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Tampa's Uncle John's Band heads to Chicago for Grateful Dead 'Fare Thee Well' concerts

John Pendygraft

Today at Soldier Field in Chicago, the four core surviving members of the Grateful Dead -- Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart -- will kick off their three-night "Fare Thee Well," a stand billed as the Dead's final shows ever.

Just across the street, at Chicago's Field Museum, long-running Tampa Grateful Dead tribute act Uncle John's Band will headline a four-hour pre-show VIP party before each night's show. 

Talk about your tasty gigs.

“I never thought, after seeing the Grateful Dead when I was a 16-year-old kid in 1973, that all these years later I’d actually be part of their last performance,” said bassist and lifelong Deadhead Mike Edwards, who co-founded the group in 1989. “If you were to lie down in a field of grass, with the blue sky and clouds over your head, and a little piece of grass in your hand, and you could daydream your absolute daydream, that would be it.”

For more on Uncle John's Band's trip to Chicago -- and the long, strange trip of Mike Edwards' life with the Grateful Dead -- click here.

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SoundBytes: Sister Hazel, Beres Hammond, Breathe Carolina, GTA and more

-- The Tampa Bay Rays have added Sister Hazel to their 2015 postgame concert series. The Gainesville rockers will perform following the Sept. 19 game against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field. Click here for details.

-- Several new shows coming to Jannus Live over the next few months: DJ duo GTA on Aug. 15 (tickets are $30-$40, click here), reggae legend Beres Hammond on Aug. 21 (tickets are $30-$50, click here) and country singer Corey Smith on Oct. 3 (tickets are $22-$27, click here).

-- Arizona alt-rockers Lydia, recently seen at the Big Guava Music Festival, are coming to Crowbar on Sept. 23. Tickets are $15-$17. Click here.

-- Breathe Carolina are returning to the State Theatre on Aug. 4. Tickets are $17. Click here.

-- Hip hop duo Blackalicious is coming to the State Theatre on Aug. 12. Tickets are $21. Click here.

-- Electric Six and Yip Deceiver are coming to the Orpheum on Oct. 5. Tickets are $13-$15. Click here.

-- Haujobb is coming to the Orpheum on Sept. 8 with Alter Der Ruine, Negative Format and DJ Griffin of Communion After Dark. Tickets are $18-$25. Click here.

-- Jay Cridlin

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This week in Tampa: Vans Warped Tour, American Idol Live!, Shinedown, Shaggy and more

Welcome to a slightly revamped version of This Week In Tampa! From this week forward, Times Pop Music/Culture Critic Jay Cridlin and tbt* music contributor Ray Roa will collaborate on the week's top music picks around Tampa Bay. And there are a lot of 'em!

This week, Jay and Ray delve into American Idol Live!, Shinedown (above), Shaggy, The Fixx, mewithoutYou, Caked Up, Superheaven, Paul Oakenfold and more. We also dig into St. Pete's Vans Warped Tour and Ybor City's annual Hot Dog Party on Friday, both of which will feature lupine St. Pete punks Wolf-Face. Click here for Jay's preview of those shows.

Get more from Ray and Jay after the jump...Full Story

Nick Fradiani talks about the business side of winning 'American Idol,' writing new music and more

If you spent time at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort in the late ’80s or early ’90s, you may have bumped into a future American Idol.

“My family stayed in St. Pete every single summer of my life, from when I was I don’t know how old,” said Nick Fradiani, whose father, a professional musician, used to take summer gigs playing piano at the resort. “There are videos of me singing at the TradeWinds when I was like 4 years old.”

Oh, what those videos would go for today. Fradiani was crowned American Idol’s 14th champion in May, and he’ll headline the annual American Idol Live! tour, which kicks off a 37-date run at Clearwater’s Ruth Eckerd Hall on Tuesday (click here for details).

The Connecticut native wowed Idol crowds, judges and voters with his assured voice, sylish rock persona and, perhaps most of all, his poise. At 29, he’d already spent years kicking around the music business, achieving decent success with his band Beach Avenue, which in 2014 competed on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. He’s the second-oldest contestant to win American Idol, just behind Taylor Hicks; he is, in fact, four years older than Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks today. …

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Original Wailers, Tonic, Everlast, more coming to ROC Park in Madeira Beach

So this new waterfront park in Madeira Beach really seems to be coming into its own as a concert destination, huh?

A couple of weeks ago, ROC Park ("ROC" stands for "Remember Our Children") hosted this year's Summerland Tour with Everclear, the Toadies, Fuel and more. And in August, it'll host one of the most anticipated outdoor festivals of the summer, with Culture Club, Howard Jones, C+C Music Factory and more.

In between, we've got the Rock and Reggae Beach Bash on July 24. Headlining this event are reggae greats the Original Wailers, House of Pain frontman Everlast, pop-rockers Tonic (above) and metal outfit Saliva. Tickets to this show are $27.50-$69.95, and they're on sale now via Ticketfly. Click here.

