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SoundBytes: LMFAO, Washed Out, Dan Aykroyd and more


-- How do we feel about LMFAO making the leap to arenas? Not great, right? Okay, cool, just making sure we're all on the same page. The Party Rock Anthem bros will be performing at the Amway Center in Orlando on June 23, alongside Far East Movement, the Quest Crew, Sidney Samson, Eva Simmons and Natalia Kills. Tickets start at $27.50, and they go onsale Saturday. Click here.

-- How many of y'all love the IFC sketch show Portlandia? Do you dig the fantastic theme song? It's Feel It All Around by chillwave artist Washed Out, and if you want to hear it live, you should check 'em out when they hit Crowbar on May 13. we've been on board the Ernest Greene train for a couple of years now (check out our review of Washed Out's performance opening for Yeasayer at the State Theatre) Tickets are $10-$13. Click here for details.

-- Singer Olivia Newton-John will join Moffitt Cancer Center’s physician-scientists for the 13th annual Sarasota Women’s Cancer Awareness Luncheon at noon March 19 at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota. The singer-songwriter and breast cancer survivor will be the keynote speaker for the event benefitting breast and gynecologic cancer research. Newton-John is a member of Moffitt’s national Board of Advisors. Tickets are $125 each; sponsorships start at $1,000. Click here.

-- This doesn't qualify as a WTF Concert of the Year candidate, but: Actor Dan Aykroyd will be hanging out at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino from 9 to 11 p.m. March 9, signing bottles of his Crystal Head Vodka. It costs $80 for a 750-mL bottle. For details, call the casino at (813) 627-7625.

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Strawberry Festival lineup: The Band Perry, Luke Bryan, Hank Williams Jr. among acts not to miss


Without question, the hottest name at this year's Florida Strawberry Festival is The Band Perry, whose smash hit If I Die Young earned them crossover appeal and a Best New Artist Grammy Nomination. But there are other artists worth watching, including Jason Aldean's good buddy Luke Bryan and onetime Monday Night Football icon Hank Williams Jr. And if pop and rock is your thing, how about Demi Lovato, Air Supply or Allstar Weekend?

This year's Florida Strawberry Festival kicks off Thursday with performances by Gretchen Wilson (7:30 p.m.), the Oak Ridge Boys (3:30 p.m.) and polka legend Jimmy Sturr.

Click here for our preview of the 2012 Strawberry Festival lineup.

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Jeffrey Ross talks roasting, rudeness and the art of giving (and taking) insults


As part of our first-ever Rude Issue, which covers all types of deplorable behavior at concerts, plays, restaurants and more, we thought: Who better to consult than the Roastmaster General himself, comic Jeffrey Ross?

Ross, who brings his "Jeff Ross Roasts America Tour" to the Straz Center on Thursday (tickets start at $27.50; click here for details) was kind enough to share his thoughts on our increasingly aggressive insult-driven culture.

"The truth is, there's no more decorum, you know?" said Ross. "With everybody having a Facebook and a Twitter, I feel like regular people consider themselves stars. It's a live, real-time upload of every time we buy a pair of socks, the most telling sign that we're losing our politeness. When you know everything about somebody, you can talk to them any way you please."

Click here for Eric Deggans' full interview with Jeff Ross.

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Ticket Window: Ringo Starr, Lisa Lampanelli, Fear Factory and more


Weird Ticket Window this week: You've got a celebrity chef, a soccer match, a foul-mouthed comic and a Beatle. Crazy days, huh?

Tampa Bay concerts and events with tickets going on sale this week include: Framing Hanley (April 7, State Theatre), Chef Robert Irvine: Dinner Impossible Live (April 13, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Greg Lake (April 28, Capitol Theatre), Fear Factory (May 5, State Theatre), Lisa Lampanelli (May 19, Straz Center), FIFA World Cup Qualifying Opener: United States vs. Antigua and Barbuda (June 8, Raymond James Stadium) and Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band (July 1, Ruth Eckerd Hall).

