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Review: One Direction draw screaming masses to sold-out 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre in Tampa


When One Direction came to Tampa's 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre on Friday night, the music almost didn't matter. Sure, many of the 20,000 screaming preteen girls in the crowd probably wanted to hear What Makes You Beautiful live, but really, it was all about seeing Niall, Harry, Louis, Zayn and Liam in the flesh -- and screaming their hearts out in the process.

Sean Daly was in the crowd, and he writes:

I think a new record was set for the most times an artist has ever said "Make some noise Tampa!"

A few songs in the 90-minute set managed to register as better-than-average. The sandy vibe of I Wish strived for the cascading harmonies of the Beach Boys. Current hit One Thing packed a power-pop sheen that was pogo-worthy. And What Makes You Beautiful, saved for the end of the show, was ridiculously catchy, although I'm not sure how well it will age.

That said, a cover of Kings of Leon's Use Somebody, originally a masculine smash, was rendered vanilla and wimpy, like something cringe-worthy from the Busch Gardens Players.

Agree? Disagree? For Sean's full One Direction review, click here.

Photo: Carolina Hidalgo, tbt*

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SoundBytes: Manchester Orchestra, Pretty Lights, Men Without Hats and more


-- Frequent performers in these parts, Georgia modern rock outfit Manchester Orchestra are returning to Tampa Bay. This time they'll be at the State Theatre on Aug. 25. River City Extension will open the show. Tickets are $16.50-$20. Click here.

-- Also coming to the State: Tone Loc on Oct. 5. Tickets are $16. A portion of the proceeds from each ticket sold go toward the cost of Tone Loc doing the Wild Thing. Click here.

-- The Vampire Diaries star Kat Graham will be performing at G.Bar in Ybor City on Saturday night for a post-Pride concert. Cover is $5.

-- The WTF Concert of the Year candidates just keep coming! Men Without Hats, the band behind unkillable '80s radio hit The Safety Dance, is coming to the Orpheum on Nov. 21. (You know, that dance wasn't as safe as they said it was.) Tickets are a pretty incredible $8.88, and they go onsale July 6.

-- Before they perform at Jannus Live Saturday night, hip-hop duo Chiddy Bang will be hanging out at Daddy Kool Records in St. Pete starting at 3:30 p.m. Click here.

-- One Direction's Harry Styles was in the crowd at Coldplay's concert Thursday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. During Yellow, Chris Martin tossed in a short "That's what makes you beautiful!" Styles tweeted a link to a video clip of the moment, calling it "the best video I've ever seen. This was incredible."

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Coming soon: Bands prepare for battle at the Ritz Ybor


Every year during the dog days of summer, the Ritz Ybor throws its "Ultimate Band Series," a multi-week battle of the bands involving both original music and fun covers. It also offers some of the best prizes of any local band battle.

This year's grand prize bag includes a slot opening for a national act at the Ritz, a paid performance at the "Rooftop Eve" party in Hyde Park Village on New Year's Eve, studio recording time and $500 cash. And you never know who'll be watching -- the battle's first winner, Mighty Mongo, above, was also picked as one of tbt*'s 2011 Ultimate Local Bands. And last year's winner, The James-Lange Theory, was later highlighted as an Artist of the Day. (Soundcheck's own Carole Liparoto is a judge this year, and she'll have her eye out for new local talent.)

This year's Ritz band battle will take place across three weeks -- July 12, 19 and 26 -- but the deadline to enter is this Saturday, June 30. There's a $20 entry fee, and you'll need to submit a bio, photo and demo CD fo two original songs. Drop them off at the Ritz box office or email the materials (substituting mp3s for the CDs) to [email protected] Click here and here for details.

The most fun part of each show might be the fact that each artist is assigned a cover version of a song by a particular national artist -- maybe Prince or Madonna or Mariah Carey or Elvis Presley. You never know who's going to come up with what.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Artist of the day: DJ Santana

santana.jpgIf you’ve been out clubbing in Tampa Bay, there’s a decent chance you’ve heard the work of DJ Santana.

Santana (first name Paul) started with a Radio Shack mixer and a pair of turntables as a young teenager at a skating rink in Tampa, and he’s been spinning at various clubs ever since: Floyd’s at the Seminole Hard Rock, Green Iguana, Whiskey North, Ozone, the Fantasy Ranch, Storman’s, the Amphitheater and so many more. He became a voracious self-promoter, landing gigs with the likes of BT and Josh Wink. Today he’s a resident at a handful of popular clubs, including Hyde Park Cafe in Tampa on Fridays and AJA Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel on Saturdays.

