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Review: Morrissey gets moody, militant at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg

Morrissey performs at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on May 30, 2014.

Jay Cridlin

Morrissey performs at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on May 30, 2014.

You’re not going to believe this, but something in the news has Morrissey in a mood.

“Just before I left the hotel, I heard some shocking news on the television,” the patron saint of sad bastardry said from the stage of the Mahaffey Theater Friday night. “Apparently there’s a sinkhole outside Legoland. They spoke about this for 12 and a half minutes, absolutely outraged. ... Try living in Syria.”

And later, for good measure: “Maya Angelou, she’s not even settled in her grave yet, and on the news, they’re worried about Legoland. Is that weird?”

Always the life of the party, this guy.

Twenty-eight years after the Smiths played their final U.S. show at St. Petersburg’s old Bayfront Center, their singer — a little grayer, a little paunchier, a little sweatier, but not one iota less dramatic — returned to more or less the same spot, performing a long-sold-out show for a crowd of 1,998 at the Mahaffey.

The man they call Moz gets a bit of an unfair rap for his overly woe-is-me ways — he’s no grumblier than Radiohead’s Thom Yorke or The National’s Matt Berninger, two of his countless indie-rock disciples — and in truth, he seemed half-kidding about the sinkhole. I think.

But let’s not kid ourselves: Steven Patrick Morrissey’s trade is melodrama, and at 55, business is still pretty damn good. He still possesses the theatrical flair of an aging toreador, a man too grand to smile for the stage lights, and if you expected anything different, sorry, but the exit is thataway.Full Story

SoundBytes: Demi Lovato, Erasure, Duncan Sheik, the Afghan Whigs and more

Luis Santana

-- If you can't wait for Demi Lovato to return to Tampa Bay, you'll have to head to Orlando. The tween-pop queen will play the Amway Center on Sept. 15, with openers Christina Perri and MKTO. Ticktes are $27.50-$67.50 and they'll go on sale June 6. Click here.

-- Synth-pop heroes Erasure will play the Mahaffey Theater on Sept. 14. Tickets are $29-$59, and they'll go on sale June 6. Click here.

-- What is Duncan Sheik doing at the Largo Cultural Center? Booking the Grammy- and Tony-winning songwriter (Barely Breathing, the Broadway musical Spring Awakening) is quite a coup for the venue. He'll play there on Sept. 20; tickets are $19.50-$34.50, and they go on sale June 5. Click here.

-- Also coming to the Largo Cultural Center: Jazz singer Jessy J (not to be confused with the British pop singer Jessie J; now THAT would be a crazy booking) on July 16. Tickets are $16.50-$19.50 and they go on sale June 5. Click here.

-- The Afghan Whigs are coming to the Beacham in Orlando on Sept. 18. Tickets are $25-$30. Click here.

-- Crocodiles are coming to Crowbar on Aug. 22. (The band Crocodiles, not actual crocodiles ... we think). Tickets are $10-$13. Click here. …

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Review: Zac Brown Band, Kacey Musgraves surprise, inspire fans at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.

Zac Brown Band performs at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on May 29, 2014.

Jay Cridlin

Zac Brown Band performs at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on May 29, 2014.

You think you know what to expect from a Zac Brown Band concert.

You know you’ll get a fiddle-twistin’ hootenanny, for sure, with a few rowdy, genre-busting covers amid their many country-crossover hits. You know people will come primed to party. You know they'll leave having done just that.

Then the Georgia boys go and record a smoky, soulful, Southern rock EP with the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl. They book two shows at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, tagging as an opener one of country music’s brightest young stars, Kacey Musgraves.