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

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The Oak Ridge Boys' Richard Sterban talks longevity, reinvention and classic hits like 'Elvira'


You've probably never heard of Richard Sterban, but he has one of the most famous lines in country music history. As the bass singer for the Oak Ridge Boys, he's the guy who put the "oom papa mow mow" in the group's chart-topping 1981 hit, Elvira.

The quartet brings its four-part harmonies back to the opening day of the Florida Strawberry Festival on Thursday, making at least its 10th appearance in Plant City.

"Part of our longevity comes from the fact we try to reinvent ourselves a little bit," Sterban said. "We're still the Oak Ridge Boys, but I think our new music is a little more relevant to the current marketplace."

For more with Sterban, click here for Ernest Hooper's interview.

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Artist of the day: The Battersby Duo


It's Leap Day! So let's celebrate something you really don't see every day: A Tampa Bay artist winning a Grammy Award.

That's right. The Battersby Duo, a.k.a. Tim and Laura Battersby of Brooksville, won a Grammy for their song I Know a Kid, which was part of the the compilation album All About Bullies ... Big And Small, which won the Grammy for Best Children's Album.

The Battersbys aren't strangers to the Grammy scene. Last year, their album Sunny Days received a nomination for Best Children's Album. The couple flew to the awards ceremony in Los Angeles and even got a chance to hobnob with music stars such as Whitney Houston and Ringo Starr.

Click here for Logan Neill's story about the Battersby Duo.

Photo: Will Vragovic, tbt*

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Loving Radiohead, for better or for worse: One fan's confession


The moment Radiohead announced a concert on Feb. 29 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, I booked the day off work.

This is my favorite band of all time, you see. Come Leap Day, I want nothing to stand between me and this concert — no rushed assignments at work, no last-minute fires to extinguish, no chance of being swallowed by bridge traffic on my way to Tampa. I will leave nothing to fate. I cannot miss this show.

Then I read an interview with Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien about the band’s setlist for this tour.

“Last time we went out,” he said, “it felt very much like In Rainbows plus the greatest hits. And it’s not going to be like that this time. I guess it’s going to be predominantly from this record and the last record, and then see which songs fit around that.”

Oh. I see.

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Review: Saul Williams' eclectic artistry takes center stage at the Orpheum in Ybor City


If sweat is a testament to the exorcism of the spoken word, then Saul Williams perspires his inner demons (and equal parts love) in mouthfuls of brilliant display on stage. An artist is an artist, and is one who succumbs to the plague of their inner writhing and channels it with a medium, and Williams’ unflappable execution is nothing short of admirable.

The man behind intellectually crafted verse and hip-hop/rock fusions made his first appearance in Tampa at the Orpheum Sunday night. The tour promotes Williams’ fourth studio album, Volcanic Sunlight, but the majority of the gig gave play to his back catalog, evoking his signature raw candor.

Charged by a backing band, complete with horns, drums and opener CX Kidtronik, Williams’ live additions spun fresh renditions of studio cuts. His modest entrance during CX Kidtronik’s mix of A-ha’s Take On Me accompanied his opening recitation from Coded Language, where he lists the names of historic figures and musicians. Consider it his honor and recognition of those before him. Sentiments aside, he thrust full throttle into 90 minutes of poignant dialogue, spoken and sung.

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Reports: Radiohead debut new songs, pull out old faves at tour kickoff in Miami

It has begun. Radiohead kicked off their Spring U.S. tour at American Airlines Arena in Miami on Monday, and the sold-out crowd got their money's worth, with a generous 24-song set that delved deeper into the band's catalog than any fans probably imagined.

Among the highlights: The band debuted two new songs, Cut a Hole (above) and Identikit, and performed the OK Computer-era B-side Meeting In The Aisle for the first time EVER. And they sprinkled in some hits like Karma Police, The National Anthem and There There. Please oh PLEASE save some of that awesomeness for Tampa, Thom!

For some reviews of the Miami gig, check out the South Florida Sun-SentinelMiami New Times, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, and the always-excellent fan site At Ease Web (which also has a setlist).

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Tales of superfandom: One Radiohead fan's suite $2,500 gesture


Your favorite band can inspire you to do some pretty crazy things.

pam.sprecher.jpgFor example: When Radiohead announced a gig at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Pam Sprecher decided to drop $2,500 on a luxury suite. Then she gave away tickets to her friends on Facebook. For free.

