Make us your home page

From Kid Rock to Taylor Hicks to Zac Brown Band, here's a look back at the music of the 2012 Republican National Convention


I think, when all is said and done, the lasting image that we as a nation will take away from the 2012 Republican National Convention will be this photo of Steve Aoki holding a can of Pringles in Ybor City.

We did our best to cover the crazy, surprisingly star-studded music and entertainment scene in Tampa during RNC week, including shows by Journey, Kid Rock, Zac Brown Band, 3 Doors Down, Gavin DeGraw, Trace Adkins, Rodney Atkins, Andy Grammer, Camp Freddy, Sara Evans, Lee Greenwood, Adam Carolla and, of course, Aoki.

But even those exhaustive links just scratch the surface of the music in town. Montgomery Gentry, Blues Traveler, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Better Than Ezra, Robert Earl Keen, Pat Green, Willie Chirino, the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus,Far East Movement, the Commodores and the Eagles' Don Felder, among others, all played local parties ranging from public to super-private in Tampa Bay. 

Here, just for posterity, is a look at some of the other acts who passed through Tampa along with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan:

Full Story

2012 Last Damn Show 14 lineup: Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, 2 Chainz, MGK, Kreayshawn and more


Wait a second. Wasn't Snoop Dogg changing his name to Snoop Lion? Wasn't he supposed to become a reggae star? Because this here news release we just got says that Snoop Dogg, not Snoop Lion, is headlining this year's 94.1 Last Damn Show at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Last Damn Show 14 will take place Oct. 6, and in addition to Snoop Dogg, the lineup includes Lupe Fiasco, Pleasure P and two of 2012's breakout hip-hop stars, 2 Chainz and Machine Gun Kelly (performing for an incredible fifth time in Tampa Bay this year alone). Hip-pop hitmakers Kreayshawn and Rita Ora are also on the bill. (We now have to wonder what this means for Kreayshawn's show on Nov. 8 at the Orpheum. If it gets moved or canceled, we'll let you know.)

Tickets to Last Damn Show 2012 are $15-$90. Click here for all the details on Last Damn Show 14.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

Full Story

SoundBytes: Mickey Hart Band, Falling In Reverse, Sean Paul, Blood On the Dance Floor and more

A lot of news happened while we were so busy with coverage of the Republican National Convention. Some highlights:

-- Rachel Maddow talks Cannibal Corpse, Deicide and Obituary. That happened.

-- A free 97X show at Ruth Eckerd Hall? What the what? Indeed, Jack's Mannequin's Andrew McMahon, Blue October's Justin Furstenfeld, Paper Tongues' Aswan North, Tampa's own Tallhart and a secret national headliner will all be part of the "green room" show. It's free, but you need a ticket to get in. Click here for the details.

-- Increasingly popular hardcore kids Falling In Reverse will be at the Cuban Club on Nov. 17 with Enter Shikari and I See Stars. Tickets are $17.50-$20. Click here.

-- Sean Paul will be at Jannus Live on Oct. 13; tickets are $25-$30. But we've heard that one before. Anyway, click here.

-- Neon hardcore kids Blood On the Dance Floor are coming to the State Theatre on Oct. 19. Tickets are $16. Click here.

-- Former Tropical Heatwave headliner Alejandro Escovedo is coming to Skipper's Smokehouse on Oct. 25. Tickets are $20-$25. Click here.

-- Former Grateful Deadster Mickey Hart and his Mickey Hart Band will perform at the State Theatre on Oct. 15. Tickets are $25. Click here.

-- Speaking of Skipper's, jam-banders Donna the Buffalo are returning for another New Year's Eve residency on Dec. 29-31. Click here.

Full Story

Review: Journey stir up the Republican faithful with a post-RNC concert at Liberty Plaza in downtown Tampa


It wasn't until the end of Journey's concert at Liberty Plaza in downtown Tampa, at 1:31 a.m., that the band truly put goosebump punctuation on the hopes and dreams of Mitt Romney fans everywhere.

That's when Jonathan Cain pounded out the keyboard line of Don't Stop Believin', the most ubiquitous, and universally beloved, song of the 21st century. It fits any occasion of ripe promise, and it certainly fit the bill on the RNC's final night. Journey has gobs of hits, but let's be honest: Their main job here was to play that slightly cheesy smash and play it well.

