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Hey, music fans: Share your concert pics with us through #TampaBayLive


That photo you see before you is of dubstep master Datsik hanging with Tampa DJ Ryu during the Sunset Music Festival last weekend at Raymond James Stadium. Ryu uploaded the shot to Instagram with the hashtag #TampaBayLive -- making it one of the first photos in tbt*'s summerlong project of the same name.

All summer, we want you to share your music photos from around Tampa Bay via Twitter and especially Instagram. All you have to do is hashtag them #TampaBayLive, and they'll be automatically updoaded to our #TampaBayLive gallery. So if you're going to Downtown Digital or the big Kenny Chesney/Tim McGraw concert this weekend, get our your camera phones.

But this thing isn't open only to concertgoers. We want everyone to get in on the action. Does your band have a gig coming up? Have someone take your photo and upload it with #TampaBayLive. Are you a promoter who wants to capture an awesome scene at one of your events? #TampaBayLive. Did you meet a musician backstage? #TampaBayLive. Bar singers, karaoke singers, piano bar singers, the guy on the street corner with a guitar case filled with pennies -- we want your photos of all things musical in the Tampa Bay area. Soundchecks, meet-and-greets, crazy band T-shirts, even cool concert posters -- it's all fair game.

All summer, we'll be featuring some of our favorite #TampaBayLive photos in tbt* and the Tampa Bay Times. We hope you'll play along, because we know there's a lot of great music out there that you guys are just dying to share.

Like DJ Ryu -- he's off to a great start.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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This week in Tampa: Kenny Chesney, Neil Diamond, Bon Iver, Rick Ross, Avicii and more


See that guy? That's Chesney. He's a K-9 with the Tampa Police Department, and he's named after -- you guessed it -- Kenny Chesney. His handler's a big fan, and Chesney works as a bomb dog and a patrol apprehension dog. Pretty fun, right?

We thought Chesney would be a good face for the upcoming monster concert week, which will really get cooking as Chesney (the singer, not the dog) and Tim McGraw rock Raymond James Stadium all day Saturday. Then there's the legendary Neil Diamond, the superstar DJ Avicii, and Miami's own hip-hop bawse, Rick Ross. And how about all those acts who are coming to Tampa Bay on their way to Bonnaroo (Bon Iver, City and Colour, Two Door Cinema Club)?

Beyond that, there's yet another electronic music festival (Downtown Digital), a metal festival (Scion Rock Fest), Yacht, Styx, LL Cool J and much, much more? Here to walk you through it all is Carole Liparoto...

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Artist of the day: Flyingsnakes


Since 2005, St. Petersburg’s Flyingsnakes have specialized in thundering, bludgeoning metal heaviness. Singer-guitarists Cletis Chatterton and Jonathan Warzybok, bassist Nick Sibilia and drummer Aaron Walter are tight, loud, fast and cool enough that Samuel L. Jackson himself might call them the “Flying motherf---ing Snakes.”

“We’re not metal guys. We just have a passion to play heavier music,” Warzybok once told tbt*. “It’s more an ethos than a particular music style. It’s about being frustrated with how everything is. In a nice way, it’s released aggressively.”

On Saturday, Flyingsnakes will be part of the Scion Rock Fest, an all-day metal festival taking place at the Ritz Ybor, Crowbar, Czar and the Orpheum in Ybor City. Click here for all the details.

Photo: Henry Van Kesteren Watts

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Kathy Griffin talks 'Kathy,' dating the Old Spice Guy and Hollywood's 'Zooey Deschanel Mafia'


If you know Kathy Griffin at all, you knew it couldn’t last.

So, despite starting out with a widely heralded “no celebrities” rule for her new Bravo talk show, Kathy, Griffin now admits the guest lineup will soon include big names such as old pal Anderson Cooper, fellow in-your-face comics Whitney Cummings and Chelsea Handler, along with film star Jane Fonda and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.

“They started calling me,” protested Griffin. “At first I kept saying no. Sharon Osbourne said, 'I can tell you that Simon Cowell has a small penis, I’ll say that on your show.’ All right, you can come on.”

On Friday, Griffin will make her seventh appearance at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. (Click here for info.) But first, she happy dished on everything from her relationship with the Old Spice Guy to her 91-year-old mother's Judge Judy fandom to Hollywood's "Zooey Deschanel Mafia."

Click here for Eric Deggans' full interview with Kathy Griffin.

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Ticket Window: Justin Bieber, Kirk Franklin, Benise and more


Hope you have a quick clicky finger, because Justin Bieber tickets go onsale at 10 a.m. Saturday, and if you don't act fast, you might have a crying child on your hands come January.

Other local concerts with tickets going onsale this week: The King's Men Tour with Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp, Donnie McClurkin and Israel Houghton (Oct. 2, USF Sun Dome); Benise (Nov. 10, Mahaffey Theater); Cirque Chinois (Dec. 2, Mahaffey Theater); China National Symphony Orchestra (Jan. 23, Mahaffey Theater), Justin Bieber (Jan. 25, Amway Center), Boston Pops presents Streisand Songbook (March 6, Mahaffey Theater) and Canadian Brass (March 15, Mahaffey Theater).

