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Chris Hardwick coming to the Straz Center in Tampa

That Chris Hardwick -- he's a tricky one.

The comic, podcaster and Talking Dead and @Midnight host recently announced plans to bring his "Funcomfortable Tour" to Tampa on Aug. 8, and the venue was reportedly to be the Tampa Theatre. But on Monday, we were told by a venue spokeswoman that the show was no longer happening -- the tour had been re-routed, Hardwick was "not coming through Tampa anymore."

Today, it looks like it IS happening ... only a few blocks west.

Hardwick is coming to Ferguson Hall of the Straz Center for the Performing Arts on Aug. 8, the venue announced Tuesday. Tickets are $37.50, and they'll go on sale April 3. Click here for details.

Hopefully this is the last time this show changes places. And maybe someday we'll get a podcast devoted to the mix-up.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Sunset Music Festival lineup: Skrillex, Tiesto, Armin van Buuren and more

Skrillex

Skrillex

If you missed the 2015 Ultra Music Festival this past weekend in Miami, you’ve got two months to prepare for the next best thing in Tampa.

The 2015 Sunset Music Festival lineup was unveiled Tuesday, and it once again features a who’s who of electronic dance music, with headliners including Grammy-winning dubstep king Skrillex and globe-trotting Dutch DJs Tiesto and Armin Van Buuren, who have been voted the world’s No. 1 DJ by DJ Magazine a combined eight times since 2002.

Other big names on the SMF ’15 lineup: Porter Robinson, Flosstradamus, Cedric Gervais, Duke Dumont, Cashmere Cat, the Chainsmokers, Keys N Krates, Oliver Heldens, Robin Schulz, Showtek, Andrew Rayel, Audien, Headhunterz and more. In all, more than 50 EDM acts will headline three stages on May 23 and 24 in the north lot of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. …

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Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson coming to MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

Looks like Marilyn Manson and Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan are officially back to being buddy-buddy.

The alt-grunge stars, who according to lore have beefed on and off since the '90s, are going on a summer tour together, and it'll hit Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on July 24. Tickets to "The End Times Tour" are $29.50-$69.50, and they'll go on sale April 11. Click here for details.

For fans of gothic '90s rock, it's a powerful twin bill, bringing together two of rock's brainiest (and, some might say, most megalomaniacal) singers. Smashing Pumpkins were, for a time, one of the biggest bands in America, with hits including 1979, Today and Bullet With Butterfly Wing. Manson, of course, was the poster boy for anyone looking for a reason to complain about rock's negative, damaging influences, but his hits

Younger fans might roll their eyes at such a dad-metal double bill, but it's worth noting that both artists' latest releases -- Smashing Pumpkins' Oceania and Monuments to an Elegy and Manson's The Pale Emperor -- have earned generally strong reviews.

Click here for details on Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson in Tampa.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Ed Sheeran coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

Amalie Arena's gigantic week just keeps getting bigger.

One day after announcing a concert by Ariana Grande, and hours after unveiling two more by Garth Brooks, the arena has announced British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran will perform there on Sept. 10, part of his biggest North American headlining tour to date -- and his first-ever headlining show in Tampa Bay.

Tickets to the show are $56.25-$66.25, and they'll go on sale at 10 a.m. April 17. Click herre for details.

The shaggy ginger bard behind hits Thinking Out Loud and The A Team was nominated for Album of the Year at this year's Grammys for his second album X (pronounced "multiply"). His star has risen steadily over the past few years thanks to skills as a guitarist and songsmith, not to mention his ravenously adoring tween fan base.

This'll be Sheeran's fourth show in Tampa Bay. He opened for Snow Patrol at Jannus Live in 2012, played the 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball later that year, and opened for Taylor Swift in at the then-named Tampa Bay Times Forum in 2013.

Click here for all the details on Ed Sheeran in Tampa.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Rolling Stones coming to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando

Sorry, Tampa, but you can't always get what you want. Or what you need.

As expected, the Rolling Stones on Tuesday announced plans for a 15-city North American tour, including one show at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando on June 12. The news rolled out gradually on venue websites across the country; Orlando's date was confirmed by Mayor Buddy Dyer on Twitter.

While the presence of teaser billboards up and down Interstate 275 in Tampa and St. Petersburg led to hopes that Raymond James Stadium might be in the running for Tampa's first Stones show since their Bigger Bang Tour in 2005, it seems the dice just weren't tumbling Tampa's way. The Stones are playing several other cities around the Southeast, though: Atlanta on June 9, Nashville on June 17 and Raleigh, N.C. on July 1.

According to the Rolling Stones' website, tickets will go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. April 13. According to Ticketmaster, they'll cost $67.50 for the cheap seats and run all the way up to $392.50. Click here and here for details on the show.

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Garth Brooks coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

For the first time in 17 years, Garth Brooks is coming to Tampa.

The country music icon has announced back-to-back concerts at Amalie Arena on June 5 and 6, part of an ongoing comeback tour that began in September and has been setting records around the country ever since.

