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Review: Pre-Fest Day 2 brings Obits, Samiam, Bouncing Souls, Andrew Jackson Jihad, more to Ybor City

The Bouncing Souls perform as part of Pre-Fest in Ybor City on Oct. 30, 2013.

Jimmy Geurts

The Bouncing Souls perform as part of Pre-Fest in Ybor City on Oct. 30, 2013.

Fest’s first-ever foray into Tampa Bay came to a close Wednesday night, as Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor began its slow march toward the main event in Gainesville.

The second night featured some of the festival’s biggest names (The Bouncing Souls, Samiam) as well as some of its best (Obits, White Lung, Lemuria, Andrew Jackson Jihad). And hopefully somewhere in there, a foundation was laid for a festival in future years. 

First up on the Ritz Ybor’s main stage was Lemuria. Their setlist drew heavily from their new album The Distance Is So Big, including the sweet, swirling Brilliant Dancer and Chihuly. Yet they also played some older tracks such as Pants, which has become a sort of Fest theme song along with Dillinger Four’s Gainesville. And it may just have been early, but the crowd was sparse enough to stand comfortably — unlike Fest, where you’re likely to be slammed around even to a relatively demure band. …

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John Legend talks married life, '12 Years a Slave,' the art of collaboration, Kanye West, Bill Withers and more

Now that John Legend is officially a married man, there’s only one wedding question left to ask:

Is he planning to sing when his pal Kanye West walks Kim Kardashian down the aisle?

“If he asks me to, I’ll do it for sure,” Legend laughed during a recent phone call from his home in New York. “He was at my wedding, and he loves All Of Me, and Kim loves All Of Me, so maybe they’ll ask me to sing that. But whatever he needs me to do, he’s a good friend and he has been for a long time, so I’ll be there to help out. Whatever he needs.”

Since crashing the pop world in 2004 with his Kanye-produced debut album Get Lifted, the nine-time Grammy winner has proven time and again that he’s up for just about anything. As one of the classiest figures in modern music, he’s collaborated with every significant name in hip hop and R&B, from Herbie Hancock to Ray Charles to Jay Z. In his downtime, he’s become a tireless champion of countless charitable efforts and causes, particularly education reform. …

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This week in Tampa: Drake, Michael Buble, John Legend, Sleigh Bells, Joan Jett, Harry Connick Jr. and more

This week we have another strong contender for Busiest Music Week of the Year. It’s so big that half the staff helped out with previews of some of the biggest shows, including Drake, Michael Buble, John Legend, Harry Connick Jr., Miguel, Sleigh Bells, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Gwar, JJ Grey and Mofro, Lucero, Titus Andronicus, Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger, Timeflies, Chiddy Bang, Tamar Braxton, Tim Kasher, Blackberry Smoke, Molly Hatchet,Paul Rodgers, David Allen Coe, Chelsea Light Moving, Laura Stevenson, Julie Fowlis, Whitechapel, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, KMFDM, Red Molly, Sonny Landreth, Jacuzzi Boys and much, much more.

Here to walk you through it all — with a little help from the tbt* staff — is Ray Roa ...

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JJ Grey talks about Mofro's new beer, Nare Sugar Brown, and more

It’s fitting that Nare Sugar Brown ale, a beer named for a song by Jacksonville roots/funk/blues outfit JJ Grey and Mofro, is being brewed and released in Tampa Bay.

Grey said this has always been one of the strongest pockets of support for his music, thanks to WMNF-88.5 and venues like Jannus Live and Skipper’s Smokehouse.

“You got people that talk about it in the press, you got people that talk about it on the radio, you have clubs that put it on,” said the singer-songwriter. “You take one of those things away, and things change. (Artists) can get by and still do good, but to me, it flourishes when all three things are hitting.”

Nare Sugar Brown Ale -- brewed in collaboration between Grey, Tampa's Cigar City Brewing and St. Petersburg's Rock Brothers Brewing and Green Bench Brewing -- will officially be released with a concert Friday at Jannus Live in St. Pete. But you can get a preview when Grey plays a solo set beforehand, from around 3 to 6 p.m. Friday at MacDinton's St. Pete. It's a private show, but the beer will be available for sampling outside on the patio, and you might be able to hear some of Grey's performance. …

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Review: Selena Gomez is likeable, but maybe not lovable at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa

Selena Gomez performs at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa on Oct. 30, 2013.

Luis Santana

Selena Gomez performs at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa on Oct. 30, 2013.

Selena Gomez may be a likeable young movie star, but she doesn't yet have the pop-star appeal of her ex Justin Bieber or her fellow former Disney princess Miley Cyrus. That much was evident on Wednesday when the erstwhile Wizard of Waverly Place drew a polite but less-than-riotous crowd of 6,988 to the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa.

