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Review: Death Grips blaze through quick, chaotic set at St. Petersburg's State Theatre

Death Grips performed at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on Oct. 8, 2015.

Jay Cridlin

Death Grips performed at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on Oct. 8, 2015.

Trolls, art-punks, nihilists, agents of unbridled chaos: Call Death Grips what you will, but at least they know the value of a good night’s sleep.

Why else would one of the punk world’s most antagonistic bands wrap up Thursday’s sold-out concert at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg at a little-old-lady-like 9:30 p.m., early enough to catch the last half of Project Runway? Who could’ve seen that coming?

Then again, anyone who expects normalcy from Death Grips is dreaming. This is a band that, over the last five years, has ripped up record contracts, ditched major tours, no-showed for gigs, leaked their own albums and, technically, broken up — although since their supposed split in 2014, they’ve already released a ferocious double album, The Powers That B, and embarked on one of their most extensive tours yet. Retirement, it seems, doesn't suit them.

So why were waves of young fans packing the State Theatre by 8 p.m. for a gig with no opening act? Pretty simple: When Death Grips announces a rare show in your town, it means an hour of relentlessly punishing noise and fury, the likes of which you may never see again. All you can do is hope they show.Full Story

Empress Of cancels Saturday's free concert at the Bends in St. Petersburg

Empress Of

The Windish Agency

Empress Of

For the second straight day, a cool Saturday club show in Tampa Bay has been called off.

A day after Thrushes postponed their record release show at New World Brewery due to injury, New York indie pop artist Empress Of has called off her free show on Saturday at the Bends in St. Petersburg. No reason was immediately given. But hey, at least it was a free show, so there’s no need to ask for your money back.

Bummer, because this was going to be a sneaky-cool show for the ’Burg. Empress Of’s Me was recently named Best New Music by Pitchfork, and her single Standard was recently named Best New Track. Not a bad endorsement for a free Saturday-night show at one of Tampa Bay’s hippest watering holes.

The big winner amid all these cancelations: The Mountain Goats, whose concert at the Orpheum is suddenly the biggest show left standing on Saturday. Click here for details.

-- Jay Cridlin

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This week in Tampa: Big Sean, Drive-By Truckers, Insane Clown Posse, Mountain Goats and more

We're dividing things up a little differently for this week's This Week In Tampa. There are so many amazing club shows happening this week that Jay Cridlin broke a bunch of them down, including Death Grips, Ghost, Mountain Goats, Vintage Trouble, Empress Of and Toro y Moi. Click here for the details on all those shows.

As for the rest -- including Big Sean (above), Insane Clown Posse, Drive-By Truckers, Don Williams, Datsik, King Dude, Zomboy, Griz, Overkill, Paul Thorn, New Kingston, Smallpools, Galantis and the opening night of the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, including Gladys Knight and the O'Jays -- Ray Roa's got you covered after the jump...Full Story

Safety Harbor's Robin Zander, Cheap Trick among Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday announced its 15 nominees for induction in 2016. And while the Internet may be buzzing about the chances of Janet Jackson, Nine Inch Nails and N.W.A., here in Tampa Bay, we should be celebrating one nominee above all others:

Safety Harbor's Robin Zander.

Yes, Cheap Trick may be forever associated with Rockford, Ill. (and, of course, Tokyo), but lead singer Zander moved here long ago, and has been something of a staple of the scene ever since. His Robin Zander Band pops up in small venues like St. Petersburg's Hideaway Cafe, and his son Robin Taylor, is an aspiring musician in his own right.