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

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Artist of the day: Red Calling


Hard rockers Red Calling cite influences like the Deftones and Lacuna Coil in describing their music, but the use of synths and piano call to mind Evanescence as well. “Our music is like dark watercolors mixed with ashes,” the band states, “brutal yet tender.” The blazing single Let Me Fade is proof of that.

Red Calling recently opened for Lit at the State Theatre. If you want to check 'em out for yourself, you have two chances in the coming week. On Friday, they’ll be at the Market on 7th in Ybor City, alongside Verse, Love In War and We’re All Virus. Click here for details. And on June 8, they’ll be at Collage in Ybor City alongside Fight Another Day. Click here for details.

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SoundBytes: Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Shemekia Copeland and more

-- America's Got Talent was in St. Petersburg on Monday ... but Eric Deggans wonders, why didn't the show actually SAY that? Click here for his take, and check out the video of Tampa's Distinguished Men of Brass wowing the judges, above.

-- In the middle of this story, a musical tidbit about the upcoming Republican National Convention: Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd are apparently gearing up for a concert during the convention in August. But no word yet on a venue.

-- Say what you want about Pitchfork, but when a Tampa artist receives the online hipster-music mag's "Best New Track" label, we take note. Merchandise's Time, from their recent full-length Children of Desire, received the honor on Tuesday. "The band uses its dissonance and rhythm to acheive something euphoric and undeniable, and that sense of juxtaposition also manifests itself lyrically," the site raves. Um, totally!

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Artist of the day: Fred Johnson

fred.johnson.jpgJazz and world music singer and percussionist Fred Johnson is an accomplished musician who has toured with the likes of B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Chick Corea and Miles Davis. He’s been in St. Pete since coming here 33 years ago to perform at the Hurricane Restaurant. He’s also the host of Spirit Nation, which airs at noon Tuesdays on

One of his latest projects is bringing musicians from across Tampa Bay together for a series of performances aimed at uniting people from all walks of life. The series launched last week at the Palladium in St. Pete with Johnson, New York pianist Daniel Kelly and contemporary artist Marc Levasseur. The evening of inspirational poetry, music and visual art — and audience participation — was more experience than performance. By the end of the evening, there were two beautiful abstract paintings on the stage. For future events, the artwork will be auctioned to raise money for local charities and expenses.

For more on Johnson’s project, click here for Sandra Gadsden’s full story.

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'America's Got Talent' airs St. Petersburg episode tonight; will any local artists make the cut?


Tonight, we'll finally get a look at the talent that stopped by St. Petersburg's Mahaffey Theatre when America's Got Talent brought its auditions there earlier this year. Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne, Howie Mandel and Nick Cannon. Eric Deggans has a preview of the show, which airs at 8 p.m. on NBC.

We recently got a sneak peek at the St. Petersburg rounds thanks to inside-scooper Caroline Wallace from our sister publication tb-two*. She snuck out of school to sit in on the second day of auditions. Among her observations

The judges declaring a local band fit to win the whole competition: The group of men dressed in sharp suits were some kind of cross between marching band and drum line. They danced, sang and played in a fully engaging performance. Look for them in future rounds.

Hmm. That sounds an awful lot like The Distinguished Men of Brass, above, who local music fans may remember from this year's Gasparilla Music Festival. And hey, look at this -- they just happen to have a giant America's Got Talent banner on their Facebook page! Interesting...

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Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival brings Pretty Lights, great vibes to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa


(Click here for a gallery of photos from the Sunset Music Festival.)

Finally! It’s about time Tampa got its very own electronic music festival. Saturday was the much-anticipated Sunset Music Festival — a day dedicated to electronic dance music and its adoring fans.

As a veteran of Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, I was skeptical of this event for many reasons. Planning a large-scale concert is not as easy as it seems. But the second I stepped out of my car and onto the soggy grass fields of Raymond James Stadium’s north parking lot, I had a spine-tingling feeling that this would be one of those days that I would remember for the rest of my life. And I was right.

My experience at Ultra this year was … not great, to say the least. The layout was awful, the crowd was mean, and the staff seemed bitter. Sunset Music Festival turned out to be the exact opposite: The layout was simple and spacious, the crowd was happy and friendly, and the staff cared more about the attendees then themselves. Oh, and let’s not forget about the mind-blowing music performances from some of the world’s best DJs. I get chills just thinking about it!

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Afrojack added to Rays Summer Concert Series


Looks like the Tampa Bay Rays are getting into the rave game.

Dutch superstar DJ Afrojack, best known for Pitbull's global smash Give Me Everything, has been added to the Rays Summer Concert Series. He'll perform June 15 following the Rays vs. Marlins. Admission, as always, is free with game ticket.

"But wait," you're wondering. "Wasn't Afrojack already supposed to perform in Tampa on June 15?" Indeed he was, at the Florida State Fairgrounds' Expo Hall. But that show is no longer listed on his website, nor the websites for openings acts Shermanology and R3hab. It's still listed on Ticketmaster, but with no date attached -- and tickets no longer appear to be for sale.