Though two shows are on the books now, Brooks frequently adds dates in cities whenever it looks like his initial shows are going to sell out. In October, he played a whopping six shows at Jacksonville's Veterans Memorial Arena. In November, he played a stunning 11 shows at Minneapolis' Target Center, selling more than 205,000 tickets in all. So don't be surprised if, over the next few weeks, the first week at Amalie starts filling up with Garth.

As usual, Brooks' wife, Trisha Yearwood, will open the shows. Tickets are $74.98, all-inclusive, available through Ticketmaster, and they'll go on sale at 10 a.m. April 10. Click here for details.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

 

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SoundBytes: Rob Thomas, Neon Trees, Steve Earle, Ciara and more

-- Another Monday, another slew of new concerts from Ruth Eckerd Hall and the Capitol Theatre: Steve Earle (above) and the Dukes on May 24 at the Cap (tickets are $39.50-$59.50; click here), Shelby Lynne on June 2 at the Cap ($25-$42.50; click here), Ottmar Liebert and Luna Negra on June 27 at the Cap ($39.50-$54.50; click here), Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas on July 24 at Ruth Eckerd ($65-$150; click here), Whitesnake on Aug. 6 at Ruth Eckerd ($38.75-$125; click here). All of these shows will go on sale as soon as Saturday.

-- More than a year after they played the Ritz Ybor, electro-pop rockers Neon Trees are coming to the State Theatre in St. Pete on July 11, with Coin and Fictionist. Tickets are $23, and they go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- Singer, actress and model Ciara is coming to the Ritz Ybor on May 16. Tickets are $27.50. Click here.

-- Continuing a strong run of hip-hop shows at the Orpheum, rap legend KRS-One will perform there on May 1. Tickets are $15-$20. Click here.

-- Thrash metal outfit Overkill is coming to the Ritz Ybor with Symphony X on Oct. 13. Tickets are $25-$100. Click here. …

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Taylor Swift at Raymond James Stadium: the Tampa Sports Authority's $2.75 million gamble

How much is a Taylor Swift concert worth? If you're the Tampa Sports Authority, a cool $2.75 million.

That's the total amount invested in booking Swift for an Oct. 31 concert at Raymond James Stadium, the latest ploy in the TSA's plan to earn revenue as a concert promoter.

At the rate tickets are currently selling, the TSA could break even on that investment as early as June 1, netting the agency a sizeable profit. But in the concert industry, nothing is guaranteed.

"I don't want anyone to get a false sense of security," TSA chief Eric Hart said in an interview. "I've done this for 28 years now. I've lost a couple. It is possible. And when you lose, it's painful."

For more on how Swift's concert could play out for the Tampa Sports Authority and taxpayers, click here.

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Boy George, Culture Club tour coming to renovated Madeira Beach park

Last week, word broke that Boy George and Culture Club were reuniting for their first tour in some 15 years, and it included three stops in Florida, starting with Aug. 14 at Bayfront Park in Miami and ending Aug. 16 at Hard Rock Live in Orlando. In between was an Aug. 15 concert at Madeira Beach Waterfront Park in Tampa.

That last date raised a couple of flags. Maderia Beach/Tampa confusion aside, the name "Madeira Beach Waterfront Park" seemed off, yielding very few hits on Google. And the beachfront city wasn't known for hosting large outdoor concerts by internationally known pop acts. Was something amiss? Was Boy George confused? Did Culture Club really want to hurt us?

A few days later, we have more details. The Karma Chameleon popsters are, in fact, performing in Madeira Beach — not Tampa — on Aug. 15. They’ll be headlining what promoter Harry Tiyler calls a “unity festival to promote racial, religious and sexual-orientation tolerance.” More artists will be added soon. …

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Ariana Grande coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

Ariana Grande's fans in Tampa have one less Problem in their lives this morning, because their ponytailed, kitty-eared princess is coming to town.

One of 2014's breakout pop divas, Grande has announced plans for a second run of dates for her blockbuster Honeymoon Tour, and they'll kick off with a July 16 date at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Latin star Prince Royce will open the show. Tickets are $26,.25-$66.25 and they go on sale Saturday. Click here for details.

Grande hasn't performed in Tampa Bay since the 2013 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball, and given the success she had last year with collaborative singles like Problem, Bang Bang, Break Free and Love Me Harder, a return engagement seems overdue for the Florida native. Fresh off a win at Sunday's iHeartMedia Awards (Best Collaboration for Bang Bang with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj), she's banking on that popularity carrying over into 2015, regardless of what people say about her allegedly diva-like ways.

And hey, who knows? Maybe she'll bring along Justin Bieber for a surprise cameo, like she did in Miami.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Review: Sarah McLachlan's eternally ethereal voice warms Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

Sarah McLachlan performed at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on March 29, 2015.

Jay Cridlin

Sarah McLachlan performed at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on March 29, 2015.

Sarah McLachlan's Sunday was probably a lot like yours: Breakfast at Clearwater's Tin Can Cafe ("I think I'm still full. Huge plates."), then a quick walk to Marshalls to buy a new suitcase.

