SoundBytes: Benny Benassi, Yandel, Kool Keith, Tony Lucca and more

-- Burgeoning EDM hotspot Hogan's Beach has announced another big-time show by another big-time DJ. Benny Benassi, one of the headliners of this spring's Sunset Music Festival, will perform at Hogan's on Nov. 16. Ticket details are still in the works, but click here for info.

-- Latin station 92.5 Maxima is plotting a big "Herencia Hispana" concert for Oct. 12 at Coachman Park in Clearwater. So far, the only headliner announced is Puerto Rican reggaeton star Yandel, but we'll keep you posted. In the meantime, tickets are $14.02-$70.09. Click here.

-- Genre-bending rapper and producer Kool Keith is coming to Dunedin Brewery -- a supremely odd venue, but we'll take it. Click here for details.

-- Hogan's Beach isn't the only club in town honing its EDM game these days. Drynk in SoHo has shows coming up by Paper Diamond (Aug. 29) and Danny Avila (Sept. 19). Click here for their calendar.

-- Nerdcore rappers MC Chris and MC Lars will bring their geek-tastic game back to Ybor City on Nov. 16 for a show at Crowbar. Tickets are $13. Click here. …

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This week in Tampa: Tori Amos, Anthony Hamilton, Southern Darkness Fest and more

It's back-to-school week across Tampa Bay, which may explain why we've got a slightly lighter-than-usual concert calendar this week. It may also explain why we're squeezing in three end-of-summer festivals, including the metal-heavy Southern Darkness Fest, the punkish Under The Covers festival and the Tampa Urban Music Festival, featuring Anthony Hamilton, above.

For the rest of this week's concert picks -- including Tori Amos, Slash, Cash Cash, Crocodiles, Donavon Frankenreiter and more -- here's Ray Roa...

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Ticket Window: Brantley Gilbert, Martina McBride, Gin Blossoms and more

This week's edition of Ticket Window features shows by a couple of big country names, Brantley Gilbert and Martina McBride, but '90s rock fans will be excited about an upcoming gig by one of the decade's most underappreciated acts, the Gin Blossoms. Seriously, how can you resist Found Out About You, Hey Jealousy or Til I Hear It From You?

Tampa Bay concerts with tickets going on sale this week include: Ab-Soul (Sept. 17, Orpheum), Whitechapel (Oct. 16, Orpheum), Destroyer Fest (Nov. 15, State Theatre), The Birthday Massacre (Nov. 19, Orpheum), Gin Blossoms (Nov. 20, Capitol Theatre), Clockwork Indigo, a.k.a. Flatbush Zombies and the Underachievers (Nov. 21, Orpheum) Issues (Dec. 11, State Theatre), Brantley Gilbert (Dec. 12, Tampa Bay Times Forum), The Acacia Strain (Dec. 16, Orpheum), Martina McBride (Jan. 24, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (Jan. 28, Ruth Eckerd Hall) and Leon Russell (Jan. 31, Capitol Theatre).

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

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Artist of the day: The Pals

Jennifer Martin Photography

The Pals are Clearwater quartet of mid 20-somethings who deliver catchy, sing-along, stick-in-your-head melodies. Their music teeters on the edges of traditionalism and modernism, taking listeners to a place that sounds simultaneously familiar and foreign — think the sonic foundations of Copeland and Death Cab For Cutie coupled with the intimacy of an acoustic guitar passed between friends on a front porch on a weekend evening.

The Pals are Adrienne Kidwell, piano and vocals; Joey Sarlo, guitar and vocals; Eric Sarlo, bass; and Andy Thomas on drums. They took a break from rehearsing one evening to introduce themselves to us.
How did the Pals come to be?

Kidwell: Most of us have actually known each other since we were kids, and we’ve always done music together in different fashions at church and just for fun. Me and Joey started writing some songs together, and it eventually became a band, and we started really doin’ it.

Is your subject matter religious?

Kidwell: I’m Christian, so it comes from my worldview, but it’s just about life in general and anything anybody would come in contact with.