If you like anything Santana has ever done, he’s made it easy for you to get your hands on it. At his online store, you can pick up his “Complete Mix Collection,” a 64GB thumb drive with all the house, breaks and trance you could ever hope to listen to. (If you’re old-school, you can still et it as a $400, 170-disc CD set, too.)

On Saturday, Santana will take it back to the oldest of old-school venues. He’ll stop by the United Skates of America in Tampa to pick up a “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the White Party, a 35-year reunion of fans of Tampa’s long-defunct Skate Odyssey North. A handful of veteran DJs, including Matt the Bratt and Chris Craze, will also be there. For more on the event, click here.

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Review / photos: Coldplay shower the Tampa Bay Times Forum in lights, lasers, confetti and anthems


SPECTACLE. That's the only word for what Coldplay pulled off at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday night. A near sellout crowd of 18,402 packed the Forum and were treated to a dynamic display of lights, lasers and oh, so much emotion.

Sean Daly was in the house, and while he was mixed on the music (The Scientist and God Put A Smile Upon Your Face, awesome; Paradise and Fix You, meh), he couldn't resist the confetti, the lasers, and the Xylobands -- LED wristbands handed out to every patron, which turned the Forum into a galaxy of blinking blues, pinks, golds and whites:

With all the lights and lasers and neon kapow, the joint looked like the most mellow rave in history — or maybe Christmas in June — sparkly-eyed women swaying in unison with their loyal, trying-to-stay-macho dates (who might not admit to their fellow dudes that they dig Coldplay. (It's okay fellas, I really like 'em, too). ... 

From the opening number, the instrumental title cut from new album Mylo Xyloto (a concept LP about star-crossed lovers), the band aimed to crowd-please. "We're going to try and play the best (bleepin') show of our lives," Chris Martin said. "We're already having a great time."

Of course they were.

For Sean's full review of Coldplay in Tampa, click here. And get more of Octavio Jones' photos of the lights, the confetti and of course Coldplay after the jump.

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This week in Tampa: One Direction, Def Leppard, Ringo Starr and more


It's British Invasion weekend in Tampa Bay! Things get cooking tonight when Coldplay hit the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Then boy banders One Direction (above) play the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre on Friday. Hair-metal stalwarts Def Leppard play the Forum on Saturday. And Ringo Starr brings his All-Starr Band back to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Sunday.

Other notable artists playing Tampa Bay this week: Poison, Joe Budden, Chiddy Bang, Eric Johnson, Cobra Starship, Chevelle, Earth Wind and Fire, Boston, Morgan Page, Action Bronson, Three Dog Night, LTJ Bukem and more.

Here to walk you through it all is Carole Liparoto...

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Review / photos: Machine Gun Kelly, Tech N9ne close out the Hawaiian Village at Tampa's Stadium Green Iguana


There’s a certain poetry to the fact that the Hawaiian Village at Tampa’s Stadium Green Iguana was put out of its misery by two men named for firearms: Tech N9ne and Machine Gun Kelly.

The clock has been ticking on the venue since Monday, when it was announced the Green Iguana would be bulldozed following Wednesday’s concert to make way for yet another car dealership on Dale Mabry Highway. Forget Tropical Storm Debby; an audience of Juggalos, Technicians and PowerRagers could be just as destructive.

Tech N9ne’s nightmarish hip-hop seemed a fitting way to say goodbye. It made sense that opening act ¡Mayday! spent parts of their set referencing the apocalypse. And it came as no surprise whatsoever that Machine Gun Kelly pretty much tried to incite a riot, attempting to smash out windows and telling the crowd: “This is the last night this venue will be standing. F--- this place up.”

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Artist of the day: East Hillsborough Community Band

The East Hillsborough Community Band was started three years ago by four men who simply wanted to have fun and play music together, including Tom Nelson, who serves as the organization's president.

"We were just four friends who loved to play," Nelson said.

Since then, the band has grown to nearly 50 members consisting of adults of all ages. Their mission statement: "provide an opportunity for musicians of all ages and skill levels to perform with a concert band and to foster the development of musicians who wish to make a cultural contribution to their community."

One such contribution is approaching as the band prepares for its patriotic music concert at 7 p.m. Thursday at First United Methodist Church in Brandon. Tickets are $5 at the door.

For more on the East Hillsborough Community Band and the concert, click here for Felicia Porzio's story.