Then, Sunday night, she took the stage at Ruth Eckerd Hall and started to sing. And that’s when she left the plane of mere mortals.

McLachlan’s heavenly, perfectly preserved voice, that ethereal mezzo-soprano, drifting along like a wisp of silk in the breeze, hasn’t aged a second since the first Lilith Fair, and every facet of her dazzling instrument was on full display at her first local show in a decade.

Yet while she may possess the voice of a diva, McLachlan herself performed like anything but, carrying the night not only with her pipes but with her winning, self-deprecating charm. Maybe it’s the Halifax in her, but for more than two and a half hours, she was a kind and generous host, welcoming fans onstage to chat, snap selfies and even sing a few bars of Building A Mystery. It was a Lilith-like atmosphere, even if the stage was much smaller. Full Story

Review: Eric Church, rebellious as ever, rocks through the night at Amalie Arena in Tampa

Eric Church performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on March 28, 2015.

Jay Cridlin

Eric Church performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on March 28, 2015.

It took six songs for an honest-to-goodness smile to form beneath Eric Church’s silvery aviators on Saturday at Amalie Arena. No surprise it came while he was singing about Merle Haggard.

Church introduced Pledge Allegiance to the Hag with a tip of the cap to Tampa’s Dallas Bull, a club he played more than once back in the day. “Some of the best times of my life,” he said, adding, “we played this song the first time we played the Bull in 2006 or 2007.”

And maybe it was the Jack talking, or maybe it was just the memory of singing about Merle in a bar, but by the time he got to the line, “You can take me back to where I’m from,” man, was Eric Church grinning.

This was the Chief’s first headlining concert here since ascending to country’s A-list, and thus his first chance to show Tampa his proudly rebellious vision of what country music should be – and may yet become, if crowds of 13,709 keep coming out to see him night after night. Those Dallas Bull days? Those are long gone. This was an arena rock show, pure and simple, not only in its 360-degree staging and denim-and-sunglasses styling, but in philosophy, too. Full Story

Review: Clean Bandit mix musicianship, disco energy at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg

Clean Bandit, with singer Elisabeth Troy, left, and cellist Grace Chatto played the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on March 26, 2015.

Brian Mahar

Clean Bandit, with singer Elisabeth Troy, left, and cellist Grace Chatto played the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on March 26, 2015.

Can a band coming off a Grammy win for a gigantic pop hit truly be facing an uphill climb?

Well, look at Clean Bandit. Six weeks after Rather Be won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording, here they are schlepping their cellos and synthesizers around the United States, trying to sell their sleek, seductive spin on deep house and U.K. garage to the American masses -- all without the help of Rather Be’s ascendant vocalist Jess Glynne.

On top of all that: When Clean Bandit hit the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on Thursday, they were also down violinist/pianist Neil Milan Amin-Smith, who was off DJ’ing a pre-Ultra Music Festival event in Miami; and their backup vocalists, who were stuck in the United Kingdom.

So yeah: Clean Bandit has their work cut out for them.

Thing is, there are times when the British boppers are doing their thing that it all seems to work perfectly, and you can see how their unique blend of classical training and retro-pop glitter really could have a transformative effect on dance music in America.Full Story

Safety Harbor SongFest preview: Shawn Mullins, Steep Canyon Rangers, Joseph Arthur and more

The second annual Safety Harbor SongFest brings more than 20 national touring artists in the Americana, country, folk, blues, pop and bluegrass genres — including multiple Grammy Award winners — to Safety Harbor's Waterfront Park on Tampa Bay this weekend.

It all begins Friday with a 6 to 8 p.m. happening at Syd Entel Galleries as artist, poet, and Grammy-nominated musician Joseph Arthur demonstrates his many talents, simultaneously.

Headlining this year's event is Grammy nominee Shawn Mullins, who takes the stage Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, the Grammy Award-winning Steep Canyon Rangers (above) start pickin' at 5:30 p.m. Other top draws include Grammy Award-winning artist Jim Lauderdale as well as Joe Craven, Willie Sugarcapps, Meiko, David Jacobs-Strain, Seth Walker, Kawehi, Ryan Montbleau, the Vespers and Caroline Kole, a local gal who tours with Reba McEntire.

Click here for Terri Bryce Reeves' full preview of the Safety Harbor SongFest.

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This week in Tampa: Eric Church, Nickelback, Sarah McLachlan and more

Tons of great rock, country, hip hop and singer-songwriter fare is on its way to Tampa Bay this weekend: Nickelback (above), Eric Church, Sarah McLachlan, Atmosphere, Kristian Bush, Steep Canyon Rangers, Joseph Arthur, Steven Curtis Chapman, El Gran Combo, Moon Hooch, Swans, Dar Williams, Enter Shikari, Taking Back Sunday, Frankie Ballard, G. Love and Special Sauce, the Ataris, The Devil Wears Prada and more. Here to walk you through it all is Ray Roa...Full Story