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Review: Yo-Yo Ma stuns with masterful performance with Florida Orchestra at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg

Yo-Yo Ma performed with the Florida Orchestra on Jan. 31, 2015 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.

Lara Cerri

Yo-Yo Ma performed with the Florida Orchestra on Jan. 31, 2015 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.

The world's most in-demand cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, made his debut Saturday with the Florida Orchestra in a gala concert at the Mahaffey Theater, performing Dvorak's masterful Cello Concerto in a program led by conductor Tito Muñoz.

The event to benefit the orchestra's Music for Life fundraising campaign had been sold out for months, and you could sense the thrill from those who had a ticket.

Ma sat in his chair and looked to his left and right as the orchestra began the concerto's first movement. He gripped the neck of his cello and breathed in time with the music, finding his center before that first heart-stopping draw of the bow across the strings.

Sorrow, passion and spirituality rang through the concerto, which Dvorak wrote in part for his dying and beloved sister-in-law. On Ma's very last note, he exhaled through his whole body and let go.

For more, click here for Stephanie Hayes' full review.Full Story

Wild Splash 2015 lineup: Meek Mill, more coming to Coachman Park in Clearwater

For the second time in three years, Meek Mill is coming to Wild Splash.

Wild 94.1 spilled the first three names of 2015's Wild Splash lineup on the air Friday night, and the Philadelphia rapper was the biggest of the bunch. Also coming are R. Wash and Natalie La Rose.

This is only the tip of the iceberg; Wild 94.1 says more names will be announced at 5 p.m. Monday. In the meantime, early bird tickets for the March 7 concert at Coachman Park in Clearwater are on sale now for $20. Click here for details.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Photos: Andrew W.K., Wolf-Face bring a barrage of rock to the State Theatre in St. Petersburg

Andrew W.K. performed at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on Jan. 29, 2015.

Brian Mahar

Andrew W.K. performed at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on Jan. 29, 2015.

It's hard to imagine two more perfectly paired, positively charged punk party-starters than Andrew W.K. and Wolf-Face. The Party Hard maestro of positivity and St. Petersburg's lupine punk quartet combined for an epic bill at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg Thursday night. Brian Mahar was there; click the headline of this post for some of his photos.

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Video: Black Violin perform for Tampa students before Straz Center concert

Black Violin performed at St. Peter Claver Catholic School in Tampa on Jan. 29, 2015.

James Borchuck

Black Violin performed at St. Peter Claver Catholic School in Tampa on Jan. 29, 2015.

Prior to their concert at the Straz Center in Tampa Friday night, new-school classical duo Black Violin visited St. Peter Claver Catholic School in Tampa on Thursday to perform for students and offer a few life lessons in the process.

"We're taking something that's perceived as not cool and making it cool," said Wil "Wil B" Baptiste. "It's not necessaily about the violin. It's about thinking outside the box. It's about taking your passion to another level. It's about doing something that you love and doing it differently than anyone's ever done it."

Tbt*'s James Borchuck was there to capture some video of the performance. Check it out by clicking the headline of this post.

Black Violin performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center. Tickets are $25-$35. Click here for details.Full Story

Hogan's Beach: No more EDM mega-parties ... for now

Luis Santana

That Skrillex mega-concert that took place last fall at Hogan's Beach won't be happening again anytime soon.

Hulk Hogan's waterfront bar and party hotspot established itself as a major EDM destination in 2014, hosting shows by the likes of Cedric Gervais, Laidback Luke and Zeds Dead, among others. But the rowdy parties got too loud for local residents, who complained to the city.

The complaints have already had some real-world effects. The Excision concert that was scheduled for Feb. 22 at Hogan's Beach was long ago moved to the Amphitheatre. And while it was never officially announced for Hogan's, it appears Dash Berlin may have been slated to perform there on March 7; instead he'll be at the Ritz Ybor.

On Thursday, Hogan's Beach officials told the Tampa City Council that the problem is under control, but the parties will be drastically scaled back. They could seek permits for up to four major events per year (we're thinking a Memorial Day Weekend/Sunset Music Festival bash would have to be one of them), and they may do that.

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Olivia Newton-John talks Fox's live 'Grease' remake, battling cancer and more

When Olivia Newton-John performs at Clearwater's Capitol Theatre on Feb. 4 and 5, it will be filled with hopelessly devoted fans who have followed her career since the early '70s when she was launched into mega-stardom in Grease.

Part of her Clearwater stop is a fundraiser for Tampa's H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and her own namesake cancer center in Australia, for which she has raised close to $200 million.

But you can't talk to Olivia Newton-John and not chat about Grease.

Fox recently announced that Dancing with the Stars' Julianne Hough would take the role of Sandy in its live Grease to be broadcast next January.