Tell us more about your songwriting technique. …

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Review: Toto, Michael McDonald showcase stellar '70s chops at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

Toto's Steve Lukather

Rob Shanahan

Toto's Steve Lukather

It may be one of the heaviest burdens for a pop culture critic to bear. But I’m ready to let go of the weight and expose my soul to the world right here.

My name is Eric Deggans. And I’m a Toto fan.

Get the sneers out of the way now; the snide references to the lack of recent chart hits, their status as slick session players in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, and the suffocating visibility of VH1-style soft rock tunes like Africa and I’ll Be Over You.

None of that matters. Because if you’d joined the 1,716 faithful who saw the band’s Tuesday stop at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater with Michael McDonald, you’d realize Toto remains one of rock’s tightest and sharpest rock bands, building a 35-plus-year history on an unexpected mix of melodic hits and genre-bending musical workouts.Full Story

Reviews: Benjamin Booker, 'Benjamin Booker;' Merchandise, 'After the End;' Set and Setting, 'A Vivid Memory'

Benjamin Booker.

Photo by Max Norton

Benjamin Booker.

These are supremely heady days for the Tampa Bay music scene. Three of the area’s highest-profile acts in recent years are releasing albums on back-to-back-to-back weeks, all on national or international labels, all accompanied by the sort of cool-kid buzz that rarely makes its way to Florida.

On Tuesday, blues-rock whiz kid Benjamin Booker released his self-titled debut on ATO Records, home to My Morning Jacket, Alabama Shakes and Drive-By Truckers. Next week, underground New Wavers Merchandise will release After the End on 4AD, home to Bon Iver, The National and Iron and Wine. And on Sept. 2, St. Petersburg post-metal quintet Set and Setting will drop A Vivid Memory via L.A.’s Prosthetic Records, which has released albums by Lamb of God, Gojira and Testament.

Here’s a look at each new release.


Benjamin Booker, 'Benjamin Booker’ (ATO)

Release date: Aug. 18

Last year, it looked like Booker was a shoe-in to become Tampa’s long-awaited big, breakout artist. Then he and drummer/co-conspirator Max Norton packed up and took their game to New Orleans. Oh well. Hard to argue the move didn’t work out for them, considering Booker, 22, has since toured with Jack White, performed on Conan and Letterman and been named the “suavest new kid in Southern rock” by GQ.Full Story

SoundBytes: Slash, Gin Blossoms, Tove Lo and more

Busch Gardens

-- The All-American Rejects performed at Busch Gardens over the weekend, and they got a nice little bonus for their troubles -- a sneak peek at the long-delayed Falcon's Fury ride, which must finally be close to opening. Busch Gardens tweeted out a photo of the band on the ride over the weekend.

-- Slash is coming to Tampa next week! But if you want to see him, you need to be lucky. The legendary guitarist will play an intimate acoustic set on Aug. 27 at the Hard Rock Cafe inside the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino along with vocalist Myles Kennedy, but it's a private, invite-only affair. If you want to get in, you better listen to 98 Rock or head to their website.

-- Speaking of radio shows: 97X has announced its next free "Up For Whatever" concert -- alt-pop singer Tove Lo on Sept. 8 at the State Theatre. Tickets are free, but you need one to get in. Click here for ticket drop times and locations. …

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Brantley Gilbert to headline 'Throwdown by the Bay' at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa

Has Brantley Gilbert finally risen to the ranks of arena-caliber country singers on the strength of smash singles Bottoms Up and Small Town Throwdown?

Possibly. Or maybe the young hitmaker is simply the lucky beneficiary of country station US-103.5's decision to get into the holiday-festival game with the "Throwdown By the Bay," set for Dec. 12 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Gilbert will headline the concert, which will also feature Tyler Farr, Colt Ford, Parmalee and Chase Bryant. Singer-songwriter John King will play a free set on the plaza outside the Forum before the show. That's a nice range of artists, from hip hop-infused "bro country" to sweet, Southern bluegrass-tinged rock, so it could have a well-rounded festival feel. Still, a Friday-night show with Brantley Gilbert is bound to get wild anyway.