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Ticket Window: The Go-Go's, Lindsey Buckingham, Louis C.K. and more


As you're scanning this week's edition of Ticket Window, don't forget about Louis C.K. The comic is performing Nov. 29 at the Straz Center in Tampa, but you can (mostly) only get tickets through his website. So if you haven't gotten 'em yet, click here to do so. (Bonus: Louis has just added a second show at the Straz. He'll now perform at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Nov. 29.)

Other Tampa Bay concerts with tickets going on sale this week: Lindsey Buckingham (Aug. 6, Capitol Theatre), Yelawolf (Sept. 19, State Theatre), Tribal Seeds (Sept. 22, Jannus Live), the Go-Go's (Sept. 19, Mahaffey Theater), Blackberry Smoke (Sept. 25, Largo Cultural Center), Preservation Hall Jazz Band (Sept. 26, Mahaffey Theater), The Price Is Right Live! (Sept. 27, Lakeland Center), Joe Cocker and Dave Mason (Oct. 4, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Andrew Bird (Oct. 9, Straz Center) and Christian McBride (Nov. 2, Mahaffey Theater).

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

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Andrew Bird coming to the Straz Center in Tampa


Call it folk, call it jazz, call it indie rock 'n' roll. Whatever you call it, Andrew Bird's music can be stunning. And it's not just his songs and his voice -- the real highlights of his live shows are his mastery of various instruments (among them the violin, guitar and glockenspiel) and his world-class whistling.

This fall, Bird will bring his signature sound to Tampa for the first time in many years (possibly since Tropical Heatwave 2001? Anyone know if he's been here since then?). He'll perform at Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa on Oct. 9. Tickets start at $32.50, and they'll go onsale at noon Friday. Indie rockers Here We Go Magic will open the show.

Bird's music has an undeniable quirk to it, but it's lushly orchestrated with influences from around the globe. It'll appeal to fans of everyone from Wilco to Norah Jones to Rufus Wainwright to Beck. Heck, the man sang Bein' Green on the recent Muppets tribute The Green Album. And if a personal stamp of approval from Kermit the Frog isn't enough of an endorsement, what is?

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Esperanza Spalding added to Clearwater Jazz Holiday lineup


The Clearwater Jazz Holiday has added another name to its 2012 lineup, and it should go a long way toward appeasing fans who didn't think its initial slate of headliners -- Bonnie Raitt and the Avett Brothers -- were "jazzy" enough.

Jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding, winner of the 2011 Grammy for Best New Artist -- ahead of Justin Bieber, Drake, Mumford and Sons and Florence and the Machine -- will headline the Jazz Holiday on Saturday night with her Radio Music Society band. Spalding is the splashiest new face to emerge in jazz in recent years, and this, to the best of our knowledge, is her first local show since winning the Grammy, so there should be plenty of curious onlookers (and maybe a few angry Beliebers?)

The full schedule appears to be mostly set for the 2012 Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Oct. 18-21 at Coachman Park in Clearwater. Kicking things off on Thursday is Bonnie Raitt, along with Maia Sharp and Carol Stein and Friends. On Friday, it's Mindi Abair and Friends featuring Jeff Golub and David Pack, plus Down To The Bone and a reunion performance by Common Ground. On Saturday it's the Esperanza Spalding Music Society along with Kurt Elling, Tia Fuller Quartet, El Nino Garcia and the Latin Knights and Pat Close and the Groove. And on Sunday, it'll be the Avett Brothers, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, the Cave Dwellers featuring the Reinhardt Brothers and the Ruth Eckerd Hall/Clearwater Jazz Holiday Youth Jazz Band.

This, as you may know, is also the first year in its 33-year history that the Jazz Holiday is charging for tickets. It'll cost you $10 to get in (children 12 and younger are still free). Click here for all the details on the festival.

To get you excited, check out the poster for this year's event, designed by Colombian-born artist Ramirez Cortino. It's posted after the jump.

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Artist of the day: Fla All Day

An easy comparison for Tarpon Springs hip-hop outfit Fla All Day might be Yelawolf, but they’re adamant about trying to sound like no one else. “I can’t f--- with any of this new music coming out on the mainstream,” they’ve posted on Facebook. “The beats are plastic, the lyrics are plastic, everyone’s style is plastic; where is the originality?”

Fla All Day uses clever lyricism and offbeat production (Runnin Man calls to mind Check Your Head-era Beastie Boys) to produce singles like Rise, above. And it’s led to a couple of quality gigs this month. Last weekend, Fla All Day performed at the fourth annual Homegrown Hip Hop show at the Local 662 in St. Pete, alongside Infinite Skillz, The Rukus, SamSoul and more. And then on Saturday, Fla All Day will open for Brooklyn rapper Action Bronson at the Local 662 in St. Petersburg. Click here for details.

