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Ben Folds, Yo-Yo Ma to perform with Florida Ochestra in Tampa and St. Petersburg

The Florida Orchestra has performed some fun and creative concerts in recent years, from tribute shows featuring works by the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Radiohead; to a Styx concert performed with singer Dennis DeYoung. But for a certain segment of the local music-loving population, this may be their most anticipated concert yet.

Singer-songwriter Ben Folds will join the Florida Orchestra for one night only to perform "The Ben Folds Orchestral Experience," featuring symphony-backed renditions of some of his biggest solo and Ben Folds Five hits, plus a solo recital of his own 2012 piano concerto. Folds hasn't performed in Tampa in years, so that alone is reason to check out the show -- but the fact that he'll be backed by a full orchestra sounds amazing. The horns on Army will be enough to check this one out.

The Ben Folds Orchestral Experience is Nov. 7 at the Straz Center in Tampa. Tickets are $35-$95, and are on sale now to subscribers of any series on the Orchestra's 2014-15 season. Tickets will be available to the public Aug. 11. Click here. …

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Review: Avett Brothers deliver a dynamic, harmonic set of folk and rock at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

The Avett Brothers perform at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on March 29, 2014.

Stephanie Bolling

The Avett Brothers perform at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on March 29, 2014.

After seeing the Avett Brothers perform at the USF Sun Dome on Saturday night, I came away convinced that they’re the kind of fellas that’d take you out to a really nice dinner … if they weren’t so famous.

Buttoned up shirts, (mostly) neat hair, an air of southern gentlemen, these North Carolina boys knew how to shake down a room, sing a tender ballad and rock out while somehow maintaining total class.

At the core are two brothers, Scott and Seth Avett, cellist Joe Kwon and bassist Bobby Crawford, plus an additional three touring members for drums, fiddle and piano — you know, for full effect.

Who needs an opening act? They didn’t. The show was all theirs, and from start to finish —about two hours— they rolled through 24 tracks covering ground from Mignonette to Magpie and the Dandelion, plus a few covers. Full Story

Stuart Sternberg talks Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Phosphorescent and more

Will Vragovic

You might know that Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg is a massive Bruce Springsteen fan. But you might not know he's a massive fan of music in general. And in his annual spring Q&A with tbt*'s Marc Topkin, Sternberg opened up about his favorite artists, music and concerts. A few excerpts:

Latest new music you've downloaded and liked?

Phosphorescent , Dawes, Shovels & Rope.

Last year you were eagerly anticipating a Leonard Cohen concert. So?

Tremendous. Absolutely tremendous. It's amazing a guy that age (79) is able to put that out.

One of our annual questions: What three people would you like to see sing at the Trop this year?

Unfortunately it keeps coming up because I can't get him in — Tom Waits. I'd like to see Bob Dylan at the Trop. And I'd like to see my daughter, Natalie. She has a beautiful voice, she sings in all sorts of choirs and I keep urging her to do the national anthem.

What past musical/theatrical event do you wish you could've attended?

The Beatles at Carnegie Hall. Phil Ochs at Carnegie Hall. There's probably a ton, but those are it.

There's much more. Click here for Marc's full Q&A with Stuart Sternberg.Full Story

Mariah Carey drops by Tampa's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

Mariah Carey dropped by the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on March 27 to celebrate the casino's 10th anniversary.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

Mariah Carey dropped by the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on March 27 to celebrate the casino's 10th anniversary.

It isn't easy to sneak one of the world's biggest music superstars in and out of your building. But when you're the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and you're looking for an impressive way to celebrate your 10th anniversary, you make it happen.

That's how Mariah Carey and her husband, Nick Cannon, ended up dropping by the Hard Rock on Thursday night, the guests of honor at an uber-exclusive VIP reception -- only 80 invites were handed out -- in the casino's Plum VIP lounge.

Carey didn't sing, but she did cut a Hard Rock birthday cake and donate her Roberto Cavalli dress from the music video to Obsessed to the Hard Rock's memorabilia collection.

Hey, Mariah, next time you swing into town, drop us an invite? We can't live if livin' is without you.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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SoundBytes: Little Dragon, Rebelution, George Clinton and more

-- Globe-trotting indie outfit Little Dragon, popular with both major festivals (they're playing both Coachella and Bonnaroo) and big-name acts (they've collaborated with Gorillaz), are returning to Ybor City, this time at the Orpheum on June 11. Tickets are $20-$25. Click here.

-- A two-night stand at Jannus Live is no joke, so it must mean reggae-rockers Rebelution are hitting the big time. The group will play the venue on back-to-back nights, June 25-26, alongside Iration, The Green and Stick Figure. Tickets are $27.50-$30. Click here.

-- Also apparently coming to Jannus Live: George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic on April 25. Tickets are $20-$25. Click here.

-- Bauhaus singer and Goth icon Peter Murphy is returning to the Orpheum on June 4. Tickets are $20-$100. Click here.

