost wrapped around the block while New Hampshire-based producer Gabe Baer (a.k.a. CRNKN) treated early birds to Kanye West remixes with James Brown vocal samples spliced in. That’s where they grinded liberally against their boyfriends, girlfriends, and “Hi, nice to meet you” friends. It’s where a few more coordinated souls whipped LED nunchucks around like dance floor ninjas. And it’s where they gather almost each and every Friday night for Amphitheatre’s “# Fridays,” one of Cigar City’s best attended weekly club nights.

Friday was particularly special thanks to Nick Weiller, better known as Texas DJ and producer Bro Safari. The 35-year-old came to Tampa on a hot streak. He’s fresh off shows with EDM Jesus (a.k.a. Skrillex), and while Weiller’s roots lie in the drum and bass of production collective Evol Intent, his solo set leaned heavily on trap, a strain of electronic dance music derived from Southern hip hop that is marked by aggressive beats, sped-dp synth, high-pitched claps and cymbals all anchored by bellowing bass. In a rap context, trap is usually accompanied by lyrics chronicling the very real-life things that happen when one is dealing narcotics. On today’s modern dance floor, sans words, trap is one of the more high-energy subgenres of the electronic music taking over the world.

That energy was almost palpable Friday night, and begat a two questions: “What’s the opposite of anemic?” and “Is this floor going to cave in from all the people jumping up and down?” Full Story

SoundBytes: Josh Groban, Bassjackers, JJ Grey, Jukebox the Ghost and more

-- Guess who's headlining this year's Evening in New Delhi Starlight Gala, benefitting the Florida Hospital Foundation? None other than popera prettyboy (and all-around charming gent) Josh Groban. If you've got at least $500 to drop on a ticket, you can see him on Nov. 9 at the Amalie Arena (formerly the Tampa Bay Times Forum). The event is only one of dozens on our annual list of high-dollar charity events; other celebs coming to town for fall charity events include Dick Vitale, Henry Winkler, Diana Nyad and Carl Hiassen. Click here for Amy Scherzer's full story.

-- Speaking of Carl Hiassen: He'll be at this year's Times Festival of Reading, Oct. 25 at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Other big names include authors Debbie Macomber and R.L. Stine as well as The Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi. Click here for the full Festival of Reading scoop. …

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Lil Boosie, Webbie coming to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

Luis Santana

Jannus Live is becoming quite the hip-hop hotspot. Tonight, Method Man and Redman will hit the courtyard. In the coming weeks, Jannus will host J-Boog (Sept. 21), The Pharcyde with KRS-One and Black Sheep (Sept. 26), Jason Derulo (Nov. 1) and Juicy J (Nov. 15).

But this show could be the biggest of them all.

Lil Boosie, the until-somewhat-recently-incarcerated Louisiana rapper who headlined the Tampa Bay Times Forum (now the Amalie Arena) this summer, is coming to Jannus Live on Nov. 26, and joining him is Webbie, a headline-worthy rapper in his own right. Tickets are on sale now for $55-$100 -- a princely sum, to be sure, but it should be a much more intimate experience than an arena.

We have to say, when Boosie announced he was playing the Forum, we were perplexed. Wouldn't a venue like Jannus Live make a lot more sense? Maybe the turnout of 3,400 at that show proved to Boosie that he wasn't A-list rap royalty just yet. Still, despite the high ticket prices, expect Jannus to be packed for this show.

Click here and here for more details on Lil Boosie at Jannus Live.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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This weekend: The Bricks hosts anniversary block party in Ybor City with Surfer Blood, more

Luis Santana

It’s a big weekend for the Skatepark of Tampa. First, on Friday, garage punk Ty Segall will play one of the most anticipated concerts in the venue’s history (click here for details and our interview with Segall). Then on Saturday, the Skatepark’s Ybor City bar and restaurant, the Bricks, will celebrate its fourth anniversary with a street party and concert by Surfer Blood.

