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SoundBytes: Mark Knopfler, Diarrhea Planet, Minus the Bear and more

-- Big concert announcement from Ruth Eckerd Hall: Guitar legend Mark Knopfler of the Dire Straits is coming to Clearwater on Oct. 30. Tickets are $68.50-$175, which is a whole lot of Money for Nothing (sorry, couldn't resist). Click here for details.

-- Wild 94.1's Wild Splash lineup for 2015 hasn't been revealed just yet, but early bird tickets are on sale now for $20. After they sell out, they'll go up to $35, or $100 for VIP. Keep an eye out here for Wild Splash lineup announcements, but in the meantime, click here.

-- When six-string army Diarrhea Planet came to Crowbar last fall, it ended up being one of Soundcheck's favorite concerts of 2014. Don't miss 'em when they return on April 14, with Left and Right and Florida Night Heat opening. Tickets are $8-$10. Click here.

-- Minus the Bear is coming to the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on May 13 with Into It. Over It. opening. Tickets are $28.75. Click here for details.

-- Moon Hooch are coming to Crowbar on March 31. Tickets are $10-$13. Click here.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Slipknot coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa



Happy Monday! Your nightmares are coming to Tampa!

Okay, fine, Slipknot may not be anyone's nightmare these days (although man, those masks do kinda hold up in the creepiness department). But the Iowa industrial-metal titans still pack a frighteningly loud and percussive punch, and anytime they go on tour, it's usually a show for the ages.

So get ready to step right up for their new "This Summer's Last Stand Tour," which will hit Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on July 25. Joining them are a trio of big names in metal: Lamb of God, Bullet for My Valentine and Motionless In White. Tickets are $24-$63 and they go on sale Friday. Click here for details.

Snicker at Slipknot at your own risk. The last time they came to town, in 2012, they brought a pyro-filled party to the amphitheater formerly known as Gary as part of the Mayhem Festival, and Corey Taylor remains one of power metal's best all-around vocalists. This year marks their 20th (!) as a band, and they don't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Let's just hope they give those masks a good, regular washing.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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SoundBytes: Dash Berlin, Andy Grammer, En Vogue and more

-- Two big-name DJs are coming to Ybor City. Ferry Corsten will return to the Amphitheater on Feb. 28 (tickets are $15, click here) and Dash Berlin, above, will be spinning at the Ritz Ybor on March 7 ($26.50-$40, click here).

-- Cheap Trick singer Robin Zander will once again bring his Robin Zander Band to the incredibly tiny and intimate Hideaway Cafe in St. Petersburg on Feb. 15. Tickets are $30-$100. Click here.

-- Singer-songwriter Andy Grammer is coming to the Orpheum on March 7 with Alex and Sierra and Paradise Fears. Tickets are $20-$30. Click here.

-- The Color Morale is coming to the Orpheum on April 29 alongside Vanna, Slaves and Favorite Weapon. Tickets are $15-$30. Click here.

-- Get ready for the fifth annual Dre Day in Tampa. This year's celebration of Dr. Dre's birthday will take place Feb. 12. Click here.

-- Live music is coming to Epcot's International Flower and Garden Festival. The park's new "Garden Rocks" concert series kicks off in March and includes acts like the Gin Blossoms, En Vogue, the Village People, Jon Secada and more. Click here for details.

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Paramore coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater



Ain't this a fun concert announcement? Paramore is coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Hayley Williams' increasingly mature pop-rock outfit announced Thursday that they're bringing their spring run of intimate concerts to the stately venue on April 28. Tickets will cost $43.75-$78.75 and go on sale to the public Jan. 30, but the venue is encouraging fans to get in on the pre-sale action -- and we don't blame them, because this is could be a hot ticket.

Though this will be Paramore's third Tampa Bay concert in a little more than a year (see here and here), it comes on the heels of what is arguably their most successful stretch as a group. Not long after Paramore nearly imploded due to intra-band conflicts, their self-titled album's single Ain't It Fun became their biggest hit to date, and is nominated for Best Rock Song at next month's Grammys. …

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This week in Tampa: Martina McBride, Merle Haggard, Andrew W.K. and more

A mix of iconic folk and country singers lead this week's edition of This Week In Tampa, but there's a ton of fun stuff everywhere you look, including shows by Martina McBride, Merle Haggard, Andrew W.K., Arlo Guthrie, Iris Dement, Patty Larkin, Kris Allen, Joe Nichols, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Jonny Craig, J-Zone, Napalm Death, Millionaires, the Lettermen, Gaither Vocal Band and more. Here to walk you through it all is Ray Roa...

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Rush coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

It's the year of the anniversary tour in Tampa. Alan Jackson just celebrated his 25th at the USF Sun Dome, and in April, The Who will celebrate their 50th at Amalie Arena.

Now another iconic classic rock outfit is marking their 40th anniversary with a tour: Rush.

