Thursday, January 18, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

70 of the fall's best concerts

This fall, there's a little something for everyone on the Tampa Bay concert calendar. Yes, we know, we say that every year. But this year, we really, truly, seriously mean it. The mind reels at the sheer number of A-list artists, electric upstarts and all-new festivals coming to town through the end of 2013. How to decide which are most worth your time? That's where we come in. We divvied up dozens of this fall's best concerts by genre, then ranked our top five picks for each one. And we still feel like we barely scratched the surface. Like we said: There's something for everyone.

Jay Cridlin, Times staff writer, and Ray Roa, Times correspondent

Ready to rock?

1 Imagine Dragons

Sept. 24, USF Sun Dome

The Radioactive rockers have exploded since their last stop in Tampa, when they opened for Awolnation at the Ritz Ybor in late 2012. After bailing on last year's 97X Next Big Thing due to a last-minute illness, It's Time for a return. $32-$37.

2 Sigur Ros

Oct. 7, USF Sun Dome

When you think of atmospheric Icelandic post-rock, as one does, these guys are the kings, no matter what language they're singing in. $29.50-$49.50.

3 Alabama Shakes

Dec. 6, Jannus Live

Brittany Howard's show-stopping voice fuels this Grammy-nominated group's blend of gospel-tinged rock 'n' blues. If you ever wondered when these guys were finally coming to Tampa Bay, wonder no more. $34.50-$38.

4 Kid Rock

6:45 p.m. Sunday, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

As a big opponent of the secondary ticket market (we not-so-wealthy music fans call it "scalping"), Bob Ritchie literally puts his money where his mouth is. The 42-year-old Detroit rocker/rapper/all-around-entertaining-dude better known as Kid Rock is charging just $20 for all tickets, lowering prices on concessions and reserving the really good seats for fans who will be upgraded, for free, at random. There won't really be a dull moment, since his 22-year-old discography is littered with hits like Bawitdaba, All Summer Long and American Bad Ass. The opening acts, Uncle Kracker and ZZ Top, easily make this show the best value of the summer. $20. (813) 740-2446,

5 The Lumineers

Oct. 19, USF Sun Dome

USF students may never get that Mumford & Sons concert they've been coveting, but a show by the Ho Hey clog-stompers will do. $25-$45.

Want more? Ra Ra Riot (Sept. 24, Orpheum), Fall Out Boy (Sept. 29, USF Sun Dome), City and Colour (Oct. 3, Jannus Live), Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (Oct. 10, State Theatre), Dawes (Oct. 16, State Theatre), 98 Rock Halloweenie Roast with Alice Cooper (Oct. 26, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre), Sleigh Bells (Nov. 1, State Theatre), Lucero and Titus Andronicus (Nov. 2, State Theatre), Chelsea Light Moving (Nov. 2, Orpheum), O.A.R. (Nov. 17, Jannus Live).

Bring the beats

1 Kanye West

Nov. 30, Tampa Bay Times Forum

Embarking on his first solo tour in five years, the ever-controversial rapper brings his dark, stormy new album Yeezus to life in one of only two Florida dates.

2 Drake

Nov. 6, Tampa Bay Times Forum

Did Toronto's hip-hop loverboy Drake, a former teen actor, really start from the bottom, as his new single claims? No matter. Now he's here, and he's bringing R&B sensation Miguel and rising rapper Future with him. $37-$97.

3 The Weeknd

Sept. 26, Straz Center for the Performing Arts

The mysterious Canadian R&B dynamo lets his searing voice — often compared to Michael Jackson — speak for him. $48.50-$178. (813) 229-7827,

4 95.7 The Beat Birthday Bash

Oct. 11, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Kendrick Lamar (shown) and 2 Chainz headline this inaugural fest, which steals some of the thunder from rival Wild 94.1's long-running Last Damn Show. $25-$65.

