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SoundBytes: Black Flag, The Devil Wears Prada, Rich Homie Quan, Harry Connick Jr. and more

-- Okay, exactly what the hell is going on up in Ocala these days? The Ocala Entertainment Complex has two events on the books for the next two months. The first is a foam party on Aug. 16, hosted by Dennis Rodman. The second is a show by legendary punk group Black Flag, above. Now, we should remind you, there are TWO competing Black Flag incarnations floating around (the other is simply called Flag), and the one that's coming to Ocala includes neither Henry Rollins nor Keith Morris. Still, it's Black Flag -- that's gotta count for something, right? Tickets are $25. Click here.

-- Harry Connick Jr. is coming back to Clearwater to film Dolphin Tale 2, so why not toss in a concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall while he's here? He's announced a show at Ruth Eckerd Hall on Nov. 5, though ticket details haven't been announced. Click here for details.

-- Another Warped-esque show is coming to the Ritz Ybor: The Devil Wears Prada, The Ghost Inside, Volumes and Texas in July will perform there on Dec. 8. Tickets are $20-$23. Click here.

-- Dr. Dog were last in town for the Gasparilla Music Festival. They'll be back on Oct. 19, opening for the Lumineers at the USF Sun Dome. …

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Ticket Window: John Legend, J. Cole, Dawes, Blues Traveler and more

Things have been so busy here at SoundcheckCorp. that we forgot to bring you last week's edition of Ticket Window. So we're rolling last wee's concerts into this week's list, which is in and of itself massive. Let's get to it!

Tampa Bay concerts and events with tickets going on sale this week (or which went on sale last week) include: J. Cole (Sept. 13, Straz Center), Blues Traveler (Sept. 26, Hard Rock Cafe), Sick Puppies (Oct. 2, Ritz Ybor), Dawes (Oct. 16, State Theatre), Saliva (Oct. 25, State Theatre), John Legend (Nov. 4, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Rusted Root (Nov. 22, State Theatre), Mayday Parade (Nov. 27, Orpheum) Bowzer's Rock 'n' Roll Holiday Party (Dec. 7, Ruth Eckerd Hall), The Devil Wears Prada (Dec. 8, Ritz Ybor), Four Freshmen (Jan. 4, Largo Cultural Center), Adam Trent (Jan. 18, Largo Cultural Center), Linda Eder (Feb. 1, Largo Cultural Center), Johnny Mathis (Feb. 6, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Nuclear Coyboyz (Feb. 23, Tampa Bay Times Forum), American Idiot (April 8, Mahaffey Theater) and One Night of Queen (April 16, Mahaffey Theater).

Click here and here for the last two weeks' worth of Ticket Windows.

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J. Cole, Wale coming to the Straz Center in Tampa

J. Cole runs with fast company. He signed to Jay Z's Roc Nation, and this summer, he released his latest album, Born Sinner, the same week as Kanye West's Yeezus, just because. (For what it's worth, Yeezus took the top spot on Billboard that week, but Born Sinner has since sold more copies. Bet you could win a few bar bets with that one.)

Now the Grammy-nominated North Carolina rapper is going on tour, and he's coming to the Straz Center in Tampa. Look for Cole to bring hits like Power Trip and Work Out to town on Sept. 13. And that's not all -- he's bringing along Wale, the critically acclaimed, Seinfeld-influenced D.C. MC, along for the ride.

Tickets to the show are $39.50, but you can also purchase VIP tickets, which include a meet-and-greet, autographed lithograph and more, for $202.50. Click here for details.

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Review: Black Sabbath stir up lots of head-banging fun at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath perform at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Monday, July 29, 2013.

Will Vragovic

Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath perform at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Monday, July 29, 2013.

Oh, Ozzy, you demented, utterly profane rascal.

