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Review: Drake works Tampa fans hard in magnetic concert at Amalie Arena

Drake performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Aug. 27, 2016.

Luis Santana

Drake performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Aug. 27, 2016.

From the moment Drake emerged in a Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning jersey, sparks blasting behind his back, he had them.

He could’ve sleepwalked the rest of the night, and the vibe on the floor of Amalie Arena never would’ve dipped below 100. He could’ve plopped into a comfy sofa and read lines from Degrassi, and not a dancing, screaming soul would’ve cared.

From the jump, all 16,078 bodies were in motion, every torso tilting and tipping with a drink in one hand, phone in the other, as the world’s most popular rapper flexed his unstoppable pop-chart muscle.

Does it matter that, in the studio, Drake can come off as a little too emo, a little too sad-sack, a little low-motor? Not in a crowd this lit, where even a single note from a single Drake song – to say nothing of two straight hours of them – is enough to start a near riot.

But just in case they didn’t see the Stamkos jersey, Drizzy, kind Canadian that he is, never stopped buttering their their bread, over and over and over again.

“It’s Saturday night in Tampa,” he said. "It's summertime. You should be drunk right now.” Full Story

Review: Fifth Harmony brings joy, empowerment to Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Fifth Harmony performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Aug. 25, 2016.

Luis Santana

Fifth Harmony performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Aug. 25, 2016.

Two-fifths of Fifth Harmony hail from Florida, making Thursday’s concert at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre something of a homecoming show.

“You guys know Lauren and I are proud Floridians, right?” shouted Camila Cabello, her fellow Miamian Lauren Jauregui looking on behind her. “We’re so happy to be home!”

An army of pre-teen Harmonizers (and slightly older Harmonizers at heart) was beyond thrilled to have them.

With a huge summer hit (Work From Home) in their pocket, Fifth Harmony has an honest argument for the title of World’s Biggest Girl Group – and, with the dissolution of One Direction, you might as well just toss out gender. True, only 6,000 fans piled into the Amp on Thursday – school nights are tough – but that’s not too bad in the era of the solo pop superstar, when grinding it out as a vocal group isn’t such an easy path. …

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Lauryn Hill coming to the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg

Lauryn Hill

Luis Santana

Lauryn Hill

We freaked out yesterday when we learned ex-Fugee Lauryn Hill was coming to the House of Blues in Orlando. Now we get to freak out even more, because Hill's also booked a last-minute trip to St. Petersburg.

The multiple Grammy winner -- who prefers these days to go by "Ms. Lauryn Hill" -- will peform at the Mahaffey Theater on Dec. 6, the venue announced Thursday. Tickets are $61.50 and up, and they go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday. Click here for details.

No need to rehash why we're so excited about this show, since we just did it yesterday -- and really, Hill needs no hype of her own. Suffice it to say she's a magnetic performer with a ton of hits whose life tours are too few and far between. Don't miss this show.

-- Jay Cridlin


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Steven Tyler talks about shifting from Aerosmith to country, staying unpredictable at 68 and more

Associated Press

Why did Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler decide to drop a country album? Simple.

"Country is the new rock and roll, if you will," he said in a recent teleconference. "There really isn't rock. Dave Grohl's trying his hardest to keep it alive, but there's no format, and no one's playing it. Z100 is not going to play hard-core rock and roll. So country's doing its hardest to do it."

When Tyler hits Ruth Eckerd Hall on Monday in support of his new album We're All Somebody From Somewhere, he'll spin a few Aerosmith hits (Dream On, Walk This Way, Sweet Emotion) amid all his new country songs. And then? Who knows?

"I didn't know what was going to happen when Aerosmith first made it," he said. "But I did notice the looks on people's faces when they kind of liked it. And I'm just looking forward to that again."

For our full interview with Steven Tyler, click here.