"I wouldn't say that there are any major differences from when we opened the doors in July 2010 until now," said owner Brian Schaefer of the Skatepark. "We've just become more a part of the community."

For more on the Bricks' fourth anniversary and Saturday's block party with Surfer Blood, click here for Robbyn Mitchell's story.Full Story

Review: Howard Jones, Tom Bailey, Midge Ure and more rock Retro Futura tour at Orlando's Hard Rock Live

Steve Spears

For '80s entusiasts, this summer's Retro Futura tour, which stopped at Orlando's Hard Rock Live on Wednesday, was a can't-miss event. Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey, Howard Jones, Midge Ure, China Crisis and Katrina Leskanich from Katrina and the Waves made up an event that Stuck in the '80s' Steve Spears says "set the bar impossibly high for '80s tours in the future." As he writes:

The organizers and promoters deserve a standing ovation. The stage presentation was incredible. The sound was perfect. The lineup was brilliant. And the music was unforgettable. We probably won't see anything this grand and special for a very long time.

Click here for Steve's full Retro Futura tour review.Full Story

ZZ Top, Jeff Beck postpone Tampa tour stop (again) until May

ZZ Top's beards will be just a little bit longer by the time they finally come back to Tampa.

The classic rock trio have announced that their fall tour with Jeff Beck has been postponed until next spring to give bassist Dusty Hill time to recover from a hip injury. The tour was originally scheduled to stop at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Sept. 10 before being postponed until Nov. 13. Go ahead and tack on about six more months to that, because the show is now set for May 7.

"Dusty's well being is paramount," the band said in a statement.

Ticketholders to the Tampa show should hold onto their stubs, which will still be good for the May 7 show. Click here for details.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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This week in Tampa: Rascal Flatts, Sheryl Crow, Erasure, Super Freestyle Explosion, Ty Segall and more

If you checked out last week's fall music preview, you know this coming week is a busy one for live music of all shapes and sizes: Rascal Flatts with Sheryl Crow (above), the Super Freestyle Explosion, Ty Segall, Erasure, Washed Out, John McEuen, Bro Safari, Ab-Soul, Surfer Blood, Method Man and Redman, Morgan Page, Skeletonwitch, Balance and Composure and more. Here to walk you through it all is Ray Roa...Full Story

Photos: The Hip Abduction celebrates tbt*'s 10th birthday bash at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

Singer David New and the Hip Abduction headlined tbt*'s 10th birthday party at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg on Sept. 10, 2014.

Photo by Luis Santana.

Singer David New and the Hip Abduction headlined tbt*'s 10th birthday party at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg on Sept. 10, 2014.

On Wednesday, tbt* celebrated its 10th birthday with a concert by St. Petersburg reggae-rock/Afrobeat favorites the Hip Abduction at Jannus Live. More than 1,800 fans scooped up tickets to help us celebrate, which was fitting — our no-longer-so-little publication wouldn’t be where it is without you wonderful readers. So as DJ Fresh got the crowd moving, and the Hip Abduction filled the courtyard with tasty equatorial pop, we passed out yellow cupcakes to say thanks. Here’s hoping you’ll be with us for another 10 years ... and more. Luis Santana shared some photos of the event; click the headline of this post for a slideshow.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Photos: Fitz and the Tantrums bring a pop-soul party to the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

Fitz and the Tantrums performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 10, 2014.

Photo by Brian Mahar.

Fitz and the Tantrums performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 10, 2014.

Just three years ago, Fitz and the Tantrums were playing the State Theatre in St. Petersburg. A couple of high-profile local gigs later (at the Coral Skies Music Festival and opening for Bruno Mars at the Tampa Bay Times Forum), the L.A. party-popsters are headlining arenas in their own right. They brought their celebratory vibe and infectious hits (The Walker, Moneygrabber, Out of My League) to the USF Sun Dome on Wednesday night, and fans were dancing in their seats as confetti fell from the rafters. Brian Mahar was there, and he shared a few photos from the concert. Click the headline of this post for a slideshow.