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Louis C.K. coming to the Straz Center in Tampa


As America counts down the days until the premiere of Louie's third season this Thursday on FX, creator and star Louis C.K. has come up with an innovative way to get people's attention.

The comic -- regarded by just about everyone as the best in the biz right now -- has announced a huge fall tour that will bring him to the Straz Center in Tampa on Nov. 29. He'll be playing Morsani Hall, which is quite a step up from the Tampa Theatre, which he played in 2010.

But Louis being Louis, there's a catch. Tickets for the show will only be available through his website. All seats are $45, all fees included, and you can only get them here. (Okay, that's not entirely true -- there will be a limited number of tickets available at the Straz Center box office, for dedicated patrons and people for whom Internet access is a problem. Call (813) 229-7827 for details.)

For Louis, this ticket-selling experiment is a natural progression from his decision to sell his most recent special, Live at the Beacon Theater, as a $5 download through his website -- yielding more than $1 million in revenue, with no middlemen horning in on the action. Of these new tickets, Louis writes:

You'll see that if you try to sell the ticket anywhere for anything above the original price, we have the right to cancel your ticket (and refund your money). this is something I intend to enforce. There are some other rules you may find annoying but they are meant to prevent someone who has no intention of seeing the show from buying the ticket and just flipping it for twice the price from a thousand miles away. Some of these rules may be a pain in your ass, but please be patient. My goal here is that people coming to see my shows are able to pay a fair price and that they be paying just for a ticket. Not also paying an exorbitant fee for the privilege of buying a ticket.

Louis adds that "it was a real challenge to find venues around the country that could work with our exclusive ticketing service under these parameters." Indeed, this is an unusual arrangement for the Straz Center,  but it's one they're actually happy with.

"We're really excited about him doing this," said venue spokesman Paul Bilyeu. "In terms of sticking it to the scalpers, it's good for us, because those scalpers can be bad; they can really wreak havoc on our customers and sponsors."

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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UPDATE: Daniel Powter cancels Tampa Bay appearances due to Tropical Storm Debby


Daniel Powter is having -- say it with us now -- a Bad Day.

The singer-songwriter had been booked for a handful of promotional appearances around Tampa Bay on Tuesday and Wednesday, but has had to postpone them due to Tropical Storm Debby. He was booked for a Play 98.7 acoustic show at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Tuesday and another performance for Mix 100.7 contest winners at Clear Channel's Southern Chevy Dealers Sound Stage on Wednesday, but both of those shows are now no-gos.

"The weather conditions in the Tampa Bay area have forced Capitol Music Group to cancel the performance," Play 98.7 states on its website. "We will update this page as soon as possible with any information we receive on if we can reschedule the performance. We’re hoping to do so in July."

***UPDATE*** The Hard Rock just tweeted that Powter's appearance has been moved to July 26.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Artist of the day: Luke Preston Band


If you were listening to WQYK-99.5 last week, you might have caught an interview with a young singer-songwriter named Luke Preston. Born and raised in Clearwater, he’s now in Nashville, trying to make a go of it with his group, the Luke Preston Band.

The group’s sound, Preston says, ranges “from outlaw country to hip hop to the delta blues.” But he’s been trying to define his style since age 12, when he performed as part of a blues group called Communication Breakdown through the Patel Conservatory’s Rock School program. Later, he played in a pop-punk group before discovering Willie Nelson and other country legends. “The truthful nature of country songwriting has had a grip on me ever since,” he said.

Preston moved to Nashville for college, and struck up a relationship with his future bandmates: Guitarist Luke Enyeart (Preston’s freshman year roommate), drummer Jeremy Gold and bassist Jared Chapman. They’ve performed around the southeast — they were at St. Pete's Hideaway Cafe in May — but this past weekend, they played their biggest gig ever.

Preston entered the group in a contest to perform at the Country Stampede, a huge festival in Manhattan, Kan. They worked their way up the ranks, and eventually won a live battle, scoring them the chance to open for Toby Keith, Brantley Gilbert, Jerrod Neiman and more. Other artists performing throughout the weekend included Zac Brown Band, Luke Bryan and the Band Perry.

“Playing on the same stage as artists such as Toby Keith and Zac Brown Band is a huge resume booster, and an accomplishment that we are very proud of,” Preston said. “If nothing else, the contest has helped to raise awareness about our band as people are starting to take notice of us.”

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*. Photo: Sammi Kelly

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