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Tampa festivals announce lineups: Eli Young Band, Spin Doctors, Tonic and more

Spin Doctors

Spin Doctors

August in Florida: Not exactly the ideal environment for an outdoor music festival.

July brings the Warped Tour; autumn, events like the Clearwater Jazz Holiday and Ribfest. But August? By and large, it’s a hot, sweaty dead zone.

At least there’s plenty of festival lineup news trickling out each day to help tide us over until those big outdoor stages come back. Recently, a handful of food and music festivals centered near downtown Tampa and Ybor City have either unveiled or expanded their lineups. Here’s a quick rundown.

Summer of Rum Festival (Aug. 15, Cuban Club): The Summer of Rum Festival returns to Ybor City's (thankfully indoor) Cuban Club on Aug. 15 with a slew of rummy cocktails and some appropriately Caribbean-tinged bands, including local world-jam fusionists the Hip Abduction and ska troupe UNRB, along with Badda Skat, Control This, Pressure Dem and Jim Morris. GA tickets (which do not include drinks) are $20-$25; VIP tickets (which do) are $95-$125). Click here for details. …

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Loretta Lynn coming to the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg

If you feared 83-year-old Loretta Lynn's March performance at the Florida Strawberry Festival might be her last in Tampa Bay, we've got some good news.

The Coal Miner's Daughter is returning to the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, it was announced today. The country icon will hit the Mahaffey stage for the first time in more than three years on Feb. 21. Tickets are $35.50-$65.50, and they go on sale Aug. 14. Click here for details.

At the Strawberry Festival, Lynn was her usual funny, feisty self, spinning stories about her songs and playing classic country hit after hit after hit -- The Pill, One's On The Way, You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man), Louisiana Woman. As we wrote at the time: "When she finally closed with Coal Miner’s Daughter, the crowd gave her a well-deserved standing ovation, a thank-you for gracing the 80-year-old festival with her regal presence."

Expect a lot more of that in St. Petersburg next February.

-- Jay Cridlin

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SoundBytes: Tori Kelly, Joey Bada$$, MyLifeAsEva, Dr. John and more

Dan Hallman/AP

-- Why is Wild 94.1, the Tampa Bay area's dominant hip-hop station, holding a singer-songwriter contest? You got us, but you won't hear anyone complaining about the fact that they're bringing Tori Kelly to town for a kickoff party. The station and Seminole Hard Hotel and Casino are teaming up for the "#TBTSearch Tampa Bay Talent Search, featuring $2,500 in cash and prizes. Kelly, the rising pop star behind Nobody Love and Should've Been Us, will headline an invite-only kickoff party and Q&A at the Hard Rock Cafe on Aug. 18. After that, Wild 94.1 judges will pick 10 artists who will perform in a live grand finale on Sept. 6. The contest is open to solo singer-songwriter types only (think acoustic guitars and keyboards). Click here and here for details.

-- Big hip-hop show coming to the Orpheum on Oct. 24: Joey Bada$$ with Denzel Curry, Bishop Nehru and Nyck Caution on Oct. 24. Tickets are $30-$115. Click here.

-- Also coming to the Orpheum this fall and winter: The Front Bottoms with the Smith Street Band and Elvis Depressedly (Nov. 23, $16.50-$21, on sale Friday); and metal outfit Nile (Jan. 8, $17-$20, on sale Aug. 22). …

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Florida Metal Fest: Obituary, Deicide, more coming to Cuban Club in Tampa


Ester Segarra


Could it be? Is this the all-encompassing Tampa death metal festival fans have been waiting for their whole lives?

Two of Tampa's "big four" of death metal bands, Obituary, above, and Deicide, are slated to headline the inaugural Florida Metal Fest, Jan. 30 at the Cuban Club in Ybor City.

Sadly, it appears Cannibal Corpse will be on tour in Austin, Texas that night, so it won't be a totally conplete lineup. But maybe there's a chance they can still book Morbid Angel!

Even better, Tampa prog-metal progenitors Savatage last week played a headlining set at German's Wacken Open Air festival alongside their partners in riffage Trans-Siberian Orchestra. So maybe there's a chance, however slim, that Savatage could return to Tampa stages soon!

Either way: Deicide and Obituary is a pretty good start. And the fest already has one of the greatest logos you'll ever see. …

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Rachel Platten talks 'Fight Song,' Taylor Swift, her long road to the top and more


Rachel Platten has kicked around the pop singer-songwriter circuit for a decade and a half — in Tampa Bay alone, she’s played clubs ranging from Jannus Live to the World of Beer in Westchase. Just this March, she opened for Andy Grammer at the Orpheum.

So imagine what was going through her mind singing her hit of a lifetime before 50,000 fans in Philadelphia, none other than Taylor Swift by her side.

“That was really amazing,” said Platten, the 34-year-old singer behind the uplifting, empowering summer anthem Fight Song. “I really want more than anything for more and more people to share this song, because the stories I’m getting back are just so incredible, about what the song has helped people overcome, or struggle to overcome. That was most exciting to me, because that was going to be 50,000 more people that might not have had a chance to hear that song and let it resonate and help them in some way.”