The reason for the move wasn't immediately clear, and we have no idea how the Trop will hold up as a site for an electronic concert. But there is one positive side to this: June 15 is Joe Maddon bobblehead giveaway day. What better way to make Joe's head bobble than to put Afrojack on the 1's and 2's? 

Get the Rays' full Summer Concert Lineup after the jump.

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Artist of the day: Cellgraft


Cellgraft’s mission statement: “Destroy the corrupt. Shatter ignorance with harsh noise.”

The grindcore group — Matt McKamey (vocals), Ryan Zell (guitar) and Chris Wotring (drums) — is loud, messy and unapologetic. “Imagine if you took punk and metal, put them in a blender and shot it out of a cannon,” Zell once told tbt*. You can download all of Cellgraft’s music for free via their Bandcamp page.

Later this summer, Cellgraft will be touring the East Coast with fellow locals Bastard Deceiver. But first, they have a gig at this Saturday’s Scion Rock Fest, taking place at venues around Ybor City. A ton of metal bands, including Down, Sleep and Sick of It All, will take the stage at the Ritz Ybor, Crowbar, Czar and Orpheum. Click here for all the details on the festival.

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Review: 97X Backyard BBQ brings Foxy Shazam, Imagine Dragons, Middle Class Rut, more to Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg


Schedule conflicts prevented me from staying for the entirety of this year's 97X Memorial Day Backyard BBQ, so I had to miss the top three headliners, The Used, Falling In Reverse and Civil Twilight. But that's okay, because truth be told, the only three bands I really DID want to see went on early: Middle Class Rut, Imagine Dragons and Foxy Shazam, above.

See, over the years, I've learned to trust 97X when it comes to the bands at the bottom of their bills. Take last year's Next Big Thing festival -- do you know who performed at 11:30 a.m.? Fun. The same Fun. that, just a few weeks later, would sell out the State Theatre on the strength of one of the hottest songs in the country, We Are Young. And in a couple of weeks, they have a primetime slot at Bonnaroo.

The lesson: Never arrive late for a 97X show.

That lesson proved vital on Saturday at Vinoy Park in St. Pete, because the first national band on the bill (following local contest winners Khora and Sunshine and Bullets) was Sacramento's Middle Class Rut. And their set was immediately one of the best shows I've seen all year

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Antiwarpt 2012: Mountain Goats, Sunbears!, Adrian Younge lead lineup


Earlier this year, the Gasparilla Music Festival proved that a huge music festival in Tampa just might work. But across the bay in St. Pete, one of the biggest musical events in the entire bay area has been going on for two years: The Antiwarpt Music Festival.

The lineup for the third annual Antiwarpt, slated for July 28, was announced Friday night, and in addition to including a who's who of Tampa Bay's best bands, the festival has snared its biggest headliner to date: The Mountain Goats, who packed out Crowbar earlier this year.

Also on the bill are Adriane Younge, a hip-hop/soul producer and artist best known for scoring the cult film Black Dynamite; Jacksonville trip-poppers SUNBEARS!; and Ohio alt-country-punk outfit Two Cow Garage. But as usual, it's the Florida artists who are the stars of the show: Tallhart; Have Gun, Will Travel; The Groves; Sleepy Vikings; The Semis; Set and Setting; Kaleigh Baker;  Alexander and the Grapes; Palantine; Poetry N' Lotion; Car Bomb Driver; Lauris Vidal; Andy Matchett and the Minks; a reunion performance by Mouse Fire and many, many more.

In all, some 70 artists have been announced, and more will be added. Antiwarpt will take places at 10 venues around downtown St. Pete: the State Theatre, Local 662, Fubar, the Emerald Lounge, Cafe Bohemia, Sake Bomb, Star Booty, the Morean Arts Center and Ramblin' Rose. Tickets are $20 early bird, $25 advance, $30 day of show -- and trust us, after looking at this bill, you will never find a better collection of local talent on one bill. After being out of town for the last two Antiwarpts, your humble Soundcheck Editor is circling this one in red pen on his calendar.

Click here for all the details on Antiwarpt 2012.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Photos: Lucero unplugs at Daddy Kool Records; plays the State Theatre in St. Petersburg tonight


Singer-guitarist Ben Nichols and accordianist Rick Steff of Memphis whiskey-punks Lucero stopped by Daddy Kool Records on Friday afternoon, hours before their show at the State Theatre tonight, to play a generous acoustic set of tracks from every era of their career.

After opening with On My Way Downtown from new disc Women & Work, Nichols and Steff took requests from the crowd, including the rambunctious Davy Brown and Nights Like These, I'll Just Fall, Juniper and Diamond State Heartbreak.

Lucero plays the State Theatre at 7 p.m. tonight; tickets are $23 at the door. Click here for details.

If you're going to the show, do us a favor. We're trying something new on Twitter and Instagram. Simply send us your pics from the concert with the hashtag #TampaBayLive, and we may publish your photo in tbt* and the Tampa Bay Times. The same goes for any concert this summer -- the Sunset Music Festival, 97X Backyard Barbecue, anything. We want to see what you're seeing.

To help get you inspired, check out some more photos of Lucero at Daddy Kool Records after the jump.

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