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Review / photos: Phantogram, Bad Things show off sleek rock-star chops at the Ritz Ybor in Tampma

Phantogram performed at the Ritz Ybor on June 29, 2014.

Brian Mahar

Phantogram performed at the Ritz Ybor on June 29, 2014.

You’ve got to feel for Shaun White.

There he was on Sunday at the Ritz Ybor, all of 150 pounds, red hair combed perfectly, nervously working out rock songs, firing off guitar solos and occasional harmonizing with his bandmates in Bad Things. Nothing spellbinding. Certainly not boring, though, and it’s easy to see how White and company managed to play Lollapalooza last year.

Still, stares fell on the 27-year-old American snowboarding legend affectionately called the Flying Tomato. And that wasn’t fair.

It wasn’t fair because he clearly doesn’t intend to steal attention, but lucky for White -- who endured a “We love you Shaun!” chant the way a 14-year-old endures a parent’s embarrassing outburst -- it would all be an afterthought as soon as the road crew came on to break down Bad Things' stage (note: White, just like every other up and coming musician, packs up his own gear).

Yes, it was all just a distraction keeping a sold-out crowd away from their heroine, Sarah Barthel, who would eventually lead her band, Phantogram, through a 16-song, 80-minute set that was slowed only by vocals that occasionally got lost in the mix. Barthel recently has been romantically linked to White, but it’s her connection with bandmate Josh Carter that trumps all.Full Story

Photos: Mary Lambert ushers in St. Pete Pride weekend at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg

Mary Lambert headlined "27/82 The Concert," the annual kickoff concert for St. Pete Pride, at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on June 27, 2014.

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Mary Lambert headlined "27/82 The Concert," the annual kickoff concert for St. Pete Pride, at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg on June 27, 2014.

One of the biggest LGBT Pride events on the East Coast, St. Pete Pride, is this weekend in St. Petersburg, and one of the biggest stars of this year's event stopped by the State Theatre Friday night. Mary Lambert, the up-and-coming singer-songwriter plucked from obscurity to co-write and sing the hook on Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' Grammy-nominated single Same Love, headlined "27/82," St. Pete Pride's annual kickoff concert at the State Theatre, alongside The L Word's Hunter Valentine. Brian Mahar was there, and he shared a few photos of the show. Click the headline of this post for a slideshow.

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Hootie and the Blowfish brewing beer with Cigar City Brewing, Rock Brothers Brewing

Rock Brothers Brewing

If any band from the '90s deserves its own beer, it's Hootie and the Blowfish, four laid-back, sports-lovin' college bros with several ubiquitous singles under their belt.

Now it's coming to reality, thanks to Tampa Bay's own Cigar City Brewing and Rock Brothers Brewing. The companies are collaborating with the Blowfish and South Carolina's Palmetto Brewing on Hootie's Homegrown Ale, which will be released this August in South Carolina and might see release in Florida in late 2014 or early 2015. Dare we hope that Darius Rucker and company will play a local release show, too?

Click here for our story on Hootie's Homegrown Ale.Full Story

Artist of the day: Mike Mass

Mike Mass is a 25-year-old hip-hop artist who is determined to put Tampa on the map.

His music recalls the swinging rhythms and lyrical positivity of classic early ’90s hip-hop acts like A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets and Nas. You can catch him most nights of the week all over the bay area, either performing or curating events. 

Every last Sunday of the month, he hosts Wine and Rhythm at Crumb and Cork in downtown Tampa. This event showcases a variety of local artists and mediums: painters, graphic artists, tattoo artists, fashion designers, and a range of musical acts.

We sat down with him and he let us in on his ideas and philosophy.

How did you first become involved musically?

I was a spoken word poet from seventh grade through my sophomore year of high school. I honestly got tired of the cliché writing, and I also started doing beats early on in high school. I was primarily a poet the longest and a rapper on the side. I realized I was pretty good at the MC thing and I became obsessed with the lyricism aspect of it. Finally, now I’m starting to make more music, as opposed to being impressive lyrically. …

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Review: Rebelution fill Jannus Live with positive vibes for the first of two sold-out shows in St. Petersburg

Rebelution performed a sold-out show at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg on June 25, 2014.

Brian Mahar

Rebelution performed a sold-out show at Jannus Live in St. Petersburg on June 25, 2014.

Wednesday night’s sold-out Rebelution show at Jannus Live is all the evidence anyone needs to know reggae rock has a thriving community of positive energy seekers in the Tampa Bay area.

On their just released fourth LP, Count Me In, Rebelution has a track called Roots Reggae Music, and the quintessential lyrics summed up the vibe on night one of their two-night stand at Jannus Live: “We wanna move, we wanna groove / We wanna move, we wanna play it non-stop / Because you can't stop this feeling / You can't stop this groove / Can't stop this music / You can't kill this mood.”

The devotion of the community was shining all throughout the night with a completely packed house of Aztec pattern and band T-shirt-wearing revelry that started at the early hour of 6:30 p.m. and was maintained until Rebelution's final bow at around 11 p.m.