Sean Daly was there, and he writes:

The kids liked her just fine, and with good reason. She's a naturally sexy dancer, and the wattage of her smile could light nations.

Plus a few of her hits — feel-good Who Says, the stuttering fun of Love You Like a Love Song — are catchy gems. Her main stage was flashy enough, plus an S-shaped second stage snaked out into the crowd, allowing her to high-five lots of fans, which she did more than a dude running for mayor.

But do the kids LOVE her? Not so sure about that.

Click here for more of Sean's review of Selena Gomez in Tampa.

 

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Review: Pre-Fest brings Gainesville's punk festival to Ybor City with Geoff Rickly, Masked Intruder, The Holy Mess and more

The Holy Mess perform at the Orpheum as part of Pre-Fest on Oct. 29, 2013. (Instagram photo via @jimmygeurts)

Jimmy Geurts

The Holy Mess perform at the Orpheum as part of Pre-Fest on Oct. 29, 2013. (Instagram photo via @jimmygeurts)

One of Florida’s greatest claims to the national concert scene is Gainesville’s Fest. The punk festival draws thousands all across the county — and internationally — to the state. And this year, for the first time, it spilled into Tampa Bay.

Big Pre-Fest in Ybor kicked off Tuesday night as, for two days, nearly 100 bands headed to Fest are playing over five stages as a kind of warm-up to the weekend’s festivities.

So did Tampa draw as large a crowd as Gainesville? Based on the first night, no, it doesn’t seem like it. But including Pre-Fest, Fest has doubled in length this year. For many concertgoers, skipping a festival in another city with every band also playing Fest probably made sense for their schedules.

And as Fest becomes bigger, it’s nice to have a more low-key version of it. As anyone’s who waited in line to get into a venue two or three bands early will tell you, Gainesville can struggle to hold all its attendees. Here, there was practically no hassle to getting into any show.

More importantly, the atmosphere is largely the same. There’s the same deluge of beards and band T-shirts, same hoarse singalongs and same half-finished beers being flung into the crowd. (I didn’t get splashed until midnight, and even that was water, which I consider a huge coup.)Full Story

Chris Cornell coming to the Mahaffey Theatre in St. Petersburg

Chris Cornell may be a grunge godhead, but his epic wail deserves a theatrical setting. That's why he performed at the ornate Tampa Theatre in 2012, and it's why he'll bring his acoustic tour to the Mahaffey Theatre in St. Petersburg this December.

The Soundgarden frontman will perform at the Mahaffey on Dec. 6, the venue announced Tuesday. Folk-rocker Bhi Bhiman will open the show. Tickets start at $27.50 and they'll go on sale at noon Nov. 8. Click here for details.

If Cornell's Tampa Theatre gig is any indication, you can expect a mix of stripped-down songs from Soundgarden (Black Hole Sun, Fell On Black Days), Audioslave (Doesn't Remind Me), Temple of the Dog (Hunger Strike), his solo career (Can't Change Me) and others (his bluesy take on Michael Jackson's Billy Jean). Click here to read our review of that show.

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SoundBytes: Skinny Puppy, Children of Bodom, Method Man and Redman and more

-- Long-running electro-industrial outfit Skinny Puppy, above, is coming to the Orpheum on Feb. 8, along with Army of the Universe. Tickets are $27.50-$32.50, and they go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- The indominable hip-hop duo of Method Man and Redman have announced a late-breaking show at the Cuban Club in Ybor City on Nov. 8. Tickets are $25-$60. Click here.

-- Timeflies have moved their Nov. 4 concert from the Ritz Ybor to the Orpheum, and Sammy Adams is now opening instead of Chiddy Bang. Click here.

-- Finnish heavy metal heroes Children of Bodom are coming to the Ritz Ybor on March 16 alongside TYR and Hypocrisy. Tickets are $20.50-$23, and they go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- The biggest annual Christian tour of the year, Winter Jam, is coming back to the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Jan. 11. This year's headliners are Newsboys and Lecrae, along with Tenth Avenue North, NewSong, Thousand Foot Krutch, Plumb, Colton Dixon, Love and the Outcome, Everfound and Derek Minor. Admission is $10 at the door with no ticket required. Click here for details.

-- Melanie Martinez from The Voice is coming to the Orpheum on Dec. 11. Tickets are $12-$35. Click here. …

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Ringside Cafe relocating into Club Detroit next to Jannus Live

Late last year, it was Dave's Aqua Lounge. Now another venerable St. Pete dive known for good rock, blues and jam music is leaving its historic digs.

Ringside Cafe will leave its location on Fourth Street, where it's been for 26 years, and move into the newly reopened Club Detroit in downtown St. Petersburg, next door to Jannus Live. The club will close Dec. 1 and reopen Dec. 4.