The prog-rock polymaths have announced plans for their R40 Live Tour, and according to their website, it includes a stop at Tampa's Amalie Arena on May 24. It is, at the moment, their only concert scheduled in Florida.

Tickets will cost $46-$151. An on-sale date have not yet been announced (Rush's web site says only "on sale soon," but tickets to concerts in other cities will go on sale starting Jan. 30, so keep an eye out here for updates. Click here for details.

Technically, this is actually a 41st anniversary tour, as the band's self-titled debut album came out in 1974. Last year, guitarist Alex Lifeson told Rolling Stone that this tour could be "very pleasing for the fans across the board," but also said it'll feature some tracks they haven't played in a while. "I've always wanted to do some rarer Rush material, and this should be a good opportunity to do that," he said. …

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Ticket Window: Train, The Fray, Artie Lange, Ralphie May and more

Another eclectic group of Tampa Bay concerts have tickets going on sale this week: Ralphie May (Capitol Theatre, Feb. 14), Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman (Feb. 14, Tampa Theatre), Mike Calta's Brew Ha-Ha with Artie Lange, Jim Norton and Robert Kelly (March 20, Mahaffey Theater), The King Khan and BBQ Show (March 24, Local 662), Fortunate Youth (March 26, Local 662), Atmosphere (March 27, Orpheum), Welcome to Night Vale (April 3, Capitol Theatre), The Bright Light Social Hour (April 4, State Theatre), Mates of State (April 8, Crowbar), Robert Cray and Shemekia Copeland (April 28, Capitol Theatre), Lisa Loeb (May 8, Capitol Theatre), Train with The Fray and Matt Nathanson (June 6, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre) and Brit Floyd (July 18, Ruth Eckerd Hall).

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

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Luke Bryan coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

Country music’s hottest hunk is headed back to Tampa.

Luke Bryan announced plans on Wednesday for his massive “Kick the Dust Up” summer and fall tour, and once again, Tampa is on the list. Randy Houser and Dustin Lynch have been tapped as openers on the tour, which hits the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Sept. 18.

Looking at the list of cities on the tour, it might initially appear that Tampa got the short end of the stick from the Country Music Association's reigning Entertainer of the Year, as West Palm Beach is getting a two-night stand and other cities are getting stadium shows with Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett. But if you’ll recall, in each of the last two years, Bryan added a second Tampa show after the first one sold out. Bryan’s not an idiot — Tampa’s a major country market, and there are plenty of fans willing to buy tickets for back-to-back nights. We would not be shocked in the least to see Bryan add a second Tampa show on Sept. 17. …

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Charlie Murphy talks Bill Cosby, bombing, the stigma of being Eddie Murphy's brother and more

Jay Cridlin

George Lopez called up Charlie Murphy when he was gathering comedians for an all-star benefit to erect a statue of Richard Pryor in Peoria, Ill. The roster of comedians invited to perform included some of the most famous names in the industry’s past 20 years, and Charlie Murphy, who has only been doing stand up since 2003, was among them.

“How could we not go there to pay homage to one of the greatest to ever do this?” said Murphy, 55, who rose to comedy prominence on Chappelle’s Show. “Definitely, everybody was on their game and we killed it. Promoters seen that and it started from there.”

Promoters took the principal performers from that November show and created the Black and Brown Comedy Get Down Tour, which kicks off in Tampa Friday night. Murphy will share the stage with Lopez, Cedric the Entertiner, Mike Epps, Eddie Griffin and D.L. Hughley. (Click here for tickets and details.)

He doesn’t take for granted that he’s the least experienced of the bunch. “I’m a student of the game. I will always be a student. I started stand-up at 42,” Murphy said.

Tbt* reached the comedian by phone to pick his brain about Bill Cosby and how he finds his hilarious true Hollywood stories. …

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Safety Harbor Song Fest lineup: Steep Canyon Rangers, Joseph Arthur, Shawn Mullins and more

Last year's inaugural Safety Harbor Singer Songwriter Festival kind of flew under the local radar, especially since it was pretty light on national names -- the biggest headliner was probably Ben Taylor.

In only its second year, the fest appears to be evolving nicely.

Steep Canyon Rangers -- best known for their bluegrass work with Steve Martin -- and singer-songwriters Joseph Arthur (above) and Shawn Mullins (singer of the '90s hit Lullaby) are among the biggest names at this year's renamed Safety Harbor Song Fest, slated for March 28 and 29 at Safety Harbor Waterfront Park. Joining them are Ryan Montbleau, Randall Bramblett, Jim Lauderdale, Callaghan, Seth Walker, the Vespers, Joe Craven, Meiko and more.

Two-day tickets to the festival are on sale now for $40; single-day tickets are $25. Click here for details.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Review: Ben Howard digs deep for patient, penetrating concert at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

Ben Howard performs at Jannus Live on Jan. 20, 2015.

Jay Cridlin

Ben Howard performs at Jannus Live on Jan. 20, 2015.

