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SoundBytes: Corey Smith, Ryan Beatty, Yoni Wolf, Astronautalis and more

-- Indie-alternative rappers Yoni Wolf of Why? (above) and Astronautalis are coming to the Orpheum in Ybor City on Dec. 20. Tickets are $13-$15. Click here.

-- There are two big park concerts in Tampa you might want to put on your radar. Coming Nov. 8, is the Tampa Pig Jig, a barbecue contest and concert featuring Corey Smith, Edwin McCain, Hootie and the Blowfish's Mark Bryan and more in Curtis Hixon Park. General admission tickets start at $15. Click here. The following week is the River Rock Craft Beer and Music Festival, Nov. 15 at Tampa's new Water Works Park, with headliner Sister Hazel. Tickets start at $20. Click here.

-- The House of Blues in Orlando is getting into the year-end radio concert game with Mix 105.1's All I Want For Christmas Show, featuring Daughtry, O.A.R. and Ingrid Michaelson on Dec. 15. Tickets are $49.50. Click here.

-- Teenage pop singer Ryan Beatty is coming to the Local 662 in St. Pete on Nov. 16. Tickets are $20. Click here.

-- Jamgrass outfit Greensky Bluegrass is coming to the State Theatre on Jan. 20; tickets are $15. Two days later, alt-country outfit Shovels & Rope will be at the State; tickets are $20. Both shows go on sale Friday. Click here. …

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Ticket Window: Alan Jackson, Ben Howard, Shovels & Rope and more

We're already looking forward to one of our most anticipated concerts of early 2015: Ben Howard at Jannus Live. The acclaimed British singer-songwriter has a cult following thanks to his earthy and soulful voice and lyrics -- think Ed Sheeran meets Ben Gibbard meets Gomez -- and he doesn't tour often in these parts, so don't sleep out.

Other Tampa Bay concerts and events with tickets going on sale this week: S.P.O.R.E. (Nov. 28, Local 662), Crowbar (Dec. 1, State Theatre), Classic Albums Live: Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here (Jan. 8, Capitol Theatre), Alan Jackson (Jan. 9, USF Sun Dome), Ben Howard (Jan. 20, Jannus Live), Shovels and Rope (Jan. 22, State Theatre), Greensky Bluegrass (Jan. 20, State Theatre) and Air Supply (May 16, Capitol Theatre).

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

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Bill Maher talks about the Florida governor's race, medical marijuana and more

Coming to a state like Florida must be irresistible for a political comic like Bill Maher. The state practically overflows with punchlines that write themselves -- and never more so than in an election year.

So when the Real Time host comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Saturday, you can expect he'll have a lot to say about Rick Scott and Charlie Crist.

"I will definitely be getting into that when I'm there," he said in a recent phone interview. "First of all, it's a very important race for the country. Obviously we see the party that controls Florida can sometimes control the election, and sometimes the national election is controlled by Florida. So, it's more than a little important who wins.

Maher performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Tickets are $50.75-$150. Click here for details.

For more of Steve Persall's interview with Bill Maher, click here.

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Michael Francis talks about leading the Florida Orchestra, moving from England to Tampa and more

Cherie Diez

This weekend, fans of the Florida Orchestra will get a sneak peek at their next leader, as incoming music director Michael Francis leads a program that includes Ives' Centarl Park in the Dark, Barber's Violin Concerto and Elgar's Symphony No. 1.

What can Orchestra aficionadoes expect? Well, Francis, 38, doesn't believe in dumbing down music, he said. He believes in giving context.

"The art of listening in some ways is naturally dwindling because we have other forms of entertainment," he said in an interview with the Times at Bay News 9 studios Monday. "People 100 years ago would have such an understanding of the intricacies of music. They knew if a composer was doing something, he was setting up an expectation. So if he went the other way, they would get the joke. … Now, we just think it's all very elegant."

For more details about this weekend's performances, click here. And for more of Stephanie Hayes' interview with Michael Francis, click here.

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Bombay Bicycle Club's Ed Nash talks about the Mercury Prize, traveling in America, painting on tour and more

Bombay Bicycle Club

Jamie Stoker

Bombay Bicycle Club

It’s safe to say Ed Nash has never had a gig like the one he booked on Sept. 19.

That was the day after the failed Scottish referendum on independence from the United Kingdom. By sheer coincidence, the Bombay Bicycle Club bassist had been booked for a DJ gig in Glasgow.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time to be here,” Nash said by phone, shortly after arriving at his hotel. “I imagine people will be celebrating wildly or drinking their sorrows away. It could be quite a night.”

Such is life as a member of Bombay Bicycle Club, an increasingly in-demand band for whom wild nights are swiftly becoming the norm. Case in point: On Oct. 29, four days after they perform at Tampa’s Coral Skies Music Festival, the London alt-pop group will find out if their latest album So Long, See You Tomorrow won Britain’s prestigious Mercury Prize, an honor previously bestowed upon Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys, James Blake and PJ Harvey. …

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Alan Jackson coming to the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

If this weekend's Jason Aldean/Florida Georgia Line concert in Tampa left you with a bit of a bro-country hangover, here's a show that might serve as a remedy.