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2017 Tampa Bay Blues Festival lineup: Buddy Guy, Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and more

Getty Images

If you're booking blues legends, they don't come much bigger than Buddy Guy.

So expect another huge turnout for the 2017 Tampa Bay Blues Festival, which returns April 7-9 to Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg.

Guy is one of next year's headliners, along with Tab Benoit, Ana Popovic, Coco Montoya and the Rides, a blues supergroup featuring Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg.

The lineup by day:

Friday, April 7: Buddy Guy, Ana Popovic, Albert Cummings, the Jordan Patterson Band, Doug Deming with Dennis Gruenling

Saturday, April 8: The Rides (Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Barry Goldberg), Coco Montoya, Toronzo Cannon, Samantha Fish, Matt Schofield

Sunday, April 9: Tab Benoit, Dawn Taylor Watson, the Lee Boys, JW-Jones, Backtrack Blues Band

Early-bird tickets (through Dec. 31) start at $30-$40 per day and $100 for the weekend. Montoya will headline a kickoff party on Thursday, April 6; tickets are $20. Details on each night's after party are still in the works. About 30,000 fans pack the festival each year.

Click here for all the details about the 2017 Tampa Bay Blues Festival.

-- Jay Cridlin

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2016 EDC Orlando lineup: Bassnectar, Hardwell, the Chainsmokers and more

It's no Ultra Music Festival, but Orlando's Electric Daisy Carnival has evolved into one of the top electronic music events in the Southeast. With the branding of Las Vegas' ginormous, flagship EDC behind it, is it any wonder?

So expect a flood of ravers to flow east to Orlando's Tinker Field on Nov. 4 and 5, as EDC Orlando returns with another star-studded, candy-colored lineup.

Among your 2016 headliners: The Chainsmokers (above), Bassnectar, Hardwell, Porter Robinson, Axwell, Nero, Dash Berlin, RL Grime, Alison Wonderland, Ferry Corsten, W&W, Morgan Page, Above & Beyond, a live set by Rabbit in the Moon and dozens more.

The event features an array of carnival rides, interactive art installations and more. Last year's event brought a crowd of some 65,000, according to organizers.

Two-day general admission tickets start at $169 and are on sale now. Click here for details.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Grace Potter to replace Gregg Allman on 2016 Clearwater Jazz Holiday lineup

Hollywood Records

As Gregg Allman recovers from an ailment that forced him to bail on this year's Clearwater Jazz Holiday, festival organizers have finally tracked down a replacement: Grace Potter.

The Vermont blues-rock singer will take Allman's place headlining the final day of the 2016 holiday, which runs Oct. 13-16 at Clearwater's Coachman Park. Rounding out the bill on what has become the festival's "Americana day" will be Houndmouth, the Lone Bellow and more.

Potter might not be a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer like Allman, but she's a powerful draw in her own right, having sold out venues like Jannus Live. And she fits in with the festival's recent tradition of booking younger acts on Sunday. She joins previously announced headliners Daryl Hall, Kool and the Gang, the Commodores, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, the Mavericks and Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Four-day tickets start at $52; daily tickets are $16 and up. Click here for all the details on the 2016 Clearwater Jazz Holiday.

— Jay Cridlin

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CountryFlo festival lineup: Chris Stapleton, Thomas Rhett, more coming to Lake Wales

Chris Stapleton

Getty Images

Chris Stapleton

Another day, another new festival on Florida's crowded country music lineup.

The inaugural CountryFlo Music and Camping Festival is coming to Lake Wales on Nov. 4 and 5, with a lineup that includes chart-topping, award-winning headliners Thomas Rhett and Chris Stapleton.

Also on the decidedly new-school bill: Randy Houser, Joe Nichols, Chris Janson, Margo Price, Old Dominion, Jana Kramer, A Thousand Horses, the Railers, Phil Vassar, Dallas Davidson, Tegan Marie, Brandon Lay and more.