For more on Journey's post-RNC concert, click here for Sean Daly's full review.

Photo: Luis Santana, tbt*

Full Story

Review: Zac Brown Band draws big names, decadent menu to private RNC party at the Port of Tampa in Channelside


Playing for a room of 1-percenters may seem a curious corporate gig for the furry, fun-loving Zac Brown Band, who are known for their down-home tailgates with fans. But in playing a private, post-RNC concert for the oil-industry trade group the American Petroleum Institute, Brown said not a word on the topics of energy or politics all night, instead letting his band's furious fiddlin' (The Devil Went Down to Georgia), and laid-back lakeside vibes (Toes and Jump Right In) do the talking. Guests like Newt and Callista Gingrich, Liz Cheney and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell were also there. And wait'll you see the menu! Click here for our review.

Full Story

Artist of the day: The Woolly Bushmen


One of the standout sets at this year’s Antiwarpt Music Festival had to belong to The Woolly Bushmen, a retro-styled garage rock collective out of Orlando whose furry, feral sensibilities brought a huge, slam-packed crowd to the Emerald.

The group’s psychedelic mod-meets-rockabilly garage rock sounded like Buddy Holly fronting the Troggs, or Jerry Lee Lewis covering Incense and Peppermints. Singer Julian Palombi growls, yips and snarls like a man unhinged, and the crowd can’t help but dance in response. Their self-titled album is just $7 via Bandcamp. Recommended if you like dancing.

The Woolly Bushmen were such a smash at Antiwarpt that we made sure to check out the next time they were coming back to Tampa Bay. That time is Saturday, when they’re part of the lineup for Summer Jam 8, alongside David Dondero, the Applebutter Express, Rec Center, the Owsley Brothers and more. The show is Saturday night at New World Brewery. Click here and here for details.

Full Story

Review: Andy Grammer sings for RNC delegates at the Postcard Inn on the Beach in St. Pete Beach


The New York and Virgin Island delegations didn't seem too perturbed that their party fell on the last day of the Republican National Convention, kicking off their shoes to walk past the Postcard Inn on the Beach's PCI Beach Bar and enjoy pop swooner Andy Grammer (Keep Your Head Up) from the comfort of beachfront Adirondack chairs and white upholstered cabana seating. Click here for Laura Reiley's report.

Full Story

Review: Kid Rock starts a Romney/Ryan party at Liberty Plaza in downtown Tampa.


Kid Rock, that Detroit player, that self-proclaimed "American Badass," made political history Wednesday when the hip-hopper became the first musical act at a Republican National Convention to open his concert with the lyrics: "F--- all you h---!"

At least we think so. We seem to recall the Dole/Kemp campaign using a Geto Boys number as their campaign theme. Anyway, click here for Sean Daly's full review of Kid Rock at Liberty Plaza, which includes the lyric: "They say Obama is lyin' / That's why I'm voting for Romney and Ryan."

Photo: Luis Santana, tbt*

Full Story

Review: Sara Evans, Meghan McCain and more walk the red carpet at the Glazer Children's Museum in Tampa


Country singer Sara Evans was booked for an RNC party for Meghan (daughter of John) McCain at the Glazer Children's Museum in Tampa on Wednesday after a string of dropouts from Willie Nelson, Randy Travis and Wyclef Jean. Evans, a country singer, was raised on a farm in Missouri and identified with conservative ideals. But she admitted talking about it was nerve-wracking.

"For a celebrity, it's tough to talk about politics," she said. "You don't want to alienate anybody but you don't want to be cowardly. It's a fine line to walk."

For more on the event, click here for Stephanie Hayes' story.

Photo: Will Vragovic, tbt*

Full Story

This week in Tampa: Sublime With Rome, C+C Music Factory, Summer Jam 8 and more


After a week like this one, we could all use a three-day weekend. Thankfully it's almost Labor Day, and one of the most brah-tastic tours of the year is coming to Tampa Bay: Sublime With Rome (above), Matisyahu, the Dirty Heads and Pepper, all in Pinellas Park.