And then, at the first of those damn-near-sold-out shows, they say hello by saying goodbye – or, in the words of opening salvo Toes, “Adios, and vaya con dios.” Before long, the whole band is wearing skeleton costumes, jamming away on Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb, and you realize: This is why people come to see Zac Brown time and time again. You just can’t predict how the night’s going to go down. Full Story

Edgar Winter talks about picking up the guitar, 'playing until the day I die' and more

Edgar Winter, who used a synthesizer as the lead instrument in the 1973 instrumental jam Frankenstein, is considered a pioneer in electronic rock. The recording topped Billboard charts and sold more than a million copies. He claims to be the first musician to strap a keyboard around his neck and still incorporates the move in his shows, where he also plays sax and percussion.

He's the only member of his original group that's still alive, he says, and plans to be around for a lot longer.

"I'm going out with my boots on," he said in a recent phone interview. "I'll be playing until the day I die."

This week, the Edgar Winter Band performs at Clearwater's free Blast Friday celebration, starting at 5:30 p.m. outside the Capitol Theatre. Reserve tickets start at $25.

For more details on the show, and more of Terri Bryce Reeves' interview with Edgar Winter, click here.Full Story

Susan Boyle coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota

How is it possible that Susan Boyle, the Scottish singing sensation who shot to global fame on Britain's Got Talent, has never properly toured the United States?

Well, there's no better time than 2014. Boyle has just announced plans for her first North American tour, and according to her website, it'll hit Ruth Eckerd Hall on Nov. 1 and Sarasota's Van Wezel Performing Arts Center on Nov. 5.

Ticket details for the Ruth Eckerd Hall show have not been announced (keep checking this page for upcoming details), but

***UPDATE*** Tickets to the Ruth Eckerd Hall show are $40-$115, and they go on sale June 9. Click here. For the Sarasota show, tickets are $47.80-$122.70, and they'll go on sale June 9, according to the venue.

“This is a brilliant moment for me," Boyle said in a statement. "I have spoken so often about wanting to tour America and be able to visit different cities for the first time, I’m so excited. ... The USA embraced and supported me from the beginning and it really feels like a second home so I can't wait to get on the road and perform there.” …

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This week in Tampa: Zac Brown Band, Kacey Musgraves, Morrissey, Drive-By Truckers and more

Just as festival season ends in Tampa Bay, we get one of the biggest single concert events of the summer. Well, technically, it's a double-concert event -- a two-night stand from the Zac Brown Band and Kacey Musgraves, above, on Thursday and Friday at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa.

Other big shows happening this week include Morrissey, the Drive-By Truckers, Clap  Your Hands Say Yeah, D.O.A., Sasha, Keb' Mo', Floor and Deicide. Here to walk you through these shows and more is Ray Roa...Full Story

Review / photos: Neon Trees light up the Ritz Ybor with an electric, personal performance

Neon Trees perform at the Ritz Ybor in Tampa on May 28, 2014.

Brian Mahar

Neon Trees perform at the Ritz Ybor in Tampa on May 28, 2014.

As charismatic as he seems on video, Tyler Glenn is someone who should be experienced in person.

The Neon Trees lead singer gave hundreds of personal concerts Wednesday night at the Ritz Ybor as his intense gaze seem focused on each fan. He'd stare, strut, stare, spin and glide before buckling his knees and bending forward to squeeze out the notes to the band's riffy, melodic pop crush of sound. 

He entered the stage by strutting down a staircase and pointing an LED-lit mic stand, challenging all eyes to be on him for the duration of the night. The intensely personal connection he had with the audience created an atmosphere of camaraderie, and fans were more than willing to oblige when he'd ask them to shout out the lyrics to the hooks as he stood back and soaked in the adulation.

Neon Trees gave a stadium rock performance in venue a 10th of that size for their Pop Psychology Tour, and the closeness provided a good look at the sort of pop retrospective that is the band's catalog.  Full Story

Clearwater Jazz Holiday lineup: Earth, Wind and Fire; Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Dr. John, Trombone Shorty and more

For all the hype about the Gasparilla Music Festival, Sunset Music Festival or even Tropical Heatwave, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday remains, for many, Tampa Bay's signature musical experience. It's a label they've sought to embrace in the past couple of years, bringing in bigger-name acts like the Avett Brothers and Bonnie Raitt and (to the chagrin of many) finally deciding to charge for tickets.