-- South Florida metal veterans Floor -- from whose ashes came Torche -- are playing the Orpheum on June 3. Tickets are $12-$15. Click here.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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This week in Tampa: Avett Brothers, Casting Crowns, Scotty McCreery, Ja Rule and more

Get ready for another jam-packed week of spring music. Among this week's big Tampa Bay shows: The Avett Brothers, Scotty McCreery, Casting Crowns, Ja Rule, Steve Hackett, Deltron 3030, Branford Marsalis Quartet, David Garrett, Ballyhoo!, Surfer Blood, Somos, G-Eazy, John Wesley and more. Here to walk you through it all is Ray Roa...

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Fleetwood Mac (with Christine McVie!) coming to the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa

We're guessing more than a few of you felt cheated by Fleetwood Mac's performances in 2009 and 2013 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Yes, you got Lindsey Buckingham's furious fretwork and Stevie Nicks' witchy-woman ways ... but you didn't get Christine McVie, the songwriter and singer of such classics as Little Lies, Everywhere and You Make Loving Fun.

McVie quit touring with Fleetwood Mac in 1998, and has since shown little inclination to get back on the road. But that has changed in the past few months, and on Thursday, it became official: McVie is back on board with Buckingham, Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and her ex-husband John McVie (who has had to miss dates recently due to a cancer diagnosis), relaunching the classic Fleetwood Mac lineup behind Rumours and Tusk.

That version of Fleetwood Mac is returning to the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Dec. 20, the venue announced Thursday.It's the final stop on their 33-city "On With The Show" North American tour, and one of only two dates in Florida. General admission tickets will cost $46.25-$176.25, and they'll go on sale to the public April 7. American Express card holders can purchase tickets starting March 31. Click here for details. …

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Ticket Window: R. Kelly, REO Speedwagon, Old Crow Medicine Show and more

Bruce Springsteen or R. Kelly? That'll be the choice music fans face on May 1, when the Boss hits the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre and Kelly performs at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. We'll have no such conflict when Old Crow Medicine Show, above, plays Jannus Live on May 23.

Tampa Bay concerts with tickets going on sale this week: The London Souls (April 30, Local 662), R. Kelly (May 1, Tampa Bay Times Forum), Old Crow Medicine Show (May 23, Jannus Live), REO Speedwagon (May 25, Hard Rock Cafe), Floor (June 3, Orpheum), Brian Regan (June 20, Straz Center), Classic Albums Live: Van Halen (June 21, Capitol Theatre) and Celtic Thunder (Nov. 14, Ruth Eckerd Hall).

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

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Spring Beer Fling with Surfer Blood, Beach Day moved from Saturday to Sunday in Curtis Hixon Park

Can you change the date of an entire festival on just a few days' notice? You can if you're Big City Events.

The festival-planning organization behind such large-scale parties as the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival, Tampa Tee Off and the Summer of Rum Festival has moved Saturday's Spring Beer Fling -- featuring headliners Surfer Blood and Beach Day -- to Sunday due to impending rain.

About 3,500 tickets have already been sold, and they'll still be good on Sunday at Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa. The only thing that's changed is the date and time (it's now noon to 10 p.m.).

It should be an interesting show. At the end of the night, more than 1,000 multicolored and lighted beach balls will be dropped into the crowd, creating a large living outdoor light art installation during Surfer Blood's set.

Click here for details on the Spring Beer Fling.

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R. Kelly coming to the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa

If you're going to Whiskey North on Saturday for a planned appearance by R&B superstar R. Kelly (it's sold out, but click here for details anyway), you might get a sneak peek at a much bigger event coming to Tampa soon.

The controversial singer behind hits as freaky and divergent as Bump & Grind, Ignition (Remix), I Believe I Can Fly and Trapped In the Closet is coming to the Tampa Bay Times Forum on May 1. Grammy-nominated singer Tamar Braxton -- Toni's younger sister -- will open the show. Tickets are $45-$115, and they'll go on sale March 31. Click here for details.

Obviously, R. Kelly is not everyone's cup of Coke and rum, given his messy legal and sexual history. But the man is an anthem-writing machine, with Ignition (Remix) arguably the greatest slow jam of the 21st century. Last year, there was an online movement to make it the new national anthem.

So should you buy a ticket to this show? Your mind may be telling you no ... but your body ... your body's telling you yes.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Under the Sun Tour: Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Blues Traveler, Uncle Kracker coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

A couple of years ago, Mark McGrath and Art Alexakis had a falling out over how best to stage a '90s nostalgia tour. McGrath, of Sugar Ray, decided he was comfortable playing the hits and only the hits; Alexakis, of Everclear, said he thought each of the bands on the tour should keep writing new music.

The result: Everclear went one way, forming their Summerland Tour, and Sugar Ray went the other, hosting their Under the Sun Tour.

This summer, both '90s fests are coming to Tampa Bay.

We've already told you about the Summerland Tour, which hits Vinoy Park on June 17 with Everclear (Santa Monica), Soul Asylum (Runaway Train), Eve 6 (Inside Out) and Spacehog (In the Meantime).