For more on the move, click here for Katherine Snow Smith's story.

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Austin Mahone reschedules postponed Jannus Live concert for Feb. 25

Pop sensation Austin Mahone was forced to postpone his recent concert at Jannus Live -- along with the rest of the tour -- when he was hospitalized for a serious illness. But good news, Mahonies: The singer will be back at Jannus Live on Feb. 25, according to his website. The show was sold out, so new tickets may not be available, but check JannusLive.com for updates.

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SoundBytes: Robin Thicke, Mindless Behavior, Les Claypool, Keb' Mo', Shovels & Rope and more

-- Robin Thicke will bring his Blurred Lines to this year’s Mardi Gras festivities at Universal Studios, as will UK hitmakers The Wanted. Thicke will be on stage at the theme park on Feb. 22, one of 20 select dates of the event, which kicks off Feb. 8 and ends May 31. The Wanted performs on May 10. The remainder of the 2014 Mardi Gras concert schedule will be announced later, Universal says. Click here for details.

-- First Austin Mahone and The Wanted, now this? R&B boy band Mindless Behavior will perform at Jannus Live on Nov. 29, with OMG Girlz opening. Jannus Live: Your new hotspot for tween pop in Tampa Bay! Tickets are $57.50-$85. Click here.

-- Queensryche (the version that currently features singer Geoff Tate) will perform at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater on Jan. 16 for a show commemorating the 25th anniversary of debut album Operation: Mindcrime. The band will perform the album in its entirety. Tickets are $59-$79. Click here.

-- South Carolina Americana outfit Shovels & Rope are labelmates of the Lumineers, and Jack White is a fan. That should be reason enough to check 'em out at Crowbar on Feb. 15. Tickets are $15. Click here. …

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Artist of the day: The Accordion Adventure

The Accordion Adventure is a group of accordion players in Hernando County who perform at the Brooksville Elks Lodge 2582 The club, which meets every third Tuesday of the month from September through May, invites musicians - from beginners to professionals - who would like to perform.

"As a soloist, duet or a band, (all) are always welcomed," says Cathy Finamore, 74, of Spring Hill. Finamore, an avid accordion player, has played with group for nearly 13 years and enjoys playing with accordionists from different parts of country. "We as a group enjoy getting a chance to play the accordion and entertaining each other," said Finamore.

For more on the group, check out the video above.


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Review: Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line kick off a wild two-night party at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Luke Bryan performs at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Oct. 24, 2013.

Luis Santana

Luke Bryan performs at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Oct. 24, 2013.

Sorry, Kenny Chesney, but the biggest country party of the year kicked off Thursday at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre -- a two-night stand starring country's hottest hunk, Luke Bryan, and the duo behind the year's biggest hit, Florida Georgia Line.

There was much more to the opening night festivities than Florida Georgia Line's Cruise, though. Sean Daly was front and center in the pit. Click here for his full review of Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line in Tampa.

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Review: Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line kick off a wild two-night party at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Luke Bryan performs at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Oct. 24, 2013.

Luis Santana

Luke Bryan performs at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Oct. 24, 2013.

Plenty of bold-faced big shots have rolled into Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre through the years and sold out the place. Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney made a habit of it. But until Thursday and today, no one in the venue's decadelong history, especially someone with only a few albums, had ever sold out back-to-back nights — some 40,000 fans total.

That was the case when Luke Bryan kicked off a much-anticipated two-night stint at Tampa's shed on Thursday, with red-hot duo Florida Georgia Line opening the show. It was a night of cheesy but effective country posturing and nods to pop, hip hop and even heavy metal.

Click here for Sean Daly's full review of Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.

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Review: Jessie Ware brings restrained, refined class and cool to the State Theatre in St. Petersburg

Mikky Ekko performs at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on Oct. 23, 2013.

Brian Mahar

Mikky Ekko performs at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on Oct. 23, 2013.

These days, our pop stars are flashy tongue-waggers. Our braggadocious R&B hitmakers leave little to the imagination. And our dance music chart-busters pack punch but lack substance.

And then there's Jessie Ware, a rising British pop/R&B/dance artist whose subtle, refined style brought a breath of fresh air to State Theatre Wednesday night.

Dressed in an all-black pantsuit and backed by a three-piece band, Ware served up tasteful, hopeful tunes to a moderately-sized St. Pete crowd.

Considering Ware has close ties to some of Britain's biggest names -- soul-pop divas Adele and Florence Welch among them -- you'd think she'd be out to belt with the best of them. But during her 90-minute set, Ware never reached for the back of the house. It was all about warm, sexy civility -- a quiet storm of slinky synth-pop, you might say. …

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