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Photos: Diarrhea Planet explode into Crowbar with vicious guitar assault

Diarrhea Planet performed at Crowbar in Ybor City on Sept. 10, 2014.

Photo by Brian Mahar.

Diarrhea Planet performed at Crowbar in Ybor City on Sept. 10, 2014.

If you name your band "Diarrhea Planet," you'd better be good enough to make up for it. Thankfully, the lads in this buzzed-about Nashville sextet are. The mini guitar army invated Crowbar in Ybor City on Wednesday for a night of crazy guitar riffs, unlikely harmonies and all-around RAWK. Brian Mahar was there, and he shared a few photos. Click the headline of this post for a slideshow.

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Ticket Window: Maroon 5, Usher, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and more

In just its first week with its new name, the Amalie Arena (formerly the Tampa Bay Times Forum) is getting quite a workout in this week's edition of Ticket Window, with four huge events going on sale: Maroon 5, Usher, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Arenacross.

Other Tampa Bay concerts and events with tickets going on sale this week: Phillip Phillips (Nov. 11, Mahaffey Theater), Nonpoint (Nov. 12, State Theatre), Every Time I Die (Nov. 29, State Theatre), Trans-Siberian Orchestra (Dec. 13, Amalie Arena), Usher (Dec. 14, Amalie Arena), Steven Curtis Chapman and Third Day (Dec. 20, USF Sun Dome), Dick Fox's Golden Boys (Feb. 4, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Olivia Newton-John (Feb. 4-5, Capitol Theatre), Arenacross (Feb. 21-22, Amalie Arena), Maroon 5 (Feb. 25, Amalie Arena), Australian Bee Gees (April 1, Capitol Theatre), The Orchestra featuring former members of ELO (April 10, Ruth Eckerd Hall) and Roberta Flack (April 23, Capitol Theatre)

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

Ariana Grande coming to the Amway Center in Orlando

It's turning out to be a pretty good day for Ariana Grande. First it was announced she'll be the musical guest on the Chris Pratt-hosted season premiere of Saturday Night Live on Sept. 27. Then she announces a massive spring tour in support of her chart-topping album My Everything.

The good news is, she'll be coming back to her home state of Florida on this tour. The bad news is, she's not coming to Tampa -- only to Orlando and Miami. The Orlando date is March 26 at the Amway Center. Tickets will go on sale Sept. 20. Click here for details.

Grande's popularity is at an all-time high thanks to smash singles like Problem and Bang Bang, though she's been facing quite a bit of criticism for her reportedly diva-like behavior in interviews and behind the scenes in concert. Maybe Tampa will have one less problem without her.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Classic Albums Live's Craig Martin talks 'Purple Rain,' '80s albums that deserve the 'Classic Albums Live' treatment and more

Chances are good that many of us will never get to see Prince perform his epic 1984 album Purple Rain in its entirety. But the next best thing might be taking place Sunday at Clearwater's Capitol Theatre, where fans can hear Purple Rain performed live, track for track, note for note, by a group of Canadian musicians/hard-core fans known as Classic Albums Live.

Classic Albums Live founder Craig Martin says Purple Rain is "top 5 for complexity" in terms of all the albums the group has ever covered, but the result is worth it. "There are a couple of the old synth sounds on the album that hold up quite nice," he said. "The grooves are there. The lyrics are there. And it's a deep cuts album. We all know Purple Rain. We all know When Doves Cry. We all know Let's Go Crazy. But Baby I'm a Star? What a song! Computer Blue? Holy cow! That song's a masterpiece. It's an album that just gives."

Classic Albums Live performs Purple Rain at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Capitol Theatre. Tickets are $35-$50. Click here for details.

For more of Steve Spears' interview with Craig Martin, click here.Full Story