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Ted Nugent coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater


How is it possible that Ted Nugent couldn't tweak his tour schedule by just a week or two, so he could plan to be in Tampa Bay at the same time as the Republican National Convention? Given his status as one of the most outspoken conservatives in the entertainment industry -- and especially considering his recent assertion that, "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year" -- you'd think he'd be invited to the RNC as a guest of honor.

But as it turns out, Nugent's upcoming fall tour will bring him to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Aug. 6, about three weeks before the RNC kicks off in Tampa. (Maybe he's using this tour as an opportunity to scout gun ranges near the Tampa Bay Times Forum.) Tickets to the show will be $39.50-$49.50, and they'll go onsale at noon May 5. Click here for details.

Politics aside, you can't really argue with the opening lick to Stranglehold. Maybe Homer is right -- vote for the Motor City Madman in 2012!

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Artist of the day: Guiltmaker


(Welcome to Kickstarter week on Soundcheck! This week we’re spotlighting artists with recent or ongoing projects on Today: Alt-rockers Guiltmaker.)

Project: Recording a new six-song EP at Singing Serpent Studios in New York City. Their goal amount represents about 33 percent of the total cost of travel, studio time and pressing the EP on vinyl. The band is paying the rest.

Goal: $4,500 Raised: $3,233 (through 4/27; the deadline is today, so click here to donate)

What $5 got you: Access to a behind-the-scenes video and photo blog during recording.

Guiltmaker is adhering to that old adage, “Give, and ye shall recieve.”

The alt-rock quartet’s most recent album, the 2010 EP The Emerald Coast, is available for free download on their Bandcamp page. And the band is putting up about $9,000 of their own money to record a new album this summer in New York City — they’re just asking for a little help to get there.

“Either way, we’ll be going to New York and recording this EP,” said drummer Daniel Williams. “The Kickstarter would provide about 30 percent of the funding, the travel and pressing the new EP on vinyl. If we do not succeed with our Kickstarter campaign, there’s a chance we would not produce our new record on vinyl.”

Guiltmaker — singer-guitarists Dan Radde and Shaun Drees, bassist David Teten and Williams — have been around in various forms for about eight years, and Williams said most of the donors seem to be longtime fans, friends and family. But the group has played a handful of notable shows in the past year — opening for AWOLNATION and Peter Bjorn and John, the closing of Vinyl Fever — which may have increased their visibility in the local scene.

The group plans to record the new EP with producer Jeremy S.H. Griffith (Underoath, Norma Jean), but isn’t counting on fans to pay the full bill.

“Some bands go crazy and must be hoping to get 100 percent of their funding from there,” Wiliams said. “But we love what we do.”

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Artist of the day: The Music Box


Clearwater post-rock outfit The Music Box has been around off and on since 2010, performing soaring, atmospheric indie-alternative music at venues around the bay. With no vocalist, the group is frequently compared to Explosions In The Sky, and the comparison can be valid — their latest EP, I’ve Got A Feeling We’re Not In Kansas Anymore, closes with a song called Remember Me, which would sound right at home in Dillon, Texas. But it’s also got some heart-racing alt-rock tunes along the lines of Death Cab For Cutie (Reflections, Departures).

The band — guitarists Nicholas Marciano and Freddy Marschall, bassist Cody Unangst and drummer Brian Wheeler — has split up twice in the past two years due to creative differences, but as their bio states, they quickly realized “there was something special about this project that they could find in no other.”

Find out for yourself this weekend, when The Music Box performs two shows on both sides of the bay. On Friday, they’ll play with Fusebox Poet, Sunshine and Bullets, Mute Speak and A Play On Words at the Pegasus Lounge in Tampa. Tickets are $5-$7. And on Saturday, look for them with The Mother Machine, Dune Train and The Eternal Effect at Undergrounds Coffee House in Tarpon Springs.

Click here to listen to music from the Music Box’s first four releases.

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SoundBytes: Man Man, Dev, Prince Royce and more


-- Wildly experimental Philly indie group Man Man is coming to Crowbar. They'll be in Ybor City on June 12; tickets are $10-$13. Click here.