Now, according to Sugar Ray's website, the Under the Sun Tour will hit Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Aug. 3 with Sugar Ray (Fly), Smash Mouth (Walkin' On the Sun), Blues Traveler (Run-Around) and Uncle Kracker (Follow Me). There's been no official announcement, so we don't have ticket prices or a sale date yet, but we'll keep you posted.

In the meantime (Spacehog reference!), without further ado, let us now rank this summer's 10 Ninetiesest Concerts in order of Ninetiesness:Full Story

The Grascals' Terry Smith talks good 'music chemistry,' touring with Dolly Parton and more

The Grascals, who headline Saturday at the Sertoma Youth Ranch's Spring Bluegrass Festival, is made up predominantly of former sidemen for other bluegrass artists. But the call to the forefront was deserved in that all of them aspired to put together a group that was going to be around for a while, said founding member Terry Smith.

"I think we realized early on that there was good music chemistry between us," he said from his Nashville home last week. "It was something that we all knew we could build on for a long time."

The Grammy-nominated and widely acclaimed Grascals perform Saturday at Sertoma Youth Ranch, south of Spring Lake on Myers Road, near the Hernando-Pasco county line. Daily adult gate admission is $10 for Thursday, $25 for Friday, $25 for Saturday and $5 for Sunday. Weekend tickets are $55 at the gate. Youth (10 to 15 years) admission is $5 per day. Camping hookups are available for $23 per night. Click here for details.

For more of Logan Neill's interview with the Grascals' Terry Smith, click here.

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SoundBytes: Old Crow Medicine Show, Yes, Brian Regan and more

-- Judging by the photo above -- originally posted to the Skatepark of Tampa's Instagram -- it looks like Lil Wayne stopped by this year's Tampa Pro Party once again. Good to see you, Weezy!

-- Americana favorites Old Crow Medicine Show predate the Avetts and the Mumfords of the world, and it's been a long time since they've played Tampa Bay. That'll change on May 23, when the group -- whose reimagining of Bob Dylan's Wagon Wheel became a huge country hit for Darius Rucker -- comes to Jannus Live on May 23. Tickets are $36-$42, and they'll go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- At this rate, Surfer Blood might end up playing every festival in town. They played Tampa's Coastline Festival in November, St. Pete's Whigfest in February, and now they'll headline the Spring Beer Fling on Saturday in Curtis Hixon Park, alongside Beach Day, Heavy Metals, the Intoxicators and more. Tickets are $15-$85. Click here for details.

-- Rapper Huey Mack is coming to the Local 662 on April 25 with Colette Carr. Tickets are $13. Click here. …

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Joan Jett and the Blackhearts added to Rays Summer Concert Series lineup

We're a week from Opening Day, but the Tampa Bay Rays have decided to give fans an early treat: They've added Joan Jett and the Blackhearts to their 2014 Summer Concert Series.

The former Runaway and her band will deliver hits like Bad Reputation, I Love Rock 'N' Roll and I Hate Myself For Loving You following the Rays and Toronto Blue Jays on July 12 at Tropicana Field. First pitch is at 4:10 p.m., and as always, the concerts are free with a game ticket. Click here for a full list of the Rays' 2014 promotions.

Jett is the fifth act to join the team's Summer Concert Series for 2014. Here's the lineup so far:

June 6 (Rays-Mariners): Weezer

June 21 (Rays-Astros): The O'Jays

July 12 (Rays-Blue Jays): Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

July 27 (Rays-Red Sox): Imagination Movers

Sept. 7 (Rays-Orioles): The Wiggles

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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R.I.P. Dave Brockie, a.k.a. Oderus Urungus of Gwar

Gwar frontman Oderus Urungus performs at the Hawaiian Village at the Stadium Green Iguana in Tampa in 2011.

Andrew Carlton

Gwar frontman Oderus Urungus performs at the Hawaiian Village at the Stadium Green Iguana in Tampa in 2011.

Gwar was not technically a part of the Tampa Bay music community, though you could be forgiven for thinking that.

The sludgy, gooey, costumed schlock-rockers from Richmond, Va., generally played Tampa Bay about once a year, each time drawing a devoted audience of Tampa metalheads and curious onlookers looking to tick a Gwar show off their concert bucket list. Last year, Cigar City Brewing and a Port Richey homebrewer even produced a Gwar-themed beer.

So reports that Gwar frontman and mastermind Dave Brockie, a.k.a. Oderus Urungus, was found dead in his Richmond home must come as a shock and blow to the Tampa metal scene.

Gwar's last local show came in November at the Ritz Ybor -- a show that happened to be our first-ever Gwar concert. We wrote that the show delivered a "goofy sense of abandon – and yet there were also moments of genuine rock ‘n’ roll, where you could actually feel a bit of what’s deep down inside those hulking, growling beasts." 

Brockie himself was one of metal's great talkers, a raconteur and salesman nonpareil who never missed an opportunity to delve into the band's mythology and legacy, as we discovered when we interviewed him in 2008. …

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