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Kevin Gates, Chris Brown set late-night Tampa parties this weekend

Kevin Gates

Kevin Gates

If you don't mind staying up past your bedtime, you can get an up-close glimpse of two of hip hop's most controversial figures this weekend in Tampa.

Long-embattled singer Chris Brown is performing at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Friday night (click here for details). But if you want to keep the party going once the music stops, head to the Drynk, 302 S Howard Ave. in Tampa, home to the concert's official after party. Slated to be hosted by Breezy himself, it'll feature DJs Stevie J and Fly Guy. Tickets are $30-$50. Click here for details.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, rapper Kevin Gates is coming back to Tampa this weekend, barely a week after he became hip hop's Public Enemy No. 1 after a concert in Lakeland.

Gates was performing at Rumors Night Club when he was caught on camera kicking a female fan from the stage. He has been charged with battery, a first degree misdemeanor, and faces a year in Polk County Jail.

Reaction to the incident has been swift -- there's a petition to keep Gates from performing in Florida, and his music has been banned by hip hop station Wild 94.1, which just this year hosted Gates at Wild Splash festival in Clearwater. …

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Beyonce vs. Madonna: Should you party down at the Ritz Ybor's Bey Day or WMNF's 'Burning Up?'

Beyonce or Madonna. Madonna or Beyonce. Both legends have their diehard fan armies, but really, should we be forced to choose between the two?

Tonight, you'll have no choice.

The Ritz Ybor is hosting Bey Day, a Beyonce-themed birthday bash with costume contests, video tributes, specialty drinks and more. Tickets are $20 andup. Click here for details.

Across the bay, WMNF-88.5 is hosting "Buring Up: A Tribute to Madonna"at the Local 662 in St. Petersburg. Local artists Jeremy Gloff, Coco and Homo and more will perform, and there will be costumes, drinks and more. Tickets are $9. Click here.

We're sure no matter which party you're hitting, you've already got your outfit picked out. However, Robbyn Mitchell is here to walk you through both parties, and the best costumes you might want to don for each one. It's all part of our spectacular package on planning a themed Labor Day party. Click here to read it.



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Ticket Window: Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Nettles, Temptations, Four Tops and more

Lots of shows going on sale this week that we haven't had the chance to tell you about just yet, especially at Ruth Eckerd Hall and the Capitol Theatre. One of the more intriguing: The Walking Dead actress Emily Kinney, above, who will perform at Ruth Eckerd Hall's Murray Studio Theatre on Nov. 19.

Tampa Bay concerts and events with tickets going on sale this week include: Jennifer Nettles (Oct. 24, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Mary J. Blige (Nov. 8, USF Sun Dome), Emery (Nov. 15, Orpheum), Night Ranger (Nov. 19, Capitol Theatre), Emily Kinney (Nov. 19, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Acacia Strain (Dec. 3, Orpheum), FYA Fest (June 2-3, Orpheum), The Temptations and Four Tops (Jan. 20, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Feb. 8, Capitol Theatre), Rita Rudner (Feb. 9, Capitol Theatre), Herb Alpert (March 5, Capitol Theatre) and Judy Collins (March 20, Capitol Theatre). Plus, single-game tickets to the Tampa Bay Lightning's 2015-16 season go on sale Friday, too.

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

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This week in Tampa: Ed Sheeran, Chris Brown, Lady Antebellum, Keith Sweat, Afrojack and more

Labor Day weekend means it's time to party, and there's no better place to do it than the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa. On Friday it's Chris Brown with guests French Montana, Fetty Wap, Kid Ink, Migos, Omarion and Teyana Taylor. On Saturday it's Lady Antebellum with Hunter Hayes and Sam Hunt. But next week, the party moves to Amalie Arena with one of the world's biggest pop stars, Ed Sheeran.

But there are plenty of other great acts coming to Tampa Bay this week, including Keith Sweat, Afrojack, Christina Perri, The Orb, Don Diablo, Gringo Star, Mick Jenkins, Gruesome and more.

Here to walk you through it all are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa...Full Story

St. Petersburg's Labor Day sandbar concert: Could Florida tradition be coming to an end?

To reach one of St. Petersburg's best and quirkiest Labor Day parties, you're going to need a boat.

Every Labor Day (and Memorial Day) weekend, a group of musicians called the Cross Creek Blues Band hauls a pontoon out into St. Petersburg’s Riviera Bay for a floating blues-rock jam in “P” Channel near Weedon Island.

Thousands of boaters and swimmers gather at what has become the bay area’s most unusual concert venue. And while the sandbar setting is the selling point, the music’s pretty good, too — performers have shared stages with the likes of B.B. King, Ike and Tina Turner and Conway Twitty.

"By the time it's going," said one of the musicians, guitarist Ken Keller, "it's a sea of boats as far as your eyes can see." He's serious: Check out this amazing flyover video of this year's Memorial Day event.