Today we've got our first look at the lineup for the 2014 Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Oct. 16-19, and it's once again filled with crowd-pleasers, brass greats and at least one indie-rock outlier.

Earth, Wind and Fire (above); Dr. John and the Night Trippers; Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes and Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue are the biggest names at this year's holiday, along with Spyro Gyra, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Marcia Ball and Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience. At least 10 more artists should be announced in the coming months.

Tickets to the 2014 Clearwater Jazz Holiday start $15 per day. Plenty of multi-day packages and VIP experiences are available at prices up to $150. Tickets go on sale June 2; click here for details.

Here's the lineup as we know it so far:Full Story

Ticket Window: Morris Day and the Time, Feed Me, Johnnyswim, Los Lonely Boys and more

Don't you ever say an unkind word about the Time! If you (like us) have built your entire effing lives around Morris Day and Jerome, you'll want to check out Morris Day and the Time at the Mahaffey Theater on July 11.

Other Tampa Bay concerts and events with tickets going on sale this week: Morris Day and the Time (July 11, Mahaffey Theater), Hed PE (July 17, State Theatre), Johnnyswim (July 26, Straz Center), Late Nite Catechism (Aug. 9-10, Capitol Theatre), Feed Me (Aug. 10, Ritz Ybor), Tampa Theatre WineFest: Monty Python and the Holy Grape (Sept. 12-14 and Sept. 18, various locations in Tampa), Los Lonely Boys (Oct. 22, Capitol Theatre), Lisa Lampanelli (Nov. 8, Ruth Eckerd Hall) and Engelbert Humperdinck (Jan. 31, Ruth Eckerd Hall).

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

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Epcot Food and Wine concert lineup: Sugar Ray, Wilson Phillips, Hanson, David Cook, Boyz II Men and more

Stuck in the '80s has your first look at the 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival concert lineup, which features free (well, included with admission, anyway) concerts from mid-September to mid-November at Epcot in Orlando. And in addition to '70s- and '80s-centric artists like Rick Springfield, Christopher Cross, Night Ranger and Billy Ocean, Epcot is doing right by its '90s-rock fans, booking acts like Hanson (Sept. 28-29), Sugar Ray (Oct. 6-8), Fuel (Oct. 9-10), Sister Hazel (Oct. 11-12), Smash Mouth (Oct. 17-19), Boyz II Men (Nov. 3-5) and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (Nov. 8-10). For the full schedule -- including shows by Joe Dee Messina, David Cook, Wilson Phillips and more -- click here.

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Coolio, Slick Rick, O-Town to play free postgame concerts for Clearwater Threshers

The Tampa Bay Rays might need to announce some new postgame concerts, pronto, because at this rate, they're getting lapped by the Clearwater Threshers.

The Phillies' minor-league franchise already held a free postgame concert by Britney's little sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, this season, and now they've got a few more on the books.

The highlight is a July 11 postgame concert by a pair of '80s and '90s hip-hop greats, Coolio and Slick Rick, following the Threshers' game against Palm Beach. Then on Aug. 15, it's "90s Night," with a concert by reunited boy band O-Town following the Threshers and Lakeland Flying Tigers.

First up, on May 30, is a concert by Journey tribute band Departure; then on July 20, the Hunks of Funk and Black Honkeys will perform.

For a full schedule of the Threshers' 2014 season promotions, click here.

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Grace Askew talks 'The Voice,' performing in a library and more

Brent Howard

How do you go from being a top contender on NBC's The Voice to performing at a public library in New Port Richey?

Good question. But Grace Askew is up to the challenge.

"I'm assuming it will be a great listening audience, which is what I prefer, after years of playing in loud, rowdy bars," said the country-rock singer, who made the Top 32 on Season 4 of The Voice. "This will be a much-welcomed atmosphere, ha!"