Country legend Alan Jackson has announced dates for a long-anticipated 25th anniversary tour, and they include a stop at the USF Sun Dome on Jan. 9. Tickets are $25 and up, and they go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday.

As if to reinforce the notion that the thoughtful Jackson is far from today's beer-swillin', spring-breakin' country scene, he's chosen as his openers on this tour Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Brandy Clark (whom we caught opening for Jennifer Nettles at Ruth Eckerd Hall back in February) and Jon Pardi, two of the country world's brightest young throwback artists. …

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Review: Funk Fest Tampa brings a sharp Jill Scott (but no Bobby Brown) to Raymond James Stadium

Jill Scott performs at Funk Fest Tampa 2014 at Raymond James Stadium on Oct. 18, 2014.

Luis Santana

Jill Scott performs at Funk Fest Tampa 2014 at Raymond James Stadium on Oct. 18, 2014.

“Those off you that have true love, I hope you make that good love tonight,” Jill Scott laughed as she wound up her 90-minute set at Funk Fest Tampa just outside Raymond James Stadium Saturday night.

“Think of me once – maybe twice,” the Philadelphia soul singer encouraged the crowd of more than 10,000 as she prepared to sing her big hit, He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat).

Saturday night’s set, the finale to a day full of performances, was heavy on selections from her debut album Words and Sounds Vol. 1. Jams like It’s Love, The Way and Getting’ in The Way got huge audience responses, inspiring sing-alongs and whoops.Full Story

Review / photos: Don't Stop St. Pete brings the 'Burg's music, collaborative spirit to Central Avenue

Set and Setting performs at the State Theatre as part of the Don't Stop St. Pete festival on Oct. 18, 2014.

Jay Cridlin

Set and Setting performs at the State Theatre as part of the Don't Stop St. Pete festival on Oct. 18, 2014.

They don’t call it Don’t Stop St. Pete for nothing.

On a Saturday when the Florida Orchestra performed in Vinoy Park, a marine science festival took over USF St. Petersburg, a Day of the Dead party took over Grand Central and Macy Gray lit up Jannus Live, the center of Central Avenue was busy rocking out to nearly 50 bands at the second Don’t Stop St. Pete festival, an evolution of the ‘Burg’s bygone Antiwarpt Festival.

In its second year, Don’t Stop St. Pete chose evolved by devolving, cutting down on the number of venues and opting not to shut down Central. The effect was a looser, more laid-back fest – still loaded with top talent from Tampa Bay and beyond, but not as overwhelming. It was a show that worked in concert with the hip rhythms of a tireless city, rather than attempting total ‘Burg domination. And given the spirit of artist cooperation that permeates St. Pete these days, that’s a good thing.Full Story

Review / photos: Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line rock an explosive, sold-out MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

Jason Aldean performs at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Oct. 17, 2014.

Photo by Luis Santana

Jason Aldean performs at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Oct. 17, 2014.

It's tough to say what's going on beneath Jason Aldean's low-brimmed Resistol. Is he happy? Is he angry? The shadows on his face don’t yield an easy answer – and Aldean’s not the type to let you get a closer look.

But the stocky, stoic superstar still wields a rare power over Nashville Nation. On a perfect Friday night in Tampa, Aldean’s sold-out concert with Florida Georgia Line filled the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre like few shows in recent memory – and with his new LP Old Boots, New Dirt landing this week as the No. 1 album in America, he was pumped to celebrate with an arsenal of pyro and an army of guitars.

Aldean decided to go full arena-rock on this tour, and he wasn’t kidding around. The stage was built around a giant A-shaped LED ramp that spewed geysers of fireworks and flame – in the case of buzzsaw blast Crazy Town, right in time with the music. The stage, and the intensity of what Aldean called “the most kickass band on the planet," fit the crunchy, grungy swagger of Hicktown, My Kinda Party and She’s Country like a cowhide Carhartt glove.Full Story

Beach Fossils drop out of Saturday's Don't Stop St. Pete festival due to illness

Some bummer news for anyone planning to hit up Saturday's Don't Stop St. Pete festival in downtown St. Pete: Brooklyn indie rockers Beach Fossils, who were slated to headline the main State Theatre stage, have dropped out at the last minute due to illness.

Festival organizers said on Facebook that the group is "devastated" and "looks forward to returning to Florida as soon as possible." Ex-Cult will now headline the main stage.

Considering we're less than 24 hours from the fest, organizers are out of time to find a replacement. The good news is, they're slashing day-of ticket prices from $20 to $15. So that's good, right?

You can get the complete schedule and set times for Don't Stop St. Pete here.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Funk Fest is Saturday at Raymond James Stadium; will this be the year it sticks?

With headliners including Jill Scott and Bobby Brown, Funk Fest returns for a fifth local go-around on Saturday at Raymond James Stadium. To say the first four Funk Fests haven’t gone smoothly would be an understatement — this is the festival’s third home in three years.