-- The electronic Sunset Music Festival, May 26 at Raymond James Stadium, has announced a handful of additional acts, including pop singer Dev, plus Dirtyphonics, Tommy Trash, Oscar G and Krazy Kuts.

-- Latin music superstar Prince Royce has been added to the lineup of the Fiesta Maxima, taking place June 16 at the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre. Tito "El Bambino" has already been announced, and it looks like there are still a couple of headliners yet to come. Click here for more details on the fest.

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Chris Smither talks songwriting, drinking and life on the road


Two big music festivals will be taking place north of Tampa and St. Pete this weekend: The roots-oriented Stringbreak Music Festival at Sertoma Youth Ranch in Hernando County, and the Cotee River Seafood and Blues Festival in New Port Richey.

The biggest name at Stringbreak is Chris Smither, who's something of a dean in the world of six-string troubadours, with an ever-growing, enthusiastic following among non-mainstream music fans, who have high regard for his thoughtful songwriting and intricate, skillful guitar playing.

He's been recording and performing since the early '70s, and at age 67, still manages to spend some 200 days on the road every year.

“I guess I still write the songs and make the records so that I can go out and play,” he said. “Except that now I actually look forward to it. I’ve learned how to do it, and I’m very eager to get stuff recorded once I’ve written it.”

For more of Logan Neill's interview with Chris Smither, click here.

And for info about the Cotee River Seafood and Blues Festival, click here for Michele Miller's story.

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Photos: Peelander-Z take over the Orpheum in Ybor City


Peelander-Z's last concert at the Orpheum in Ybor City was one of tbt* photographer Luis Santana's favorite local shows of 2011. So when the New York comic-book punks came back to the venue last weekend, he couldn't resist checking it out. Click here for a ton of pics from the show.

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This week in Tampa: 98 Rockfest, R. Kelly, Rise Against and more


It's a good week to be a fan of hard rock and heavy metal in Tampa (but then again, isn't it always?). This week brings 98 Rockfest, featuring Shinedown (above), Evanescence, P.O.D. and Five Finger Death Punch; as well as Rise Against, A Day To Remember, Lacuna Coil, Behemoth, Sleeping Giant, In Fear and Faith and -- hell, we'll throw in Lit, just for old time's sake.

If metal's not your thing, you've also got R. Kelly, Greg Lake, Sister Hazel, Mickey Avalon and a handful of festivals up and down the gulf coast. Here to walk you through it all is Carole Liparoto...

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Artist of the day: Lushbudget


Lushbudget is the nom de musique of Jason Trunzo of St. Petersburg, who plays “singer-songwriter rock with an edge,” as he puts it. “I tend to write songs about deeper emotions, abstract moments in time, culture and — of course — sex and love. I sing my heart out. I play my acoustic guitar too hard and too loud, and I love it.”

Trunzo came up in Pittsburgh, Pa., where in the ’90s he led a successful touring band called D.O.S.E., which opened for the likes of Radiohead, PJ Harvey, Bush and Alanis Morissette. But in the late ’90s, Trunzo left Pittsburgh for California, Colorado and, in 2001, St. Petersburg, where he became an auto auctioneer and then an Apple and Mac repairman. In the past year, friends in the local music scene have urged him to start playing shows around town, at venues like the Globe and the Ale and the Witch. “For the first time in my life I am making music for no other reason than the joy it brings me to play, sing and be surrounded by my friends,” he says.

Next week, Trunzo’s Pittsburgh connections will pay off with an unusual show. He’s been a longtime friend and collaborator with Liz Berlin, the guitarist for Pittsburgh group Rusted Root, who are celebrating their 20th year as a band with a big tour. It’s not coming to Tampa, but it IS coming to Jacksonville on May 3 and Orlando on May 4. Before that, though, Berlin will swing by St. Pete for a show featuring her and Lushbudget. The gig is May 2 at Cafe Bohemia in downtown St. Pete. There’s no cover (although they are asking for donations to help cover Berlin’s travel expenses) and limited seating (although guests can bring their own chairs). Click here for details.