But there's talk this year's Labor Day sandbar concert might be the last. Organizer Hal Hammer Jr. is nearly 73, and the expense is too great — more than $6,000 some years, all out of pocket. This summer, he launched a GoFundMe campaign to help defray costs; at last count it had more than $1,400 in donations. …

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Mary J. Blige coming to the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

One of the greatest voices in modern soul is coming to Tampa.

Nine-time Grammy winner Mary J. Blige is coming to the USF Sun Dome on Nov. 8 for her first local concert since 2012. (We're not counting a 2013 gig at HSN to promote her holiday album A Mary Christmas.) Opening the show will be Tamar Braxton.

Blige will no doubt spring singles from her vast catalog of hits, including No More Drama, Not Gon' Cry, Family Affair, Real Love and Be Without You. But over the past couple of years, she's also connected with a new generation of rhymeslingers and beatmakers, including Disclosure (F For You) and Kendrick Lamar (Now or Never).

Tickets are $47.75-$127.75, and they go on sale Friday. Click here for details.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Review: Earl Sweatshirt gets dark, fans get crazy at the Orpheum in Tampa

Earl Sweatshirt performed at the Orpheum in Tampa on Sept. 1, 2015.

Jay Cridlin

Earl Sweatshirt performed at the Orpheum in Tampa on Sept. 1, 2015.

Earl Sweatshirt was only a few songs into his concert Tuesday at the Orpheum when he had to plead with the crowd to stop stage-diving.

“You get one more,” he warned the more overenthusiastic fans up front.

Sorry, Earl, but they just couldn’t help themselves. The Tampa crowd was fully lit and rapping every word from the moment he walked onstage.

That can happen when you’re thought of as sort of a mythological figure, as Sweatshirt is among a certain segment of rap fans.

Thanks in part to his unusual backstory – as a teen, he was shipped to a boys’ camp in Samoa by his hyper-literate parents, just as his alternative rap crew Odd Future was blowing up Stateside – his infrequent live performances since returning to America have felt a bit like spotting big game in the wild. (Tuesday’s concert was actually a make-up date for an April show postponed due to illness.)

But while myth and hype play large roles in the cult of Earl Sweatshirt, he’s mostly backed it up on his last albums, the darkly autobiographical Doris and I Don’t Like S---, I Don’t Go Outside, with the latter likely to end up on many a best-of-2015 list come December. Full Story

Brian Wilson coming to the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg

Brian Wilson performing at Ruth Eckerd Hall in 2011.

Douglas R. Clifford (2011)

Brian Wilson performing at Ruth Eckerd Hall in 2011.

Brian Wilson is having quite a year, with an acclaimed biopic (Love & Mercy) and a well-received new album (No Pier Pressure) under his belt. 

Sure, he's no longer buddy-buddy with most of the Beach Boys, but he's still out on the road touring -- and his latest trek will see him stopping in St. Petersburg.

The legendary singer-songwriter will perform at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Nov. 17, it was announced Monday. Tickets are $49.50-$79.50, and they'll go on sale Sept. 11. Click here for details.

Wilson will be joined on this trek by Beach Boys bandmate Al Jardine, lending an added ooh-wah-ooh of authenticity to classic tracks like God Only Knows, Wouldn't It Be Nice, Good Vibrations and Don't Worry Baby. Maybe he'll even contribute a few Beach Boys tracks on which he originally sang lead, like Help Me, Rhonda and Then I Kissed Her.

Mike Love, David Marks and Bruce Johnston will no doubt be back in these parts soon enough. But trust us, Wilson is the group's quiet genius, and the one you don't want to miss anytime he hits your backyard.

-- Jay Cridlin

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MTV VMAs: Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Twenty One Pilots among winners, performers coming to Tampa Bay

Shock and awe! Awe and shock! It's the MTV Video Music Awards, which this year featured more Taylor Swift than you asked for, more Miley Cyrus than we expected, and more Kanye West than even Kanye West can handle. (Nah, just kidding, there is no limit to the amount of Kanye West that Kanye West can handle.)

For our full recap of the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, click here. But there's another aspect to the VMAs, and that is: Which winners, performers and celebrities are coming to Tampa Bay this fall?

Here's a rundown.

-- Trap Queen crooner Fetty Wap, who won the Artist to Watch Moonman, is coming to Tampa this week as part of Chris Brown's One Hell of a Nite Tour, which hits the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Friday. Click here.

-- Big Sean, who won Best Video with a Social Message for One Man Can Change the World, will headline the University of South Florida's 2015 Homecoming concert on Oct. 9 at the USF Sun Dome. Click here for details. …

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Underoath reunion tour: St. Petersburg sells out; Orlando concert added

Let there be no doubt: The people are ready for an Underoath reunion.

The Christian metalcore band, one of the most successful acts ever to come out of Tampa Bay, this week announced a comeback concert on March 16 at Jannus Live ... and it sold out within hours of going on sale Friday.

The good news is, Underoath has responded to that demand by adding a second reunion show in Florida.