"I think she's a great choice," Newton-John said in a recent phone interview. And Hough shouldn't worry about being a 26-year-old playing a high-schooler, she said. "I was 29 when I made Grease and I was really worried about it. But it's all relative, right?"

Newton-John performs at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4 and 5 at the Capitol Theatre; tickets are $75-$85. After her show Wednesday, Newton-John will attend a cancer benefit reception on the rooftop of the Capitol Theatre. Click here for details.

For more with Olivia Newton-John, click here for Sharon Kennedy Wynne's interview. Full Story

The Family Stone's Greg Errico talks Woodstock, working with Sly Stone and more

On Friday, funk legends the Family Stone will star in downtown Clearwater's monthly concert and street party Blast Friday, which this month has a Woodstock theme. Fitting, because Sly and the Family Stone were at the actual Woodstock.

"We were supposed to play at 8 o'clock Saturday night and we kept having one delay after another," said drummer Greg Errico, 66, during a recent phone interview from his California home. "Finally at 3 a.m. on Sunday it was our turn. By then everyone was asleep in their sleeping bag or tent. We just decided to do our thing. Two or three songs into it, everyone woke up, came out and started singing and dancing."

Sly Stone won't be among them, but a few original, key members of the Family Stone will headline Blast Friday at around 8:30 p.m., performing tracks like Dance to the Music, Everyday People and Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) The evening starts at 5:30 p.m.; the Ries Brothers perform at 7 p.m. Click here for details.

For more with Greg Errico, click here for Terri Bryce Reeves' story.

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This week in Tampa: Bob Seger, Kongos, Olivia Newton-John, Parquet Courts and more

Randy Holmes/ABC

From classic rock to indie rock, it's another huge week in music around Tampa Bay. Here to walk you through it all -- Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, Olivia Newton-John, Kongos, Passafire, Leon Russell, Parquet Courts, Less Than Jake, Sir Sly, The Family Stone, Oscar G, Merchandise, the Cadillac Three, Emerson Hart, Black Violin, Reel Big Fish, Galactic, Engelbert Humperdinck and more -- is Ray Roa... …

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Ticket Window: 98 Rockfest, Wild Splash, Paramore, Slipknot, 'Weird Al' Yankovic and more

Concert announcements happened so fast and furious this week that we could barely keep track of them all. This week's edition of Ticket Window includes several all-new announcements, including the Ting Tings, above. And in addition to the usual crop of tickets going on sale Thursday, Friday and Saturday, let's not forget that early-bird tickets to Wild 94.1 Wild Splash, March 7 at Coachman Park in Clearwater, went on sale Monday.

Other Tampa Bay concerts with tickets going on sale this week: Hoodie Allen (Feb. 27, State Theatre), Wild 94.1 Wild Splash (March 7, Coachman Park), Big K.R.I.T. (March 12, Orpheum), George Lopez (April 4, Ruth Eckerd Hall), the Ting Tings (April 17, State Theatre), 98 Rockfest with Five Finger Death Punch, Rise Against, Breaking Benjamin and more (April 24, Amalie Arena), Home Free (April 25, Capitol Theatre), Kid Ink with Jeremih and Dej Loaf (April 9, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Paramore (April 28, Ruth Eckerd Hall), New Kids on the Block with Nelly and TLC (June 5, Amway Center), Slipknot (July 25, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre), "Weird Al" Yankovic (Aug. 13, Ruth Eckerd Hall) and Mark Knopfler (Oct. 30, Ruth Eckerd Hall). …

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Mario Lopez talks Gasparilla, Golden Globes, drinking on the job and more

It wouldn't be Gasparilla weekend in Tampa without copious amounts of booze and merriment, making a grand marshal who can hold his drink and still interview celebrities worth his weight in beads.

Enter Mario Lopez. The Saved By the Bell and Extra hunk recently made headlines by doing shots with Channing Tatum, Kevin Spacey and Emily Blunt at this year's Golden Globes. Compared to that, serving as co-chair of this year's Gasparilla Pirate Festival parade should be a piece of cake.

"I'm looking forward to it. I'm really excited because I've never seen it. I've been there right before and right after, but never on the day of the parade. Any opportunity to meet good people and be in a great city celebrating is awesome to me."

For more with Mario Lopez, click here for Robbyn Mitchell's story. And for your full 2015 Gasparilla game plan, click here.

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Steve Hackman talks 'Brahms v. Radiohead,' uniting classical and alternative audiences and more

When we got Steve Hackman on the phone recently to talk about Brahms v. Radiohead, his symphonic mash-up of BrahmsSymphony No. 1 and Radiohead’s OK Computer, which the Florida Orchestra will perform Friday in St. Petersburg, we had to apologize in advance. We here at SoundcheckCorp. are gigantic Radiohead nerds ... but Brahms? Not so much.