Tickets are $29.75-$43, and they go on sale Friday. Click here for details.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*


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Vince Neil's shoddy vocals buzzkill otherwise dumb-fun Mötley Crüe farewell in Tampa

Vince Neil interacts with the crowd during the Mötley Crüe Final Farewell Tour on Sunday night at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa.


Vince Neil interacts with the crowd during the Mötley Crüe Final Farewell Tour on Sunday night at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa.

TAMPA — We can only hope this really IS the end of Mötley Crüe, that this current "farewell tour" doesn't turn into one-more-money-grubbing-time a few hard years down Regret Road. Let this truly be the last time we all shout, shout, shout at the devil, okay? And I say that from the bottom of my suburban-dirtball headbanging heart.

Because the L.A. grunts who sold out the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre Sunday — once the world's most dangerous band, four party stars who earned the right to be dead by now — were less than flammable, less than fiery in their goodbye show, no matter how much pyro they launched into the night sky. They used to be...threatening. Not anymore. Oh, it wasn't awful; it wasn't dull for the 20,000 or so on hand, not with Tommy Lee's four-story roller-coaster drum kit and bassist Nikki Sixx, who looks like a shaved Sasquatch, keeping things profane. (Sixx's best line: "I promise you this, our music is going to haunt you 'til the [really bad word] day you die." Hooray?) …

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Photos: The Wilson Van, Patrick Wilson rock for a cause at 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg

From left: Mark, Paul and Patrick Wilson of The Wilson Van perform at 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg on Aug. 16, 2014.

Jay Cridlin

From left: Mark, Paul and Patrick Wilson of The Wilson Van perform at 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg on Aug. 16, 2014.

How do you know you've made it as a band? You have your own beer.

At St. Petersburg's 3 Daughters Brewing on Saturday, "The Wilson Van Ale'n" was flowing freely as The Wilson Van -- a St. Petersburg supergroup comprised of siblings Patrick, Mark and Paul Wilson -- played one of their rare hometown gigs in a concert benefitting Academy Prep in St. Pete.

Patrick, the Emmy- and Tony-nominated actor, played drums, a little guitar and split lead vocals with his brother Paul, a St. Pete advertising executive. Mark, an anchor for WTVT-Ch. 13, handled lead guitar. They worked through their usual repertoire of Van Halen standards (Panama, Hot For Teacher, Jump) along with a few left-field covers, including Avicii's Wake Me Up and Duran Duran's Rio. They even persuaded their father, WTVT-Ch. 13 lead anchor John Wilson -- a renowned singer in his own right -- to come up on stage and sing with Patrick on Tom Jones' Delilah.

Hundreds of fans packed the brewery for the music and the beer, including actress Jenna Elfman, who happens to be in town. Check out a slideshow of photos from the show by clicking on the headline of this post.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*Full Story

tbt*'s Ultimate Bar Guide: Here are 6 local music clubs we love

Rich Whiteley performs at the Ale and the Witch.

Luis Santana

Rich Whiteley performs at the Ale and the Witch.

For this year's tbt* Ultimate Bar Guide, we compiled 100 reasons we love going to bars in Tampa Bay. Part of that list? Six awesome bars that celebrate different aspects of Tampa Bay's vibrant musical culture.

To be clear, this isn't a comprehensive list of local joints that offer great local music, so you won't see awesome places like New World Brewery, Crowbar and Fubar. It's just six that we love and decided to spotlight: The Ale and the Witch, the Orpheum, the Pelican Pub, the Hideaway Cafe, Uncle Mike's Smokehouse Grill and the Brass Mug. Click here to read about them all.

