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Review / photos: Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor wraps up with Less Than Jake, Screaming Females, PUP and more

Screaming Females performed at Day 2 of Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor on Oct. 30, 2014.

Brian Mahar

Screaming Females performed at Day 2 of Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor on Oct. 30, 2014.

(For a review of Day 1 of Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor, click here.)

As Fest 13 begins its onslaught on downtown Gainesville today, Tampa’s offshoot Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor wrapped up Thursday night with some of the biggest names playing this weekend.

In some ways, it was a scaled-down version of last year — the main venue was moved from the Ritz Ybor, which previously hosted two stages, to the Orpheum this year. But in other areas, you can see the festival’s ambition growing. Along with the typical evening shows, Thursday hosted a free acoustic show, a comedy showcase and a Halloween-appropriate monster mash called Kaiju Big Battel.

Mainly though, the festival has served as an appetizer to the entrée that is Fest’s enormous lineup. Those who can’t make it to Gainesville can still get a taste of what’ll be happening there, while those going can see some bands early and cross off some schedule conflicts, or just get in the spirit with a more relaxed, but still plenty raucous energy. …

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Bob Seger coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

We reported last month that Bob Seger was coming to Tampa, and guessed that his venue of choice would be Amalie Arena. Today, Seger confirmed it.

Seger and his Silver Bullet Band will bring their heartland-rocking roadshow to Amalie Arena on Feb. 5, and tickets will go on sale Nov. 7, according to Ticketmaster, for the princely sum of $65-$95. (Hey, Seger doesn't tour often -- this might very well be the last time he comes here.) Click here and here for details.

For what it's worth, Amalie Arena's website says the J. Geils Band will open shows in "select markets." However, Tampa may not be one of them -- the band's Facebook page pegs their last date with Seger as Jan. 31 in Atlanta. Presumably, if the Centerfold rockers don't extend their run, Seger will find a new opening act for Tampa.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Demi Lovato added to 93.3-FLZ's 2014 Jingle Ball lineup

Remember when we told you 93.3-FLZ was planning to add at least two more acts to the lineup for their sixth annual Jingle Ball, Dec. 22 at Amalie Arena in Tampa?

Turns out we were wrong. They're actually adding three.

Demi Lovato will join the likes of Pharrell Williams, Calvin Harris, Jessie J and Jason Derulo for the 2014 Jingle Ball, the station announced Thursday. It's a late, surprise addition that even some at the station weren't expecting -- and there are still more two artists who will be announced later this fall, including one who could headline the whole shebang.

That's not to say Lovato's not a headline-worthy booking in her own right. The former Disney actress' March concert at the then-named Tampa Bay Times Forum drew a crowd of 6,818, all screaming along to hits like Heart Attack and Skyscraper. This'll be her second Jingle Ball appearance, following a 2011 set alongside David Guetta and Pitbull.

Tickets to Tampa's Jingle Ball are still on sale for $41 and up. Click here for all the details on the Jingle Ball 2014.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Review / photos: Tampa punks rejoice as Day 1 of Pre-Fest brings Strike Anywhere, Kind of Like Spitting, more to Ybor City

Strike Anywhere headlined the Orpheum in one of the biggest sets of Day 1 of Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor on Oct. 29, 2014.

Brian Mahar

Strike Anywhere headlined the Orpheum in one of the biggest sets of Day 1 of Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor on Oct. 29, 2014.

The punks walking the sidewalks of Ybor City, the loud music emanating from various venues and the posters proudly advertising Pabst Blue Ribbon deals made it clear: Fest has returned to Tampa.

Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor began its second year Wednesday night across various Ybor City venues. The two-day festival serves as a prelude to Fest 13, the punk extravaganza running Friday through Sunday in Gainesville.

There were a couple of changes from Pre-Fest's first year and a slight scaling down in size. The main venue was switched to the Orpheum from the Ritz Ybor, which hosted two stages in 2013 but didn't participate this year.

In addition, Mexican restaurant Tequilas joined in as a rather improbable location for a punk festival. Yet the venue proved itself a worthy addition, and the stage's neon-orange town center made for an eye-catching backdrop.

All of this leads up to Fest 13 this weekend, with '80s punk legends Descendents headlining. A longtime name on the festival's wishlist, the band is arguably the biggest legacy act ever to perform there. …

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This week in Tampa: Wiz Khalifa, Susan Boyle, Jason Derulo, Interpol and more

Friday is Halloween, and that means a slew of Halloween-themed shows hit clubs around Tampa Bay. Among them: Vanilla Ice at Hogan's Beach, former Pussycat Doll Kaya Jones at the Hard Rock Cafe, Figure's "Terrorvision" tour at the Amphitheatre and a costume contest and concert by Pitbull Toddler at Jannus Live.

But if Halloween isn't your thing, check out one of these other huge shows happening around town this week: Susan Boyle, Wiz Khalifa (above), Lake Street Dive, First Aid Kit, Interpol, Jason Derulo, Becky G, the Melvins, Hundred Waters, Curren$y, Joey Bada$$, G-Eazy, Gringo Star, Sunbears! and the Born to Ride Jam with Molly Hatchet. Here to walk you through it all is Ray Roa...