Askew's first official concert in Florida takes place at 6 p.m. Thursday at the New Port Richey Library, 5939 Main Street. For info on the free show, call (727) 853-1279.

For Megan Hussey's full interview with Grace Askew, click here.

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Soundbytes: Sasha, Feed Me, Lisa Lampanelli and more

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

-- Rarely does a band like REO Speedwagon play such an intimate venue as the Hard Rock Cafe, located inside Tampa's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. So when the Hard Rock shared with us this photo from Sunday's concert, we figured we'd share it with you. Enjoy!

-- They just played the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival this weekend, but Los Lonely Boys are already planning a return trip to the area, booking an Oct. 22 show at the Capitol Theatre. Tickets are $31.75-$38.75. Click here.

-- The Sunset Music Festival just ended, and already, a couple more big-time DJs are coming to town. This Friday, check out Sasha at the Hyde Park Cafe in Tampa (tickets are $10-$15; click here). And on Aug. 10, Feed Me will be at the Ritz Ybor in Tampa. Tickets to that one are $18, and they go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- Hed(PE) is coming to the State Theatre on July 17. Tickets are $15 and they go on sale Friday. Click here.


-- "Queen of Mean" comic Lisa Lampanelli is coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Nov. 8. Tickets are $36.75. Click here.

-- Engelbert Humperdinck is coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall on Jan. 31. Tickets are $43.75-$78.75. Click here.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Hardwell talks about festival fans, YouTube success, his U.S. arena tour and more

Jay Cridlin

As fans evacuated the Sunset Music Festival on Sunday, scampering for shelter inside Raymond James Stadium, the man most of them came to see was completing a mad dash of his own.

Hardwell, who headlined Day 2 of Tampa’s massive electronic music festival, had just landed in the Sunshine State after performing at the Snake Pit, an infield party at the Indy 500.

“It’s a different crowd,” Hardwell mused with a laugh, sitting backstage before taking the stage at Sunset. “I don’t usually play for a crowd that old. But it’s cool.”

When you’re 25 and regarded as the world’s best DJ, you’ll roll with just about anything. The Dutch artist born Robbert van de Corput is one of EDM’s most in-demand stars, a burgeoning multimedia mogul whose influence is so great that nearly every song with his name on it rockets onto playlists at clubs around the world. …

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Review / photos: At Sunset Music Festival, rain doesn't dampen spirits of Hardwell, Krewella, DJ Snake and more

A rainbow formed as Cash Cash performed on the main stage as the Sunset Music Festival resumed following an hour-plus delay due to severe weather.

Jay Cridlin

A rainbow formed as Cash Cash performed on the main stage as the Sunset Music Festival resumed following an hour-plus delay due to severe weather.

(For a recap of Day 1 of the Sunset Music Festival, with Zedd, Paul van Dyk and Benny Benassi, click here.)

With a rainbow hanging in the sky east of Raymond James Stadium, New Jersey electronic duo Cash Cash strode onto the main stage of the Sunset Music Festival, waving an American flag and blasting, of all songs, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A.

Talk about a release. This was the sort of moment music festivals are made for – and it was dearly needed on Sunset’s second day, which was nearly derailed by severe weather that shut down the music and forced officials to evacuate more than 20,000 fans.

But after an hour-plus delay, as soon as Cash Cash started blaring Bruce, fans in the crowd screamed and waved their flags, too – and just like that, Mother Nature was more or less forgiven. By the end of the night, the soggy, scantily clad bros and coeds who waited out the weather got the festival they came for and then some.

Even the artists could sense a renewed sense of catharsis and camaraderie among fans after the storm.

“They came to party, and the music shut down for at least an hour,” said Dutch DJ Hardwell, Sunset’s Day 2 headliner. “So when they’re back in the field, I can understand: They’re full of excitement that the festival continues, and I think it’s a great thing.” Full Story