Fight Song has utterly transformed Platten’s career — and it couldn’t have come at a better time. She wrote it in 2013 and 2014, exasperated over the industry doors that kept closing in her face. …

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SoundBytes: DJ Snake, Damon Dash, Circa Survive and more

-- Looking for a party tonight? This one slipped by us, but DJ Snake is rocking Venue 578 in Orlando tonight at 10 p.m. TURN DOWN FOR WHAT. Limited tickets are available. Click here for details.

-- Jonny Craig, the troubled but talented singer from Dance Gavin Dance and Emarosa, is playing a super-tiny show very soon: Epic Problem at the Skatepark of Tampa. He'll be there on Sept. 17; tickets are $15 and they go on sale Monday. Click here.

-- Major metal show forthcoming: Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity and The Shrine at Jannus Live on Oct. 4. Tickets are $19. Click here.

-- Circa Survive is touring behind the 10th anniversary of their album Juturna, and that tour will bring them to the Ritz Ybor on Nov. 21. RX Bandits will open the show. Tickets are $21.50. Click here.

-- Hip hop executive Damon Dash, whose former relationship with Jay Z made him one of the industry's most powerful entrepreneurs, is scheduled to speak at a daylong conference and lecture at Tampa's Dubai Nightclub, 3849 Northdale Blvd. on Sunday. Tickets start at $10. Click here for details.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Ticket Window: 'Legends of the Old School,' Martin Lawrence, Eric Paslay, Clutch and more

The biggest thing going on sale this week is the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. Not the actual venue, mind you, but pretty much every major show coming there during its 2015-16 season. That includes concerts (Eric Paslay, Will Hoge, Straight No Chaser), comedians (Martin Lawrence, Christopher Titus), Broadway stars (Alan Cumming, Sutton Foster), Broadway musicals and the theater's Club Jaeb concert series, featuring Anais Mitchell (above), Penny and Sparrow, Whitehorse, Emily Hearn, Birds of Chicago, Antje Duvekot, KaiL Baxley and Tyrone Wells. …

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Gary Clark Jr. coming to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

Here’s a show blues and indie rock fans have been waiting on for quite some time.

Dynamic Texas singer, songwriter and guitarist Gary Clark Jr. is set to make his long-awaited Tampa Bay debut next spring, he announced today.

Clark – who this summer alone has played with the Rolling Stones and toured with the Foo Fighters – is set to play Jannus Live in St. Petersburg on Feb. 18, his first scheduled date of 2016. (He’ll also be at the House of Blues in Orlando on Feb. 20, for those of you in East Hillsborough.)

The tour announcement came alongside details about Clark’s second studio album, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, which comes out Sept. 11. Pre-orders, which begin today, include two new tracks, The Healing and Grinder.

Tickets to the St. Petersburg show will cost $30-$35 and go on sale Aug. 7. As a bonus, every concert ticket purchased for this headlining tour will include a free download of The Story of Sonny Boy Slim.

Buy your tickets early, because this is one of the first must-see shows of 2016.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Willow Shields talks 'Hunger Games,' 'Dancing With the Stars' and more

While most of the geek-chic fun this weekend will take place at Tampa Bay Comic Con, at least one star of a big-budget sci-fi francise is taking her talents elsewhere in town.

Willow Shields, who plays Primrose Everdeen in the Hunger Games franchise, will appear at the Shops at Wiregrass as the centerpiece of the Wesley Chapel retail center's Back to School Bash from noon to 3 p.m.

Shields, who also competed on Dancing With the Stars, was booked for the gig because organizers think she's a good role model for girls. Despite her role in a massive Hollywood franchise, she's done her best to keep her head on her shoulders.

"I've learned never to take anything people say about you personally," she said in a phone interview. "I just laugh off any negative comments."

For more of Virginia Barreda's interview with Willow Shields, click here.

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This week in Tampa: Toby Keith, Counting Crows, Perpetual Groove, Kygo and more

As the calendar eases into August, it's time to hit a show. Lots of choices this week, including Toby Keith, Counting Crows, Kygo, Perpetual Groove, Floetry, Pato Banton, Breathe Carolina, Citizen Cope, Hey Sleeper, Colt Ford, UZ, the Appleseed Cast, 10 Years, Nonpoint and more. Here to walk you through it all are Jay Cridlin and Ray Roa...Full Story

Lea Thompson talks Tampa Bay Comic Con, 'Back to the Future,' 'Howard the Duck' and more

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future, so why not celebrate Tampa Bay Comic Con, which returns this weekend to the Tampa Convention Center, with Lea Thompson?

"You never think that you're doing something that 30 years later people will be still appreciating," Thompson said in a recent phone interview. "The exchanges, the nice feelings are there between the people there and the celebrities. It's such a lovely event. I love people that are not trying to act too cool to have a good time. Dress up and get your freak on. I like them, not the ones trying to pretend they are the coolest kid on the block."