With Black Sabbath's original guitarist (the forever-underrated shredder Tony Iommi) and original bassist (secret weapon Geezer Butler) making a glorious racket by his side, Ozzy Osbourne threw a head-bangin' party on Monday at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa

It was lyrically, musically dense, Satan spreading his wings and all that foofaraw. And yet, the two-hour show was also fun and, oddly enough, light-hearted, never mind the blood-splattered footage and haunted-house backdrop that seemingly sprang from the mind of Tim Burton.

Ozzy's voice alternated between untouched by time (the life-affirming Iron Man) and a lifeless drone (the head-scratching Into the Void). And yet despite his hit-or-miss vocal delivery, he's such a magnetic personality, he never lost the vociferous crowd of nearly 14,000 fans.

For Sean Daly's full Black Sabbath review, click here.

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SoundBytes: Avenged Sevenfold, Dawes, Mike Epps, Tony Bennett, Austin Mahone and more

Avenged Sevenfold and Deftones are coming to Orlando’s Amway Center on Oct. 16. but we confess, we’re more curious about how the opening act, Ghost BC (above), will perform on an arena stage. Could be a wild show. Click here for details on the show.

— California country-rockers Dawes, who recently wowed us at the Gasparilla Music Festival — and who delivered what is still one of our favorite songs of 2013 in Most People — are returning to Tampa Bay with a show at the State Theatre on Oct. 16. Tickets are $21. Click here.

— Already going through Warped Tour withdrawal? Story of the Year, Like Moths to Flames, Hawthorne Heights, Capture the Crow, Set It Off and I Am King are coming to Orpheum on Halloween Night for the 2013 Scream Like You Mean It Tour. Tickets are $19-$23. Click here.

— Legendary crooner Tony Bennett will make his first stop at St. Petersburg's Mahaffey Theater on Feb. 12. Tickets are $65-$150. Click here. …

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Riff Raff coming to the State Theatre in St. Petersburg

Riff Raff, the cornrowed Houston rapper who's more known for his outlandish look and lifestyle than any sort of musical output, is coming to the State Theatre on Aug. 31.

While he's affiliated with Diplo's Mad Decent label, Riff Raff's skills behind the mic are questionable at best. So why are we so interested in this concert?

Riff Raff, you might recall, recently told TMZ he's suing the producers of the locally filmed Spring Breakers, alleging that he was the true inspiration for James Franco's character Alien. Franco, meanwhile, has said that St. Petersburg rapper Dangeruss -- who appears in the film -- was the basis for the character.

The feud has evolved over the past few months, with Riff Raff mocking Franco on TV and in songs, though he has since said Franco is "cool."

"It ain't about James franco," he told MTV News. "It's about me in Spring Breakers. It's about my bank account. Will I get $10 million or will I get $5 million. Who knows? If I end up with only $5 million, then so be it. Whatever." …

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John Legend coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

John Legend has played some pretty memorable shows and venues in Tampa Bay.

The Grammy-winning crooner has played the gorgeous Tampa Theatre in 2005; sang at the Super Bowl (and several other events) in 2009; appeared with Joe Scarborough at a public roundtable discussion in 2010, performed at a United Way benefit at the Mahaffey Theater in 2011; and, just this spring, spoke at USF's University Lecture Series.

But it's always nice when Legend comes back for a simple concert. He's just announced a show at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Nov. 4. It's something of a make-up date, as his most recent show at Ruth Eckerd Hall, which was scheduled for last fall, was postponed.

Opening the show is singer and reality TV star Tamar (sister of Toni) Braxton. Tickets to the show start at $50.50 and go on sale at noon Saturday, Aug. 3. Click here for details.


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Artist of the day: Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones

Doug Deming used to live in Detroit but often played gigs in Florida. But a few years ago he moved to Florida and formed a new band, the Jewel Tones, who stir audiences with old-fashioned blues, jump blues and a stream of original tunes. The latest CD from Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones spent three months in the top 10 on the Living Blues Radio Chart last year.

Ernest Hooper recently caught up withJewel Tones bassist Andrew Gohman. Click here for his profile.

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Artist of the day: Carl Fusterman

Lara Cerri

Pianist Carl Fusterman, who played in bands for 25 years before striking out on his own as a pianist at a number of bars and restaurants around the area, is a champion for the older generation.