CountryFlo will take place at the 420-acre Triple Canopy Ranch in Polk County, about 90 minutes east of Tampa. Because it's a camping festival on private grounds, it sounds a little like this year's inaugural Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival, though on a much smaller scale.

But that alone might help it stand out from all the other country festivals in Florida. Locally, we're all familiar with the long-running Florida Strawberry Festival each March. But there are also newer, star-studded affairs like the Country 500 in Daytona Beach, the Tortuga Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale, the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam in Panama City Beach and Runaway Country Festival in nearby Kissimmee. …

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Jingle Ball, Mistletoe Show concerts returning to Tampa Bay in December

Luis Santana (2014)

Who's on the 2016 lineup?

That's the question that'll be on our minds for the next few weeks, now that we know radio empire iHeartMedia is bringing its Jingle Ball and Mistletoe Show concerts back to Tampa Bay this fall.

The Mix 100.7 Mistletoe Show will hit the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Dec. 9, while the 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball will return to Tampa's Amalie Arena on Dec. 17, according to iHeartMedia in Tampa.

The Jingle Ball is the bigger deal by far. Tampa's one of only a handful of cities in the country that gets one of the iHeartMedia-backed pop parties, and they typically attract acts like Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Pitbull, Ariana Grande and Maroon 5. Last year's headliners included Demi Lovato, Shawn Mendes and 5 Seconds of Summer. The 2016 lineup will be unveiled in mid-October.

The Mistletoe Show is a newer but more intimate affair, focusing on pop-rock acts like Train, Rob Thomas and Third Eye Blind. It originated at the Mahaffey, but moved to Ruth Eckerd Hall in 2015. Now it's back in St. Pete, with a lineup to be announced in late September. …

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UPDATE: Lauryn Hill coming to the House of Blues in Orlando

Luis Santana (2011)

Lauryn Hill is one of those artists you just have to catch when you can.

Her tours are all too rare, her live presence unpredictable. But when the former Fugee and multiple Grammy-winning singer and rapper comes around, you'd best not miss the chance to see her, because there's no guarantee she'll be back again anytime soon.

So don't delay in grabbing tickets to her just-announced tour, "The MLH Caravan: A Diaspora Calling! Concert Series," which stops at Orlando's House of Blues on Dec. 8. Tickets start at $57 and go on sale Saturday. Click here for details.

"The MLH Caravan allows me to continue the theme of unity and celebration of the many facets of cultural and artistic beauty throughout the African diaspora while on tour this summer and fall," Hill said in a statement. "In these days of tension, tumult and transition, an exchange of this kind can yield direction, expression, understanding and empowerment as well as connection, self love and appreciation that hopefully overflows into our respective communities." …

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As Drake comes to Tampa, we ask: Where's his music and legacy going next?

Drake has the Feels.

He always has, from Best I Ever Had to Hold On, We're Going Home to Hotline Bling, and his new album Views does little to flesh those Feels out. It's music you can set and forget in the car, in the pool, at a party, in your bedroom. It works anywhere, anytime, on any device. It's easy-listening hip-hop.

And as he comes to Amalie Arena with Future on Saturday (click here), it's time to ask: Is all of that enough from one of North America's biggest pop stars?

From the permafrost far below, he appears to be idling atop his mountain, pleasing all kinds of people but going nowhere in the process. After Saturday's show in Tampa, where will Drake go next?

Click here for Jay Cridlin's story about Drake's maddening medium-ness.

For an alternate perspective, Stephanie Hayes wrote about why Drake's calm, consistent coolness is the musical equivalent of comfort food, something everyone can agree on at any time of day. Click here for her column.

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Oddball Comedy Festival cancels Friday's concert in Tampa

Gabriel Iglesias

Gabriel Iglesias

Nothing funny about this.

The Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival has canceled the first run of dates on its 2016 tour, including Friday at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. A Live Nation representitive blamed "routing issues," but no further information was immediately available. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase.