5 J. Cole and Wale

8 p.m. Friday, Straz Center

J. Cole (shown) and Wale are just two of the rappers mentioned in a recent controversial verse from West Coast MC Kendrick Lamar, but one doesn't get called out to battle without a good reason. Cole is a confident, Carolina-based Army brat with a penchant for crafting soul-drenched hip-hop (Crooked Smile, Power Trip) and enough self-assuredness to release his latest album on the same day as Kanye West. Wale comes from the nation's capital, where he has made his Nigerian parents proud by using his Internet savvy and indelible wit to craft his own version of the American dream: a lucrative career in rap music. $47.50-$59.50. (813) 229-7827,

Want more? Chief Keef (Sept. 23, Ritz Ybor), French Montana (Oct. 26, Jannus Live), John Legend (Nov. 4, Ruth Eckerd Hall), the Smokers Club Tour with Joey Bada$$ and Ab-Soul (Nov. 23, Jannus Live).

Go pop

1 Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Nov. 23, USF Sun Dome

From Thrift Shop to Can't Hold Us to Same Love, the recent Rolling Stone cover boy and his wunderkind producer have stormed both the pop and hip-hop charts in 2013, making this high-energy show a can't-miss party. $35-$45.

2 Selena Gomez

Oct. 30, Tampa Bay Times Forum

Spring breeaaaaak! She fled Tampa Bay in the locally filmed Spring Breakers, but she'll return on Halloween Eve as perhaps the biggest 21-year-old star in pop. $26-$66.

3 Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson

7 p.m. Friday, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

They've only released three albums since stellar debut LP Songs About Jane, but Maroon 5 have maintained a healthy pop-culture glow in the course of their decadelong career, thanks to frontman Adam Levine's role as a judge on NBC's The Voice and an ever-evolving brand of rock 'n' roll that darts between modern dance (Love Somebody), kitschy pop (Misery) and pop-rock (This Love). Kelly Clarkson, for her part, is still the most successful American Idol (can't argue with three Grammy wins), one with a sharp tongue (Clarkson recently Tweeted "#pitchystrippers" during the VMAs). They perform with PJ Morton. $33.50 and up. (813) 740-2446,

4 Emeli SandÉ

Oct. 12, Ritz Ybor

The reigning Album of the Year champ at this year's Brit Awards, the Scottish singer is making inroads toward becoming the latest starlet from across the pond to break in America. $22.

5 Austin Mahone

Oct. 19, Jannus Live

Jingle Ball ticket holders can always say they saw him back when, but after winning the MTV VMA for Artist to Watch, the "next Bieber" chatter just keeps heating up. $29.50.

Want more? Afrojack (Oct. 10, Hogan's Beach), India.Arie (Oct. 12, Palladium), Matt Nathanson (Oct. 17, Ritz Ybor), Cristian Castro (Oct. 23, Mahaffey Theater), Jessie Ware (Oct. 23, Ritz Ybor), Barenaked Ladies (Oct. 28, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Michael Franti and Spearhead (Oct. 30, Jannus Live), Morgan Page (Oct. 31, Amphitheatre), 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball (Dec. 18).


1. The Classical Mystery Tour

Oct. 18, Mahaffey Theater

For one night only, the Florida Orchestra backs this Fab Four tribute band for a night of more than 30 symphonically enhanced Beatles classics. $35-$75.

2. Donny and Marie Osmond

Dec. 6, Tampa Bay Times Forum

Surprise Granny at Thanksgiving with an early Christmas present: Two tickets to the squeaky-clean icons' holiday spectacular. $46.75-$122.25.

3. Josh Groban

Nov. 8, Tampa Bay Times Forum

The classical pop megastar will perform in the round on this tour, giving fans an even closer look at his delightfully nebbish charm. $46.75-$96.75.

4. Andrea Bocelli

Dec. 14, Tampa Bay Times Forum

American concerts by the blind Italian sensation are rare. Tampa fans are lucky this is his second local stop in two years. $75-$350.

5. Michael Buble

Nov. 1, Tampa Bay Times Forum

New dad Buble sold out 10 straight dates this summer at London's O2 Arena. We expect his voice will hold up just fine come November. $54.50-$115.

Want more? Il Volo (Sept. 20, Tampa Bay Times Forum), Billy Cobham (Sept. 20, Mahaffey Theater), Harry Connick Jr. (Oct. 5, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Sarah Brightman (Oct. 6, Tampa Bay Times Forum), Florida Orchestra: The Music of Pink Floyd (Nov. 29, Mahaffey Theater).