Thankfully, Hackman was happy to explain in layman’s terms why his unique piece works for both rock fans and classical fans. We wrote an article about it — click here to read it — but there was plenty of good stuff left over that we wanted to share here.

In advance of Hackman and the Orchestra’s performance on Friday at the Mahaffey Theater (click here for details), here’s what the composer had to say about classical music, Phish, possibly collaborating with Radiohead and more. Here are excerpts.

I’m a huge Radiohead nerd, but not quite as knowledgeable about Brahms. Why is this show for me? …

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Spring Beer Fling lineup: Black Lips, more coming to Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa

The Black Lips

The Black Lips

Last year's Spring Beer Fling in Tampa was a fun and creative experiement that almost went totally awry.

Indie rockers Surfer Blood were about to headline last March's inaugural concert and craft beer festival, organized by the team behind Big City Events (Tampa's Margarita Festival, Bourbon & Brew Festival and more), but a nasty weather forecast forced them to postpone the event by a day, from a Saturday to a Sunday. The move paid off, as some 3,500 people showed up throughout the day.

The Spring Beer Fling is coming back for Round 2 in 2015, and organizers have locked up another cool indie rock headliner: Atlanta punkabilly-garage outfit the Black Lips, who are veterans of Coachella, Bonnaroo and just about every other major festival you can name. Joining them on the bill are a half-dozen quality local and regional acts: Jensen Serf Co., Band in Heaven, Funny Bunny, the Riot Act, Wake Up, the Wooly Bushmen and the Johnny Zoom Hi-Fi Show. …

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SoundBytes: Mark Knopfler, Diarrhea Planet, Minus the Bear and more

-- Big concert announcement from Ruth Eckerd Hall: Guitar legend Mark Knopfler of the Dire Straits is coming to Clearwater on Oct. 30. Tickets are $68.50-$175, which is a whole lot of Money for Nothing (sorry, couldn't resist). Click here for details.

-- Wild 94.1's Wild Splash lineup for 2015 hasn't been revealed just yet, but early bird tickets are on sale now for $20. After they sell out, they'll go up to $35, or $100 for VIP. Keep an eye out here for Wild Splash lineup announcements, but in the meantime, click here.

-- When six-string army Diarrhea Planet came to Crowbar last fall, it ended up being one of Soundcheck's favorite concerts of 2014. Don't miss 'em when they return on April 14, with Left and Right and Florida Night Heat opening. Tickets are $8-$10. Click here.

-- Minus the Bear is coming to the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on May 13 with Into It. Over It. opening. Tickets are $28.75. Click here for details.

-- Moon Hooch are coming to Crowbar on March 31. Tickets are $10-$13. Click here.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Slipknot coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa



Happy Monday! Your nightmares are coming to Tampa!

Okay, fine, Slipknot may not be anyone's nightmare these days (although man, those masks do kinda hold up in the creepiness department). But the Iowa industrial-metal titans still pack a frighteningly loud and percussive punch, and anytime they go on tour, it's usually a show for the ages.

So get ready to step right up for their new "This Summer's Last Stand Tour," which will hit Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on July 25. Joining them are a trio of big names in metal: Lamb of God, Bullet for My Valentine and Motionless In White. Tickets are $24-$63 and they go on sale Friday. Click here for details.

Snicker at Slipknot at your own risk. The last time they came to town, in 2012, they brought a pyro-filled party to the amphitheater formerly known as Gary as part of the Mayhem Festival, and Corey Taylor remains one of power metal's best all-around vocalists. This year marks their 20th (!) as a band, and they don't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Let's just hope they give those masks a good, regular washing.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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SoundBytes: Dash Berlin, Andy Grammer, En Vogue and more

-- Two big-name DJs are coming to Ybor City. Ferry Corsten will return to the Amphitheater on Feb. 28 (tickets are $15, click here) and Dash Berlin, above, will be spinning at the Ritz Ybor on March 7 ($26.50-$40, click here).

-- Cheap Trick singer Robin Zander will once again bring his Robin Zander Band to the incredibly tiny and intimate Hideaway Cafe in St. Petersburg on Feb. 15. Tickets are $30-$100. Click here.

-- Singer-songwriter Andy Grammer is coming to the Orpheum on March 7 with Alex and Sierra and Paradise Fears. Tickets are $20-$30. Click here.

-- The Color Morale is coming to the Orpheum on April 29 alongside Vanna, Slaves and Favorite Weapon. Tickets are $15-$30. Click here.

-- Get ready for the fifth annual Dre Day in Tampa. This year's celebration of Dr. Dre's birthday will take place Feb. 12. Click here.

-- Live music is coming to Epcot's International Flower and Garden Festival. The park's new "Garden Rocks" concert series kicks off in March and includes acts like the Gin Blossoms, En Vogue, the Village People, Jon Secada and more. Click here for details.

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