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Ticket Window: The Band Perry, Alice Cooper, Keith Sweat and more

The 2015 Florida Strawberry Festival lineup won't be out for a few more weeks, but we have a good idea of one band that won't be on it: The Band Perry. The country hitmakers will be playing the odd venue of the PGA's Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort on March 14, just after this year's Strawberry Festival ends. Anyone who's tried to drive from Plant City to Palm Harbor can attest that that's not an easy commute.

Tampa Bay concerts and events with tickets going on sale this week: The Bitcoin Bowl (Dec. 26, Tropicana Field), Propagandhi (Jan. 3, State Theatre), Alice Cooper (Feb. 16, Ruth Eckerd Hall) the Spring Jam with Keith Sweat, Ginuwine and Dru Hill (March 6, USF Sun Dome) and the Valspar Championship, which includes a performance by the Band Perry (March 9-15, Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club).

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

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Ribfest set times: When Lynyrd Skynyrd, Daughtry and more will go on stage

We're a couple of weeks away from one of the Tampa Bay area's biggest musical happenings, Ribfeset. And on the strength of headliners like Daughtry and Lynyrd Skynyrd (above), it's looking like Ribfest 2014 could be one of the biggest in years.

Perhaps with that in mind, organizers have annouced the set times and schedule for this year's Ribfest, taking place Nov. 14-16 in Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg. If you're looking for Ribfest set times, look no further. Here's the schedule:

FRIDAY, NOV. 14
Main stage:
Daughtry (8:15 p.m.), Greg Billings Band (6)
Second stage:
Panco (7:30), Caleb Hyers Band (4:30), Gulf Blvd. (2:45), Solar Exposure (1)

SATURDAY, NOV. 15
Main stage:
Lynyrd Skynyrd (8:30 p.m.), Survivorman Live with Les Stroud (6:15), Starship featuring Mickey Thomas (4), Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project (2)
Second stage: Drive (7:30), Relentless (5:15), Southern Train (3:15), True Love Band (noon)

SUNDAY, NOV. 16
Main stage:
Thomas Rhett (6), Cole Swindell (3:45), Adam Craig Band (2)
Second stage: Gamble Creek (5), Camille Dupree (3), Jill's Cashbox (12:15)

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Susan Boyle talks touring, stage fright, Asperger syndrome and more

Everyone knows Susan Boyle's narrative by now. She was a middle-aged church singer from a small town in Scotland when in 2009 she tried out for Britain's Got Talent. She was the opposite of an oily TV pop tart. She was average-looking, a little rumpled, and no one was ready for that crystalline voice when she sang I Dreamed a Dream from Les Misérables.

The TV clip would climb to more than 650 million hits on YouTube. Although she didn't win the contest, she got most of the attention, and she embarked on the Britain's Got Talent tour and started her career.

"Touring was a bit of a new thing for me," she said during a recent phone interview. "It took some time to get into it. I enjoy touring. I enjoy the contact with the audience. Some audiences have a good atmosphere, and if you get that, that's half the battle. It's not really the performance that's stressful. Well, some of it is stressful. You've got to be honest."

Boyle will make her first appearance in Tampa Bay on Saturday with a performance at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. Tickets are $40 and up. Click here for details.

And click here for more of Stephanie Hayes' interview with Susan Boyle.Full Story

Review: Skrillex brings the party (and DJ Snake) to Hogan's Beach in Tampa

Skrillex performed at Hogan's Beach in Tampa on Oct. 28, 2014.

Luis Santana

Skrillex performed at Hogan's Beach in Tampa on Oct. 28, 2014.

The last time Skrillex came to Tampa, in 2011, the EDM boy wonder sold out the Ritz Ybor three months in advance, and the electronic music world seemed like his oyster. Surely the next time he came to town, a slew of Grammys in tow, he’d get bumped up to arenas and amphitheatres, right? Or maybe he’d headline a festival?

Well, no: Try a Tuesday night at a beach bar owned by Hulk Hogan.

Seems weird, doesn’t it? Or at least it did, right up until 26-year-old Sonny Moore took the stage at Hogan’s Beach Tuesday night. With a crowd of thousands packing the place, Skrillex dropped a bomb of pure energy on Old Tampa Bay, obliterating the line between ridiculous brio and just plain ridiculous.

With many of Hogan’s tables cleared out – apart from those in the VIP cabanas, of course – the concert did feel a little like a festival, complete with confetti, shoulder-to-shoulder dancing and one all-star cameo, Parisian chart-topper DJ Snake, who was apparently just cold chilling on a day off in the 813. Skrillex brought him to the stage with a snippet of (what else?) Turn Down For What, but the feisty Frenchman came back throughout the set to dance and make merry on the riser. …

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The Band Perry to perform at 2015 Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor

And The Band Perry's tour of unusual Tampa Bay venues continues.

The chart-topping, award-winning country ensemble is playing a show at Crystal River's Rock Crusher Canyon on Dec. 5. And if you miss them there, they'll be back this way in March, performing at the 2015 Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor.