A little bit country

1. Loretta Lynn

8 p.m. Saturday, Mahaffey Theater

Indefatigable singer-songwriter Loretta Lynn plays the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg on Saturday, the hippest, most history-rich concert on this music-packed weekend in Tampa Bay. The sassy star of Butcher Hollow, Ky., is a national treasure not just for her music (Fist City, Coal Miner's Daughter, Rated X), but for giving feisty voice to strong, working-class women the world over. It's no surprise that current Nashville stars such as Miranda Lambert, her side group the Pistol Annies and Carrie Underwood all list Lynn as a personal hero. Sixty years ago, Lynn's husband bought her a guitar — and she's been playing ever since. $29.50-$59.50. (727) 893-7832. — Sean Daly

2 Luke Bryan

Oct. 24-25, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

In country's Lord of the Flies, party boy Bryan's got the conch, as evidenced by the fact that he added a second show when the first sold out. Having opening acts like Florida Georgia Line (who smashed chart records with Cruise) and Thompson Square certainly doesn't hurt. $29.50-$54.25.

3 Miranda Lambert

Sept. 20, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Mrs. Blake Shelton teams up with Dierks Bentley for what should be one of fall's most rollicking nights. $29.25-$54.

4 Keith Urban

Oct. 4, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

The New Zealand idol turned American Idol is the latest reality talent judge to hit the MidFlorida Amp, following The Voice's Blake Shelton and Adam Levine of Maroon 5. Your move, Mariah Carey! $29.25-$59.

5 WMNF Birthday Party

7 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday, Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa

The Tampa community radio station turns 34 and celebrates with a two-day concert. The opening-night headliner is bluegrass holy man Del McCoury, left, who brings his immaculately manicured hair and even more pristine delivery of American roots music to one of the area's most storied and respected live music venues. On Sunday, Serbian singer-guitarist Ana Popovic, the consensus standout of May's Tropical Heatwave festival, brings her firebrand style of blues licks and solos. $25-$30 Saturday, $25-$28 Sunday. (813) 971-0666,

Want more? Kellie Pickler (Oct. 11, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Kris Kristofferson (Oct. 16, Palladium), Aaron Lewis (Oct. 18, Dallas Bull).

Back to the '80s

1 Depeche Mode

7:30 p.m. Saturday, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Not a day passes on an '80s radio station when you don't hear Personal Jesus, Enjoy the Silence, Policy of Truth, People Are People or any other of Depeche Mode's icy, moody, alterna-pop hits. The '80s synth-rock icons have influenced artists ranging from the Killers to Arcade Fire to Linkin Park, and their new album, the electro-bluesy Delta Machine, has received solid reviews all around. $29-$99.50. (813) 740-2446,

2 Pet Shop Boys

8 p.m. Friday, Mahaffey Theater

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe's output over the last quarter-century includes a dozen LPs that bury introspective narratives about our humanity (What Keeps Mankind Alive?), sin (The Sodom and Gomorrah Show) and thinking for oneself (Left To My Own Devices) deep into infectious dance music. A new album, Electric, continues the duo's long and legendary legacy. $29.50-$99.50. (727) 892-5767,

3 Cyndi Lauper

Nov. 8, Ruth Eckerd Hall

She just won a Tony for Kinky Boots, but Cyndi Lauper is looking to the past on this tour, performing her debut album, She's So Unusual — featuring hits Girls Just Want to Have Fun, She Bop and Time After Time — in its entirety. $49.50-$100.

4 Huey Lewis and the News

Dec. 6, Ruth Eckerd Hall

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of their blockbuster album Sports, Lewis and the boys are having something of a resurgence in 2013. $49.50-$100.