Though they've been eligible since 2002, this, amazingly, is Cheap Trick's first Rock Hall nomination. While the Surrender power-pop road warriors have a long and influential legacy -- Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer are among their many fans -- induction is no sure thing. There's a fan poll at that keeps changing by the hour, but Cheap Trick are currently eighth in the voting, behind contemporaries like the Cars and Steve Miller. …

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Ticket Window: 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball, Sunshine Music Festival and more

We're less than a month from the first show at the revamped Ferg's Sports Bar in St. Petersburg, and this week the venue got busy booking shows, with three announcements in the past few days: Blue Oyster Cult on Nov. 13, Darryl Worley and Jason Michael Carroll on Dec. 4 and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony with Mike Jones (above) on Dec. 11.

Other Tampa Bay concerts and events with tickets going on sale this week: Blue Oyster Cult (Nov. 13, Ferg's Sports Bar), Dumpstaphunk (Nov. 20, Crowbar), Darryl Worley and Jason Michael Carroll (Dec. 4, Ferg's Sports Bar), Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Mike Jones (Dec. 11, Ferg's Sports Bar), Kim Walker-Smith (Dec. 17, USF Sun Dome), the 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball with 5 Seconds of Summer and Demi Lovato (Dec. 19, Amalie Arena), the Sunshine Music Festival with Tedeschi Trucks Band and Indigo Girls (Jan. 16, Vinoy Park), The Book of Mormon (Feb. 16-21, Ruth Eckerd Hall) and the Harlem Globetrotters (March 2, Amalie Arena).

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

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Olga Tanon, Jerry Rivera, Gente de Zona top lineup for 92.5 Maxima's Hispanic Heritage concert

More than 13,000 Latin music fans are expected to hit Clearwater's Coachman Park on Sunday for one of the biggest local festivals you've probably never heard of: The 92.5 Maxima Concierto de la Herencia Hispana.

The 10th annual festival has become a sensation in Tampa Bay's Latin community, drawing names like Yandel, Tito "El Bambino" and Toby Love to Clearwater.

This year's lineup includes Grammy-winning singer Olga Tanon, Puerto Rican 1990s sensation Jerry Rivera and Cuban reggaeton group Gente de Zona, above. Joining them are J Alvarez, Leslie Grace and Gocho. Tickets are $20-$25, and free for children under 10. Click here for details.

For the full details on the concert, click here for Piper Castillo's story.

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Thrushes cancel Saturday's concert at New World Brewery in Ybor City


David Norbut


Thrushes aren't a household-name band by any means, but their new album Exposing Seas is absolutely worth a listen. Not only is it a melodic, dreamy excursion from the shoegaze haze of a lot of modern indie rock, it was released on Tampa's New Granada Records, which was planning to host a record release party for the Baltimore band on Saturday at New World Brewery.

Bad news, though: Thrushes have had to cancel due to a pretty nasty injury.

In a statement, New Granada said drummer Scott Tiemann suffered an "unforeseen (and pretty awful) inner ear (accident) involving a table saw and wood chips." Ugh. On Facebook, the band promised to "reschedule and be there again soon."

In the meantime, the show goes on with the two planned support acts, Tampa Bay's own Pohgoh and Geri X, who are worth the price of admission by themselves. Tickets are now $7 for the show at 9 p.m. Saturday. Click here.

And who knows? Maybe the good folks at New Granada will still have a couple of copies of Exposing Seas for sale there, too.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Mel Brooks talks 'Blazing Saddles,' a Broadway adaptation, being remembered and more

Mel Brooks is having quite an 89th year, being reminded everywhere he goes that he's a comedy legend whose trickle-down genius inspires countless comedians, and that millions love him.

Brooks sounds like he isn't buying it.

"America is wrong," he said by telephone, raspy and rascally as ever. "Somebody, the populace, everybody's wrong."

About what?

"At this age there's something wrong about all this (adoration)," Brooks said. "I should've been forgotten, completely. Time passes, we remember only a few, like Mark Twain, you know?"

Brooks is being modest. On Oct. 14, he'll visit Tampa's David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts for a screening and Q&A of "my funniest film," Blazing Saddles. He'll tell "odd little stories about the who and what" of creating a comedy masterpiece. Click here for details on the show.