So now that St. Pete has dutifully teed up Thursday’s round-two performance, here are a few tips for navigating the sold-out show. …

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This week in Tampa: Katy Perry, Phantogram, Mary Lambert and more

It's not every week that one of the world's biggest pop stars pops into your backyard, so of course Katy Perry is the focus of this week's concert picks. But she's hardly the only big name in town.

After the jump, Ray Roa walks you through the week to come in Tampa Bay music, including shows by Phantogram, Lindsey Stirling, Hot Chelle Rae, Mary Lambert, Datsik, the Menzingers, Lemuria, Bad Things, the annual Hot Dog Party and more...Full Story

Review: The Voice Tour showcases real talent amid reality-TV spectacle at the Straz Center in Tampa

From left: Jake Barker, Josh Kaufman, Dia Frampton, Kristen Merlin and Tessanne Chin came to the Straz Center in Tampa on June 25, 2014, as part of NBC's The Voice Tour

Luis Santana

From left: Jake Barker, Josh Kaufman, Dia Frampton, Kristen Merlin and Tessanne Chin came to the Straz Center in Tampa on June 25, 2014, as part of NBC's The Voice Tour

The Voice Tour brought NBC's Emmy-winning television series to life Wednesday night at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, capturing both the powerhouse vocals and the cheesy production antics of reality TV.

To be clear, the Voice Tour isn’t so much a concert as a recreation of the show experience. At a concert, the audience forms a connection with the artist. Layers are revealed. A deeper appreciation gained. There’s a flow to the setlist and a rapport built between singer and listener.

Wednesday’s performance, while fun and full of talent, lacked the cohesiveness concertgoers seek. The set-up mimicked the format of a Voice episode: alternating solo and group performances with no transitions. The snippets of excerpts from the TV show even felt like commercial breaks.

That being said, there’s no denying these artists are damn good singers who can rival most musicians currently on the radio. The tour brought together the three finalists from seasons 5 and 6 in addition to some fan favorites: Josh Kaufman, Jake Worthington, Christina Grimmie, Tessanne Chin, Jacquie Lee, Will Champlin, Jake Barker, Kristen Merlin, Dia Frampton and a brief appearance by Ashley De La Rosa. …

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Ticket Window: Luke Bryan, Rise Against, Oddball Comedy Festival, Tampa Urban Music Fest and more

We were still reeling from today's announcement of the jaw-dropping lineup for the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival, Aug. 8 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre -- Louis C.K.! Aziz Ansari! Marc Maron! Chris Hardwick! Reggie Watts! -- when we got word of ANOTHER big music event coming to the USF Sun Dome just around back-to-school time.

The Tampa Urban Music Fest will bring together a handful of modern soul and R&B heavy hitters for a one-night show on Aug. 23: Anthony Hamilton (above), Lyfe Jennings, Mali Music and Jazmine Sullivan. Tickets to that show start at $35 and go on sale Friday. Click here for details. …

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Oddball Comedy Festival coming to Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre; Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, Marc Maron, Chris Hardwick on lineup

Aziz Ansari

Aziz Ansari

Is this the biggest comedy event ever to hit Tampa? Could be.

Funny or Die's 2014 Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival will kick off at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Aug. 8, and the lineup is astonishing enough to melt any comedy nerd's brain: Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, @Midnight host Chris Hardwick, WTF podcast king Marc Maron, Comedy Bang Bang's Reggie Watts, Broad City's Hannibal Buress, "Roastmaster General" Jeff Ross, Brody Stevens, Brent Morin and DJ Trauma, to name just a few.

The festival's lineup rotates by city, which means we won't get to see comics like Jim Gaffigan, Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, Demetri Martin, Dave Attell and Whitney Cummings in Tampa. But still: Wow, what a lineup.

The only question is, how is this going to work at the Amp? So far, the only answer we have is that Stevens, the cult-comic star of Comedy Central's Brody Stevens: Enjoy It!, will host a secondary stage; and the festival will also include a "Cut Throat Freak Show, a roaming troupe of misfit performers, tasty treats, libations and more."

Tickets are $35-$99.75, and they'll go on sale Saturday via Live Nation. Click here and here for more details.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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SoundBytes: Jack White, Citizen Cope, Tennis, Metronomy and more

-- Figures: Jack White finally announces some solo shows in Florida, and they're in Jacksonville and Miami. Anyone up for a road trip? White will play Jacksonville's Moran Theater on Sept. 20, then head to the Fillmore in Miami for a two-night stand on Sept. 21-22. Click here for details.

-- Speaking of excellent out-of-town shows, Orlando just unloaded a ton of 'em. In addition to yesterday's one-two punch of Foster the People and Slayer at Hard Rock Live, new and notable shows include: Tennis (Sept. 22, The Social; tickets are $12-$14; click here) Metronomy (Oct. 20, The Social, $20, click here), New Politics (Oct. 17, The Beacham, $17-$20, click here) and Twin Shadow (Oct. 22, The Social, $15, click here).