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Ticket Window: Santana, Built to Spill, Ledisi and more


Quite a newsy edition of Ticket Window we've got for you this week! Checking out today's list of concerts with tickets going on sale this week, we find one big new one: Santana, on Aug. 26 at the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre (that's the eve of the Republican National Convention, if you're keeping score at home). Not only that, but we're learning indie-rock heroes Built to Spill are coming to the State Theatre on Sept. 12, and Ledisi with Eric Benet will be at the Mahaffey Theater on Aug. 4. Big stuff!

Other Tampa Bay concerts with tickets going on sale this week: Styx (June 3, Ruth Eckerd Hall), the Malone Brothers (June 7, Straz Center), Puscifer (June 11, Straz Center), the Summer Slaughter Tour with Cannibal Corpse and Between the Buried and Me (July 30, Ritz Ybor), Ledisi with Eric Benet (Aug. 4, Mahaffey Theater), Santana (Aug. 26, 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre), Bill Maher (Sept. 1, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Ian Anderson (Sept. 23, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Built to Spill (Sept. 12, State Theatre) and Anjelah Johnson (Sept. 29, Straz Center)

Click here for this week's edition of Ticket Window.
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Review: Elvis Costello spins his way into Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater


After a delay of several months, Elvis Costello and the Imposters finally brought their acclaimed Spectacular Spinning Songbook Tour to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Tuesday, in front of a rowdy, sold-out crowd of (fittingly) 2,012.

Sean Daly was in the house as "the coolest punk on the block" played old favorites (Alison, [What's So Funny 'Bout] Peace, Love and Understanding?) and invited fans onstage to spin a wheel to determine parts of the setlist. He writes:

Costello is a notoriously restless artist, and his 35-year career has taken him all over the genre spectrum: punk, country, jazz, that gorgeous team-up with Burt Bacharach. But this Revolver Tour is ripe with hits, or at least near-misses, that dot the early days of his prolific catalog. The opening cuts blurred together with a reckless, near-violent energy: I Hope You're Happy Now, Heart of the City, Miracle Man, Mystery Dance, Radio Radio.

With spastic movements, and constantly thumbing his glasses back on his face, Costello dared the audience to keep up. Stomping on effects pedals, he'd follow the whims of his audience (Clubland, Everyday I Write the Book) with his own fanciful wanderings.

For Sean's full review of Elvis Costello at Ruth Eckerd Hall, click here.

Photo: Dirk Shadd (get one more photo after the jump!)

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Artist of the day: Una Voce


The Florida men's chorus known as Una Voce has a simple mission statement: "To express through excellence in men's choral music the inherent worth and dignity of all people in order to foster a global community that celebrates and embraces diversity." 

Over the past 10 years, the chorale has performed the National Anthem at Rays games and taken the stage at Carnegie Hall, to name just a few accomplishments. Along the way, they've become regulars at fundraisers, festivals and events like the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Now under the leadership of conductor Dwight M. Thomas, the group has had more than 40 members.

On Saturday, na Voce will celebrate "changing lives ... one song at a time" with a 10th anniversary concert featuring selections from their past 10 years. It's at 7:30 p.m. at the Palladium in St. Petersburg. Tickets are $25 for the concert, or $60 for a gala reception. Click here for details.

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2012 Identity Festival lineup: Paul Van Dyk, Wolfgang Gartner, Nero; tour returning to Tampa's 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre


Tampa Bay's summer of electronic love will continue into August.

Following weeks of announcements about local shows by the likes of Kaskade, Avicii, Steve Aoki, Afrojack, Paul Oakenfold and events like the Sunset Music Festival and Downtown Digital, today we got maybe the biggest news yet: A return engagement for the Identity Festival, which this year will hit Tampa's 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre on Aug. 3.

This year's Identity Festival lineup includes Wolfgang Gartner (above), Paul Van Dyk, Eric Prydz, Excision, Nero (DJ set), Arty, Madeon, Porter Robinson, Doctor P, Noisia and Showtek, among others. However, as was the case last year, the lineup will vary by date, so it's no guarantee these artists will all be on the Tampa bill. An exact lineup by city is not yet available.