5 Rick Springfield

8 p.m. Friday, Ruth Eckerd Hall

Rick Springfield, 64, just couldn't stay away from Jessie's Girl, and boy did it pay off. The Australian-born singer released four LPs of solid rock 'n' roll before Working Class Dog broke through in 1981, but he rode the triumph of Dog's hit single and turned it into a career that has seen him move millions of records, earn a Grammy, spend time on soap opera General Hospital and even moonlight as an author (2010 memoir Late, Late At Night). Macy Kate opens the show. $35-$150. (727) 791-7400,

Jukebox heroes

1 Brian Wilson and Jeff Beck

Sept. 28, Ruth Eckerd Hall

The prospect of a legendary songwriter sharing the stage with a legendary guitarist is enticing enough. The fact that they'll be joined by Wilson's former bandmates Al Jardine and David Marks — making this a de facto Beach Boys reunion show — is one heck of a bonus. $69.50-$175.

2 Michael McDonald

Dec. 18, Capitol Theatre

After nearly $8 million in renovations, Clearwater's historic venue will reopen and launch an ambitious slate of concerts, starting with the onetime Doobie Brother's indelible bellow. $82-$98.

3 The Eagles

Nov. 20, Tampa Bay Times Forum

One of rock's most historically fractious groups released an acclaimed documentary, History of the Eagles. This retrospective tour should offer exactly that. $49-$177.

4 Steely Dan

8 p.m. Saturday, Ruth Eckerd Hall

In a recent chat with Rolling Stone, Steely Dan's Donald Fagen and Walter Becker sardonically discussed the band's upcoming tour, noting that they've grown tired of playing songs like Rikki Don't Lose That Number and currently feel as if a solid track like Change of the Guard from their 1972 debut album plays more like "filler." The Dan's fans, however, don't share the sentiment. They've sold out Ruth Eckerd Hall, and will treat cuts like Peg, Reeling in the Years and Aja with the same kind of reverence that Fagen and Becker themselves probably exuded when they were busy crafting a catalog of sophisticated, genre-melding songs that made them rock 'n' roll legends. (727) 791-7400,

5 Danzig

Oct. 9, Cuban Club

Though it's billed as a Danzig show, Glenn Danzig will be joined by hulking guitarist Doyle for a Misfits miniset. Fans of the pioneering punks will be out in full force. $26.50-$30.

Want more? Cheap Trick (Oct. 4, Ruth Eckerd Hall), Isley Brothers (Oct. 5, USF Sun Dome), Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang (Nov. 19, Ruth Eckerd Hall), John Denver: A Rocky Mountain High Celebration (Nov. 20, Palladium), Bonnie Raitt (Dec. 3, Ruth Eckerd Hall).


1. Coastline Festival

Nov. 9, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Live Nation's latest day-fest experiment melds electric indie-pop stars (Passion Pit, Two Door Cinema Club, Matt & Kim) with food trucks, craft beer and artists. Who knows if it'll work, but it sure sounds fun to keep an eye on. $25-$99.

2 (tie)

Don't Stop St. Pete Music and Arts Festival, Plan B Block Party (Oct. 5)

The founders of St. Petersburg's beloved Antiwarpt Festival parted ways amid legal squabbling this year. The result? Two competing festivals on both sides of the bay on Oct. 5, with dozens of bands on each side. Local music fans, and artists, have some tough choices to make. For details, see or

3. 97X Next Big Thing

Dec. 7, Vinoy Park

Tampa Bay's largest alt-rock festival returns to Vinoy Park, this year on two stages instead of one. Headliners include Thirty Seconds to Mars, Jimmy Eat World, A Day to Remember and Stone Temple Pilots with Linkin Park's Chester Bennington.

4. Club Cirque Festival

Oct. 19, Raymond James Stadium

Some 22,000 electronic music fans packed a Raymond James Stadium parking lot for May's Sunset Music Festival. Sunset's organizers are hoping lightning strikes twice at this circus-themed EDM fest, headlined by DJs Steve Aoki and Borgore and rapper Waka Flocka Flame. $27.50. clubcirquefestival.

5. Big Pre-Fest in Little Ybor

Oct. 29-30, Ybor City

For the first time, Gainesville's iconic punk gathering known simply as "Fest" expands to Tampa with two nights of high-volume hijinks at the Ritz Ybor, Crowbar, Orpheum and New World Brewery. $70 (both nights),

Want more? Clearwater Jazz Holiday (Oct. 17-20, Coachman Park), Ribfest (Nov. 8-10, Vinoy Park).

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