However, big changes are afoot for fans who have been frequenting the festival. The new venue isn't the only change. Organizers say moving the festival from spring to fall is strategic on two fronts. First, it allows the festival to stop competing with its own spring shows in Orlando and Jacksonville, which may affect attendance. Secondly, it takes advantage of what could potentially be more pleasant weather conditions than Florida’s spring, which sometimes feels like high summer.

“The show hasn’t been hugely profitable yet,” said Leo Bennett, a promoter and the CEO of Funk Fest organizers Variety Entertainment. “But we look at the five years we have spent in the community as an investment. We would love to stay here and see a return.”

Click here for Robbyn Mitchell's story about Funk Fest 2014.Full Story

Review: Porter Robinson brings 'Worlds' to life with symphonic grandeur at the Amphitheatre in Tampa

DJ Porter Robinson performed at the Amphitheatre in Ybor City on Oct. 16, 2014.

Jay Cridlin

DJ Porter Robinson performed at the Amphitheatre in Ybor City on Oct. 16, 2014.

Can a DJ write a symphony? Can a conductor mastermind a rave?

Both questions linger in the mind after watching Porter Robinson at work. The 22-year-old EDM sensation’s set Thursday at the Amphitheatre in Ybor City played more like a concerto than a clubland bacchanal, bringing Robinson’s dreamlike new album Worlds to life in refreshingly captivating ways.

Yes, college-aged party kids danced. Yes, many ended the night caked in CO2 and confetti. But when Robinson walked off just before midnight — still a prime pregame hour for the Amp’s normal crowd, even on a school night — Worlds’ hummable melodies were still warm in everyone’s ears, proof that a DJ doesn’t need devastating drops to leave his mark in music.

How divergent from your average rave was this show? Start with Robinson’s stage. Unlike the Megatron-like booths favored by many a dubstepper, the North Carolina-born DJ stood behind a plexiglass podium of concentric half-moons — clean, airy, Deco-minimalist — adorned with a microphone, laptop, synthesizers and a small synth drum kit, which he’d wallop with fury every now and then.

And while Robinson’s early-career EDM anthems (the darkly chirpy Unison, his and Mat Zo’s heart-racing, retro-soulful Easy) got their due, this was no commercial-free megamix. Robinson played songs — honest-to-goodness songs, with breaks between each one — that swelled and pulsed like orchestral suites, ripe with symphonic grandeur. Full Story

Photos: Clearwater Jazz Holiday opens with Earth, Wind and Fire in Coachman Park

Earth, Wind and Fire headlined the 2014 Clearwater Jazz Holiday.

Douglas R. Clifford

Earth, Wind and Fire headlined the 2014 Clearwater Jazz Holiday.

The 35th annual Clearwater Jazz Holiday returned to Coachman Park in a big way on Thursday, as legendary funk ensemble Earth, Wind and Fire rocked the venerable fest's opening night. Still to come are Spyro Gyra (Friday), Dr. John and the Nite Trippers (Saturday) and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes and Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue (Sunday); click here for the full weekend lineup. For more of Mike Brassfield's report on Day 1 of the 2014 Clearwater Jazz Holiday, click here. And for more of Douglas R. Clifford's photos of the opening night of the 2014 Clearwater Jazz Holiday, click the headline of this post.

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Artist of the day: Early Forms

Vinnie Cosentino is a man of many bands. He is the frontman, singer, guitarist, composer and conceptualist multiple bands, each with a particular musical function, designed to satiate his myriad of musical thirsts: Palantine, Into the Cellar and Early Forms.

Early Forms are a quartet who delivers tightly knit, melody-driven rock drawing influence from mid-’90s acts like Sebadoh and Built to Spill. Consentino’s cohorts are John Smith, guitar and vocals; Alastair St. Hill, bass and vocals; and Andy Stern, drums.

Early Forms will perform at 6:35 p.m. Saturday at the Local 662 in St. Petersburg as part of the Don’t Stop St. Pete Festival. But first, Cosentino enlightened us on the mysteries of multiple bands, the meaning of it all, and mythos behind the melodies.

How did Early Forms form? …

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SoundBytes: Florida Georgia Line, We the Kings, Copeland and more

Associated Press

-- Huge news for anyone going to the sold-out Jason Aldean concert at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Friday night: Openers Florida Georgia Line, above, will be signing copies of their new Anything Goes -- which may very well be the No. 1 album in the country next week -- at the Walmart at 28500 State Road 54 in Wesley Chapel starting at 2 p.m. Friday. Click here for details.

-- Talk about a watershed day for melodic, Christian-leaning, Central Florida pop-rock: As part of their second-to-last show ever, Nov. 25 at Jannus Live, Anberlin has brought aboard as an opening act Copeland, a similarly loved group that hasn't performed together in four years. Click here for details.

-- Missed this when it was first announced, but We the Kings will play an intimate acoustic show on Dec. 13 at the Local 662. Tickets are $20. Click here.

-- The Travelin McCourys are coming to Skipper's Smokehouse on Dec. 7 alongside Billy Nershi, guitarist for the String Cheese Incident. Tickets are $15-$20. Click here.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

 

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