About three years ago, a shaggy-mopped young English guitarist took the stage at Jannus Live on his way to world domination. Earnest young fellow by the name of Ed Sheeran.

Ben Howard, who played the same stage on Tuesday, may not have Sheeran’s frizzy ginger ’do or screamy-tween fan base, but he knows his way around a six-string and pen, and has developed quite a following for his pensive, penetrating poetry. At 27, he’s quite a big deal in his homeland, the kind of chap who wins awards and fills arenas, and has played massive festivals around the world.

But can Howard ever become a household name here in the States, like Sheeran? Ah, that’s the tricky part. Judging from his show in St. Pete, you’d have to say no — but you’d also have to admit the world might be better for it.

Steering clear of any semblance of Sheeran-like snap, Howard delivered an intense, slow-burning performance dripping with melancholy and heart. It was a set that rewarded the patient: Over the course of an hour and 45 minutes, he only churned out 13 songs — five-, six-, and seven-minute epics of tension and release that played out more like film scores than singles. Full Story

SoundBytes: TLC, Rascal Flatts, Atmosphere, Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman and more

-- Talk about a Valentine's Day to remember: Iconic sci-fi author Neil Gaiman and his wife, provocative alt-goth singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer, are coming to the Tampa Theatre on Feb. 14 for "Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman present Heartbreak Hotel," a night of music, stories and more. Tickets are $43 and up (with limited meet-and-greet tickets starting at $203), and they go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- TLC are back! Well, T-Boz and Chilli are, at least. On the heels of announcing plans to crowd-fund a new album, the Waterfalls hitmakers are going on tour with New Kids on the Block and Nelly, and they'll stop at Orlando's Amway Center on June 5. Tickets are $28 and up, and they go on sale Jan. 31. Click here. …

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98 Rockfest lineup: Five Finger Death Punch, Rise Against, Breaking Benjamin and more

Tampa hard rock station 98 Rock is celebrating 25 years on the air in 2015, and what better way to celebrate than with guitars a-blazin' at 98 Rockfest?

The annual shred-a-thon will return to Tampa's Amalie Arena on April 24 with a lineup including headliners Five Finger Death Punch, above, along with Rise Against, Breaking Benjamin, the Pretty Reckless and Nothing More. Once again, the station will throw a free pre-show outside the Arena with Sleepwave, Beartooth, Young Guns and DJ Skratch n Sniff. That show kicks off at 2 p.m., with the main event kicking off at 6 p.m.

Tickets to 98 Rockfest go on sale Jan. 30 for $25-$59, with a number of VIP tickets -- which include an acoustic performance by a 98 Rockfest artist -- available for $169. Click here for details on 98 Rockfest.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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'Weird Al' Yankovic coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

Last year marked yet another in a decades-long string of career revivals from parodist nonpareil "Weird Al" Yankovic, whose album Mandatory Fun took the Internet by storm with singles like Handy (a parody of Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX's Fancy), Foil (Lorde's Royals) and Word Crimes (Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines). It also became Yankovic's first career No. 1 album -- kind of amazing, when you think about what a long and successful career he's had.

Ever since, fans have been waiting for word of a Weird Al tour -- and today, they got a massive one.

Yankovic on Tuesday announced an utterly gigantic, globe-spanning Mandatory World Tour, and it'll stop at Clearwater's Ruth Eckerd Hall on Aug. 13. Tickets will cost $33.75-$53.75 and go on sale Jan. 30, but according to Weird Al's website, they'll be available for pre-sale sometime next week. (For those on the eastern fringes of Tampa Bay, it'll also stop at Orlando's Hard Rock Live on Aug. 11 -- those tickets also go on pre-sale late next week.)

Weird Al's shows are among the few rock concerts that are legitimately fun for all ages. If you don't believe us, check out our review of his 2011 concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Fun times! …

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SoundBytes: Mates of State, Bang Tango, the Cadillac Three and more

-- Husband-and-wife indie pop-rock duo Mates of State are returning to Tampa Bay with a show at Crowbar on April 8. Tickets are $15-$17, and they go on sale Jan. 23. Click here.

-- Tampa country nightclub The Round Up has moved to a new location, 10051 W Hillsborough Ave., and it's got two big concerts coming up: Joe Nichols on Friday (tickets are $20-$25) and the Cadillac Three (soon to be seen opening for Eric Church at Amalie Arena) on Jan. 30 (tickets are $10-$15). Click here.

-- More country concert action, this time at the Dallas Bull: Chris Cagle is coming there Feb. 27 (tickets are $15-$20) and Corey Smith on March 13 ($10-$15). Click here.

-- Alt-country-punk outfit Two Cow Garage are playing a free show at Crowbar on March 10, along with Branden Barnett. Click here.

-- As always, reggae musicians are making things confusing for the rest of us. The Wailers are performing at Jannus Live on Feb. 19 (click here). And now the venue has added a show on April 3 by The Original Wailers, led by Bob Marley's guitarist Al Anderson. Tickets to that show are $15-$20; click here for details. …

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