“It was more than worth it for me to pay for it,” said Spercher, 29, who has never seen the band in concert. “They’re pretty much the band that you either love or hate, and I knew the people that would want to come were diehard fans. I knew this would be really awesome.”

Sprecher is vice president of operations at GSA Applications, a business she owns with her father that helps companies do business with the federal government. They own Lighting season tickets, and occasionally book suites for concerts at the Forum to entertain clients. Sprecher thought about doing that for this show, too, “but I slowly realized that nobody I work with even likes Radiohead,” she laughed. “All the better for me, because I’d rather go with my friends anyway.”

The result: A private suite for 18, including parking passes, a private restroom and a personal attendant. All she asked of her friends was that they cover their own food and drink.

Sprecher, who’s been a big fan since college, has high hopes for the show. On her dream setlist: Paranoid Android, Knives Out, Lotus Flower, 2+2=5 and Morningbell (the Kid A version). Come on, Thom, can you throw a couple of hits her way?

— Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Artist of the day: The Brian Ransom Ceramic Art Ensemble


As Radiohead Week continues here on Soundcheck, let's check in on another artist who specializes in unique, experimental music: The Brian Ransom Ceramic Art Ensemble.

Ransom is a professor of ceramics at Eckerd College, and for decades, he has performed around the country on a series of ceramic woodwinds of his own creation. The result is a strange and beautiful blend of new age and world music. Click here for a 2006 story about Ransom's art.

On Thursday, Ransom's Ceramic Art Ensemble will perform at a fundraiser for Academy Prep's Building Without Borders. There will be a dinner, silent auction, music and more at 6:30 p.m. at Fox Hall on the Eckerd campus. Tickets are $35-$45. Click here for details.

Photo (2006): Atoyia Deans, tbt*

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UPDATE: Jack Russell's Great White postpones Thursday's concert at Jannus Live


Two things: 

1. We couldn't find an up-to-date photo of Jack Russell's Great White, so, you know, you work with what you've got. Jack Russell + Great White = whatever.

2. Jack Russell's Great White -- not to be confused with the band still billing itself as Great White -- has postponed their gig on Thursday at Jannus Live until sometime this summer, according to the venue's website. Jannus officials confirmed the postponement, but no further information was available.

As recently as last Thursday, the band was tweeting about their "final rehearsal ... before the first show in ST. Pete. This band kicks ass!" But should we not have expected this? Great White has canceled shows at Jannus Live in the past.

We'll keep you posted on any updates.

***UPDATE*** Jack Russell's Great White has issued a statement about the cancellation: "Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Jannus Live date is being moved to July. As soon as we have the new date, we will post it on our website."

However, a spokesman for Jannus Live tells us that "there is no rescheduled date yet," so it seems not everything has been fully worked out.

Meanwhile, the opening band on this bill, Faster Pussycat, has booked a replacement date at the Orpheum on Thursday. Tickets are $7/$10 and will be available online and at the door.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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SoundBytes: Rod Stewart, Zed's Dead, The-Dream and more


-- Did anyone go to last year's Rod Stewart/Stevie Nicks concert at the Tampa Bay Times Forum? How was it? We have to confess, we didn't hear the greatest things about it. But if you really enjoy these two classic rock titans, you might want to plan a trip to Orlando, because they're reviving their co-headlining tour, and it'll stop at the Amway Center on Aug. 3. Tickets are $45-$145, and they go onsale March 17. Click here.

-- It would be ironic to call The-Dream a multihyphenate talent, wouldn't it? But he is. The critically acclaimed R&B star will be at the Beacham Theater in Orlando on April 13, according to various websites. No info on tickets just yet.

-- The Amphitheatre has lined up a spring full of hot electronic acts, starting with rising dubstep stars Zed's Dead on March 25 (though sadly, they won't be joined by Araabmuzik on this stop). Then look for Hot Pink Delorean on April 13, Ferry Corsten for a 1-year anniversary party on April 14, and Nadia Ali and Starkillers on May 12 (weirdly, the same day as Tropical Heatwave. Click here for details on all shows.