For more of Steve Persall's interview with Mel Brooks, click here.

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One of Ghost's 'Nameless Ghouls' talks Satanism, Swedish pop, Tom Petty, anonymity and more

It’s a safe bet the Swedish metal band Ghost will never play the Vatican. But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t like to visit.

“I’ve always wanted to go, because I think it’s beautiful, the architecture and everything,” said one of Ghost’s anonymous guitarists, calling from a tour stop in Philadelphia a mere two days after Pope Francis left town. “I’d love to visit Jerusalem as well, and really dig into that. It’s an important for many people. It does have a presence of spirituality, whether I’m into it or not, whether I believe in God or not.”

Is it surprising to hear a member of Ghost talk this way about spirituality? Not really. The group clearly appreciates the trappings of religiosity — just look at their frontman, Papa Emeritus III, the ghastly, mitre-topped singer who wails Satanic lyrics over dynamic, Iron Maiden-like riffs.

This mythology and mystery are precisely what have made Ghost, who play Tampa’s Ritz Ybor on Sunday, one of the most intriguing metal bands around. Despite a rigid adherence to anonymity — its members prefer to be known simply as “Nameless Ghouls” — Ghost has legions of fans worldwide, including rock heavyweights like Dave Grohl. …

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WQYK Guitar Pull: Hunter Hayes, Lee Brice, more coming to the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg

Hunter Hayes

Hunter Hayes

Now that every radio station in town has a year-end festival, you've got to get pretty creative to stand out.

The inaugural WQYK Guitar Pull certainly qualifies.

The country station is bringing a handful of country superstars to a relatively intimate venue, the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, for a night of stripped-down magic: "Just the stars and their guitars," the station promises.

Those stars: Hunter Hayes, Lee Brice, Lady Antebellum frontman Charles Kelley, Eric Paslay, Maddie and Tae and Jerrod Niemann. That's a huge host of hitmaking talent, most of whom are used to playing venues much larger. To hear them all stripped down, accompanied by only an acoustic guitar? Talk about a Nashville dream.

The event is Nov. 18 at the Mahaffey Theater. Ticket prices haven't been announced, but will go on sale Oct. 12. Click here for details.

The best part? WQYK-99.5 promises this is "the beginning of a new country tradition in Tampa Bay." Let's hope so.

-- Jay Cridlin

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SoundBytes: JoJo, Hollywood Undead, Doyle, Killing Joke and more

-- How often does a onetime teen-pop sensation perform at a club like the State Theatre? It'll happen on Dec. 10 as JoJo (Leave (Get Out), Too Little Too Late) comes to St. Pete. Tickets to see her are just $21-$23, so hop on it when they go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. Click here.

-- Also coming to the State Theatre is a very different sort of idol: Herculean Misfits guitarist Doyle on Nov. 28. Tickets are $16. Click here.

-- And one more State Theatre show to share: Hollywood Undead on Nov. 13. Tickets are $25-$30. Click here.

-- Post-punk and industrial icons Killing Joke are coming to the Orpheum on Jan. 15. They'll be joined by the Soft Moon. Tickets are $22 and up. Click here.

-- Christian music superstar Kim Walker-Smith is bringing her Christmas tour to the USF Sun Dome on Dec. 17. Tickets are $28-$38 (kids 10 and under are $12.50), and they go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- Rapper Robb Bank$, recently seen opening for Earl Sweatshirt at the Orpheum, will return there on Nov. 14 for a concert with IndigoChildRick, wifisfuneral and more. Tickets are $15-$50. Click here. …

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2016 Jingle Ball lineup: Demi Lovato, 5 Seconds of Summer, Nick Jonas, Zedd coming to Tampa's Amalie Arena

5 Seconds of Summer

Luis Santana

5 Seconds of Summer

The wait is over: Tampa has its 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball lineup for 2016.