"As a 58-year-old musician, I don't like the idea that our age group is being pushed aside," he says. "In our 50s, 60s and 70s, we still want to go out and take our wives and girlfriends out. "Baby boomers don't want to go quietly; they're not willing to give up."

Fusterman, who lives in Redington Shores, plays covers, medleys and even some of his original songs, earning tips that amount to four or five times the cash he's paid for each gig.

For more on Carl Fusterman, click here for Patti Ewald's profile.

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Review / photos: Warped Tour 2013 brings The Used, Chiodos, Never Shout Never, Set It Off to Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg

The Used perform at the Warped Tour in St. Petersburg on July 26.

Jay Cridlin

The Used perform at the Warped Tour in St. Petersburg on July 26.

An hour after performing at the Vans Warped Tour, Cody Carson was back amid the buses, still squeezing sweat from his necktie.

He gestured toward the gates of Vinoy Park. “It’s so weird,” said the Set It Off singer. “I’m so used to walking through that entrance, trying to see if I can see my favorite bands through the gate. Now we’re that band.”

It was a Warped Tour to remember for the North Pinellas pop-punk band that, after playing a couple of smaller Warped dates since 2009, had graduated to full-summer status. Sure, they played early in the day, on the fifth- or sixth-biggest stage, but who’s counting?

“I woke up this morning, my cell phone was blowing up with text messages: Hey, I’m here, let’s hang out,” said Set It Off guitarist Dan Clermont, who’s been coming with Carson to St. Pete Warped shows since 2004. “There’s no place like home.”

Carson and Clermont have been coming to St. Pete Warped shows since 2004. They have to. It’s a rite of passage for kids of a certain type, those heedless and tattooed loners and lovers who want to lose themselves in their music. And for all the shirtless circle pits and eardrum-piercing punk and metal, it’s Warped’s message of inclusion that draws them back year after year. To a one, every artist on every stage preached a message of gratitude, of optimism, of community, of positivity.

“Believe in yourself and know what you want,” Never Shout Never singer Christofer Drew Ingle told the crowd. “That’s all.” Full Story

Dante Basco, Janet Varney talk Metrocon, fan interaction, voice-over acting and more

Janet Varney and Dante Basco will be at this year's Metrocon in Tampa.

Luis Santana

Janet Varney and Dante Basco will be at this year's Metrocon in Tampa.

Two of the big-name celebrities this year at Metrocon, Florida's largest annual anime convention, are voice-over stars Janet Varney and Dante Basco, whom you might remember as Rufio from the movie Hook.

"As I started doing these cons around the world, this is going on everywhere. That's this magical thing. And it's cool to be unique and it's cool to like different things," Basco said. "It's the time of the geek. The geek inherited the earth.''

Varney saw the parallels between Metrocon and smaller film festivals.

"The smaller cons are more manageable. Because Comic Con in San Diego is crazy and it's very commercialized and it's corporate and it's all about money and selling, selling, selling. ... I think people want to go to smaller specialized cons. Cons like this feel more about the groundswell of fans."

For more of Robbyn Mitchell's interview with Varney and Basco, click here.

And for our complete survival guide to Metrocon, which runs through Sunday in Tampa, click here.

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Artist of the day: Dylar

Ryan Powell

Since forming in September, Dylar has  released its  debut EP, opened for ’90s Shoegaze darlings The Veldt and performed at Crowbar’s popular annual hot dog-eating contest. Not too shabby for a 10-month-old.

The band — which borrows its name from Don DeLillo, whose fictional drug Dylar is the focus of his novel White Noise — plays a soundscape of reverb-soaked synth-pop. They lean heavily upon ’80s style production and the thick vastness of ’90s shoegaze. But by no means are they a ripoff of either genre. They merely use these influences as paint in their paintbox, blending sounds as a visual artist would blend colors.