-- Citizen Cope is returning to Jannus Live with a special tour marking the 10th anniversary of his album The Clarence Greenwood Recordings. They'll play the album in its entirety on Oct. 4 at Jannus. Tickets are $31-$36, and they'll go on sale Friday. Click here. …

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ZZ Ward, Bridgit Mendler, El Gran Combo added to Busch Gardens' Saturday Summer Nights concert series

If you're planning a Saturday trip to Busch Gardens in the next few weeks, the park has a little something extra in store for your evening entertainment.

Hot on the heels of unveiling a new concert series, Saturday Summer Nights, Busch Gardens has fleshed out an artist lineup for the next few weeks. Joining previously announced headliners Hot Chelle Rae this Saturday is sultry singer-songwriter ZZ Ward, most recently seen rocking the Big Guava Music Festival in Tampa. She'll perform in Gwazi Park at 7:30 p.m. before Hot Chelle Rae plays at 8:30.

On July 5, the headliner is former Disney Channel princess Bridgit Mendler (Good Luck Charlie), who appeared at the 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball in 2012. Then on July 12 it's El Gran Combo, a Grammy-winning 16-piece Puerto Rican salsa orchestra.

All concerts are included with park admission and are followed by a grand fireworks finale. Click here for more details on Saturday Summer Nights.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Rise Against coming to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg

Luis Santana

It's always great to see a festival headliner-level band come to a relatively small local venue like Jannus Live. It happened earlier this year with Arctic Monkeys, and this fall, it'll happen again with Rise Against.

The Chicago hard rock outfit, who headlined 97X Next Big Thing in 2012 and this summer will play massive fests like New Orleans' Voodoo Experience, Jay Z's Made In American Festival and Summerfest in Milwaukee, will return to Jannus Live on Oct. 5, their first show in the courtyard since 2008. Touche Amore and Radkey will open the show. Tickets are $32.50-$35, and they'll go on sale Friday. Click here.

The tour comes in support of Rise Against's just-announced new album, The Black Market, due July 15. First single I Don't Want to Be Here Anymore is full of the band's signature rabble-rousing punk riffs and singer Tim McIlrath's unmistakable roar. Good to know the band isn't straying too far from what got 'em here.

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Luke Bryan adds second show at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

For the second year in a row, Luke Bryan is going to play it again, play it again, play it again in Tampa.

Bryan, the reigning king of country party music, has announced a second show at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa, "DUE TO OVERWHELMING DEMAND," promoter Live Nation tweeted in all caps. He'll now play there on Thursday, Sept. 25, in addition to his already announced gig on Sept. 26. Tickets to the new show will go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday.

Considering his overwhelming popularity -- and considering he did the same thing last year -- the second show is no surprise. What's interesting, though, is that according to Live Nation, he'll be joined by different openers each night.

Live Nation says Brett Eldredge and Kelleigh Bannen will open the Sept. 25 show, while Lee Brice and Cole Swindell have long been announced as the Sept. 26 headliners. So what we're looking at is a mini country festival with Bryan at the helm each night.

And hey, we're looking at Luke's tour schedule, and he's still got an open date on Sept. 24. Any chance he'll make it a three-nighter?

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

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Photos: Mase drops into the Blue Martini in Tampa for rare, if brief, performance

Rapper Mase dropped by the Blue Martini in Tampa Sunday night for a rare, if brief, live performance.

Luis Santana

Rapper Mase dropped by the Blue Martini in Tampa Sunday night for a rare, if brief, live performance.

The house was packed for Mase's return to Tampa at the Blue Martini Sunday night, but I wouldn't consider it much of performance.

After spending about an hour in the VIP chatting it up with fans and other VIPs he hit the stage to say hello and sing his main verse from Been Around The World for a few seconds. Then, after talking to the crowd some more, he did a few seconds of Feel So Good, as cellphones were raised in the air to capture his rare Tampa visit.

Although it wasn't promoted as a "performance," I expected a bit more out of Mase's Tampa visit. Surprisingly, he did not even perform his newest single. He then said his goodbyes and left the stage. After hanging out again in the VIP for a about 15 minutes or so he left with his posse out the back door.

Either way, the crowd still loved seeing him, and overall the packed Blue Martini seemed to be happy with his brief appearance.

-- Luis Santana, tbt*

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Slayer, Foster the People coming to Hard Rock Live in Orlando

Okay, before you panic, let's be clear: Slayer and Foster the People are NOT going on tour together. It's just a coincidence that both the speed-metal titans and electro-pop hitmakers announced shows at the House of Blues in Orlando on the very same day. We think.

That said, it's a pretty cool day whenever any venue can announce two such huge shows at the same time. If you're up for a drive to Orlando, here are the details.

Foster the People, who recently headlined the final night of the Big Guava Music Festival in Tampa, are apparently scaling back their forthcoming fall tour, as they'll play the much smaller Hard Rock Live on Oct. 18. Tickets are $37.50-$63, and they'll go on sale Friday. Click here.

Arguably the more newsworthy show, though, is Slayer on Nov. 21. They haven't played Tampa since a 2012 Mayhem Festival stop, and that was before the death of guitarist Jeff Hanneman. This time around, they'll be joined by Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus in what should be a loud, live night. Tickets are $37.50-$73, and they'll go on sale Friday. Click here. …

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