For more of Robbyn Mitchell's interview with Lea Thompson, click here.

But that's not all. Comic Con is also bringing in a couple of other geek goddesses, including Star Wars' Carrie Fisher, Terminator's Linda Hamilton, The Hunger Games' Jena Malone, Game of Thrones' Keisha Castle-Hughes and Jessica Henwick, Futurama's Billy West, SpongeBob SquarePants' Tom Kenny and more. Click here for a preview.

And just how high does your geek flag fly? Click here for a quiz.

And, super bonus: Click here for a game of cosplay bingo!

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Coming soon, it's 'Bey Day' for Beyonce fans at Tampa's Ritz Ybor

 Beyonce attends the "China: Through The Looking Glass" Costume Institute Benefit Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015 in New York City.

Mike Coppola | Getty

Beyonce attends the "China: Through The Looking Glass" Costume Institute Benefit Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015 in New York City.

Every February, the Ritz Ybor in Ybor City celebrates "Dre Day," a party with a West Coast Dr. Dre theme -- Dre beats, Dre costumes, Dre photo booths, etc.

This September, the party is getting a lot more fierce. Sasha Fierce, that is.

The first-ever "Bey Day," celebrating all things Beyonce, is coming to the Ritz on Sept. 3, the day before Queen Bey's 34th birthday. Expect live tribute acts; classic Beyonce, Destiny's Child and Jay Z videos all night courtesy of VJ Nick James; specialty cocktails like the "Drunk In Love" and "Bootylicious"; prizes for "single ladies," a Tampa Bay Fashion Week dress contest; Beyonce birthday cake and more

How real is Bey Day: There's already a website: BeyonceTampa.com. (Hey, Beyonce hasn't played Tampa since 2007; might as well get some use out of that URL.)

Tickets to Bey Day 2015 go on sale Friday. GA tickets are $10 until Aug. 20, $15 until Sept. 3 and $20 at the door. VIP tickets are $50. A portion of proceeds will go to Chime For Change, a charity promoting health, education and justice for girls -- co-founded, of course, by Beyonce. Click here for details. …

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Idina Menzel brings the best of Broadway to Clearwater

As she has often done in this world tour, Menzel quickly engaged the audience. She complimented a girl in an Elsa costume, teased a fan for wearing a fluorescent shirt and flirted with an elderly man in the front row.


As she has often done in this world tour, Menzel quickly engaged the audience. She complimented a girl in an Elsa costume, teased a fan for wearing a fluorescent shirt and flirted with an elderly man in the front row.

CLEARWATER -- A near-capacity crowd filled Ruth Eckerd Hall on Tuesday to see one of Broadway's most recognizable names. A fair number of the 1,858 in attendance were girls in their teens and younger, but a lot of silver heads dotted the crowd as well for a show scheduled to start at 8 p.m.

With the star attraction more than a half-hour late, the crowd broke into rhythmic clapping. Menzel finally made her entrance at 8:37. Her opening number, Defying Gravity, brought audience members roaring to their feet, an indication of goodwill that would only grow stronger over the next two hours. Menzel, 44, delivered the powerhouse vocals that got her nominated for Tony awards in the musicals Rent, Wicked and If/Then (winning in 2004 for Wicked), and drove Let It Go from the Disney movie Frozen to the top 10.

As she has often done in this world tour, Menzel quickly engaged the audience. She complimented a girl in an Elsa costume, teased a fan for wearing a fluorescent shirt and flirted with an elderly man in the front row.

"Is that your husband?" Menzel asked the woman sitting next to the man. "I love it when there is a straight guy in my audience." …

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Photos: Idina Menzel at Ruth Eckerd Hall

Broadway superstar Idina Menzel appears at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Tuesday.


Broadway superstar Idina Menzel appears at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Tuesday.

Broadway star Idina Menzel brought her world tour to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Tuesday night. Here are some images from the show. Read Andrew Meacham's interview with Menzel here.  

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Chance the Rapper coming to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

It's shaping up to be an amazing autumn for hip-hop fans in Tampa Bay.

On the large side, you've got acts like J. Cole, Big Sean, Chris Brown, YG and Kid Ink coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. On the smaller side, you've got Earl Sweatshirt and Vince Staples at the Orpheum and Cannibal Ox at the Local 662.

And today we get news of the show that might trump them all: Chance the Rapper on Nov. 5 at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg.

This spring, the Chicago rapper and his crew -- billed as Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment -- released Surf, one of the best, most uplifting and most free-thinking rap albums of the year. And his live shows are a wonder to behold, as anyone who saw him at Tampa's 2014 Big Guava Music Festival can attest. Chance is a dynamic performer, part James Brown and part Kanye West, who usually brings a full band to back his wildly impassioned delivery.

Ticket prices haven't been announced, but they go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. You should get them. Really, you should. Click here for details.

-- Jay Cridlin

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