Dylar consists of brother and sister Philip Pietri on guitar and vocals; and Amanda Eckes, synths and vocals; along with Amanda’s husband Jake, lead guitar; Josh Price, bass; and Loren Rackley, drums.

Dylar will return to Crowbar on Friday for the All Good Five Year Anniversary Party. Beforehand, Pietri and Amanda Eckes spoke with us about all things Dylar.

What is the artistic impetus that drives Dylar? …

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Mastodon's Bill Kelliher talks Mayhem Festival, 'Monsters University,' metal in Georgia and more

Cindy Frey

Mastodon plays a style of massive, mighty metal, where one could see how they’d be the ideal soundtrack for a creature in Monsters University.

On records like Leviathan and Blood Mountain, the Atlanta group combined technical metal with complex narratives. But the group has a sense of humor as well, lending the song Island from Leviathan to Monsters University’s soundtrack and selling Mastodon bikinis.

And on their latest release The Hunter, the band incorporated more of their hard rock influences. Mastodon guitarist Bill Kelliher said their new record will follow that album’s direction, and should be out by next year.

But before that, they’ll play the main stage of the Mayhem Festival’s Tampa date on Wednesday  at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre (click here for details and tickets). In an interview, Kelliher discussed Mastodon’s new album, metal in Georgia and Monsters University. Here are excerpts.

What have your Mayhem Festival shows been like so far — mostly songs from The Hunter? …

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This week in Tampa: Black Sabbath, Warped Tour, Mayhem Festival, Psychedelic Furs, Toad the Wet Sprocket and more

Rob Shanahan

Loud music takes center stage this week, with Friday's Vans Warped Tour, Monday's Black Sabbath concert and Wednesday's Mayhem Festival all in town. But don't sleep on an otherwise stacked concert lineup, including shows by Toad the Wet Sprocket (above), Psychedelic Furs, Biz Markie, Machine Gun Kelly, the Monkees, Whitesnake, Spacehog, Kisses, Cannibal Ox, Rich Medina and many, many more. Here to walk you through it is Ray Roa (and others)...Full Story

Photos: Behind the scenes with Tampa's Set It Off on the 2013 Vans Warped Tour

Warped is a good place for self-starting bands willing to do whatever it takes to get their name out there. To get fans’ attention — and help move merch — bassist Austin Kerr donned a hot dog costume. “Austin’s forte is definitely marketing,” Clermont said. “He’s like, 'I have no shame, so I’m just gonna go for it.’ And it worked. All 6-foot-3 of him, 220 pounds, standing in his tiny hot dog suit, holding a sign up, and kids came by.”

Joel Pilotte, Equal Vision Records

Warped is a good place for self-starting bands willing to do whatever it takes to get their name out there. To get fans’ attention — and help move merch — bassist Austin Kerr donned a hot dog costume. “Austin’s forte is definitely marketing,” Clermont said. “He’s like, 'I have no shame, so I’m just gonna go for it.’ And it worked. All 6-foot-3 of him, 220 pounds, standing in his tiny hot dog suit, holding a sign up, and kids came by.”

Rising at 7:30 a.m. each day to lug a stage’s worth of instruments and gear across a series of sprawling, sweltering fields doesn’t sound like anyone’s gig of a lifetime.

But for the better part of a decade, that has been Cody Carson’s dream.

“I was at my first Warped Tour in 2004,” said Carson, the singer of Tampa pop-punk band Set It Off. “Being a fan and going to it is a life-changing experience. You get to see all your favorite bands, you’re sweating your ass off with your best friend, having the time of your life. So ever since I experienced that day, I was like, Man, I would love to play this.”

Set It Off aren’t strangers to the Vans Warped Tour, having played a few sporadic dates here and there. But this year, they’re on the entire American run — 39 dates from coast to coast, including Friday’s hometown stop in St. Petersburg, the same city where Carson and guitarist Dan Clermont saw bands like Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and All Time Low growing up.

“It’s the hardest two to three months you’ll ever do in your life,” Clermont said, “but it’s the most rewarding and the most memorable.” …

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