The group will perform at Hard Rock Live in Orlando on April 24 -- the final date on their 2016 reunion tour, making this sort of a bookend to the opening St. Pete date.

General ticket prices have not been announced, but you can already purchase VIP packages starting at $40 and up through Underoath's website. Click here for GA tickets.

Better get 'em while they're hot. If this show sells anything like the Jannus Live show, tickets won't last long.

-- Jay Cridlin

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USF's star-studded lineup: George Takei, Laverne Cox, Big Sean, Nas, RJ Mitte, more

The University of South Florida is wasting no time when it comes to boosting school spirit.

On the last day of the first week of fall classes, the college announced a frenzy of concerts and celebrity speakers coming to Tampa this school year.

Heading things up is Star Trek star and prominent social activist George Takei, who will speak at the USF Sun Dome on April 18. The lecture will be part of USF's Frontier Forum, which in years past has hosted speakers like Jane Goodall and Neil deGrasse Tyson. While the first 3,000 USF students will be admitted for free, tickets will be available to the general public starting Oct. 2, at a cost to be determined. Click here for details.

Takei isn't the only TV star coming to USF this year. On Sept. 16, Breaking Bad star RJ Mitte, who played Walter White Jr. (a.k.a. Flynn), will speak at 7:30 p.m. at in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom as part of USF's University Lecture Series. And on March 21, Emmy-winning transgender Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox will take the podium at USF (though an exact location has yet to be announced). …

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SoundBytes: Jennifer Nettles, French Montana, Andrew Rayel, Halsey and more

-- Jennifer Nettles, the massively voiced singer of chart-topping country duo Sugarland, is returning to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Oct. 24 in support of her forthcoming second solo album. She'll be joined once again by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Brandy Clark, as well as Ryan Kinder. Ticket prices haven't been announced, but according to Nettles' website, they'll go on sale Sept. 4. Click here.

-- Rapper French Montana has been added to Chris Brown's One Hell of a Nite Tour, which hits the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Sept. 4. Also on the bill are Migos, Fetty Wap, Omarion, Kid Ink and Teyana Taylor, making this a festival-grade affair. Click here.

-- Some big-name DJs coming to the Amphitheatre this fall: Andrew Rayel (Sept. 26, tickets are $15-$20); Figure (Nov. 25) and Mija (Dec. 11, $10-$15). Click here for a full lineup.

-- DJ trio Keys N Krates are returning to Tampa for the third time this year with a concert at the Ritz Ybor on Oct. 22. Early bird tickets are on sale now for $15. Click here.

-- Leftover Crack, All Torn Up! and Days N Daze are coming to the Orpheum on Nov. 4. Tickets are $12-$15. Click here. …

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97X Next Big Thing lineup: Twenty One Pilots, Walk the Moon, Of Monsters and Men and more

Walk the Moon

Walk the Moon

Alt-rock station 97X has announced its annual 97X Next Big Thing lineup, and it's heavy on young, alt-rock powerhouses like Twenty One Pilots and Shut Up and Dance hitmakers Walk the Moon, above.

But here's the big news: Next Big Thing is moving back to Tampa.

The annual radio festival will return to Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre after spending the last three years in St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park. This year's 97X Next Big Thing will take place Saturday, Dec. 5, and tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. today.

Now, on to the 97X Next Big Thing lineup. It's a younger-skewing slate than in years past, topped by Twenty One Pilots, Walk the Moon and Icelandic folk-rockers Of Monsters and Men. Joining them all are Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Robert DeLong, X Ambassadors, Saint Motel, Glass Animals, Coleman Hell, Borns, Boots and Pvris. At least one more band will be added in September, as well as a local band down the line.

Click here for the full story on the 2015 97X Next Big Thing lineup.

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This week in Tampa: Earl Sweatshirt, Lita Ford, Tribal Seeds and more

We're in the dog days of August, which means a lull in the Tampa Bay concert calendar before things start back up again for Labor Day weekend in September. But there's still some good music if you know where to look: Earl Sweatshirt (above), Kip Winger, Lita Ford, Audien, Tribal Seeds, Fear Factory, Rev. Billy C. Wirtz, Layzie Bone, Jauz, Dex Romweber, Remy Banks and lots of good local acts, too. Here to walk you through it all are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa...Full Story

Patton Oswalt talks Twitter, obsession, comedy critiques and more

Tampa Bay comedy fans have been waiting for years for a local performance by Patton Oswalt, who finally hits the Straz Center in Tampa on Saturday (click here for details).

Oswalt is not only beloved for his stand-up, but his acting, his geekiness and his status as a renowned Twitter commentator, especially on the subject of comedy.

But that, he said in a recent email interview, does not give everyone the right to critique issues related to his chosen profession.

"The people complaining about comedy aren't funny," Oswalt said in a recent email interview. "I'm happy to take criticism from other funny people, but not from the dull and exasperated."

For more of Andrew Meacham's interview with Patton Oswalt, click here.

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