Demi Lovato, 5 Seconds of Summer, Zedd and Nick Jonas top the bill at Tampa's sixth annual Jingle Ball, one of 10 happening around the country in 2016. Joining them are Tove Lo, Shawn Mendes, Charlie Puth, Hailee Steinfeld, R. City, Conrad Sewell, Alessia Cara and DNCE. This year's event is slated for Dec. 19 at Tampa's Amalie Arena.

So who didn't Tampa get in this year's Jingle Ball rally? Among the artists performing at other Jingle Balls around the country: One Direction, The Weeknd, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Ellie Goulding, Calvin Harris, Fall Out Boy and Becky G. (But hey, The Weeknd IS playing Amalie Arena two days before the Jingle Ball on Dec. 17! Hooray!)

Click here for our story on the 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball lineup.

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Tampa Bay Blues Festival lineup: Aaron Neville, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, more

Next year's Tampa Bay Blues Festival will bring a little N'awlins soul magic to Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg.

Aaron Neville is among the initial headliners announced for Tampa Bay Blues Fest 2016. He'll be joined by guitar whizzes Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Walter Trout and many more.

Next year's fest runs April 8-10 at Vinoy Park. Through Dec. 31, discount tickets are available for each day of the festival, plus a kickoff party on April 7 at the Palladium in St. Pete. Let's look at the daily lineup and ticket options:

April 7: A kickoff party will take place at 8 p.m. the Thursday before the festival at the Palladium, with Victor Wainwright and the WildRoots as your headliner. Tickets are $20.

April 8: Shepherd, most recently seen opening for Van Halen at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, headlines the festival's opening night, and he'll be joined by Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, Victor Wainwright, Biscuit Miller and the Reba Russell Band. Tickets are $30 ($200 VIP). There's also an after-party at the Palladium with Miller, Castro and Russell. Tickets to that one are $20. …

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Sunshine Music Festival lineup: Tedeschi Trucks Band, Indigo Girls, Trombone Shorty and more

Tedeschi Trucks Band headlined the 2015 Sunshine Music and Blues Festival in Vinoy Park.

Jay Cridlin

Tedeschi Trucks Band headlined the 2015 Sunshine Music and Blues Festival in Vinoy Park.

Now entering its fourth year, Live Nation's strategy of conquering the Tampa Bay music market with three new festivals has been hit and miss.

The Funshine/Big Guava Music Festival has been up-and-down over its first three years, with one name change and some unfortunate weather putting a dent in attendance, and leading to some real question marks about 2016.

The Coastline/Coral Skies Music Festival also endured a name change, and was ditched entirely for 2015.

The Sunshine Music Festival has also undergone a name change (it used to be called Sunshine Music and Blues), but otherwise, it's rolling right along in St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Last year's festival drew its biggest crowd yet, thanks to a cohesive-feeling lineup of jam bands, Southern blues and soul, classic rock and even a little indie rock.

Sunshine's 2016 lineup, unveiled Monday, is as strong and diverse as ever, topped by festival co-organizers Tedeschi Trucks Band, above. …

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Selena Gomez coming to Amway Center in Orlando

A couple of teen-queen singers have new albums coming out this month -- Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato. And at least one of them is on her way to Central Florida.

Gomez has announced plans for a 41-city "Revival Tour" across North America next spring and summer, and while Tampa didn't make the list, Orlando did. The Good For You singer will hit Amway Center on June 10.

A pre-sale for Citi card holders and customers of Gomez's online store can partake in a pre-sale starting at 9 a.m. Oct. 13; otherwise, tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Oct. 17 via Ticketmaster. Tickets are $48.50-$76. Click here for details.

The release did say more cities will be unveiled later, but don't hold your breath for a summer show in Tampa -- she's playing Atlanta June 9, Orlando June 10, Miami June 11 and New Orleans June 14. That doesn't leave a lot of time to squeeze in one more show.

In the meantime: Your move, Demi!

-- Jay Cridlin

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