A country concert? At a golf tournament? Sure, why not?

Their show is scheduled for Saturday, March 14 at the resort, "at the conclusion of play." We'd love to believe the music will start right on the 18th green as soon as the final ball drops into the hole, but more likely, there'll be a stage off to one side. Either way, it's a cool and attention-grabbing move for the tournament, which in 2014 held the dubious distinction of being the only event on the PGA tour without a title sponsor. …

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Review: Brand New captivate a screaming, churning mass of fans at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

Brand New performed at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg on Oct. 26, 2014.

Brian Mahar

Brand New performed at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg on Oct. 26, 2014.

There’s no doubt Jannus Live was the beating heart of downtown St. Petersburg Sunday night, with about 2,000 fans pulsing in the city’s core as they rocked out to alternative rock outfit Brand New.

Tickets to the much-anticipated gig sold out in less than an hour back in May, despite the band ironically not releasing anything brand new in five years.

And fans had to wait a little longer. Just after the lights went down and the crowd grew restless, Olivia Newton-John’s Please Don’t Keep Me Waiting comically played out in its entirety. Then the smokey silhouette of frontman Jesse Lacey appeared behind a flora-wrapped mic stand.

In lieu of busting out hard (which it’d be so easy to do), the band opened with less-known Untitled 01 from 2006 demo collection Fight Off Your Demons. They stayed shrouded in darkness through the beginning of You Won’t Know until drummer Brian Lane was solely illuminated on his first note. You could smell the build to the first break. The percolating crowd was hungry for it and completely erupted when it finally came. Lacey dished out his trademark screams and yelping emo wails like only he can do, and it was only the second song. …

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Spring Jam: Keith Sweat, Ginuwine, Dru Hill, more coming to the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

Luis Santana

This isn't exactly a make-good for last December's R&Beat Holiday Jam, which was to bring Ginuwine and other R&B singers at the USF Sun Dome until its abrupt cancellation shortly before the show. But if it means we get to hear Ginuwine's Pony live and in person, we don't care.

The Sun Dome on Monday announced it'll host another big R&B festival, the Spring Jam, on March 6, with a lineup that includes Keith Sweat (above), Ginuwine, Dru Hill and Jon B. Old-school master Slick Rick will host the show. Commence marathon viewings of Magic Mike to practice your best Pony dance ... NOW.

Tickets to the Spring Jam are $39 and up, and they go on sale Friday. Click here.

 

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Alice Cooper coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

Be honest: Who out there avoided Alice Cooper's last trip to Tampa Bay simply because it coincided with a farewell tour by Motley Crue? Hey, we can't blame you. While Motley Crue sounded muddled and ridiculous at that August show, our reviewer called the 66-year-old shock-rock legend, who served as the Crue's opening act, "the most rewarding part of the night."

Find out why when Cooper returns to Tampa Bay in February. In what makes for a perfectly Halloweeny concert announcement, Cooper, who still sounds more potent than many bands much younger, will return to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Feb. 16 for the first time since a sold-out show there in 2009. Expect to hear hits like School's Out, I'm Eighteen and Poison, all delivered with Cooper's trademark shock-rock flair.

Tickets to the show start at $45 and go on sale Friday. For more on the show, click here.

 

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Mary Lambert added to Mix 100.7's Mistletoe Show lineup

Did you miss Mary Lambert performing at Clearwater's Capitol Theatre Saturday night? Good news: You'll have at least one more chance to see her in person this year.

The Seattle singer-songwriter and burgeoning LGBT icon, best known for her hook on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' Same Love, has been added to the lineup for the Mix 100.7 Mistletoe Show, Dec. 19 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Pete. She joins previously announced headliners Train and Matt Nathanson.

Tickets to the adult-alternative extravaganza are still on sale for $35. Click here to get 'em.Full Story

Review / photos: Coral Skies Music Festival celebrates youth, positivity with Cage the Elephant, Bleachers, Julian Casablancas and more

Cage the Elephant performed at the Coral Skies Music Festival at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Oct. 25, 2014.

Brian Mahar

Cage the Elephant performed at the Coral Skies Music Festival at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Oct. 25, 2014.

In case you were confused, that was definitely not the Strokes onstage at Saturday’s Coral Skies Music Festival at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.

Yes, the voice -- inimitable, velvety and brash -- belonged to one Julian Casablancas. And yes, Casablancas does indeed front one of America’s coolest rock bands. But The Strokes have taken a backseat to Julian’s solo work lately.

On Saturday, the 36-year-old New Yorker took some time -- and tasked his new band the Voidz -- to show off that new work for a crowd that wasn’t quite ready to swallow the smart mishmash of hardcore, ‘80s big beat, and African-influenced rhythms.

And while the Voidz' nine-song set was the least accessible of the day, the other 10 hours of Coral Skies were definitely up the alleys of the indie-rock-loving crowd global concert promoter Live Nation hoped to lure to the amphitheatre formerly known as Gary.Full Story