***UPDATE*** While this is far from complete, Identity's tour page now lists the following artists for the Tampa date: Eric Prydz, Wolfgang Gartner, Excision, Showtek, Arty, Noisia and Doctor P. No Nero, No Paul Van Dyk. But there's likely much more to come, so stay tuned.

A limited number of early bird tickets will go on sale this week for $25; after that general admission tickets are $60. Which seems mighty high, but that didn't keep scores of wildly dressed electronic music fans away from last year's Identity Festival (click here for a review).

The only question is, will we all be raved out by Aug. 3?

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Cobra Starship's Ryland Blackinton talks Grad Nite, his trippy trip to Disney and his advice for the class of 2012


A rite of passage for Floridian high schoolers came to an end last spring when Disney’s Magic Kingdom held its final Grad Nite, a 39-year tradition.

The annual party for 12th graders had brought in a huge list of performers over the years, ranging from Kool and the Gang to Night Ranger to Britney Spears to Weird Al Yankovic to Fall Out Boy to Katy Perry.

Thankfully for the class of 2012, Busch Gardens has stepped up to fill the void. The park will host its first Grad Nite on Friday, with headlining pop-rock group Cobra Starship and comic Gabriel Iglesias. Select groups of graduating 12th graders will have the run of the place from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. (A Grad Nite for eighth graders is scheduled for May 4.)

When Cobra Starship performed at December’s 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball in Tampa, we spoke with guitarist Ryland Blackinton, who grew up in Boca Raton and graduated from Florida State. So he has his own experiences with Florida’s high-school-senior traditions. We couldn’t resist asking him about Grad Nite.

How did you celebrate your own high school graduation?

Our Grad Nite was at Disney.

Who was the headliner?

You know, I don’t remember, but I think it was Justin Timberlake. I remember my high school girlfriend was a huge fan, and I remember being really impressed with his dancing. But I remember a bunch of people took acid, and I was the outsider. Yeah, it was kind of boring. So I’m gonna do it right this time. I’m gonna do acid before we play Busch Gardens.

Have you ever had to deliver a commencement address?

No. Never. Not on acid, anyway. I’m just kidding — I wouldn’t know how to do that.

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Artist of the day: Daniel Lipton


As the legendary Anton Coppola took his final, graceful bow as conductor and artistic director of Opera Tampa on Sunday (click here for a review), it is time to meet the man who will take his place at the front of the stage: Daniel Lipton.

Lipton comes to Tampa after 20 years as artistic director of Opera Ontario in Canada; for the last four years of that position, he was also music director and chief conductor of the Anhaltische Philharmonie and general director of the opera company in Dessau, Germany. As an opera and orchestra conductor, he has held positions in Bogota, Colombia; Zurich, Switzerland; Bologna and Florence, Italy; and, in the United States, in Houston and Denver.

He also has founded a number of choruses, opera and ballet companies, and symphony orchestras. He says he "absolutely" hopes to continue to found such organizations. "It's a matter of time and money, of course, but the possibility of creating them is very exciting."

For more on Daniel Lipton, click here for Colette Bancroft's profile.

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SoundBytes: Puscifer, BoDeans, Styx and more


-- If you're trying to keep score of singer Maynard James Keenan's many projects, here's a clip 'n' save guide: Legendary prog-metal outfit Tool is his main gig; A Perfect Circle is the hard rock group he formed with guitarist Billy Howerdel; Caduceus Cellars is his winemaking operation; and Puscifer, above, is essentially an oddball solo project that has earned a cult following, in no small part due to its cameo on Mr. Show with Bob and David. Got all that? Then you'll be fully prepared when Puscifer comes to Fergurson Hall of the Straz Center on June 11 (two days after they perform at Bonnaroo). Tickets start at $32.50 and they go onsale Friday. Click here.

-- Do you miss the opening credits to Party of Five? Do you simply yearn to be Closer to Free? Good news: The BoDeans are coming to Jannus Live on June 14. Tickets are $10-$15. Click here.

-- Can Styx live up to the daunting precedent set by Dennis DeYoung and the Florida Orchestra performing the music of Styx earlier this year? We'll see on June 3, when the group performs at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Tickets are $35-$79.50 and they go on sale this week. Click here for details.

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