I checked out the scene during the Everclear concert. At the time, there was still quite a bit of construction going on, and parking was a bit of a nightmare -- the best option seemed to be parking at Madeira Beach for $10 and taking a shuttle. The parts of the park that were completed looked good, as did the stage itself, although there wasn't much shade anywhere. Thankfully, umbrellas will be allowed at the Beach Bash, provided they don't block anyone's view.

-- Jay Cridlin

 

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Vance Joy to play free concert at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

Darren Anekmann

Do you love free stuff? Do you love that song Riptide? Do you love Vance Joy, but don't feel like braving the screaming throngs at this Halloween's Taylor Swift concert to see him?

This show is for you.

Joy, the Australian singer-songwriter behind the smash pop hit Riptide, will headline the latest free 97X Shindig concert on July 22 at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg. All you have to do is show up at one of the station's many ticket drops across Tampa Bay between now and the show, and entry is yours (although be forewarned, these shows tend to fill up fast, so get there early).

As a bonus, opening the show is Tennessee-via-L.A. guitar-slinger Meg Myers, whose brand of raw, angsty rock has made her a critical favorite. Top to bottom, it's one of the more interesting Shindig lineups of late.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Juicy J cancels Sunday's concert at the Ritz Ybor in Tampa

It's hard out there for a pimp. And for Juicy J fans in Tampa, it just got a whole lot harder.

The Three 6 Mafia rapper has canceled Sunday's concert at the Ritz Ybor in Tampa, according to announcements from the venue and promoters Dope Entertainment. However, his show in Orlando on June 26 is still a go.

Dope says the Tampa show was canceled "due to personal reasons beyond his control. ... We apologize, but please understand this situation was out of (our) control. Thank you for your understanding."

According to Dope, your Tampa ticket will be good at the Friday show in Orlando, if you choose to use it that way. Or you can get refunds via email if you purchased through Ticketweb. Click here for info.

-- Jay Cridlin

 

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Tampa music scene rallying around local producer, guitarist Steve Connelly

Sophia Nahli Allison

Steve Connelly has for decades been among the Tampa Bay music scene's most ubiquitous personalities. As a guitarist, he was signed to a national label, appeared on the Tonight Show, played a stadium with the Grateful Dead. As a producer, he's brought life to hundreds of songs at his Zen Recording in Pinellas Park by artists like Ronny Elliott, Rebekah Pulley and Have Gun, Will Travel.

This year, musicians are giving back to Connelly at a time he needs it most. He has hepatitis C, a diagnosis he chalks up to "the decadence of the punk rock era," and which resulted in cirrhosis of the liver. He's awaiting a transplant that could come as early as this summer. And in March, a ceiling collapsed at Zen, effectively halting Connelly's livelihood.

Connelly's musician friends launched a GoFundMe campaign that has raised more than $12,000 since March, much of it from other cash-strapped artists. And on Saturday, 15 bands will take the stage for a benefit concert at Skipper's Smokehouse. Click here for the details on that show.

For more of our story on Steve Connelly, click here.

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SoundBytes: The Neighbourhood, Ani DiFranco, Purity Ring, Alvin and the Chipmunks and more

The Neighbourhood

The Neighbourhood

-- Two big new rock shows coming to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg: Breaking Benjamin with Young Guns on Aug. 26 (click here for details); and The Neighbourhood (above) with Bad Suns and Hunny on Sept. 21 (tickets are $30 and up; click here).

-- This sounds intriguing: Promoters Dope Entertainment have announced plans for a new hip-hop festival, TAKEOFFxLANDING, that'll take over multiple venues in Ybor City on Aug. 15, including the Ritz Ybor, Orpheum, Market on 7th, Tequilas and Crowbar. Artists announced thus far include Travi$ $cott, Robb Bank$, Denzel Curry, OG Maco and Pouya. There will also be industry and producer panels and art installations curated by Robert Gallardo, A$ap Rocky's art director. Tickets are currently $40 and up. Click here.

-- Indie electronic duo Purity Ring are coming to the Ritz Ybor on Sept. 10. Tickets are $22. Click here.

-- Iconic singer-songwriter Ani DeFranco is coming to the Capitol Theatre on Oct. 7. Click here.

-- Guitarist Jorma Kaukonen is coming to the Capitol Theatre on Aug. 7. Click here.

-- Ruth Eckerd Hall's new Murray Theatre may have just booked its most interesting act yet: Singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III on Dec. 12. Click here. …

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Billy Gardell talks 'Mike & Molly,' managing his weight, Monopoly strategies and more

When Mike & Molly hit its 100th episode in January, Billy Gardell wasn’t gifted with a fancy Ferrari or a brand new beach house in Cabo.

“There wasn’t a lot of gifts,” said the CBS sitcom’s eponymous Mike. “The network sent us all really nice watches. Back in the ’80s, it was cars. But, you know. Inflation.”

All kidding aside, 100 episodes still is a massive milestone. The film success of Gardell’s onscreen wife, Melissa McCarthy, had a lot to do with that. But it took more than a breakout star for Mike & Molly to become a genuine hit, going beyond its one-note premise — two overweight lonelies meet cute and fall in love — to deliver a sitcom that resonates.