"I would like to apologize to my fans who expected to see me performing on the @OddballFest," headliner Gabriel Iglesias, above, tweeted late Monday. "The promoters just canceled this weeks dates."

Presented by Live Nation, Funny Or Die and IFC, the third annual festival was to feature Iglesias, Hannibal Buress, Sebastian Maniscalco, Bert Kreischer, Iliza Shlesinger and others to the Amp. Previous headliners included Amy Schumer, Louis C.K. and Aziz Ansari. This year's Oddball will now kick off Sept. 2 near Chicago.

No word on whether there'll be a rescheuled Oddball date in Tampa, or whether any of the aforementioned comics will book a makeup show in town. But at least one of them was really looking forward to the trip -- especially after her shows at the Tampa Improv were also canceled last year. …

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SoundBytes: Dillinger Escape Plan, Carcass, Peter Cetera, Jerrod Niemann and more

-- After two decades, vaunted New Jersey hardcore outfit the Dillinger Escape Plan has announced they're easing into retirement -- but not before at least one more show in Tampa Bay. They'll perform at the State Theatre on Nov. 10 with O'Brother, Car Bomb and Cult Leader. Tickets are $18.50 and up. Click here.

-- Another couple of heavy acts hitting the State Theatre soon: Carcass and Deafhaven with Inter Arma on Nov. 11. Tickets are $26 and up. Click here.

-- Newly minted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Peter Cetera will perform at the Mahaffey Theater on Oct. 30 (without his old mates in Chicago, of course). Tickets are $34.50 and up. Click here.

-- Country singer Jerrod Niemann (Drink to That All Night) will perform at the Dallas Bull on Sept. 8. Tickets are free with normal cover, though expect this one to get crowded. Click here.

-- Legendary pop and soul singer Gladys Knight will perform at Ruth Eckerd Hall on Jan. 30. Tickets are $49.50 and up. Click here.

-- Also coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall: "The Orchestra," made up of members of Electric Light Orchestra, on Jan. 14. Ambrosia will open. Tickets are $48.75 and up. Click here. …

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Steve Martin, Martin Short coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

For a couple of comedy legends, Steve Martin and Martin Short are surprisingly familiar faces in Tampa Bay.

Martin's brought his bluegrass band to the Mahaffey Theater in 2013, and Short has performed twice at Ruth Eckerd Hall since 2008. And in 2014, they came to the Mahaffey together for a night of fun and games. 

Now they're bringing their joint roadshow back to Tampa Bay, this time to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Feb. 11. Tickets start at $100.25, and will go on sale Saturday. Click here for details.

The actors and occasional co-stars (Three Amigos, Father of the Bride) will trade stories, banter with the audience and each other, and generally offer more laughs than Martin has given paying audiences since largely quitting stand-up years ago. Any chance you get to see either of them live is one not to be missed, so to catch them both together is a treat.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Review: Dixie Chicks dynamic, unapologetic as ever at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

The Dixie Chicks performed at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Aug. 19, 2016.

Jay Cridlin

The Dixie Chicks performed at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Aug. 19, 2016.

This just in: Natalie Maines wants to say she’s sorry.

“I’m just going to make some apologies,” the Dixie Chicks singer told the crowd of 16,000 Friday at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, just before playing Don’t Let Me Die in Florida, a rollicking Patty Griffin cover that’s not so kind to the Sunshine State.

“I just wanted to say we all love Florida – the beaches, the sunshine,” she continued. “I have no explanation for Patty and her reasons for the song, but me, for this song, I’m drawn to the melody and the groove.”

You were expecting something else? An apology for We’re-Ashamed-The-President-Is-From-Texas-Gate, maybe? Yeah, no chance.

Thirteen years after Maines, Emily Strayer and Martie Maguire became Nashville pariahs, the Dixie Chicks still aren’t ready to make nice with their haters – and judging from their dynamic performance Friday night, they don’t need to. …

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