Elsewhere in this year's bar guide, you'll find items on tons more local music hangouts: The Hub, the Amphitheatre, The Bends, Octave, Hogan's Beach, Mermaid Tavern, Gaspar's Grotto, Shephard's Beach Resort and more. Click here to read it. And while you're there, check out the awesome interactive scavenger hunt we put together about Skipper's Smokehouse!Full Story

Arrested Development, Digital Underground's Shock G set for Labor Day weekend at Shephard's Beach Resort in Clearwater Beach

Every year around Labor Day, Shephard's Beach Resort takes it back to the old school for their Old Skool Labor Day Party, bringing in all your favorite hot, sweaty hip-hop acts from the '80s and '90s. It's always a scene (just look at these pics of Coolio from

This year's Old Skool Labor Day Party headliners have just been announced: Tennessee and Mr. Wendal hip-hop collective Arrested Development and Humpty Dance hitmaker Shock G of Digital Underground, both performing on Saturday, Aug. 30. Tickets are on sale now for a supremely reasonable $12, which is probably less than you paid for your MTV Party to Go Vol. 2 CD back in the day. Click here to get 'em.

On Monday, Sept. 1, Shephard's will bring in DJ Vicetone. The party is free, but packages for hotel rooms and/or VIP entry start at $129. Click here.

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Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor unveils schedule; here's when to see Less Than Jake, Screaming Females and more

Less Than Jake

Less Than Jake

For the second straight year, Gainesville's punk bacchanal known as Fest will kick off with a two-day mini-festival in Tampa, Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor on Oct. 29-30.

The lineup has been mostly set for a while, but not the schedule. Today, we found out when many of the biggest names will be performing, and also got a few more interesting details worth passing on. Among them:

-- You can find the entire two-day scheudle of some 75 bands here, but some of the highlights and headliners that Wednesday and Thursday include Less Than Jake (12:40 a.m. Thursday, Orpheum), Screaming Females (12:30 a.m. Thursday, Crowbar), the Menzingers (11:40 p.m. Thursday, Orpheum), Cheap Girls (11:30 p.m. Thursday, Crowbar), Tim Barry (10:30 p.m. Thursday, Crowbar), Strike Anywhere  (12:20 a.m. Wednesday, Orpheum) and A Wilhelm Scream (11:20 p.m. Wednesday, Orpheum). …

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Funk Fest lineup: Bobby Brown, Fantasia, Maze and Frankie Beverly coming to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

Funk Fest, the Southeast's semi-annual roadshow of all things R&B, hip-hop and old-school soul, hasn't had the best run in Tampa Bay.

Following a couple of troubled years in St. Pete's Vinoy Park, it moved to Tampa's Curtis Hixon Park -- a smooth transition, in our estimation -- in spring of 2013, then things went quiet for most of 2014.

Now, though, Funk Fest has unveiled its plans for a fall Tampa date, and it includes yet another change of venue.

Funk Fest 2014 will take place Oct. 18 in the North lot of Raymond James Stadium, with a lineup that includes Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Fantasia, 112, Doug E. Fresh and three members of New Edition: Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill. More acts are expected to be announced.

Tickets are on sale now starting at $37 for general admission, all the way up for $117 for VIP (prices go up the day of the show). Click here to get 'em.

Good for Funk Fest coming back and all, but we should say, have you SEEN the lineup for Funk Fest Charlotte? Outkast, LL Cool J, War, the Roots, Morris Day and the Time, Salt-N-Pepa, Fantasia, B.o.B., Doug E. Fresh and 112. Holy geez!

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Artist of the day: Southern Train

They could've been called Band of Brokers, these commercial real estate executives who dusted off the guitars of their teen years and started jamming. It was after the real estate collapse, so they had plenty of time on their hands.

"There wasn't a lot to do back in '08 and '09 but drink beer and play music,'' said Bill Reeves, 45, one of the founders of the band Southern Train.

But what started off as just something to do has turned into a regional success. They've performed at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Skipper's Smokehouse and the Bourbon & Brews Festival, and they were one of the groups opening for Los Lonely Boys at the Tampa Margarita Festival in May.

These real estate rockers, who crank out a range from Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love to Willie Nelson's Whiskey River, are set to play at the grand opening of Water Works Park in Tampa on Saturday.

For more on Southern Train, click here for Philip Morgan's story.

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