-- If you're going to check out Jeff Ross on Thursday, you might be interested in this, too: Sharp-tongued comic Lisa Lampanelli is coming to the Straz Center in Tampa on May 19. Tickets start at $39.50, and they go onsale at noon Friday. Click here.

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Big Time Rush coming to the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre in Tampa


Don't say we didn't warn you.

When Big Time Rush performed at the 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball in December, the Nickelodeon boy band was an even bigger hit than David Guetta, Pitbull or Demi Lovato. And we wrote:

Don’t let those fatcats in Washington tell you America is in a boy-band shortage. The made-for-Nickelodeon pinups known as Big Time Rush drew the biggest screams and squawks of the night, and nearly caused not one but two riots when they passed through the MetroPCS Celebrity Club. Making their Tampa debut, the made-for-TV group proved animated, disciplined and clearly well trained in the art of tween idolatry. There may not be much to their music (for now), but when Big Time Rush takes over the world in 2012, remember we warned you they were coming.

Well ... Big Time Rush is coming. Big time.

BTR have announced a 50-plus-city North American tour that will hit Tampa's 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre on Aug. 25. Tickets go onsale to the public on March 10 via Ticketmaster. Supporting acts are still being finalized, but Australian sensation Cody Simpson (who was just in Tampa this weekend) and former X Factor finalist Rachel Crow are signed on for select dates. Click here.

Fun fact: The show is two days before the Republican National Convention hits Tampa. Maybe we'll see Mitt, Newt or Rick getting down onstage with BTR. Gotta earn that youth vote!

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*. Photo: Luis Santana, tbt*

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Young the Giant's Sameer Gadhia talks Radiohead, 'The King of Limbs' and learning from Thom Yorke's voice


We’ve been through enough Next Radioheads to fill an entire Virgin Megastore: Travis, Coldplay, Muse, Doves, Keane, Elbow, Idlewild, the list goes on and on.

These days, the New Next Radiohead might just be Young the Giant. Thanks to hit singles like My Body and Cough Syrup, the young SoCal group had one of the biggest commercial and critical breakthroughs of any young band in 2011, performing at the MTV Video Music Awards, recording their own episode of MTV Unplugged and opening for Incubus at amphitheatres nationwide. They’re now in the midst of their first-ever headlining tour, which has a sold-out stop at the Ritz Ybor on March 17.

Young the Giant are huge Radiohead fans — especially singer Sameer Gadhia, whose soulful croon bears more than a slight resemblance to Thom Yorke’s. Even Yorke’s own idol, Morrissey, thinks so —he’s gone out of his way to call Gadhia’s voice “unbreakable.”

“One of my friends told me, 'You realize you were able to achieve on your first album what Thom Yorke’s been trying to achieve his whole life — trying to get Morrissey to give him a nod?’” Gadhia said. “It’s interesting, you know? Because for me, it’s all about Thom Yorke.”

Shortly before Young the Giant performed at Tampa’s 97X Next Big Thing in December, we interviewed Gadhia about his band’s swift rise to fame. We couldn’t resist spending a solid 10 minutes of the conversation nerding out about our favorite band. Here’s how it went.

Are you fans of Radiohead?

Yes, we’re actually massive fans of Radiohead.

I never know how to ask that question, because I feel like, “Of course everybody is,” but then some people aren’t. What is it about their music that you dig? Any particular songs or albums that stand out?

I love every single thing that they’ve done — Kid A, Amnesiac, OK Computer, Hail to the Thief. In Rainbows was such a beautiful album. What they’ve been able to do is something that no one can say they can do right now. They’ve constantly been able to evolve themselves, they’ve constantly been pushing the envelope for over a decade. They’ve always been the forerunners for new and innovative music.

For us, and for most acts, it’s very cliche to say that Radiohead is their favorite band, and their biggest influence, because they really are — they’re a career act, they rose from obscurity and a lot of cynicism. A lot of people really didn’t like them at first, and they felt that they were pigeonholed into this genre that they didn’t see themselves. They envisioned something more. They had the motivation to evolve and do something completely different.

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