“The gift of that was being able to join that rare fraternity of syndicated shows, like Seinfeld and Cheers and Friends,” Gardell said. “To be in that routine where you’re with people when they’re coming home from work or getting ready for the night shift or dinner, that’s a big accomplishment for a sitcom.” …

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Review: Romeo Santos whips Tampa's Amale Arena into historic, bilingual frenzy

Romeo Santos performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on June 19, 2015.

Luis Santana

Romeo Santos performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on June 19, 2015.

If there were any lingering doubts about whether Tampa's a viable tour stop on the Latin pop circuit, the gale-force screams that greeted bachata star Romeo Santos on Friday at Amalie Arena blasted them all away.

“Is this building full of Latinos tonight?” the Bronx-born heartthrob yelled early in his sold-out, endlessly energetic show, eliciting deafening shrieks in the affirmative. This was their Bieber, their Usher, their Timberlake, all rolled into one and wrapped in an impeccable, form-hugging rose blazer.

Yep, this one was a pretty big deal. A-list Latin acts rarely route tours through Tampa, especially not those as big as Santos, the self-proclaimed – and globally affirmed – King of Bachata. Full Story

SoundBytes: Lucero, The Orb, Gruesome and more

-- Two Tampa Bay shows at the same venue in one year? Hey, if you're Lucero, why not? The Memphis rockers, who played the Ritz Ybor in February, have a new album, All A Man Should Do, coming out in September, and they'll support it with a tour that includes another stop at the Ritz on Dec. 5. Tickets are $20.50. Click here.

-- Veteran alt-dance outfit The Orb are coming to the State Theatre on Sept. 5. Tickets are $24. Click here.

-- Acclaimed death-metal outfit Gruesome is coming to Crowbar on Sept. 4 alongside Generichrist and Disevered. Tickets are $12-$15. Click here.

-- The Growlers are coming to Crowbar on Nov. 2, alongside Broncho and more. Tickets are $12-$15. Click here.

-- L.A. rock duo El Ten Eleven are coming to Crowbar on Sept. 16. Tickets are $13-$16. Click here.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Ticket Window: Brad Paisley, Janet Jackson, John Cleese, Eric Idle and more

Brad Paisley always brings one of the most gun-slingingly fun country concerts of the year, so pick up your tickets early to see him at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Oct. 2.

Other Tampa Bay concerts and events with tickets going on sale this week: Floetry (Aug. 5, Straz Center), The Atlas Moth (Aug. 22, Orpheum), The Orb (Sept. 5, State Theatre), Janet Jackson (Sept. 24, Amalie Arena), Brad Paisley (Oct. 2, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre), John Cleese and Eric Idle (Oct. 14-15, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Lucero (Dec. 5, Ritz Ybor), John Prine (Jan. 29, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Jackie Mason (Feb. 4, Capitol Theatre), R5 (Feb. 13, Ruth Eckerd Hall) and Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton (March 1, Capitol Theatre).

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

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The Buckinghams, Cowsills talk about bringing the Happy Together Tour back to Ruth Eckerd Hall

Saturday's Happy Together Tour at Ruth Eckerd Hall features six bands that helped to bond the peace and love generation: the Buckinghams (Kind of a Drag), the Turtles (Happy Together), the Cowsills (The Rain), the Association (Cherish), the Grass Roots (Midnight Confessions) and Mark Lindsay, the former lead singer for Paul Revere and the Raiders (Kicks).

Today, sadly, only four of the seven original Cowsills (above) are alive: Bob, Paul, Susan and John, who performs with the Beach Boys.

"I'll get to spend more time with Susan and Paul," Bob Cowsill said in a recent interview, "and I think we'll be tighter than ever before. And our other brothers will always be up there (on stage) with us."

Tickets to Saturday's show start at $40. Click here for details.

For more of Terri Bryce Reeves' story about the Happy Together Tour, click here.

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Patti LaBelle, Matisyahu, Alan Cumming, Cary Elwes, more coming to the Straz Center in Tampa

The Straz Center for the Performing Arts unveiled its full 2015-16 season on Tuesday, and among its always stellar lineup of Broadway, opera, dance and family-friendly shows are a slew of musicians and celebrities.

Among the premiere concerts: Matisyahu on Dec. 17, Will Hoge on Jan. 24, Black Violin on Feb. 3, Patti LaBelle on Feb. 21 and Itzhak Perlman on March 12. Broadway and film star Alan Cumming will perform a cabaret revue called "Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs" on Jan. 24, and The Voice finalist and Phantom of the Opera star Chris Mann will deliver an "evening with" performance on Feb. 20.

The Straz's annual Club Jaeb concert series, featuring folk and Americana artists, will include Anais Mitchell (Oct. 26), Penny & Sparrow (Nov. 16), Whitehorse (Dec. 14), Emily Hearn (Jan. 11), Birds of Chicago (Feb. 8), Antje Duvekot (March 7), Kail Baxley (April 4) and Tyrone Wells (May 23).

And then there are the celebrity speakers and comics, including humorists David Sedaris (April 22) and Garrison Keillor (April 24), as well as actor Cary Elwes for a special screening and presentation of The Princess Bride. Inconceivable! …

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