Other artists coming to town this week include Otep, C+C Music Factory, Vanilla Ice, Kid 'n Play, Rob Base, DJ Skribble and the annual Summer Jam, featuring David Dondero. Here to walk you through it all is Carole Liparoto...

Full Story

Artist of the day: The Arena Twins

arena.twins_.jpgAndy and Sammy Arena were born four minutes apart 80 years ago in Ybor City. They live together in the Carrollwood area now — Sammy has been staying in the mother-in-law house behind Andy's home for more than a decade.

And since they were 14, the Arena Twins have been entertaining Tampa audiences at weddings, at festivals and in concert halls. They perform every year at Festa Italiana in Ybor, they've played sold-out concerts at the Straz Center, and they've made frequent trips to Miami and the Catskills. They can tailor their repertoire of pop standards and familiar ethnic songs to each audience.

"We sing in Spanish, Italian and Yiddish," Sammy Arena said. "And English, yeah, of course."

Marty Clear chatted with Sammy Arena prior to a recent concert in Tampa celebrating their musical career. Click here for his story.

Full Story

Camp Freddy rocks Curtis Hixon Park with surprise guests Mark McGrath, Robin Zander and Juliette Lewis


Early this morning, Billy Morrison, the guitarist and mastermind of rock supergroup Camp Freddy, tweeted that photo of himself with actress-turned-singer Juliette Lewis. It's proof of the star turnout at Camp Freddy's private concert Tuesday night for the California GOP delegation, which took place in a 30,000-square-foot tent at Tampa's Curtis Hixon Park.

Lewis, Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath and Cheap Trick's Robin Zander were among the surprise guests at the concert. Camp Freddy's schtick is cover songs, and each artist did a handful: McGrath did Kiss' Rock and Roll All Nite and Ted Nugent's Cat Scratch Fever; Lewis did Van Halen's Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love and Zander did the Who's My Generation and Free's All Right Now. They also threw the fans a bone with McGrath performing Fly and Zander singing Cheap Trick's Surrender.

Click here for our story about the concert and party. And, bonus: You know that super-secret, super-lavish party at downtown Tampa's historic Kress building? The Warehouse Party? Yeah, we crashed that. Click here for our report.

Check out more of Billy Morrison's photos on his Twitter feed.

Full Story

Review: Steve Aoki rocks the vote at the Amphitheatre in Ybor City


Superstar DJ Steve Aoki encouraged throngs of young electronic music fans in fishnet tights and neon hair bows to register to vote Tuesday night, when he stopped at the Amphitheatre in Ybor City for a set with Rock the Vote.

The floor spun and shook inside the club, where barely dressed females and dudes in tank tops danced with glowsticks on their fingers. It was part of Rock the Vote's efforts to reach a new generation during this election, taking the torch from the Madonnas and Sheryl Crows of Rock the Votes past.

For more of Stephanie Hayes' review of Steve Aoki at Rock the Vote, click here. And, bonus: Click here for her story later that night of Homocon 2012, supporting gay Republicans, at the Honey Pot.

Full Story

Review: Gavin DeGraw plays to a small, select RNC crowd at the Dallas Bull in Tampa


In town to headline a benefit for Musicians on Call, a nonpartisan group that brings singers to the bedsides of injured military and related infirm, singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw played a fun, loose hourlong set for a gaggle no bigger than the Rhode Island delegation at Tampa's Dallas Bull.

Backed by a four-piece band — including, on guitar, Seminole's own Billy Norris, DeGraw good-naturedly worked through his lovesick hits, includingI Don't Want to Be, Follow Through and that sing-along special Chariot.

For more of Sean Daly's review of Gavin DeGraw at the RNC, click here.

Full Story

Review: Trace Adkins launches RNC 2012's Liberty Plaza in downtown Tampa


The weather complicated the construction of the Republican National Convention's temporary concert venue Liberty Plaza on Monroe Street in Tampa, but by Tuesday night it was in full swing. Country singer Trace Adkins played an evening of hits, including Marry for Money and This Ain't No Love Song.

For more of Laura Reiley's review of Trace Adkins at the RNC, click here.

Full Story